Sorghum sweet potatoes
Personal chef's commitment to local food shines in sweet potato casserole
After California native Gwyn Artz completed her education at the Culinary Institute of America, she "ping-ponged around the country," she says, working as a chef for everything from corporations to single families.
In San Diego, Artz met Saddlebred-horse enthusiast Elisabeth Goth and became her personal chef, creating breakfast, lunch, and dinner for Goth and her guests in addition to parties, holidays, and other special occasions. When Goth moved to Washington County, Artz came along.
"I've always cooked local food," Artz says, "no matter if I was in Brazil, Miami, or Kentucky." Last year, holiday dinner included wild turkey, grits souffle', prime rib (from the farm at St. Catharine College), and a sweet potato casserole. Everything possible came from Kentucky.
Artz makes her sweet potatoes with homemade marshmallow topping, using Kentucky sorghum. She makes it extra fancy by creating individual servings, cutting sweet potatoes into slices, and topping it with casserole ingredients, but this recipe is for one casserole dish.
GWYN ARTZ'S KENTUCKY SWEET POTATOES
6 red or orange sweet potatoes
2 Tbsps cream cheese
1⁄4 C butter
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1⁄8 tsp nutmeg
1⁄8 tsp cinnamon
1⁄2 C Kentucky sorghum
1⁄2 C sugar
2 large egg whites
Pinch cream of tartar or 1 tsp vinegar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Prick potatoes. Microwave potatoes three at a time for 15 minutes, or until soft. When cool enough to handle, scoop out insides and mash. Stir in cream cheese, butter, and seasonings, stirring to blend. Spoon potatoes into greased 9x13-inch pan or casserole dish. Spread until even.
In a small, deep saucepan, combine sorghum and 1⁄2 C sugar with 3 Tbsps water. Stir over high heat to dissolve sugar. Boil until thermometer registers 246 degrees or mixture reaches hard-ball stage (when a drop in cold water can be formed into a firm ball). Lower heat if necessary to keep it at a boil but prevent it from boiling over.
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites with salt and cream of tartar to soft peaks, about 2-4 minutes. Turn mixer to low; drizzle hot sorghum syrup into egg whites. Beat on high until thick, fluffy, and barely warm, about 7 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Spread on top of potatoes, or use pastry bag to make decorative topping.
Bake at 400 degrees until potatoes are warm and topping is brown. Serves 12.
1⁄2 C white sugar
1 Tbsp clear corn syrup
1⁄2 C butter
1 C salted, toasted cashews or other nuts
This dish is part brittle, part toffee, and totally delicious. In 10-inch skillet, bring all ingredients to a boil. Boil for 6 minutes, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Pour on lightly buttered foil and spread out. Allow to cool and break into pieces. Makes about 2 cups.
Submitted by DONNA CHAMBERLAIN, Mt. Washington, Salt River Electric Cooperative, who writes: "One of my family's favorites, especially at Christmas. It is so easy to make and is absolutely delicious. And it also makes a great gift during the holidays."