It was a great BAGSC meeting—watch for additional information to be sent in the minutes and posted to the blog. In the meantime, Joan Keesey and Rita Hopper supplied their recipes. In her email with the recipe, Joan wrote that it was “really interesting hearing about Dick Rauh who is an amazing and inspiring individual, not to mention friendly and accessible as well–a great person to have as the ASBA president. I have attached the salad recipe for the blog along with some notes about the differences between the potato, sweet potato, and yam keeping in the spirit of the class on Plant Morphology that we just took.”

“Botanical Cooking”
by Joan Keesey

Notes on the Sweet Potato with respect to the terrific class on Plant Morphology taught by Dick Rauh.

The sweet potato is neither a potato nor a yam. The sweet potato is the swollen stem tip of the Ipomoea batatas, a member of the morning glory family, CONVOLUACEAE. It is native to northern South America.

The sweet potato and the potato are tubers, stem modifications that swell with stored starch and water and as a stem bears primordial buds, the “eyes,” that generate the stem and roots of the new plant. Potatoes are members of the family, SOLANACEAE, which includes tomatoes, chili, and tobacco, all indigenous to moist, cool regions of Central and South America.

True yams are starchy tubers of tropical plants in the DISCOREACEAE family. The family is related to the grasses and lilies. There are a dozen or so cultivated species of Discorea from Africa, South America and the Pacific. They are seldom seen in mainstream American markets where a “yam” means a sugary orange sweet potato. True yams can grow up to as much as 100 lb.; in the Pacific islands true yams have been honored with their own little houses.

From “On Food and Cooking” by Harold McGee, Scribner, 2004.

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Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Black Beans and Chili Dressing
From the NY Times column, The Minimalist, by Mark Bittman

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 large red onion, chopped
½ cup olive oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss sweet potatoes and onions with 2 tablespoons of the oil and spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast, turning occasionally until potatoes begin to brown on corners and are just tender—about 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven.

1-2 tablespoons of seeded and minced fresh hot chili, like serrano or jalapeno
1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
Juice of 2 limes
Remaining olive oil

Put chilies, garlic, lime juice and remaining oil in blender or mini food processor. Process until blended.

2 cups cooked or canned black beans
1 red, yellow or green pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 cup of cilantro leaves, whole or chopped

Combine warm vegetables with beans, bell pepper, dressing and cilantro. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperatures or refrigerate for up to a day.

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Rita Hopper’s Surprise Salad

(Double recipe for a bundt pan)

1 pkg lemon Jello (small) dissolved in
1C cold water
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Boil together 1/2 cup sugar and 1 cup crushed pineapple. Pour into gelatin and let set until almost jelled. Fold in:
1C whipped cream
1C grated cheddar cheese
1C chopped nuts

Refrigerate until firm.

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