Yams or Sweet Potatoes – THAT is the question

Happy Tuesday,

This past weekend was fun for me.  A good friend flew in from LA and we went to see The Pocketbook Monologues – very good show – go see it if it comes to your town.  My friend is producing it in Atlanta so who knows I just may venture that way to see it again…Anyway, we are both originally from Detroit and she was headed that way to spend time with her family this week.  Her sister came to pick her up and spent the nite.  It was my first time meeting, and I really enjoyed talking to her.

I am a big Sunday Dinner old-school kind of girl.  I always cook dinner on Sunday, the kind you start before church and come home and devour after church!  I started dinner prior and finished when we got home about 7:30p – I was starving.  I had already baked turkey wings.  The sides were cabbage and sweet potatoes.  I mentioned how to cook the cabbage earlier, so you know it only took 10-15 minutes for that to be ready.  My sweet potatoes were cut up and in the pot.  All I had to do was turn it on.  Twenty minutes after we arrived – Dinner was served – Efficient!.

So for today, I am gonna share a quick and easy way to cook yams/sweet potatoes.  When my friends sister saw that I had cooked candied yams, she said if she knew ahead of time that I was cooking that, she would have stopped at the store and bought more because that was her favorite.  She said she always had problems fixing it so I gave her my tips that I learned from my Nana.  Oddly enough, I did not cook as much as I normally do because it may get wasted with just me and my grandbaby so I cooked just enough and a lil extra.

First of all – my choice is always Yams…they taste much better than sweet potatoes.  I have not been able to find yams since I have been in Chicago – but I will continue my quest.  Anytime my mom or I traveled in this direction, we always took cabbage and yams back to California because they are so much better here.  On Sunday, I did fix sweet potatoes and they were excellent anyway.

How to pic yams (my grandmother taught me this too) –

Pick the smaller ones if they have them – I go for medium to small.  Remember you are going to have to scape the skin off, you don’t want them too small and you end up scaping your finger.  Break off a small piece of the end in the store looking for them to have a deep orange color, the deeper the better.

How to cook

Scrape the skin and cut up in small cubes – not too small but I guess about 1/2 inch (bite size pieces), wash them and put in the pot.  After they are all in the pot, cover them with sugar – almost to the very top.  You want to have enough so that they will “candy” .  Do not cover them completely because then once they candy and cool off – they will be too hard.  If yours are hard once they cool, use less sugar next time.

Add a little bit of water – depends on the quantity – but just a little.  Add butter, nutmeg, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.  You could also add about a tablespoon of vanilla too – just a small amount.  If you are not sure, add about a tsp of each ingredient except the butter – at least a tablespoon of butter.

Turn the pot on until the mixture comes to a boil – important – always start out with them boiling and stir often at the beginning until the sugar has melted and boiling.  Turn it down to medium heat, tilt the top (to help the water evaporate) and cook for about 10 minutes until they are fork tender.  This is a very quick way to cook yams/sweet potatoes.  The key is to make sure you have enough sugar, yes it is a lot – but we are candying them remember…

More to come

Yams and sweet potatoes are very good for you and that is another vegetable I always have in the frig.  I like them baked, cooked tempura style (yummy) and various ways.  I will share other ways to fix these in the future.  I will probably discuss tempura this weekend as I think that will be my special dish for my daughter on Saturday to celebrate her arrival in Chi town…whoo hoo.  I make tempura from scratch…da bomb….Till next time….


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