Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sweet Potatoes a Pre-Existing Condition!

This time of year gets you thinking about the color orange, but not necessarily of pumpkins—though, it’s hard not to have pumpkins on the brain, what with foodie bloggers writing pumpkins make them “massively excited” about the pies, breads and sweet toasted seeds they’ll soon be enjoying. Well, folks…rather than pumpkins, my mind has turned unwittingly toward sweet potatoes; it couldn’t be helped. When I returned to Plot #8 to water my seedlings, I dug up—to my great surprise—a couple of big, fat sweet potatoes that the last community gardener left behind.

Now, before I pass on the recipes I have in mind for these plump and crescent shaped beauties, I’d like to share with my Nana Network friends some flowery anecdotes of how my farming efforts are going so far, the people I’ve met, and big news about how I’ll be merging my two food blogs at the first of the year. I like to joke that my culinary sites, both Nana’s and her extreme party planner’s alter ego on taste better when “just combined!” I hope TOP NANA’s fans will make the switch with me, when our presence on Facebook merges into this: Click “like” to get a 3 month head start as all my fans, god love you all, don’t jump ship so much as switch boats : )!

With each and every From Nana’s Kitchen post, I’ve learned a great deal. It was my foray into community gardening, where each time I go to weed, water and, later in the month, volunteer, I’ve encountered a friendly soul with so much helpful advice; my thanks go out to Diane and John, the couple who presented me with a bushel of basil the size of a wedding bouquet my second week into the community.
These and other sweet and savory encounters have given me comfort in realizing what a small and well connected world we actually live in.

When I visited plot 8 yesterday, thrilled to see that my marigolds are keeping away bugs and my mesclun lettuce has started to come in, I ran into a lady who runs the Sawgrass Nature Center Camp Wild program. She was doing her vacationing friend a favor by checking on her plot, and we started talking about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to growing your own kale. (FYI: I supplied the “what doesn’t” end.) I told her how a previous post my entertaining blog did on The Urban Farmer inspired me to try my hand at this. Low and behold, she knew the owners over there personally—even if they were a good 10 miles away from where we stood chatting in the bright September heat. Jessica and John of Urban Farmer, if you’re reading this, the Coral Springs Community Garden Club says hello!

I’d like to quote something John said while conducting a tour of Urban Farmer. He pointed out the huge hike in grocery prices these days, and added as he gestured to all the gorgeous fruit & veg surrounding us: “You can absolutely do this. Anybody can grow their own food.” And so I’m trying, while being quite proud of the fact that, by loving to cook and sharing my recipes, I’m a food architect.
Here are my blueprints for what to do with an abundance of sweet potatoes:
Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potato Apple Salad
Sweet Potato Cake with Orange Glaze

These recipes are taken from my Thanksgiving Side Notes edition in Nana’s Kitchen; they’re less obvious side dishes for your next holiday feast that carry the aromas and flavors of fall. Enjoy and I’ll be in touch soon with more updates!


1 comment:

Jenny Mertes said...

What a sweet surprise you found underground! Do you think sweet potatoes could be substituted for recipes that call for canned pumpkin (I'm thinking of my favorite low-fat pumpkin bread)? Would canned sweet potatoes work, or should I buy sweet potatoes and bake them? The only sweet potato dishes I've ever tried were slathered in butter or brown sugar or both.

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