Thinking inside the farmbox: Learning to love sweet potatoes

Growing up, I was a kid who wanted lox on my bagels and would eat almost anything my parents put in front of me. I didn’t like sweet potatoes, though. My brother and sister—who were much pickier eaters—would gobble them up while I picked at mine.

As an adult, I discovered sweet potatoes actually are quite tasty, and I make them often. One of my favorite recipes is for roasted sweet potato wedges and smoked chile cream. These potatoes are a delicious addition to a Thanksgiving plate.

Like apples, there are many varieties of sweet potatoes. Some have dark red skins, others are pink, and the inside colors range from deep orange to pale yellow.

Japanese sweet potatoes have red skin and a dry, white flesh. They are starchier than the typical orange sweet potato found in grocery stores and have more of a chestnut flavor. If you see some at your local grocery store or farmer’s market, give them a try. This recipe for roasted Japanese sweet potatoes and scallion miso butter is fantastic.

As the shares contain more root vegetables, I begin to move toward my tried-and-true cold-weather recipes. I used this week’s red kuri squash to make a slightly spicy soup. A warm bowl of soup and a salty grilled cheese is one of my favorite combinations when it's chilly outside.

There were a bunch of yellow and orange bell peppers, and I made a big batch of stuffed peppers. I like to set my stuffed peppers on top of mashed potatoes, which catch the drips of delicious tomato sauce that run over the side. There was a bunch of turnips in the box, so I added them to the potatoes. The resulting mash was the perfect companion for the peppers.

I also received a bunch of summer squash, which I used to make oven zucchini chips to accompany pulled pork sandwiches and kohlrabi slaw. There was a lot of squash, so I also made an easy zucchini salad. I roasted the zucchini and then dressed it with olive oil, lemon juice, red chili peppers, garlic, and mint.

Finally, I have a batch of habanero peppers that I’m trying to figure out how to use. Salsa? Homemade hot sauce? In addition, I have some parsnips. A few weeks ago, I tried a parsnip muffin from Spoke and Bird, a cafe just down the street from me. I might try to make something similar.