Tuesday, November 29, 2011

RECIPE: Maple Walnut Whipped Sweet Potato

I apologize for not having blogged over the last week.  Thanksgiving, you know?  Things just got away from me.  I was planning on blogging about my adventures in the kitchen over the holiday, but it turned out that I wasn't much wanted/needed in the kitchen since my sister was so on top of things.  She personally brined a turkey straight into heaven, and had most of the sides and desserts ready even before we drove into town.  I would love to blog about her creative and fantastic foods, but I wouldn't know where to begin.  I'll let her win you over herself, supposing you're friends with her on Facebook.

It's so funny to think of Facebook now, all these months after quitting.  My finger doesn't automatically twitch over to the Facebook button on Symbaloo anymore.  I think I must be recovering!  I'm plenty busy with cooking, sleeping, and generally surviving to worry about missing everyone's what-I-had-for-breakfast status updates.

Ah!  But you didn't come to this blog to hear about my life.  You came to this blog to find out about my maple walnut whipped sweet potatoes!

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I returned home from Alabama to discover I had very little food in the house save for sweet potatoes and fish.  Now, I love fish.  I adore fish.  There is, however, only so many ways to prepare fish without boring my blog audience.  I will find some new ways to prepare the sea's bounty before talking more about them. 

My sister had made this fabulous sweet potato casserole with brown sugar and pecans, but as you well know, sugar is a definite no-no on the Body Chemistry Diet.  Besides, I think sweet potatoes are quite sweet enough without that delectable nonsense of a crunchy topping.

My dilemma, then, was to capture the same spirit of the sweet potato, without all of the sugar.  I made this up on the spot, and it is quite simple, but I feel this recipe does justice to the materials I had on hand.

Maple Walnut Whipped Sweet Potato Confection of Goodness

INGREDIENTS

1 whole large sweet potato
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 cup sweet white wine (optional), like a Moscato
2 tablespoons maple syrup (for the potato mixture)

1/2 to 2/3 cup whole walnuts
2 tablespoons maple syrup (for the walnuts)


DIRECTIONS

Bake the potato until very soft, about 7 minutes in the microwave (on high)*.  Make sure to stab it with a fork a couple of times and wrap it in paper towel before putting it in the microwave, and be very careful when removing it--or you will learn the true origin of the game, "hot potato."  (I'm serious.  You could really burn yourself.)  Test the potato with a fork.  Once the potato is soft all the way through, cut it in half and scoop the flesh out of the skin.

Put the sweet potato in a medium sauce pan and add the olive oil and white wine, mixing with a fork.  Turn the stove to medium-low heat and stir in the milk, vanilla, and maple syrup.  Use the fork to crush lumps of sweet potato against the side of the sauce pan, for a more even and creamy texture.  Heat until the mixture is smooth and bubbling, then remove from the heat.  Beat the mixture rapidly with your fork until it begins to look whipped.  Alternatively, you can use an immersion (stick) blender to do this for you.

While the sweet potato mixture is cooking, heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Pour your remaining maple syrup over the walnuts and turn so that they are evenly coated, then lay them out on a small, foil-covered baking sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until the syrup has caramelized but not burned--keep a close eye on the walnuts to ensure that they do not get to that point.

Once the walnuts are toasted, remove them from the oven and let cool until they are easy to handle.  I bundled them up in the foil and stuck them in the freezer for around 5 minutes, then took them out.  Remove the walnuts from the foil and add to the sweet potato mixture, stirring to combine.

Serve warm!

VERDICT: I felt like I was having dessert, this was so delicious, but it actually served as a relatively healthy main course.  It was far from being overly sweet, as sweet potato casseroles often are.  The walnuts add a delightful crunch to the creamy sweet potato, and add another little distinction from the standard pecans they are often paired with--but pecans would work in this recipe if you did not have any walnuts on hand.  By leaving out cinnamon and other spices, the sweet potato really asserts its natural, complex flavor here.  (This also has the added benefit of being gluten free!)  Housemate J gave her cute face of approval when I showed her the final product.






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