Here’s food for thought: As more and more Americans realize, sweet potatoes can be enjoyed not only during the winter holidays but on other holidays and on a regular old Tuesday night, for that matter.
High in vitamin B6, vitamin A, carotene and potassium, rich in antioxidants, vitamins C and E and a great source of manganese and dietary fiber (almost twice as much fiber as a white potato), sweet potatoes are healthful and nutritious.
Sweet potatoes grown in California, many on small family farms, are especially delicious because Califor-nia’s warm, dry climate and rich, sandy soil grow some of the nation’s best sweet potatoes and they are available year round.
Here are a few ways to incorporate tasty California sweet potatoes in dishes for other holidays and anytime.
• Switch up a classic potato gratin recipe and substitute California sweet potatoes for white potatoes. It’s a great accompaniment to an Easter ham or lamb or as an easy-to-make side dish to go along with a store-bought rotisserie chicken—making any weeknight meal a little more special.
• When avocado toast starts to feel a little humdrum, forget the bread and pop a ¼-inch-thick slice of a California sweet potato into the toaster for five or so minutes, then top with peanut butter and sliced bananas, chocolate hazelnut spread and crushed nuts, cottage cheese and chives or a fried egg with a dash of hot sauce. And if you haven’t had your fill of avocado toast, go ahead and smear the toasted sweet potato with mashed or sliced avocado and enjoy the best of both worlds while skipping the gluten—the opportunities are practically endless.
• California sweet potato oven fries are a welcome change to regular old French fries and are supereasy to make. Simply cut the sweet potatoes into desired thickness, coat them with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin or other favorite spice, arrange on a cookie sheet so they are in a single layer and bake at 425° F. until done.
• And don’t forget the long-popular baked California sweet potato. Just preheat the oven to 400° F., pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork, wrap them individually in foil and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until fork tender. Then the fun begins: Enjoy them with a little salt, pepper and butter or stuff them with bacon and cheddar or sour cream and chives.
For your next brunch, picnic, tailgating party, holiday open house or random Sunday breakfast with family or friends, try adding these delicious muffins to the menu.
Only mildly spicy, the muffins have great texture, flavor and nutrition thanks to mashed sweet potatoes in the batter. Enjoy them for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner—they go great with ham and eggs, green salads, soups, stews and chili.
Sweet Potato Jalapeño Corn Muffins
Makes 20 muffins
• 1½ c yellow cornmeal
• 1 c all-purpose flour
• 1 t baking powder
• 1½ t salt
• ½ t baking soda
• ½ t ground chipotle chili peppers
• 8 oz cream cheese, softened
• 4 large eggs
• ½ c melted butter
• ½ c plain yogurt
• ? c honey
• 2 jalapeños, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 400° F. Pierce sweet potatoes, wrap in foil and bake until tender, about 1 hour; set aside to cool. Lower oven to 375° F. Coat 20 cups from two 12-cup muffin tins with nonstick spray; set aside. In medium bowl, whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and chili powder; set aside. Peel skin from sweet potatoes, transfer flesh to large bowl and mash with cream cheese. Whisk in eggs, butter, yogurt and honey. Add cornmeal mixture and half of jalapeños; stir until just combined. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Top with remaining jalapeños. Bake until a tester comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly or completely before serving.