Monday, February 6, 2017

Purple? Yes, purple. Purple sweet potatoes.

Sometimes the internet can be a bad thing. A bad influence. An enabler. Like Instagram for example. Of course I follow a number of food bloggers, restaurants, stores, and food companies. You have to, if you want to stay on trend. Frieda's Specialty Produce is one of the companies that I follow and love seeing all the interesting and unique kinds of produce they offer. Many of these fruits and vegetables are tropical and cannot be grown here in Iowa, and many more are rare or a fun hybrid of traditional vegetables. I was minding my business one evening, posting silly memes about rock stars and food, tossing some recipe ideas around in my head when Frieda's posted something that immediately caught my eye. Sweet potatoes. Ok, sure, I like sweet potatoes. Love them baked like a baked potato and they are a must have with holiday turkey. These ones though......these ones were........PURPLE!

Yes, purple! Bright Minnesota Vikings purple, and unlike many other purple hybrid vegetables, these beauties do not lose their color when cooked. Think about this for a minute, we have such colorful vegetables already, with all shades of greens, yellow, orange, red, tomatoes in a rainbow of colors, now we're adding a deep gorgeous purple to the mix? Yes!!!!

We eat with our eyes, as they say, so I didn't want to hide these guys under an ocean of marshmallow. I wanted to showcase not only the color but the nutrition and healthy fiber sweet potatoes provide. I wanted these potatoes to be front and center in whatever I made. First things first though, I have to actually find them and get my hands on a bag. This is not always an easy task. Des Moines is a big city, and we have big big grocery stores with all kinds of amazing produce but sometimes I miss out on something really wonderful, like the pink sweet corn some friends were able to snag last summer. By the time I got to the store- all sold out. The amazing folks at Frieda's made sure I didn't miss out. They reached out to me via Instagram and helped me track down a couple different locations in Des Moines where I'd be able to find the Stokes Purple Sweet Potato, and after work, I headed over to Trader Joe's and incredibly enough, got the LAST bag in the display. I went home with my 3 pounds of playthings and began to narrow down my recipe options.

Like I said, I did not want to treat these guys like an everyday sweet potato. I can do that, well, every day really, so I wanted to use them in a creative way. I love roasting vegetables, it brings out such a different flavor and texture, especially with sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are loaded with good things too, B vitamins, and loads of beta carotene which is so so good for us! I decided to cut up one or two, give them a little roast in the oven, and toss them with other bright fresh vegetables in a salad, lightly dressed with a honey vinaigrette to bring out the sweetness. Here is my unique take on salad.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Kale Salad Bowl

1 or 2 purple sweet potatoes
2-3 cups baby kale
2-3 cups baby spinach
6 scallions
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted slightly
Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
olive oil
salt and pepper

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch cubes. Toss in a bowl with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread out onto foil lined baking sheet that's been sprayed with cooking spray. Roast the sweet potatoes at 400 15-25 minutes until tender. Allow to cool slightly.

Toss the baby kale and spinach together in a large bowl. Add the scallions and almonds. Toss with some of the vinaigrette. Add potato cubes and toss again.

Easy Honey Vinaigrette

1/3 cup olive oil
2 tb Dijon mustard
2 tb balsamic vinegar
2 tb honey
salt and pepper

Shake together in a jar until thoroughly emulsified.

But the REAL fun came when dreaming up ways to use the sweet potatoes in a very delicious way. I knew I just had to figure out a way to use this tasty tuber in a sweet recipe, a dessert of some kind. There were so many good options too- pudding, mousse, ice cream and sweet potato pie. If you have never had sweet potato pie, you simply must try it. It's a lot like pumpkin pie but the potatoes are so rich and smooth and the spices make the pie so warm and inviting. All you need a simple crown of whipped cream and you have pie perfection. Now, let's make it purple!

Crazy Purple Sweet Potato Pie

1 1/2 lb purple sweet potatoes
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup half and half
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
small pinch ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
one pastry shell

Bake the potatoes in a 400 degree oven until tender, 45-60 minutes. Allow to cool until cool enough to handle. Slip off the skins.

While potatoes are cooking, line a pie plate with pastry. Trim and crimp a tall edge. Cover and set aside in a cool place. I popped mine in the fridge.

Place the sweet potatoes in a bowl. Use a form to break up and mash the potatoes, and beat in the softened butter until completely mixed in. Mix in all remaining ingredients.

Pour into pastry lined pie plate. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. You may need to cover the edge of the pastry halfway through baking time to prevent burning. Use foil or a pie protector if you have one. Cool completely and serve with whipped cream.

I used a small pie plate for mine, because we are a small household, and I had a little filling leftover so I baked that in a custard cup alongside. Baking in cups is a great gluten free option, too, if you omit the crust and spray well with cooking spray. Just look at the color of that filling! It tastes like autumn but looks like a pop of summer color.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 55: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

1 comment:

  1. YAAAAAAS! We're so glad you enjoy our Stokes Purple sweet potatoes!