© 2013 Can Caramelo

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Many people complain about the time and effort it takes to make some dishes, and I understand not everybody has a food processor and a blender. My boss the other day said he started looking for a recipe on the internet, but then suddenly realized he didn’t want to know, he felt like he was betraying himself because he doesn’t like to cook, he doesn’t want to be this kind of person. Well, Carles and all of you who like recipes that don’t require much work and cook themselves practically alone, this is your recipe! Besides it’s great when you have remaining vegetables and don’t know what to do with them. Here you can use them all up with a delicious and healthy outcome. Did you know that sweet potatoes are only loosely related to potatoes and that they are a very good source of vitamin A and even of vitamin C? I actually first made this dish almost accidentally, throwing a lot of vegetables that had to be eaten into a pot and some sweet potatoes in the oven and when I was seeing them together, something made “click” and together, joined by a few slices of Scamorza (smoked Mozzarella), they went back into the oven for another five minutes.
sweet potatoes
The outcome was so convincing we had it yesterday for the third time in three weeks. I made four so we each could take one to work the next day. Even though I had to have mine cold because the microwave at work decided it had had enough, I enjoyed every bite. Sebastián told me that he had lots of work that day, that he didn’t find the moment to go swimming, but when he sat down for lunch, this baked sweet potato had made him happy. It seems that the hedonism for food is something we’re born with. This has been tested by Jacob Steiner in 1974 by giving newborns in their first hour or two after birth a cotton swab with a salty solution, a bitter one, an acid and a sweet solution. The salty solution produced little reaction, some looking around, maybe wondering what that was. When they were confronted with the acid solution, the babies showed an aversive puckering of the lips, while bitter produced a facial expression of disgust and a stress reaction with an open mouth and trying to spit out the substance. Can you already imagine what their reaction to sweet was? Yes, it elicited a little smile. So it seems we don’t have to learn about the basic tastes, but they are already hardwired at birth. As this information can be crucial for survival, these results maybe won’t surprise us. An interesting implication of this experiment is that basic emotions of happiness and unhappiness are present at birth, and so is the way to express them. We don’t have to learn that a smile is related to happiness. So salty is okay, sweet is good, acid might not be so good for us and bitter is definitely not. But what about coffee now? That we come to like the sour taste of lemons or wine and the bitter taste of dark chocolate and coffee is a proof of the plasticity, or capacity to change with experience, of our taste system. We can learn to like flavors that we’re evolutionarily hardwired not to. For me that’s one of the most challenging and most fascinating aspect of how the brain works. Our experiences change the brain structure and the way our brain works constantly and dynamically, and even the way our genetic information is read out depends on our life experiences.

stuffed sweetpotato
Ingredients

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • All the vegetables you might have (this time I used onion, carrot, leek, eggplant, zucchini, beetroot, red and green peppers and mushrooms)
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary and/or a handful of thyme
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of salt (I used smoked salt) + some freshly ground black pepper
  • A few slices of Scamorza, Mozzarella, Emmental, Gruyère or Gorgonzola cheese

Preheat the oven to 250º. Put the whole sweet potatoes into the oven and bake for 40min or until soft. Cut the vegetables coarsely and put them on a baking tray. Pour the olive oil over the vegetables, add the salt and pepper and the herbs. Now put the vegetables in the oven to grill for 20min or until done (in the upper third of the oven, above the sweet potatoes that now should have about 20min left). After ten minutes turn them around if they get done more from one side. Slice the sweet potatoes and put as much vegetables as fit in the middle. Cover with some cheese and put back into the oven for 10 more minutes, until the cheese is melted and a little crispy.

4 Comments

  1. Marta
    Posted 16 Nov ’13 at 11:35 pm | #

    Ohhhh Lenka!!!!
    Com pots fer d’un boniato una obra d’art?
    Es màgia?
    … encara que jo diria que es amor

  2. Jane
    Posted 17 Nov ’13 at 11:43 am | #

    Deine Zeichnungen sind allerliebst. Die Seite, von der ich nicht glauben konnte, dass sie noch schoener werden könnte, ist es tatsaechlich noch geworden. Das letzte Rezept hoert sich toll an! Schon das Lesen macht gute Laune. Viele liebe Grüße,
    Christiane

  3. Vincent
    Posted 17 Nov ’13 at 10:09 pm | #

    Wow, the pictures are so intense and the recipes urge me to the kitchen. This site is very beautyful so are the recipes and the life behind. Big hugs and see you soon
    Vincent

  4. Markus
    Posted 19 Nov ’13 at 6:48 pm | #

    just… Amazing post!

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