Yesterday I made the trek over to the farmer’s market in Raleigh to buy my boxwood wreaths. While I was there I perused the fruits and vegetables being sold by local farmers. I am known to love a deal or two so I could not resist buying a forty-pound box of sweet potatoes for $20. Carter of course thought I was nuts, but they will keep through the winter in the garage and are the most nutritious starch I can think of. I also bought a half-peck of local apples. I was able to sample the different varieties so I got some pink ladies, honey crisp, crimson crisp and Fuji.
So with my larder full I of course needed to make something for dinner with my haul. Tonight’s dinner is soup that is gluten, dairy and meat free yet still yummy. Now I eat dairy so I garnished mine with a dollop of fat free sour cream. I am very happy.
1 large onion chopped
3 celery ribs chopped
1 T. thyme
4 cloves of garlic minced
2 T. ground cumin
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. allspice
Salt and pepper
3 cups of stock (vegetable or chicken)
1 cup of apple cider
1 cup of water
3 large sweet potatoes – peeled and chopped
3 apples – peeled and chopped
Spray Pam in a large stockpot and add the onions, celery and thyme. Cook on medium high heat for five minutes. Add garlic and spices and cook another two minutes, stirring often. Add the liquids, potatoes and apples, cover and simmer until tender about 25 minutes. Using and immersion blender puree the soup and taste for salt and pepper.
This morning on the news I caught the whiff of a segment on the growing number of reality TV shows about “Rednecks” such as Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Hill Billy Hand fishing. First I must confess that I have never actually seen any of these shows except for the moments shown on the news or on late night talk shows. There is a lot of interest in “Rednecks” these days but I am worried that Yankees and the uber educated are actually confused between Rednecks and PWT’s.
See I have great respect for actual Rednecks because the term is derived from people who work outside bent down, face to the soil growing food for us, thus getting a red neck from over sun exposure. Most of these reality TV shows are not about those hard working people.
The entertaining and often uneducated people who make great subjects for TV are PWT’s, which stands for “Poor White Trash.” Now there can be Rednecks who are at the same time also PWT’s, but not all PWT’s are Rednecks. Here is an example of the difference; a Redneck might be missing an important tooth or two because they did not have the money to go to the dentist, a PWT might be missing an important tooth because his cousin punched him after he found out he was sleeping with his wife and his mouth hit the bar as he fell over. I am sure this is a distinction that is lost on many who just see people without teeth, but I feel the need to defend hard working farmers.
I write this today because I harvested my sweet potato crop. I am using the word crop very liberally since I don’t think five plants make much of a harvest, especially in my case. This is the first time I have tried to grow sweet potatoes and I feel quite unsuccessful at it.
In the end my plants were lush and beautiful after having deer come and denude all the plants not just once, but twice, which probably did not help my potato production. After pulling the vines up and digging around I found just about 18 sweet potatoes ranging in size from four pounds down to a few ounces. A couple looked like they could even be sold in a store, but most were gnarly and pock marked and as ugly as I imagine Russ Limbaugh’s rear side to be. I have no idea how they taste yet and won’t for a while because I have to “cure” them by leaving them in a box in a warm spot for a week or two.
Next time you enjoy some sweet potato fries, take a moment and silently give thanks to the farmer who grew them. They may be missing some teeth but I would like to know what they know about bringing food out of the ground. It is harder than you think.