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Sweet Potatoes in Spring

February 13, 2011

Sweet potatoes are not very spring-like, but given that we had fairytale flurries today, and that Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and I’m feeling decidedly un-like chocolates and fancy restaurant food, I made sloppy southern food. Yep, barbecued beef with okra (a more un-romantic vegetable was never invented) and sweet potato biscuits, with sweet potato cake for dessert.

I love milk glass. In my search for a sweet potato biscuit recipe, I first consulted Dorie Greenspan, who wasn’t much help as her recipe called for canned (and sweetened) sweet potatoes. So I searched online and found Martha Stewart’s recipe. It was simpler than other recipes, although my biscuits were definitely not as tall as hers, they were quite delicious.

Biscuits before they went in the oven.

In the oven! Here’s a shot of the barbecued beef I made, which was just leftover slow cooked pulled beef roast with onions, to which I added most of a bottle of barbecue sauce and then simmered until the sauce was thick and fully integrated into the beef.

I love me my lodge cast iron skillet – which is only sort of cast iron as even the inside has a glass surface – which means it can be washed and doesn’t need to be seasoned! 🙂 I’m starting to use it more and more – they key is to start with low heat. Also, bamboo spoons with a pointy end are awesome.

The finished product. With honey butter (made with buckwheat honey) for the biscuits.

And then, of course, there is the sweet potato cake. The recipe calls for beer, and we had some leftover Saranac someone brought to our holiday party, so I cracked open a bottle and used some of that. The boy and I are not big beer drinkers, although I swiped a sip because it smelled pretty good. Not bad and the smell went nicely with the sweet potatoes and cinnamon. Of course, you can’t taste any beer in the cake at all.

One thing I really like about this recipe is that you don’t need a mixer for it – you can use just a wooden spoon to mix everything together.

Sweet potato cake! It actually tastes a lot like the sweet potato pancakes they have at Cajun Cafe back home in Fargo – that’s the boy’s favorite restaurant. They serve their pancakes (and biscuits – which are delicious, but totally unlike Martha’s) with cane syrup. I ate my square of sweet potato cake in a bowl and topped with lots of milk.

The boy got me hooked on cake with milk. I think it’s a dairy farmer thing. At any rate, it’s delicious. He prefers cake with heavy cream, but that’s too heavy for me. Light cream, half ‘n’ half, or milk are my favorite.

So there you go – that was my pre-V-Day, anti-V-Day dinner. Decidedly not chocolate, decidedly not fancy. But just the way I like it. So forget about Valentine’s and chocolate and red roses and out-of-season strawberries and champagne. Go for your favorite food – be it filet mignon or macaroni and cheese or fruit salad – and feel good about YOURSELF this Valentine’s Day.

If you do have a significant other, spend as much of the day cuddling them as you can. 🙂 That will mean a lot more than a dozen mediocre red roses or a box of mediocre chocolates (although I never complain about Lindt Lindor truffles…)  or some teddy bear s/he won’t know what to do with. Down with commercialism! Up with real love!

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