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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Sweet Potato (YAM)

The sweet potato, commonly known as a yam, has been present in kitchens around the world, even before kitchens existed. Although the term yam, derived from the Portuguese word "inhame" or Spanish word "ñame", has been adopted in our vocabulary to differentiate it from its smaller white meat cousin, the yam is a botanically very different species found in western Africa compared to the sweet potato in south america. A reason why terminology has been moved around so much, could be a result of 10 000 years of cultivating both of these varieties.  In consequence, the sweet potato has taken on an important role in many cultures and has infiltrated itself in all meal courses with it's preparation variety. So whether you are celebrating the Nigerian New Yam Festival at the beginning of August or are wanting to grace kings with your magical powers of growing the largest yam tuber, the sweet potato is always a healthy choice to add to your plate.

Here are a few dishes I put together with sweet potatoes, one having mashed the yam and then other recipe in which I roasted the yams in the oven with other ingredients. Here how I put it all together. 

Quick and Easy Shepperd's Pie
As seen in the image above, the sweet potato was boiled and mashed as a normal potato would have been used for shepperd's pie. Ingredients I used;
- Seasoned Ground Beef (which i had leftover from making tacos the night before)
- Frozen Green Peas
- Fresh Mushrooms (thinly sliced)
- A medium sized onion ( finely chopped)
- 1/4 Cup ketchup ( or a can of concentrated tomato soup)
- A large sized sweet potato, peeled, cubed, boiled and mashed

How pulled it all together;
- In a medium sized frying pan on medium heat with a bit of oil, I fried some green peas, my sliced mushrooms and an onion.
- I then added the already precooked ground beef to the mixture once my onion had taken on some color. Mixed this all together until the meat was reheated. I then added some ketchup in the pan, off the heat, just to help all the ingredients stick together. 
- I transfered the filling mixture to a regular pirex loaf pan and pressed it down with a fork. Then simply spread the mashed sweet potatoes on top and gently leveled it all with the back or a spoon. Serve right away or put in a 300F oven to keep warm. 

Sweet Potato and Green Bean Salad
Taken from the blog "Exclusively Food"

I had just bought a large amount of fresh green beens and was wondering how to used them in a salad. Then, looking for something combining them with sweet potatoes, I arrived at this wonderful blog which had just eh recipe I was looking for. This hearty side dish combines the caramelized taste of the yam with the fresh crisp flavors of the green beans. Perfect way to accompany any dish. 
Please visit Amanda and Debbie's blog at EXCLUSIVELY FOOD for the recipe and more details about this recipe. Thank you very much!

Hope you all get to try out these delicious recipes soon!

Eat well, sleep well and till next time!


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