Skip the bread! Use sweet potatoes instead! These gluten-free sweet potato bites are topped with creamy whipped goat cheese, dried cranberries, and pecans.They are completed with drizzled honey. The combination creates a scrumptious, healthy, wholesome appetizer perfect for entertaining!
I was invited by the Sweet Potato Commission to the “Come to Our Table” dinner event to learn about NC Agriculture in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are of my own.
I received a very special invite to the “Come to Our Table” dinner event hosted by the SweetPotato Commission. The dinner was a farm to fork experience inspired by North Carolina farm fresh ingredients. When I received the beautiful invitation, I literally broke out in goosebumps. I love any kind of farm to table dinner and I knew this one would be a culinary treat. I was not disappointed.
The “Come to Our Table” dinner was set at the North Carolina State Fair Grounds at the Tobacco Pavilion near the Heritage Circle. If you are not familiar with the Tobacco Pavilion, it is a large open covered outdoor space with a gigantic outdoor fireplace. It is a beautiful lake view property, ideal for outdoor entertaining.
I literally gasped as I entered the pavilion. Two long elegantly dressed farm tables ran down the center of the room. On each table ran a simple white linen table runner decorated with clustered glass votives filled with ruby red cranberries and lit candles, and trios of fresh green herbs in planters. A dainty radish was placed on each plate for a splash of bright red color. A string quartet played magnificently in the corner. I was completely blown away.
“COME TO OUR TABLE” DINNER MENU FEATURING SWEET POTATOES: SWEET POTATO BITES, SWEET POTATO STATION, AND SWEET POTATO DONUTS!
Food was catered by the very talented and creative Chris Wrenn, owner of the Old North State Catering Kitchen. 98% of the menu showcased North Carolina farm fresh ingredients to include incorporating different uses of the sweet potato. Trays of sweet potato bites with goat cheese appetizers and shot glass sized shrimp and grits were offered as starters, as we mingled with the North Carolina farmers.
Dinner was beyond incredible. Served buffet style, the following choices were offered to delight in:
- Roasted pork tenderloin with a bourbon reduction
- Roasted chicken breasts topped with pimento cheese cream sauce and country ham cracklings
- Carved beef tenderloin cooked to perfection with pan au jus and tiger dill horseradish sauce
- Cheesy baked macaroni and cheese (slap your momma good!)
- Roasted zucchini and squash (you know, for those who want to eat healthy…)
- Mashed sweet potatoes and roasted sweet potatoes with topping choices of crushed pecan brittle, molasses, brown sugar, and raisins
- Vegetarian lasagna
- Fresh baked rolls
Dessert selections included a NC blueberry cobbler, NC sweet potato donuts, and cupcakes. Are you hungry now?
David Godwin, sweet potato farmer and owner of Godwin Produce Company stated, “I don’t think there is any stronger faith in a family than a family that farms, because every year they risk everything to put it in the ground.” He explains that every season, farmers don’t know whether a hurricane or drought will wipe out an entire crop. They have to gamble everything and trust in three things, “You are trusting your family. You are trusting the land, and the sea, and everything to prepare it. Most of all, you are trusting God will prepare it for you. That’s a big leap of faith.”
Did you know?
- NC agriculture is the 3rd most diverse agriculture state in the entire country.
- 40% of NC sweet potatoes goes overseas.
- NC is a small farm state with a total of 46,418 farms. Of these, 42,900 are 500 acres or less. 37,560 are 179 acres or less.
- NC agriculture and agribusiness employs nearly a fifth of the NC workforce with over 670,000 jobs!
- 33% percent of NC farmers are woman.
Our farmers work extremely hard. They work all hours, day and night. They work in every kind of weather from cold to hot, and dry to wet. Their efforts provide jobs, improve the economy, and produce food to feed our families. Think about where your food comes from. Did you support your local farmer today?
SWEET POTATO BITES APPETIZER
Dinner at the “Come to Our Table” event made me exceptionally proud to be a Carolinian. Chef Chris Wrenn served tasty sweet potato bites topped with creamy whipped goat cheese, dried cranberries, pecans, and drizzled honey. In honor of NC agriculture and the NC sweet potato farmers, I have tried humbly to recreate my own version. My sweet potato bites are not as good as his, but I think you will enjoy them none-the-less. They are easy to make and perfect for entertaining. Enjoy!
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Here are some cooking tips for making these sweet potato bites.
- You can use a sharp knife. However for easy even cuts, I suggest a mandolin. I use the Swing 2.0 Mandoline and Grater Color: Black and love mine. But you can use whatever brand you prefer.
- I use an organic coconut spray because it easily even coats the sweet potatoes and cooks well at high temperature. If you prefer, you can use olive oil or an olive oil spray.
- I love the flavor of seasoned salt on roasted sweet potatoes, but plain salt will work great also.
- Keep the skin on. It keeps the rounds together. It is also packed with lovely fiber and nutrients.
- You can use candied, spiced, or toasted pecans.
- Use the parchment paper. You can omit it, but trust me, it makes cooking these easier and helps with the clean up!
- I like the color and freshness the basil adds to the sweet potato bites. However, fresh rosemary, chives, or Italian parsley would also make excellent garnishes.
Sweet Potato Bites with Goat Cheese
- 2 sweet potatoes medium sized
- 2 tbsp coconut oil spray You can substitute olive oil if you prefer.
- 1 tsp seasoned salt
- 2 tbsp honey
- ¼ cup chopped candied pecans You can substitute toasted pecans.
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- 5 oz goat cheese
- 1 tbsp fresh basil thinly sliced for garnish
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Slice sweet potatoes into ¼ inch thick slices. (24 slices)
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Layer your sweet potatoes on top of the parchment paper.
- Spray the sweet potatoes with coconut spray and sprinkle each with seasoned salt. Flip the sweet potato slices over and repeat.
- Bake 10 minutes. Flip slices over and bake an additional 10 minutes. (20 minutes total.)
- Transfer sweet potatoes onto a serving plate.
- Mix goat cheese and 1 tbs of honey until whipped and creamy.
- Spread goat cheese over every sweet potato slice.
- Sprinkle on crushed pecans and cranberries.
- Drizzle remaining honey.
- Garnish with slices of fresh basil and serve.
Nutrition- Nutrition info is based on estimation only.