Now is the time when I should be cooking all sorts of spring food, purchased from the farmers market, grilling stuff (if I had a grill) and in general being a good example of a seasonal cook. Yesterday however, I got a specific request for our weekly loft dinners: I was asked to make sweet potatoes, a favorite of one of our regulars who is heading out of town for a couple of months.
I asked if a specific type of sweet potatoes was necessary, and upon receiving no answer to the question I went ahead and made them the way that my mom makes then every year for Thanksgiving, although with a twist. I added booze. Of course I did. To say that mom makes them the same way every year isn’t exactly correct either. When we spoke on the phone on Monday, she basically outlined several different recipes that she uses various parts to mix and match whatever seems to suit her each time she makes sweet potatoes.
Given this free spirit kind of thing, I decided to wing my recipe as well. Take the measurements in the recipe below with a grain of salt (ha) and go with your instincts. I didn’t really measure much of anything and it all worked out amazingly. And hey, now that I’ve mastered making them I’m way ahead of the game as far as Thanksgiving 2011 prep. Boo ya.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Orange
2-3 lbs of sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
1/2 cup of brown sugar
Juice from two oranges
zest from one orange
1 tablespoon of cognac
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 450. Mix brown sugar, orange juice, zest, cognac and vanilla together in a large bowl. Toss this mixture with the sweet potatoes to coat, then pour everything onto a baking sheet with edges, spreading the potatoes out into a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, and bake for fifteen minutes. Carefully turn over the potatoes and bake for another fifteen minutes or until tender. Add salt and a generous application of fresh ground pepper and serve.