At the last minute, I decided to enter North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission Inc.’s “No More ‘Mallows! Blogger Recipe Contest,” which ends today–March 31, 2012. Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite comfort food ingredients. My first taste was Aunt Anne’s candied dish to adore. As a Brownie in the Girl Scouts, someone brought a pureed sweet potato dish topped with marshmallows to a potluck event. That’s when my true love for sweet potatoes was realized. The marshmallows won me over.
For years Dad was begged to use marshmallows as a topping, and rarely conceded. Today, I don’t care for a super sweet, syrupy marshmallow topped sweet potato dish. Instead, Dad’s Sweet Potatoes Soufflé with a hint of dark rum and a pecan-brown sugar topping are craved. While in college, my girlfriend brought a sweet potato pie from her Aunt’s house. She trusted me to get my own slice, because she was in class. Like most sweet potato pies within my eyesight, it was gone in 10 minutes. She yelled at me, and I didn’t hear from her for quite a while. We’re still friends today.
Currently, it’s a common ingredient at MyLifeRunsOnFood.com. Pizza, bread, Pie, pancakes, lasagna and Miso soup feature it. This contest is asking food bloggers to publish an original sweet potato recipe sans marshmallows. My entry at the last hour is Tarragon Sweet Potato Crepes with Roast Asparagus and Shrimp topped with Parmesan Cream Sauce. It’s a tough contest, because the entries on their Facebook page all look delicious.
Dear fans, wish me luck. I would love to use $2,000 to pay off a few bills and decorate my apartment. Incidentally, one of the spot colors for our apartment’s vision board is orange-red. Is my love of sweet potatoes subconsciously inspiring my home décor choices (have you seen my Pinterest boards)?
By the way… this is a lovely and light recipe for an Easter menu with Deviled Eggs.
Tarragon Sweet Potato Crepes with Roast Asparagus and Shrimp topped with Parmesan Cream Sauce
Plating the Dish (Recipes to follow)
1. Ladle Parmesan Cream sauce over a plate.
2. Place one crepe on a clean prep area.
3. Add 3 to 5 asparagus and a few shrimp on the lower proportion of the crepe.
4. Roll crepe into a cigar shape, and place seam side down over the Parmesan Cream sauce.
5. If desired, ladle more sauce over the crepes.
6. Garnish with minced tarragon leaves and fresh black pepper.
Tarragon Sweet Potato Crepes
3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/4-cup wheat flour
A pinch of sea salt
A pinch of crushed red pepper
1-1/4 cup organic whole milk
1/8-cup minced fresh tarragon; plus more for garnish
1-cup sweet potato puree*
2 tbsp. olive oil; plus more as needed
1. Whisk all the ingredients together. If time permits, let the mixture sit for at least 2 hours or overnight.
2. Melt 1/2 tsp. butter in a crepe pan or any non-stick skillet over medium heat.
3. The skillet is hot; ladle a small amount of the crepe batter in the skillet. Tilt the pan to spread the batter around the skillet. After about 15 seconds, or when the underside is golden brown (not crisp, the crepe should be soft and pliable), flip the crepe to the other side to cook.
4. Repeat with the rest of the batter, adding more butter to the skillet when needed.
5. Place crepes on a platter and keep warm.
6. Set aside.
*Note: Use canned pure or roast at least one olive oil rubbed sweet potato pierced with a fork or knife. Wrap the sweet potato in aluminum foil. Roast in a preheated 400°F oven, over a foil or wax paper lined baking sheet for at least 1 hour or until the sweet potato is soft and mushy when squeezed. When cool enough to handle, unwrap the sweet potato and puree. Measure 1 cup of sweet potato and use the rest for making sweet potato pasta or pancakes.
Parmesan Cream Sauce
1-1/2 tbsp. butter
1-1/2 tbsp. unbleached white flour
1 to 1-1/2 cups organic whole milk
Sea salt and fresh black pepper; to taste
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1. In a medium-sized pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted, add the flour. Reduce the heat to a lower temperature and immediately stir with a whisk to form a roux. After a few minutes, the roux will turn brown.
2. Add 1/4 cup of the milk into the roux and immediately whisk. Continue adding the milk in small proportions, for the roux will turn into a smooth sauce. Continue whisk until the sauce has slightly thicken. Don’t let it boil.
3. Remove from heat and add Parmesan cheese, sea salt and black pepper.
4. Keep warm and set aside.
Roast Asparagus and Shrimp
1 lb. asparagus; tough ends trimmed (if stems are thick, use a vegetable peeler to remove the tough outer layer that ends before for the floret part)
1/4-cup olive oil
Sea salt and fresh black pepper; as needed
(Optional) A pinch of crushed red pepper
1 large garlic clove; minced
1/2 lb. fresh medium-sized shrimp; cleaned and deveined
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Except the shrimp, toss the rest of the ingredients over a foil lined baking sheet.
3. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender.
4. Add the shrimp to the asparagus and roast for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until the shrimp is opaque (slightly under cook the shrimp, because they will continue cooking when removed from the oven).
5. Place asparagus and shrimp aside and keep warm.
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