Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Sweet Potato Salad of a Month

May has been like one of those summer salads that includes everything but the kitchen sink and turns out amazingly delicious. Our "May" recipe starts with soccer, softball, gymnastics, tennis and dive team. Toss in final exams, a few new work projects, birthdays, mother's day, graduations and add a confirmation, first communion, stir in 15 or more rainy days and needless to say, it's just a big mess of a month. Aaahhh, beautiful.

Thankfully, the end of the month served up some gorgeous weather for a light summer dinner in the garden with family and friends. My dear sister-in-law planned the perfect dinner party menu for me, complete with recipes and detailed advice on how not to mess it up.


Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce
Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette
Chicken Satay (Ina Garten's recipe)
Simple Green Salad
and of course, THE Cake (see previous post)

Are you hungry now? The sweet potato salad was completely new to me (and my guests) and is absolutely worth a try - recipe courtesy of Monica Cobb, Beaumont, Texas.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette

In a jar, mix, shake well, then refrigerate for a few hours -
Juice of 5 limes
2/3 cup good olive oil
4-5 Tbsp. honey
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin

5-6 large sweet potatoes, cubed to 1-inch with skin on
1 medium red onion, minced
2 packages cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 avocados, cubed, with extra lime juice to prevent from turning brown

While cutting sweet potatoes, soak cut pieces for a few minutes in cold water. Then, boil sweet potatoes until just fork tender (do NOT over cook). Drain, then spread in single layer on pans and drizzle COLD vinaigrette over the sweet potatoes to stop the cooking process. When sweet potatoes are cool, gently toss them with black beans, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, onion and any remaining dressing. Add avocados and sprinkle with additional fresh cilantro before serving.

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