Notes from the Camp Kitchens

I am not a fan of sweet potato casserole with its brown sugar, butter, and marshmallows. It's sickeningly sweet. Some of you may love it, and that's great. It may be the centerpiece of cornucopias at your family's fall get-together. But for some it's the real nightmare of Halloween, haunting our dinner tables like the ghost of our grandmother's Halloween sweater. 

But we shouldn't blame the poor, delicious sweet potato. It's healthy, flavorful, and full of fall colored goodness. It has just been dressed up in an unwanted, ugly Halloween costume of sugar for too long.  

So I give you spicy smashed sweet potatoes. It's easy, full of flavor, classy, and won't induce a diabetic coma. 

 

Spicy Smashed Sweet Potatoes 

  • several medium sweet potatoes  
  • olive oil or coconut oil  
  • black pepper
  • chipotle
  • smoked paprika
  • dash of lime juice
  • cheddar cheese
  • course sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit 

2. Take small to medium sized sweet potatoes. Scrub them clean, but don't peel them. Half them so they are about the size of a baby red potato ( you can cut the ends of the potatoes off as they are tough and won't work well to smash) and set them aside.

3. Next, take your oil of choice (olive or coconut works best for this) and mix in black pepper, chipotle,  smoked paprika and a tiny bit of lime juice  in a bowl. You should have enough to coat the potatoes with a nice layer of oil.

4. Now, take a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and place your tossed potatoes on your sheet with plenty of space in between. 

5. Let them bake for a half an hour (just enough to soften up but not browning yet). 

6. Now you get to take some of your aggression out with a potato masher (or any other blunt object you have on hand). Take your tray of softened potatoes out of the oven and press them just enough so that they flatten but still somewhat hold together (don't get too angry now).

7. On the top you can add cheddar cheese and salt (I like coarse sea salt better than table salt for something like this, but use what you have). You can also add more paprika for color as well.

8. Crank up the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place them back in the oven. This is when we want the potatoes caramelizing and browning.

9. Once they are done, use a spatula to place them on a serving dish. You can also dress them in sour cream (or unflavored Greek yogurt) and chives. A much better costume than marshmallows and brown sugar I'd say, but you are all still welcome to use those potatoes in what ever way best fits your family's fall food festivities.

 

Sincerely,

Kai Abrahamson

Camp Vermilion Hospitality Coordinator 

Kai@VLMcamps.org