Monday, July 22, 2013

Long live the YAM Part 1: With coconut and cranberries

Year-round, through triathlon training and gluten free (and newly paleo) cooking, I have had one close, and indisputable friend: The sweet potato.

It's friendly to my sensitive stomach, and has lots of nutritional benefits.

My standby sweet potato recipe is to coat with olive oil, salt and pepper and baked until they're just a little crispy. But lately, sick of most of my usual recipes, I've been experimenting. I present to you: 10 things you can do with sweet potatoes. The full feature will appear in the Democrat and Chronicle sometime this fall, but I'll post the installments here as they're ready.

But first, one must understand my methods.

Jessica's rules of cooking: 

  1. Make massive quantities at a time, usually on a Sunday evening. Freeze them in batches. Throw in crockpot the morning they are to be consumed. That way you don't have to cook for yourself everyday. 
  2. Foods with foreign ingredients are scary, and sometimes make me sick. Use fresh where possible.
  3. I only own one measuring cup.  
  4. Whenever a recipe calls for garlic, use extra garlic. If a recipe calls for two tablespoons of cilantro, go ahead and use a whole bunch. If it calls for olive oil, add an extra splash. At least. If you couldn't tell from my last name, I'm very Italian. 
  5. If you drop food on the floor, just say the magic word "Lizzie" to summon the black and white blur which will whiz through the kitchen, making the food disappear. 
  6. Until someone invents a magic machine that washes my dishes for me (#smallapartmentproblems) I try not to use too many. If something is particularly messy, those throwaway tins for baking come in handy. 

Ok, enough with the intro. On to recipe 1!

Lightly mashed sweet potatoes with coconut and cranberries. 

My food photography skills leave much to be desired. 
I'm trying a strange hodgepodge of the real food and paleo diets this month. Been exhausted lately, and I think it's because I started eating more processed food around Musselman. Day two and going strong. Goal is 30 days straight.

I adapted this recipe from Paleo Plan's sweet potatoes with coconut, pomegranate and lime recipe. I find pomegranates too labor intensive though, and forgot to buy limes.

Per my batch cooking tendencies, I tripled the recipe which yielded enough for a side dish each day and maybe a little left over to freeze.

My ingredient list:
7 smallish sweet potatoes
1/2 bag coconut flakes
1 can coconut milk (I used Goya, bought at Wegmans, but I do need to make my way back to the Asian market soon and stock up, much cheaper there.)
Salt to taste
1/2 bunch cilantro (I happen to really like cilantro. If you don't love it as I do, maybe use less.)
1 bag (8 ounces) of dried cranberries from Aldi.

I started off by peeling the sweet potatoes, pricking them with a fork and baking them at 400 for about 50 minutes. I probably could have cut some corners and nuked them but, hindsight. They came up a little brown, probably wouldn't have happened had I left the skin on but I prefer no skin. They tasted fine.

I mushed them up with a giant spoon and fork (I do not own a potato masher) and added everything else in. Very easy. Cilantro was supposed to be reserved as garnish but I just mixed it in. (See rule #4.)


I've got a bunch of other ones I'd like to try! I have the makings for sweet potato pancakes, have a recipe for paleo sweet potato hash, at some point will revisit my sweet potato chili, and will give a shout out to John H's yamanator (I tried to make a version at home. It pales in comparison.)

Long live the yam. 

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