Tag Archives: sweet potatoes

Roasted Sweet Potato, Parsley and Gorgonzola Salad

Anyone down here in south Florida will agree, we have morphed from the cool sweetness of spring to the sweltering heat of summer.  Now is the time I send my husband out to the grill with a tray heaped on one side with marinated flank steak, boneless chicken breasts or thick tuna steaks.  The other half of the tray is covered with skewered grape tomatoes, corn rubbed with olive oil, salt and cayenne pepper and red pepper wedges also drizzled with olive oil.  My contribution to this meal is prepared in the conditioned air comfort of my kitchen.  Roasted sweet potato, parsley and gorgonzola salad is ideal for summer dinners as it can be prepared the night before serving or in the morning when the temperature has not begun its intolerable climb.  This salad is cool and light yet has heft.  You will not feel hunger pangs an hour or two after eating it.  Oh, no.  Not with this salad.

It marries well with grilled and/or spicy flavors…especially spicy heat.  The sweet potatoes tame the flames of cayenne, harissa, serrano and scotch bonnet.  I’m crazy about the clean, lemony flavor the parsley leaves impart.  Aside from being good-looking, the green leaves cut through the richness of the sweet potatoes and gorgonzola with a cleansing, citrusy flavor.  It also travels well making it a favorite for picnics at the beach, concerts in the park or poolside dinners while we’re wrapped in cotton towels heavy with dampness and enjoy those last rays of sunlight at 8:00 at night.  Take it outside and enjoy the beginning of summer!

Roasted Sweet Potato, Parsley and Gorgonzola Salad

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 small garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper to your liking
  1. Place olive oil, vinegar and garlic into a bender, magic bullet or mini food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Taste for salt and pepper and add to your liking.
  3. Chill until serving.

Salad:

  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, that’s about 5 large potatoes
  • 2 small sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 ounces Gorgonzola or blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves only
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Cut potatoes into 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch pieces and place in a large bowl.
  3. Add the onions, salt and pepper and olive oil to bowl and toss well with your hands until the potatoes and onions are completely covered with the oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer the potato mixture to the baking sheet, spreading to make an even layer.
  5. Roast for 45 minutes or until fork tender.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  7. Chill until ready to serve.
  8. To serve add the gorgonzola cheese and parsley leaves to the salad.
  9. Drizzle 1/2 cup dressing over the salad and, very gently, toss to combine being careful not to smash the potatoes.
  10. If the salad needs more dressing, add one tablespoon at a time, gently tossing until thoroughly mixed.
  11. Taste for salt and pepper.

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Turkey Sausage, Kale and Sweet Potato Stew…the perfect mid-week dinner

How many times have we all exclaimed, “If I have to have chicken for dinner one more time I’m going to scream!”?  I loathe that chicken rut.  Just hate it.  I’m done with that old, beat soy sauce-worcestershire sauce-garlic-ginger-honey marinade.  It’s so … 2005.  Never you mind because I have the answer… for one night, anyway.  Turkey sausage, kale and sweet potato stew is quick to prepare, clean and feeds a crowd.  If you don’t have a crowd you’ll have plenty left over to pack for next day’s lunches.  I’m all about that.  Somewhere between a stew and a soup, this meal is high in fiber and low in fat.  It can be served with a side salad but is hearty enough that it can be served alone.  And as the weather’s turned from cool to positively sweltering it turns out this dish is even tastier when it is eaten just warm.  How’s that for lagniappe?  If you have time, the vegetables can be chopped and refrigerated the night before preparing the stew.  I alternate between organic turkey and chicken sausage, typically buying whatever’s on sale.  If your family’s not finicky you can skip chopping the baby kale and toss the whole leaves straight into the soup.  Or you can substitute baby spinach for the kale.  I spend a little extra on canned organic cannellini beans rather than conventional canned beans.  They’re not much more in cost and organic will yield a cleaner, tastier meal.  In fact, I use organic products for this entire recipe.  But it’s up to you.  I say, just get the best you can.  Also, feel free to add more or less of any of the ingredients based on your likes and dislikes.  It’s an incredibly adaptable and forgiving recipe.  Start to finish you’re looking at about an hour and a quarter.  With 45 minutes to cook, there’s plenty of time to enjoy a quick shower and a glass of wine!

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Turkey, Kale and Sweet Potato Soup

  • Servings: 3 1/2 - 4 quarts
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  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds Italian turkey or chicken sausage, out of casings
  • 1 large, sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 32-ounce box low sodium chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups rough chopped baby kale, that’s a 5-ounce box
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, drained and well rinsed
  1. Over medium heat, add olive oil to a large, heavy bottomed pot.
  2. Add turkey sausage and brown, breaking up the sausage with the back of your spoon or with an old fashioned potato masher.
  3. When sausage has browned add the onion and cook until clear, about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the garlic, carrots and sweet potato and cook until the garlic has softened, about 2-3 minutes.  Continue stirring to avoid scorched vegetables.
  5. Using your hands, squeeze the tomatoes over the pot to break them up and stir into the vegetables.  Pour any juices from the can into the pot.
  6. Add the chicken broth to the pot, stir and taste for any needed salt and pepper.
  7. Raise heat to a soft simmer and add baby kale and cannellini beans.
  8. Stir, cover pot and simmer 30-45 minutes or until all vegetables are tender.
  9. If you have time, uncover and remove from heat for 10-15 minutes.  The stew will thicken a bit as it cools.

Sugar and Spice, Sweet Potato Bread

 

I love my girls!  My friend, Dana, called this evening just to chit-chat and, just like always, we laughed and laughed.  Her little sister, Dawn, had been in the hospital all week and was FINALLY allowed to go home.  Thankfully, she’s on the mend.  Part of our conversation was the topic of Dawn’s best friend, Alyson.  For those of you who didn’t grow up here, Alyson is Andrea’s baby sister.  Isn’t that great?  We’re all friends, laughing a mile a minute.  We have massive amounts of dirt on each other, but in the South, we glorify that.  And we DON’T rat on each other.  We feel it makes us special.  And scandal gives us color.  Alyson helped Dawn with those incredibly personal things that only a sister or mother will do.  She spent the night in the hospital so Dawn’s husband could go home.  And after that, helped her bathe and took her to get her hair done.  THAT’S a true, blue friend.  Anyway, Dana and I would segue off onto some silly girlie tangent, like I just did, about all of us. We laughed when Dana mentioned how we used to dance at her house for her parents.  Full out, go in the living room and put on a show.  And her parents never made fun of us.  Heck, sometimes they’d get up, dance with us and jitter bug the night away. We all went to each other’s birthday parties.  First wearing black, patent leather Mary Janes, then into tennis shoes, and on into Go-Go boots.  I have the black and whites to prove it.  We grew up on streets parallel to each other, right side by side.  I was on Sea Island, Ang and Al on Barcelona, Dana and Dawn on Aqua Vista.  As young girls, we rode our bikes to each other’s houses.  Back then, there were still a few vacant lots on the islands so we might end up in the shade under the canopy of some big Florida oak.  Just wiling away another hot afternoon.  We walked to the bus stop in junior high and the early years of high school, together, sometimes talking, sometimes not.  And in the afternoon, same thing, opposite direction.  We each had our own daily MAJOR problem.  I remember it felt as tho weight of the world was on our bony shoulders.  Our conversations were quiet, no big deal, scattered snippets of our safe, little lives.  I don’t remember any problems, except one of mine.  Would my father let me go to “the store” to get an outfit for that weekend’s party?  My father had a women’s clothing store and it was the hottest place in town.  Remember, we’re talking pre-Galleria days.  I’d say if not getting the latest outfit is YOUR biggest problem, you’re doing okay.  We all saw each other day in, day out.  And we spent the night at each other’s houses on Friday and Saturday nights.  Saturdays were always spent at the beach or shopping.  Sometimes we’d get along, and sometimes there would be a small explosion and you wouldn’t see a sister for a couple of days.  She’d make herself scarce.  But then it would all melt away and there we’d be, trudging back to the bus stop for school.  We just accepted walking to the bus stop, never noticing that our route was through one of the most beautiful areas of South Florida.  Our bus stop was at a gas station, Pier 66 on Las Olas.  Walt was the owner, and with his son, Wally, they would take care of our parent’s cars and always allow us to fill our bike tires with their air.  There was also a small, family run market a few doors down.  Everybody had a house charge so, when you thought you could get away with it, you’d charge a little candy after school.  Heath Bars, Bazooka, Mary Jane’s, sour apple bubble gum and fireballs were popular favorites.  If you knew you’d get in trouble for charging or you had to pay for it and you barely had any money, there were also large, rectangular sheets of taffy, about a foot long and half a foot wide, in all different shades and rainbow-colored, for 5¢.  A NICKEL!  Everyone HATED that taffy, but if that’s all you could get…   and you wanted some sugar…  well, I ate A LOT of taffy.  How we were never thrown into hypoglycemic shock, I’ll never know.  As we got older, driving and dating, our happy encounters were at the hallowed halls of Fort Lauderdale High School or standing in the keg line at parties.  There was such a beautiful ease to our relationships.   We all moved away for school, moved back, maybe moved around a bit more.  We’d just fall in and fall out with the tempo of the times.   Luckily, we all recognize how fortunate we are.  I can go a year without talking to Andrea.   But on her birthday,  when her phone rings and she hears someone whistling the ENTIRE “Happy Birthday” into her telephone without ANY hesitation or self-consciousness, she knows it’s ME.  ME.  And no one else.  And if I hear the sweet, chirping of Jiminy Cricket, I know my Ang is right around the corner and just a laugh away.  (She’s the only person I’ve ever known who can replicate that darling chirp!)  It’s a beautiful rhythm.  We’re concerned about each other’s parents and all our children.  I used to see Effie, the nickname I had for Andrea and Alyson’s father, F.J., at the Dixie.  I’d get so excited.  I’d chew that sweet man’s ear off.  He is just the NICEST man.  It’s wonderful when we see each other and then, clairvoyantly, voice each other’s thoughts.  Or we hear a song, and BAM!  We’re propelled back into somebody’s kitchen or bedroom, riding bikes or back to that 2nd grade classroom with the teacher nobody liked.

“Listen,

Do you want to know a secret,

Do you promise not to tell, whoa oh, oh.

Closer,

Let me whisper in your ear,

Say the words you long to hear,

I’m in love with you…”

This bread, Sweet Potato Bread, is what I like to take to a friend who needs a little love and care.  I’ll grant you, it does take some time, but the recipe yields TWO loaves!  One for you and one for me!!  I love the spicy aroma that fills my house while it’s baking.  And it always looks spectacular, all golden and glossy.  It’s Bill Neal’s recipe from his book entitled, “Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie”.  It’s fabulous lightly toasted with a little butter or peanut butter.  It also pairs REALLY well with a cold, spicy crab or shrimp salad.  Something about sweet, spicy and savory.  It’s just gorgeous and delicious with a rich crumb. Oh, and, somehow, the oats just meld into the dough.  I often send it to James at school.  It’s perfect on the fly with a quick smear of any nut butter.  I love it toasted with my morning cafe con leche.  And it is most excellent in the afternoon as a quick pick me up.  Enjoy!!

Sweet Potato Yeast Bread

  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1/4 warm water
  • 1 cup milk, fat-free is fine
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, that’s one stick
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked, mashed, cold sweet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, please don’t use that jarred, powdered stuff
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, I always combine 2-3 cups white whole wheat with 2-3 cups unbleached all-purpose
  • 1 cup uncooked oats, quick is fine but not instant
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk

 

  1. Dissolve the dry yeast in the warm water.
  2. Heat the milk with the sugar and salt, stirring until dissolved.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.  If I’m short on time I’ll even put it in the freezer for short period to cool.
  3. Cream the butter and the sweet potatoes well.  Add the dissolved yeast, the milk mixture, and then all the dry ingredients.  Beat very well, then turn out onto a floured surface.
  4. Knead vigorously until satiny, about 10 minutes.
  5. Place the dough in a bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  6. Punch down, and using a dough scraper or knife, divide into two equal portions.
  7. Divide 1 portion into 3 equal parts.  Roll each part out to make a rope.  Place side by side on an ungreased sheet.  Braid and tuck the ends under.  Cover loosely and let rise about an hour or until doubled.
  8. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400° for about 20 minutes, then brush with the beaten egg and continue baking 15 minutes more for a total of 35 minutes.
  9. The loaves should be a lovely, deep honeyed color.
  10. Bask in your cleverness!

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