Thursday, September 28, 2006

What do you call them?

We are big fans of baked potatoes, but every once in awhile we like to change things up and use sweet potatoes instead. Tonight's side dish brings a plain sweet potato into a whole new world with a savory nutty sauce.

As the potatoes slip into the oven for their hour long bake, the recipe for Baked Sweet Potatoes with West African-Style Peanut Sauce continues by making the thick spicy sauce. Onions, fresh ginger and garlic omits a sweet aromatic smell as they cook in a touch of oil. Smoky cumin, coriander and crushed red pepper are added in and sit for a minute to get a gentle toast. Water, tomato sauce and natural peanut butter along with a couple seasonings are stirred in and the thin mixture cooks for just a couple minutes to turn quite thick. When the potatoes are done, they are slit lengthwise and easily open up to be filled with a generous portion of the sauce. The sweetness in the potato gives in to the savory taste, but the natural flavor still shines through. Perhaps along side of the chopped cilantro, a scattering of chopped roasted peanuts would be a satisfying crunchy garnish.

So what do you prefer to call yours? Sweet Potatoes or Yams?

Tonight's main dish of Pork Tenderloin with Shallot-Cider Sauce could have been better served with something to soak up its abundant (yet not so visually appealing) sauce, but a chunk of rustic bread certainly worked well enough for us! With no marinade time and simply seasoned with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, the pork portion was a snap to get in the oven. After the shallots for the sauce soften, we added some fresh apple cider we got from the apple orchard along with beef broth, applesauce, salt, five-spice powder and pepper. This mixture boils away until it reduces in half and fills the kitchen with a classic fall aroma from the five-spice powder. Applesauce helps give the sauce a rich body with fresh lemon juice added at the end to heighten the flavors. I took the pork out of the oven at around 145 degrees and left it to continue cooking under a tent of foil for a few minutes to achieve a light pink hue in the center. The pork was very juicy, but would probably still be okay if you felt the need to take it all the way to 160 degrees.


  1. Atom - Yes, I know - but that depends on your point of view. We don't typically have access to 'true' yams in the states. Here, sweet potatoes and yams are often labeled the same thing in the stores depending on where you live - hence my question!

  2. Hmmm, Sweet Potatoes.... I actually discovered them when I moved to the States 2 years ago. They are not that popular in Austria.

    My favorite way to eat them are as Baked Fries. Yum

  3. I go for the sweet potatoes...then proceeded to try and make fries which I always burn! lol

  4. In Asia, they are very distinct. I love sweet potatoes cut in chunks, cooked with slices of ginger in boiling water and then when they are soft, just add sugar to taste. It's especially good in winter. Kinda like a sweet soup for dessert!

  5. Your sweet potato look awesome! I saw the recipe in the mag and was wondering if it would be good. Glad to see a review!
    I love the sweet potatoes we find here in the US. When I lived in Brazil the sweet potatoes there were lighter in color, more a white-yelowish, and would not compare in flavor to the ones found here. (I actually didn't like the ones back there.... yuck!)

  6. I lov sweet potatoes!

  7. I lov sweet potatoes!

  8. Dani - Good choice as a favorite!

    Wheresmymind - Doh!

    bo-bo gal - Sounds tasty!

    Ana - Thanks!

    Krista - Thank you!