Sunday, January 25, 2009

More Sweet Potato Love

Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I know, I know, the last time I posted about sweet potatoes, I said they were the best I'd ever had...but a girl can fall in love more than once, right? These vanilla sweet potatoes are every bit as lovely as the streuseled sweet potatoes I hold so dear, but a little less decadent and well-suited for a more casual meal. Roasted sweet potatoes are mashed with cream that's been simmered with vanilla beans and a little orange zest to create a rich, creamy side dish that's almost sweet enough to be called dessert (it's certainly delicious enough that I personally wouldn't hesitate to hide in the corner with a bowlful and call it a treat...ahem). I picked up this recipe from Heidi Swanson's blog, 101 Cookbooks - she has all kinds of fantastic recipes over there that are definitely worth checking out, and has even come out with a couple cookbooks of her own. She got the recipe from Terrance Brennan's Artisanal Cooking, and if this recipe is any indication, that is one fabulous cookbook - I ordered my copy this weekend.

A couple notes: If you're thinking to yourself, "why, those potatoes in the photo don't look like sweet potatoes - I think this girl has lost her mind!" I assure you they are indeed sweet potatoes. They're a variety called boniatos that have a cream-colored flesh and a more delicate flavor than standard sweet potatoes - DR and I have recently discovered them, and we are so glad we did. If you don't have vanilla beans and don't want to buy any for this recipe, vanilla extract can be substituted with similar (although not quite as good) results. If you would like some vanilla beans but think they're too expensive at the grocery store, I order mine from Arizona Vanilla Company...they're organically grown, high quality, and less expensive than what I usually see in stores. Vanilla beans are, in my opinion, worth having on hand for lots of things...but even if you buy them for this recipe alone, it's worth it. I'm off to polish off the leftovers now. Hooray for sweet potatoes!

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