The sweet potato has always enjoyed a comfortable position on holiday dining tables and at Southern-style suppers. But with today's concerns for better health, many are reconsidering the versatile tuber as a menu component all year long.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin A, with a 3 1/2-ounce sweet potato providing more than 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance for Vitamin A, 36% of the RDA for Vitamin C and 5% for iron, all at about 140 calories. Keep in mind, however, that like potatoes, sweet potatoes, when combined with high-calorie foods, can have high fat tallies.
What is the difference between a sweet potato and a yam? "Simply variety," says Joe Alvernaz, sales manager for the California Sweet Potato Growers. Botanically they are all sweet potatoes, but through mutations and cross breeding new varieties have evolved, with the yam being more moist textured. Their nutritional value is virtually the same."
Sweet potatoes can be boiled, baked, broiled, pan-fried and a more fat-laded alternative, deep-fried. They can be cooked in the microwave, too. Simply pierce a washed sweet potato, cook on HIGH for 3 to 5 minutes per potato, depending on size of potato, turning half-turn midway through cooking time, and allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.
Sweet Potato Salad, with its honey vinaigrette dressing, will be a tasty alternative to relieve warm-weather salad doldrums. Cinnamon-Sweet Potato Waffles are just the eye-opener to wake up tired breakfast appetites, and Sweet Potatoes and Apple Rings, Sweet Potato Souffle and Dr. Miller's Baked Stuffed Sweet Potatoes make excellent go-withs. SWEET POTATO SALAD
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 medium onion, cut into thin rings
1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
Honey Vinaigrette Dressing
Bring enough water to cover sweet potatoes to boil in large pot. Add salt and clean sweet potatoes. Return to boil and cook, covered, 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are just fork tender. Do not overcook.
When cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise, then cut into 1/4-inch slices. Combine sweet potato slices, onion rings and green pepper strips in large bowl. Pour Honey Vinaigrette Dressing over salad. Toss lightly to coat, cover and refrigerate 3 to 6 hours or overnight. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Makes 6 to 8 servings. Honey Vinaigrette Dressing
1 cup tarragon vinegar
1/2 cup oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme
Combine vinegar, oil, honey, garlic, bay leaves, salt, pepper, oregano and thyme in jar with tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until well-mixed.
PER SERVING: 461 calories; 5 gm protein; 71 gm carbohydrate; 19 gm fat; 562 mg sodium; 657 mg potassium.
USRDA Protein 07% Riboflavin 10% Vitamin A 420% Niacin 08% Vitamin C 114% Calcium 09% Thiamine 17% Iron 11% HONEYED CHICKEN AND SWEET POTATOES
4 whole chicken breasts, boned
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Dash ground cloves
2 tablespoons butter
4 large sweet potatoes, boiled 20 minutes and peeled
Arrange chicken breasts, skin side up, in shallow baking dish. Combine cream, honey, salt, nutmeg, allspice and cloves and pour over chicken. Dot with butter.
Bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes, basting with cream mixture. Remove from oven and arrange sweet potatoes around chicken. Return to oven and bake 30 minutes longer or until chicken is fork-tender. Makes 4 servings.
PER SERVING: 872 calories; 79 gm protein; 53 gm carbohydrate; 37 gm fat; 639 mg sodium; 454 mg potassium.
USRDA Protein 121% Riboflavin 43% Vitamin A 314% Niacin 147% Vitamin C 58% Calcium 14% Thiamine 24% Iron 30% CINNAMON-SWEET POTATO WAFFLES
2 cups sifted flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Beat egg yolks well and add milk and sweet potatoes. Beat until blended. Add to sifted ingredients, mixing well. Add oil and mix again.
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold into batter. Pour batter onto preheated waffle iron and sprinkle with nuts. Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until done. Makes 4 servings.
PER SERVING: 577 calories; 16 gm protein; 64 gm carbohydrate; 28 gm fat; 1,589 mg sodium; 408 mg potassium.
USRDA Protein 25% Riboflavin 32% Vitamin A 87% Niacin 18% Vitamin C 15% Calcium 64% Thiamine 34% Iron 18% CURRIED SWEET POTATO MELANGE
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large sweet potato, cut julienne
2 large stalks celery, cut julienne
2 bunches green onions, diagonally sliced