This Wednesday morning, December 8 is the type of opportunity I revel in, but the Green City Market cooking demonstrations always cause me a little heartache too. Because, in only one hour with a small cooking space, my options are limited. Still, in spite of the limitations I find the opportunity to cook and share food with people compels me to do the most with the hour I can. Not to mention that folks will hopefully take away some ideas that will help them utilize the broad array of offerings at the Green City Market. I have to admit that the biggest challenge is limiting myself to what can be achieved in an hour, which means that unfortunately, I can’t feature every vendor in one short demo. I can sure try, though.
I can never resist the chance to talk about old foodways and traditions when I get to cook in a green market setting, because the first thing we need to do to make our food system sustainable is to look at how we used to eat before the industrial food revolution and reconnect with the land through good food. Does that mean we should eat like we did 100 years ago? No, of course not. But, it’s fun and informative to pull out old recipes, dust them off, and make them fresh again. So, I bring you sweet potato pone, a Southern classic that tastes just as good in these Northern climes and will warm you up on the darkest days of winter.
Sweet Potato Pone with Skillet-Roasted Apples and Sorghum
For the pone:
- 1 medium-large sweet potato, about a pound
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup sorghum
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch each clove, nutmeg, allspice, cayenne
- 2 eggs, whipped well
- 1/2 cup milk
Finely grate the sweet potatoes and cream together with the butter and sorghum. Add remaining ingredients, stirring all the while, until everything is incorporated. Bake in a well-buttered 8-inch iron skillet at 325 until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Serve hot with butter and baked apples.
Skillet-Roasted Apples and Pecans
- 2 medium cooking apples, such as granny smith, gravenstein, northern spies, etc.
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- pinch salt
- pinch cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider
- 2 Tablespoons honey or brown sugar (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons sorghum
Core the apples and cut into thick 1/2″ slices. Melt the butter in an iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the apples and raise the heat to medium. Cook the apples, stirring constantly, to your taste. I like them with a bit of bite left, this takes about 3-4 minutes. Once nearly cooked, turn up the heat to caramelize the apples, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Add the cinnamon and salt. When lightly browned, remove from heat and stir in honey or brown sugar and cider, if desired. Return to heat and cook another minute, tossing to glaze the apples. Serve hot with sweet potato pone. Drizzle all with sorghum.
For the hot & sour greens:
- 3 strips bacon, or other salt pork
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch greens – kale, collards, mustards, or broccolini, washed, destemmed, and chopped coarsely
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 Tablespoons honey
In a medium saucepan with tight-fitting lid, slowly render bacon and brown until crisp. Add the onion and saute to sweat. Add remaining ingredients and cover tightly. Simmer for at least twenty minutes, until greens are tender. You can cook up to two hours if you like, just be sure to check the water level so they don’t dry out. Check seasoning before serving, and add more salt, pepper, vinegar, or honey if desired.