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Dash of class: Yamming it up

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Food column by Nora Sweat

By Nora Sweat

The weeks sure roll around quickly. And what about this alphabet, hasn’t it gone by quickly? I think I am telling my age. They say the older you get, the faster time flies. I feel it.

We are to the letter Y and what would you think of other than Yams. You say, “Oh, you mean sweet potatoes?” No, even though the terms are used interchangeably, there are differences. Because yams are not so available here, I have some sweet potato recipes.

Sweet Potatoes are popular in the southern parts of the United States. There are both yellow and orange and are elongated with ends that taper to a point and are of two dominant types. The paler-skinned sweet potato has a thin, light yellow skin with pale yellow flesh which is not sweet and has a dry, crumbly texture similar to a white baking potato. The darker-skinned variety has a thicker, dark orange to reddish skin with a vivid orange, sweet flesh and a moist texture. Popular sweet potato varieties include Goldrush, Georgia Red, Centennial, Puerto Rico, New Jersey and Velvet.

The true yam is the root of a tropical vine and is not even distantly related to the sweet potato. Slowly becoming more common in the United States, the yam is a popular vegetable in Latin American and Caribbean markets, with more than 150 varieties available worldwide. Generally sweeter than the sweet potato, this root can grow longer than seven feet.

The yam first came to America in the 1600s. It has a brown or black skin which resembles the bark of a tree and off-white, purple or red flesh, depending on the variety. They grow in tropical climates, primarily in South America, Africa and the Caribbean. Yams contain more natural sugar than sweet potatoes and are moister.

Just to keep you in the know, the second printing of my book has arrived in Elizabethtown, all 1650 copies. A dear friend of mine and her husband were invited to Tuscaloosa for the Western Kentucky University and Alabama football game. Poor Toppers. My friend took one of my books for a hostess gift to her former roommate at Midway. It is so so exciting to have books from California to New York, from Minnesota to Florida, and in between.

Source:  www.homemakingabout.com

The sweet potato casserole is very similar to my recipe.

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes

1/2 cup sugar

2 beaten eggs

1/4 cup margarine, melted

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla  

Topping:

1 cup brown sugar 

1/3 cup flour

1 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup margarine, melted

In large mixing bowl, mix sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, margarine, milk and vanilla. Pour into 9-inch square greased baking dish. Mix topping ingredients and sprinkle over potatoes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. The recipe can be doubled and baked in 9” x 13” dish.

Source:  www.food.com

Sweet Potato Muffins

1 1/4 cups oatmeal, uncooked

1 cup all-purpose flour 

1 teaspoon baking powder 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 

1 cup sweet potato, cooked and mashed

1 cup milk

3/4 cup brown sugar 

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Topping:

1/4 cup oatmeal, uncooked

1/4 cup all-purpose flour 

1/4 cup brown sugar 

1/4 cup pecans, chopped

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup butter:

Combine oatmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; stir well. Combine sweet potato and the next 5 ingredients; stir well. Add the sweet potato mixture to the oatmeal mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in chopped pecans. Spoon the batter into greased and floured muffin pans, filling three-fourths full. Sprinkle topping evenly over the batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from pans immediately.

Topping:

Combine oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, chopped pecans and ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Stir well. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Top the muffins with the mixture before baking.

Source:  www.food.com

Nora Sweat, author of "Mama and Me," is a native of Hardin County and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at norasweat@thenewsenterprise.com or by mail at 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.