The holiday season is here. As always we are now in what I like to consider the mad dash to the end of the year! The fun filled, non stop weeks of festivities. Festivities with friends catching up, families celebrating, joy being spread, parties to attend, presents to be purchased, presents to be wrapped, traditions to be served, and food - so much food. In between the craziness of it all, I find I need a simple meal. I do not know about you, but after the Thanksgiving feast we had and what lies ahead I really want to eat something that keeps me going. Something nursing and satisfying to balance out the intensity of it all. Something without the richness and heaviness, but tasty. It must be tasty!
When I am in search of an item like this I tend to experiment a bit. I look to other cultures and flavor profiles. By combining and crossing borders with my food the result is usually something gratifying in taste, along with texture. I was thinking of these things when I was in the market the other day and caught a glimpse of Japanese sweet potatoes (I love theses little treasures). You see they are more of a golden, mellow yellow fleshed potato. The interior tends to be flavorful, lightly sweet, fluffy, and not as moist as a traditional American sweet potato or yam. My though was to bake them and stuff them with some asian influences.
Once I baked the potatoes, I made a compound butter with white miso. If you are not familiar with miso you should defiantly start to get acquainted. It possesses a deep umami flavor profile and lends a bunch of flavor in small amounts. I combined this with some stir fried chopped kale; seasoning it with coconut aminos, garlic, and chili flakes. To top it all off, I sprinkled roasted and chopped cashews over it. All together this stuffed potato was perfection. The flavors mingled on my tongue and satisfied my belly. I enjoyed the leftovers; and to be honest I might make it again this week as I marathon this holiday mad dash.
Stuffed Japanese Sweet Potatoes (serves 4)
4 Japanese sweet potatoes, no bigger than your fist
1 bunch of kale, washed well and finely sliced
2 oz of unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp white miso paste
2 - 3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves of garlic, chopped small
3-4 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
1/2 - 3/4 cup of cashews, toasted and chopped
First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash your sweet potatoes and pierce them with a knife in a few spots. When oven is at temperature place the potatoes on a lined baking sheet. Put them in the center of the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. I like to rotate them and check them at around 30 minutes, to gauge how much longer they will need to cook.
Next, heat a large frying pan or salute pan over medium heat. Once pan is warmed though add the olive oil. Then add the kale, stirring and tossing it constantly. Once the kale starts to soften add in the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Keep stirring to be sure it distributes and cooks with the kale (about 5 minutes) and set aside from the heat.
Meanwhile, in a bowl add your butter with the miso paste. Combine them together until is is mixed well and not streaky in appearance.
Then, check your sweet potatoes to see how done they are. When they are pierced easily with a knife you can remove them from the oven to cool a bit. Reheat the kale over medium heat, and when it starts to sizzle add the coconut amino to the pan and too it all well to be sure the kale is seasoned and heated through evenly. Once the kale is related and seasoned you can remove it from the heat.
Finally, to plate it all cut your sweet potatoes in half length wise. Carefully cut the flesh of the sweet potatoes in a criss cross pattern without cutting the skin of the potato. Fluff the potato interior with a fork, and then spread a bit of the miso butter over each prepared half of the sweet potato. Over the top of the potatoes spoon your kale over it all, and then sprinkle it with your chopped cashews. Serve immediately.