mashed spiced sweet potatoes

here’s a little secret: grace cooks a lot too. in fact, she is a great cook and often tries out recipes i’m intimidated by: fried chicken, homemade pasta, pies. i’m good at more forgiving recipes and i have real knack for making lemonade out of lemons. i mean this both metaphorically and literally, but mostly metaphorically. inevitably, something goes horribly wrong in the kitchen and next thing you know there are plumes of smoke rising from the oven, or the top wasn’t screwed on tight enough and –oops!- there is more than enough salt in there, even for me. more often it's the “hey it's time for dinner and all we have is....tuna?” dilemma. when these things happen, i usually take over. the results are never as bad as i think they’ll be, but there are few and far between that are actually good. these sweet potatoes are great.
it started out innocuously enough. i wanted to make roasted sweet potatoes, as per my easy roasted vegetables recipe. what i didn’t count on, but i know now, is that the high sugar content in sweet (duh!) potatoes makes them much more unpredictable than regular potatoes, and thus they cannot be given the same treatment as their starchier cousins. not knowing that at the time, i coated them in olive oil, sprinkled them with salt, and roasted them. at the end of the allotted time, i opened up the oven and to my shock, saw this:

now as anyone who has had a disaster in the kitchen knows, the first instinct you have upon discovering a disaster is to throw the whole thing out and order chinese. i was on my way to doing that when i realized, upon picking up the sweet potato, that the interior was soft. hey, i thought, what if i just scrape out the inside and mash them a little? i did just that, adding some cream, spices and sugar. oh man, it was good. creamy, sweet, and warm, it would have been perfect with some pork chops. maybe next time...

here's another, better recipe than my own- amended to add the same spices
mashed spiced sweet potatoes , adapted from america's test kitchen

2 pounds sweet potatoes (3 medium) peeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into four pieces
4 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch cumin, nutmeg and cloves
salt and pepper to taste

combine all ingredients in a large sauce pot. cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork- about 40 minutes. remove pan from heat and mash potatoes with a masher until smooth. you won't have funny burnt alien potatoes, but you'll still have a delicious creamy dinner.
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