Friday, June 29, 2012

Veggie of the Week: Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are one of the oldest vegetables known to man and originated in Central America. Sweet potato relics from 10,000 years ago have been found in Peruvian caves proving their consumption since prehistoric times. Christopher Columbus brought them to Europe and they eventually made it to many places around the world by the 16th century. Around that time, the southern United States began growing sweet potatoes where it still remains a staple today.

Sweet potatoes are a significant source of vitamins A, C, and B6, as well as manganese and potassium. They are rich in antioxidants which help to lower the potential health risks posed by heavy metals and free oxygen radicals. Anti-inflammartory nutrients like those found in its color related pigments reduce inflammation in brain tissue and nerve tissue. Surprisingly, sweet potatoes actually improve blood sugar regulation because they do not convert to simple sugars in our digestives tracts like most starchy root vegetables do. It is no wonder why man has been enjoying this nutritional vegetable for so long!


 

Old Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie

Recipe: Paula Deen from foodnetwork.com

Prep time: 20 min.   Cook time: 1 hr. 55 min. 
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. peeled, cooked sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or 1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 c. milk
  • 9-inch unbaked pie crust
  • 3 egg whites

Directions:


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


For the filling, using an electric hand mixer, combine the potatoes, 1 cup of the sugar,
the butter, eggs, vanilla, salt, and spices. Mix thoroughly. Add the milk and continue to mix. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the pie on a rack and cool to room temperature before covering with meringue.

For the meringue, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form; beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is glossy and stiff, but not dry. With a rubber spatula, spoon the meringue onto the pie, forming peaks. Make sure the meringue touches the crust all around. Sprinkle with a pinch of granulated sugar. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until delicately browned. Cool and serve.
Prep time: 55 min.   Cook time: 15 min.   Serves: 4-6

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Recipe: foodnetwork.com


Ingredients:


  • Directions:

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix together and whisk until smooth. Cook batches in buttered skillet on medium high temperature until bubbles form on the surface, then turn over and cook until dark golden brown. Serve with pecan butter and maple syrup.

  • Pecan Butter:

    • 1/4 c. finely chopped pecans toasted and cooled
    • 1/2 pound butter, softened
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1 tsp. brown sugar
    • 1 tbsp. honey
    Mix all ingredients together (use rubber gloves). Roll in parchment paper and freeze. Cut into slices and top sweet potato pancakes.
    Yield: 10 servings


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