January 13th, 2013

Sweet Potato Trio


Longtime readers of this blog may recall me writing about my friend Gigi, her Wedgewood Urban Gardens, and our monthly collaborative efforts to host the Third Thursday Community Potluck.

What started out in the summer of 2009 as an experiment to foster community and share good food has continued to bring together 25 or so folks and their delectable contributions—- now going on 4 years. In fact, we’ll be gathering at Gigi’s next week, making it our 40th feast, since inception.


Our group has been fairly fluid. We have the stalwarts, potluckers who would never miss coming, unless some dire circumstance arose. Others attend multiple times a year, and there are a few whose smiling faces we see only now and then. People have rotated in and out; big change, be it marriage, divorce, job transfer, graduate school, health issues, new baby—Life—is mirrored in that rotation.

And, new people, enthusiastic about cooking and sharing, continue to join in the fun.

Over the years, we’ve made many friends and had terrific meals. We kept a loose journal, a place where each month, guests would sign in and write down the name of their dish. It didn’t take long for us to see what was happening. So many fresh, creative, seasonal contributions, running the gamut of salads, soups, entrees, hors d’oeuvres, casseroles, desserts, and cocktails showed up at the table. In the quest for good food and community, I think we achieved Gigi’s intention.

And, an unintended result: a cookbook deal.


I am happy to report that The Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook is slated to be published by Thomas Nelson in Spring 2014. (Thomas Nelson is a local publishing house acquired last summer by Harper Collins.) It will have a collection of stories and recipes that elevate the potluck dinner from ordinary to extraordinary.

I am the cookbook’s author. I am ecstatic.


For quite some time now, I have been busy collecting the recipes, testing and editing them, and writing the accompanying headnotes, tips, and stories. My deadline is May 21st–just a little over 4 months to complete and deliver the manuscript.

I’m making good, steady progress. I am not panicked. Yet.


However, those demands have placed some restraints on the time that I have to spend with you here.

No worries, I’ll still be around, checking in, reading your posts and giving you updates on my cooking world, be it in or outside the cookbook.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share a recipe that I recently recreated for the book.


I say “recreated” because the person who conceived the dish and brought it to potluck doesn’t remember exactly how she made it. She just relayed the ingredient list and general instructions to me. What I remembered was that it was a delicious dish using three types of sweet potato. Like many of our potluck offerings, it was a little step up and away from the usual–always welcome—and therefore worth pursuing.

There are so many kinds of sweet potatoes available at the market these days, sporting peels and flesh of different hues, with names like Jewel, Garnet, Boniato, Star Leaf, or Beauregard. While they all cook in about the same amount of time, they vary in taste and texture.

The orange Beaureguard from Louisiana tastes a little sweeter than the creamy white Star Leaf. The Star Leaf and Boniato have firmer, drier texture, reminiscent of regular potatoes. The Garnet has a beautiful deep red exterior.


It’s fun and flavorful to use a trio in a dish.

Roasted together they make a simple, savory ensemble, appealing both to eye and palate. And, this glaze melding dried apricots, leeks, and balsamic vinegar painted over the planks brings a bit more excitement: that step up and away from the usual we all relish.


2 each: Garnet, Jewel, Boniato sweet potatoes (about 5 lbs.)
olive oil
kosher salt

½ cup dried apricots, cut into slivers
¼ cup balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek, cleaned and cut into ½ “ pieces
½ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped, plus some for garnishing
coarse ground black pepper

Scrub and rinse the sweet potatoes. Cut into planks or wedges, like steak fries. Toss in olive oil and lay out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until tender with crispy browned edges—about 25 minutes.

Heat balsamic vinegar and pour over slivered apricots in a bowl.

Heat a skillet on medium and add olive oil. Put in leeks and sauté until softened and somewhat translucent—about 4 minutes. Stir in ½ cup parsley, and then apricots in balsamic. Remove from heat.

Arrange roasted sweet potato planks in layered circular fashion, mandala-like, in a round baking dish. Spoon apricot-leek-balsamic glaze over the layers and top. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve warm or room temperature.

Serves 10


Posted in Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian Dishes

28 Responses to “Sweet Potato Trio”
  1. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best Says:

    Congratulations on the cookbook publishing! With such beautiful dishes as this one it is no wonder you guys got this deal. I can’t wait to try this one.

  2. Kath Says:

    I love the sound of your potluck dinners and so to hear that the cookbook comes out of it is great. I look forward to its publication and hope that it will be available to buy internationally. Good luck with it all and I hope that panicking is not necessary, although to panic at a deadline can be very creative.

  3. Teresa, foodonfifth Says:

    Nancy, this is all so very exciting for all us “stalwart” lovers of Third Thursdays. I am pleased that every twist and turn had lead to this for you and all the “potluckers”who have so devotedly brought some of Nashville’s best foods together on the third Thursday of every month for years.
    Here’s is too what looks like a best-of-the-best of New Years. Congratulations.

  4. Tammy Says:

    I’m so happy for you! The book will be great and I cannot wait to get my copy. Love that you share the differences in these three potatoes with us.

  5. Julie Says:

    Oh my – I want that for breakfast right now (and lunch and dinner later)!! Beautiful – as always. Thanks for passing along more inspiration . . . patiently awaiting your book & sending wishes for as little panic as possible ;-)

  6. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Thank you, friends!

    Kath, Generally, I work very well with deadlines. I think that comes from years of having been a caterer, an uber-time specific vocation. And you are right, having that little bit of panic,–the Edge–can stir the creative ethers.

  7. Maggie Says:

    Just beautiful, Nance! Congratulations on the book – I know it will be fabulous!!!

  8. Barbara Says:

    Congratulations, Nancy! That’s so exciting! Keep us posted.
    Love sweet potatoes and how unusual to add apricots to this dish! Deilicious.

  9. Kitchen Belleicious Says:

    oh i would love a copy of that cookbook- especially since you will be in it! Congrats my friend- what an honor! I heart anything with sweet potatotes and my good old friend balsamic vinegar! This looks delish

  10. Rach Says:

    It seems as if lots of things have all come together beautifully. I am so happy and proud of you Nancy and I can’t wait to get my hands on your book. As you know – one day I will come to a potluck. So wishing you good work. Rx

  11. Michele | Cooking At Home Says:

    Nancy–congratulations on the book!You are the perfect choice to pull this project together. Can’t wait to see the book or to make this sweet potato trio.

  12. Karen (Back Road Journal) Says:

    What a wonderful opportunity…congratulations to you and all the members of your potluck. Love this sweet potato recipe…it sounds terrific.

  13. Tracy Says:

    Congratulations! I love the fact that it will be published locally, too.

  14. Juliana Says:

    Congratulations Nancy…the potato trio looks great, especially with the apricot and balsamic sauce on it…
    Have a wonderful week! And again congratulations!

  15. Rossi @ A Baking Girl Says:

    Congratulations!!! I absolutely adore sweet potatoes, and the addition of the apricots sounds unexpected and delicious. This looks lovely!

  16. Denise | Chez Danisse Says:

    A perfect project for you, Nancy. Nice author selection, Harper Collins.

  17. Nancy Says:

    Congratulations on the upcoming cookbook! I crave sweet potatoes all winter, and am always looking for new ways to use them. I love the creative ensemble you’ve put together with the apricot and balsamic glaze. Must try!

  18. shanley Says:

    Congratulations! :)

    I found a lovely display of all three varieties of sweet potatoes in the grocery store earlier this week, so I snapped up those plus a leek (forgot the apricots, so raisins from the pantry stood in instead).

    I just finished eating a plateful of this yumminess. What a great dish! Loved every bite, and looking forward to remembering the apricots next time. It was so easy to make, too.

  19. Beth Says:

    Congratulations to you! How exciting!

    Your sweet potatoes look terrific.

  20. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Shanley—many thanks for your report. I’m so glad you tried the recipe and enjoyed it—also that you were resourceful, using raisins instead. clever girl!

  21. Renee Says:

    I’m going to buy dozens of copies of your cookbook when it’s available to give to all my friends. I can’t wait! Yours is my favorite of all food blogs! Congratulations and lucky us to soon have the new cooking resource!

  22. Nic@diningwithastud Says:

    OMG conrgats :D what wonderful news!!! With recipes like this, it’s sure to sell like hotcakes ;)

  23. FOODESSA Says:

    This news is not surprising at all…you as an author of a cookbook…makes perfect sense. Your catering experience and fluidity in writing will lure anyone that loves food.
    Congrats dearest Nancy…its so well deserved.

    Here’s wishing you to keep that lovely put together chef hat on for the next few months.

    BTW the sweet potatoes look like sunshine in a plate…great re-creation ;o)

    Have a lovely week.
    Ciao for now,

  24. Amy Jo - Pure & Simple Says:

    The Sweet Potato: On my top five list of favorite foods. This dish looks AMAZING! Congrats on the Potluck Cookbook…Wonderful News!

  25. amelia from z tasty life Says:

    Nancy: how exciting, congratulations! Hope you still find time for your blog during the long months of testing and writing.

  26. Joyti Says:

    Congratulations on authoring a cookbook! How amazing!

    And the tart looks and sounds delicious!

  27. Renee Says:

    This dish went perfectly with the chili we made for Super Bowl festivities. Plus, it was perfect for the vegans amongst us. Yet another recipe winner. Thanks, Good Food Matters!

  28. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Renee–thanks for great feedback on the recipe. I’m so glad that it was a big hit with your group. I can imagine that it would be tasty alongside a bowl of chili!

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