How do you feel about the “twice-baked” concept? In our world, where sweet potatoes are glorious when baked only once, why waste my time with this idea of doing it twice? I worry about being the victim of a sly recipe scam. The December 2011/January 2012 issue of Fine Cooking, however, calmed me with the “Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Leeks and Sausage.” I relaxed with this “twice-baked” idea, and reaped great rewards, thank you very much.

My sweet potatoes baked for 1 hour 30 minutes, before they were “completely tender,” although this amount of time was admittedly overkill (they were a bit too soft?). I cooked my sweet pork sausage (with fennel!) for four-and-a-half minutes, until no longer pink. After mixing my mashed sweet potatoes with all the other fillings, I was surprised to be able to fit all the stuffing back into the eight potato shells. It “mounded” in perfectly.

And how did this finally taste? Well, my first bite was a bite of “Wow!” I was blasted by the fantastic flavors of sausage, leeks, sour cream, Gruyère. The sweet roasted potatoes were magical. Were they twice as nice having been twice-baked? Well, maybe

I was also happy to cook the “Milk-Braised Zucchini,” from In Jennie’s Kitchen. I don’t believe in fussing too much with zucchini, and this recipe was a borderline effort for me, since it asks to cook the zucchini for 30 long minutes. It was very easy, though, to let the zucchini sit and cook in its generous pour of milk.

The resulting creamy dish was buzzed by nutmeg. It was no problem.

Sweet Potatoes (4) = $3.50
Leeks (1 lb.) = $2.00
Zucchini (24 oz.) = $4.10

RECIPES: sweet potatoes twice-baked with leeks and sausage and cheese won’t make a fool of you, while zucchini slowly simmered with milk will surprise you with creaminess
the long bake time for the sweet potatoes means you won’t enjoy them until at least 2 hours pass; the zucchini is edible in an hour
every player in the sweet potato game is a winner: sweet sausage, leeks, sour cream, Gruyère, fresh sage and thyme; zucchini and nutmeg were made for each other

Get ready for another great meal. Next time, I will serve the “Duck Ragu,” from the October/November 2011 issue of Fine Cooking, atop pappardelle noodles. And I’ll also make the “Classic Stuffed Mushrooms,” from Simply Recipes. See my display when you return to my site soon.