Thank you, sweet potatoes

At my Thanksgiving table, if asked what I am thankful for, I would add the sweet potato to my blessings. During Hurricane Sandy, the simple sweet potato became my survival food.  We had no heat, electric or hot water. But, surprisingly, the gas stove worked! We also had running cold water. We were very lucky.What edible item survived the blackout in my Tribeca kitchen?  Sweet potatoes!  I tried to get everything done during daylight hours. And was surprised how fast the daylight leaves us. In the beginning, I did cook a little bit using flashlights and candlelight. Eventually, we managed our way down dark stairwells and went out foraging for food and power for our phones and computers.

simple, lovely sweet potatoes

My husband and I eat sweet potatoes almost daily since we swore off all ‘white’ foods, especially white potatoes. We mostly eat them simply baked or microwaved. But we also enjoy sweet potatoes in soup, stewed with chicken, as an appetizer, main course, side dish, as pie or muffins. I cook sweet potato home fries and serve with eggs for breakfast. Sometimes I cube pieces and toss in with fried apples and serve this combo with eggs and sausage. For a lunch side-dish or snack, I oven-fry them with a quick spray of olive oil, keep skins on and season with a dash of savory spices. I know that there is a difference between yams and sweet potatoes. But I don’t think it really matters except maybe with soups and stews.

Sweet potatoes are tasty, versatile and very healthy. I am amazed by the variety of flavor, color and texture. I prefer the deep orange variety. For dinner, sometimes I will bake an extra one to use for breakfast. I believe sweet potato home fries taste better if using a baked or steamed one as opposed to a raw potato.

Whether I am mashing sweet potatoes for a casserole or slicing for candied yams, I prepare them with whatever I have on hand: apples with cider; peaches, orange zest with the  juice, pumpkin pie spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, topped with bananas or nuts. Since they are naturally sweet, you may adjust the amount of sugar and sweeteners in most recipes.  Here are some of my favorites.

Being a baker’s daughter, I must start with a pie recipe. Notice, I left out the pie crust recipe. Serious pie-people, like my Mississippi-born dad made his own pie crust. It is a high art form that I have yet to master. So, if you are still learning, I suggest that you use frozen pie crust and follow the instructions. There are excellent brands out there. You can substitute half & half milk with evaporated milk or other milks. Here you go. Easy as pie!

Sweet potato pie

Sweet Potato Pie

3 large sweet potatoes

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 c. sugar

1/2 c.  half & half milk

pie crust

Directions: Boil potatoes with skin on until tender. Remove skin and discard. Mash through a ricer. In a bowl, hand-mix eggs, milk, spices, sugar until smooth, add mashed sweet potato. Mix again until smooth. Pour mixture into pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees, about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Fried Apples with Sweet Potatoes for Two A quick meal with only a few ingredients. Another plus to being a baker’s daughter– all the leftover pie ingredients get re-purposed for other meals. Peaches can be substituted for the apples in this recipe.

1 lg apple, sliced with skins

1/2 lg sweet potato, cooked, cubed

1 tbsp. butter

drizzle of honey or small single packet of raw sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 nutmeg

Directions: Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat, add apples sweet potatoes, spices. Saute five – ten minutes until apples are tender. Drizzle with honey or few sprinkles of raw sugar. Serve as a side dish with breakfast or dinner.

Quick Sweet Potato Home fries for Two

1 large sweet potato, skins removed, cubed

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 scallion or 1/4 small onion

1 slice green bell pepper

1/2 med. tomato

dash of unsalted herb seasoning

Directions: Spray sweet potato with olive oil spray, microwave for 2 minutes, cool 1 minute, cube into bite-sized pieces. The potato is partially cooked in microwave. Slice, chop onion, scallion, tomato, pepper. Saute all ingredients in skillet in olive oil until onion, pepper, tomato mixture is translucent and potatoes are fully cooked. Sprinkle with herbs,  approx. 5 minutes. Can be serve for breakfast or dinner.


sweet potato carrot soup

Curried Sweet Potato Carrot Soup for Two I grew up eating Caribbean food because of my mother’s heritage. This simple, quick, flavorful soup was a staple in our home and is terrific for Meatless Mondays. We sometimes substitute the carrots with an apple.


1 lg sweet potato, cooked, skin removed, cubed

2 large carrots, peeled, cooked, sliced

1 tbsp. vegetable oil (not olive!)

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1 sm. onion, sliced, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, de-seeded, chopped

1 tbsp. curry paste, Madras or Caribbean type

1 tsp. grated ginger

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (1 container)

garnish with red pepper, plain yogurt or sour creme, or herbs

Directions: In soup pot, saute onions, garlic, pepper in oil. Set up blender. Puree all ingredients by first pouring stock into blender, add rest of ingredients in batches. Check for smooth consistency. Add more stock if soup is too thick. Add back into soup pot and keep warm. Garnish with plain yogurt, parsley, or chives.

More Sweet Potato Recipes. Enjoy!