Monday, July 23, 2012

The Farmer's Market and Sweet Potato Pie

In the last two months, I have discovered what fresh produce should taste like through the downtown Farmer’s Market. (Friday’s from 9am to 2pm).  My favorite fruit, vegetable, cheese and nut stand is the “Intuitive Forager” owned by Kerry Clasby.  She is as terrific as her produce, and if you don’t see what you want there, she’ll happily get it for you.  
I’ve lived in Las Vegas for most of my life, so any produce I’ve consumed has been picked too soon, as not to spoil before coming to market.  The first time I brought home a small basket of $7.00 strawberries from the Forager, my husband, who doesn’t care for strawberries, thought I’d lost my mind.  After he tasted them though, and did not get the usual allergic reaction of a tongue swell, he requested that I go back and get some more.
Also, I’ve discovered Sweet Potatoes.  I’ve never been much of a fan, but the Forager’s taste fresh and sweet and you can feel the beta carotene feeding your cells with each bite.  Serendipitously, I found a recipe of my mom’s for Georgia Sweet Potato Pie.  I offer the recipe here, with healthier alternatives noted next to the original ingredients if you are so inclined.  
2 cups Sweet Potatoes
2 tablespoons butter (I use earth balance natural buttery spread made with olive oil)
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs slightly beaten (you can use four egg whites but you won’t get the benefit of vitamins B12, D, A, E and K that are in the yolks)  
Dash salt (I use Himalayan Salt)
3/4 cup of Sugar (or 1/8 - 1/4 cup of Blue Agave or real Maple Syrup.  If your Sweet Potatoes are from a Farmer’s Market, the lower end of the sweetener range is better.)
Combine and beat until ingredients are well blended.  

Then add:
1 large can of Carnation Evaporated Milk (this is really good, but is not low in the calorie department.  You can substitute with 1 1/2 cups of sweetened soy milk or coconut milk)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Beat again.  Note:  Beating the mixture provides a more pudding like texture.  If you’d prefer a denser texture, you can use a potato masher to mix your ingredients.  
Pour into a 9” pastry shell (I prefer a graham cracker crust)
Bake at 375 until filling is firm and a knife inserted in the center comes back clean.  Approximately 35 to 45 minutes.  Serves six.

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