Sweet potatoes are the new Russet potato. In the restaurant scene, we have already seen the starchy switch from the traditional French fried potato to the sweet potato alternative. But is this just another food fad? Yet another outlet to feed our secret addiction to all things saccharine sounding?
First, let us dispel the notion that sweet potato implies sugary potato. Although that may have been the best way to convince us to eat them as kids, it is limiting. Now, because of that incriminating description, “sweet”, we automatically assume that sweet potatoes are already sugar soaked.
On the contrary, sweet potatoes have a creative and complex sweetness. Envision her at a masquerade, weaving in and out of various masks and disguises. Discover that beyond her overdone, cloying sweetness, she can be an irresistibly spicy siren. Dressed in adobo sauce and decorated with orange zest, I uncovered the spicy siren side of my sweet potatoes.
The chili sauce gave the sweet potato a vibrant, evocative taste, yet allowed it to retain much of its earthy quality. Sprinkled with the fresh zing of cilantro, and then smoothed out by the creaminess of goat cheese, was the perfect way to finish each bite. My experiments with sweet potatoes have made me appreciate their versatility, and I am encouraged by their rewarding results.
Note about cooking sweet potatoes: Add some fat to that! Sautéing your sweet potato with a small amount of fat, such as olive oil, actually helps your body pick up more of the antioxidant beta-carotene that is found in sweet potatoes. You can also add fats (such as olive oil, nuts, cheese) after cooking to help the bioavailability of the antioxidants. Other recommended ways to cook your sweet potatoes are steaming and boiling. These methods give you the fullest amount of fiber, vitamin A, and antioxidants.
Orange Adobo Sweet Potatoes, Peas, and Quinoa
3 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 medium sized sweet potato, chopped into ½ inch cubes
½ - 1 cup water (when needed to cook potatoes)
½ cup frozen peas
2 T – ¼ cup adobo sauce (depending on how spicy level tolerance)
2 tsp orange zest, grated
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1-2 oz goat cheese
1 cup cooked quinoa
1. Heat a medium sized pan over medium heat until very warm, add olive oil.
2. Add garlic, sauté garlic until browned.
3. Keeping pan between medium and medium high heat, add sweet potatoes, sauté until just soft, adding water when needed. About 7-8 minutes.
4. After about 5 minutes of cooking the sweet potatoes, add the frozen peas.
5. Add in the adobo sauce and orange zest. Stir to coat and combine.
6. Add cilantro, reserve some for garnish.
7. In bowl, spoon cooked quinoa into the bottom. Layer on top the sweet potato mixture. Place cheese on top. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Makes about 2-3 cups.