From sides to stews: a sweet potato recipe round-up

Sweet potatoes are front and centre in the Simple Bites winter kitchen, but not just as a side dish.

In addition to the recipes included in today’s round-up, I find ways to incorporate them into all sorts of meals from breakfast to dinner. I try to roast off a few spuds here and there when I have the oven on for holiday baking projects, then stash them in the fridge for convenience.

In the past I’ve smashed the roasted sweet potatoes and stirred them into a fragrant brown rice pudding. I’ve scooped a few spoonfuls into my smoothies, and together with almond milk, dates, cinnamon and ice, it makes for one delicious shake. I’ve puréed them and added them to chia pudding and even my morning muesli. Once sweet potatoes have been roasted and puréed, you can use them like pumpkin in a wide variety of cooking and baking.

Today’s recipes stay on the savoury side of things. From a delicate buttermilk biscuit to a wintery vegan stew, there’s a sweet potato recipe here for everyone.

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Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Walnut-Bacon Crumble

The boys had a few well-rehearsed pranks for us on April First, such as glue on the toilet handle (!), but the worst prank by far was played by Mother Nature: yet another snowstorm.

Snow in April isn’t a big surprise, but was still disappointing; I’m really, really ready for the snowbanks to melt. Yesterday the sun shone brightly, daring us to escape outdoors and defy the snow. So we did.

The boys shovelled the snow off of the fire pit and Danny built a roaring campfire. I brought pots and pans out from the kitchen and simmered maple beans and a cider ham over the open flame. In the coals I roasted sweet potatoes, and we boiled maple syrup to pour in the snow for maple taffy.

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Grilled Green Onion & Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Chèvre

If you haven’t hit your grilling stride yet this summer, today’s recipe will be the incentive you need to fire up the coals.

Let’s see, I’ve prepare it two…three…four times already and each time I delight in the smoky sweet potato, charred green onions and the tangy goat cheese that finishes off the dish. A hint of maple syrup in the mustard dressing brings balance to the salad and a few zesty grilled garlic scapes add a touch of excitement.

Every summer I tend to get stuck on a particular grilled salad – last year it was with strawberries and asparagus, before that it was green beans and cherry tomatoes. This grilled green onion & sweet potato salad with warm chèvre is definitely my 2016 summer salad obsession.

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Roasted Asparagus with Harissa Brown Butter Breadcrumbs

I‘ve had one thing on my mind since I injured my back: get strong enough to go in search of local asparagus.

Thankfully, I’m on the mend and yesterday, during a particularly sunny patch of the morning, Clara and I strolled through our open air market. She was the first to spot them:

Asparagus!” she shrieked, and darted toward the stall. I move a little slower, but inside I was just as excited about the discovery. At last!  They were all beautiful, but we selected three of the prettiest bundles.

We had the first bunch for lunch, simply steamed with butter and salt. Clara finished hers first, and then used her fingers to help herself to a few spears on my plate. Such is the enthusiasm we reserve for local asparagus around here.

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Secrets to the best mashed potatoes

Mashed potatoes are premium comfort food, that is a given, but they don’t always get the right treatment to ensure they are fluffy and well seasoned. This post can help.

Back when I put myself through culinary school, money was tight. I frequently relied on samples from class to get me through a day; which was easily feasible. We had opportunity to eat most everything we prepared and you know how I dislike waste! I must have been particularly hungry the morning we were learning how to make the best mashed potatoes (yes, that was actually a topic covered in a class) because I can remember every little detail of the process.

It seemed a torturous wait before we could serve ourselves from the enormous pan of steaming spuds, but the wait was well worth it. Creamy potatoes, skillfully seasoned, without a lump to be seen. It was the dead of winter. I had been up since 5 am in order to make it to class on time. Yet the memory of spooning up mashed potatoes while perched on an overturned milk crate remains one of my happiest ones from culinary school.

Today I’ll share my teacher’s secret to fluffy mashed potatoes.

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