It’s Shirt vs. Skin, Mr. Bobby Flay.

Although I probably watch entirely too much television, I don’t really have any shows that I Absolutely Cannot Miss. (My fingers are crossed behind my back right now, because I sort of can’t miss Days of Our Lives or The Secret Life of the American Teenager. I justify my viewing of these shows in the following manner: In my mind, the average age of a Days of Our Lives fan is 60. Secret Life fan? 20. At (nearly) 40, I am The MEAN!)

When I’m sitting on the couch knitting, I tend to hop through channels. More often than not, I end up on Food Network because I find that the Food Network hosts are (mostly) people I could see myself cavorting with in real life. (In a parallel universe, I am decorating cakes with Chef Duff Goldman right now. It’s an enormous cake that looks exactly like a bathtub filled with scrambled eggs, and Chef Duff is very impressed with the fluffy perfection of my marzipan eggs. Okay. Back to this universe.) Anyway. The show that consistently captures my attention is Throwdown! with Bobby Flay. (Side note: I would love to have this, but it looks like shipping would cost more than the actual DVD. I refuse to pay more in shipping than in product! I am Ridiculous that way, Food Network.)

Please know that I’ve never caught an entire episode of Throwdown! with Bobby Flay. With that said, here’s how I think it goes down: Someone considers herself to be sort of an expert on a particular food item. This person looks into the camera and goes on and on about how her blueberry pancakes are “The Greatest Blueberry Pancakes EVER, Bobby Flay, because here in South Dakota, we know our Blueberry Pancakes!” And then Bobby Flay, looking all fetching as he struts down the streets of South Dakota in his Ray-Bans, says “Hey! You think your blueberry pancakes can beat MY BLUEBERRY PANCAKES?! I’ll kick your pancakey butt right into Shrove Tuesday, Cha Cha!” He then busts into the house and embarrasses the self-proclaimed Blueberry Pancake Queen in front of her friends and family by making blueberry pancakes that put an end to every other blueberry pancake—all with one hand tied behind his back and absolutely no sweat to be seen.

At the end of the show, the townspeople vote, and more often than not, Bobby Flay is the Throwdown! Winner. And it really should make me feel a bit sad for the humiliated loser (who, in my mind, is eventually chased out of town), and sometimes it DOES, but more often than not, I simply cannot stop thinking that I wish Bobby had performed the entire Throwdown! without his shirt on.

Before I go any further, let me just say this: If a man would bounce on over to Fluid Pudding and say something about wishing Rachael Ray would do HER show without a shirt on, it would offend me. More than a little, even. And that, my friends, makes me a Hypocrite—a hypocrite who wants Bobby Flay to come over to my house and Throwdown! without his shirt on.

So. With that out of the way, it appears that I need to quickly become a locally-known expert on a particular food item.

After thinking about this for nearly ten minutes, I have chosen the Sweet Potato for two obvious reasons: 1. I bake a sweet potato almost every day for lunch. (With that said, I am not an expert on the baked sweet potato. Sometimes they’re not quite done. Sometimes they’re entirely TOO done. I do not discriminate. All are eaten—some just evoke more fond memories than others.) 2. Potatoes have skins, which opens up that whole Shirt vs. Skin thing, in which I would be Shirt. (And, most likely, Shirt with Swingy Cardigan.)

This is not going to be an easy task, which is exactly why I am here to ask for your help.

What can I do with a sweet potato that would stir Bobby Flay into a St. Louis Fluid Pudding Sweet Potato Shirtless Throwdown! (SLFPSPST)?

Quick! I need your sweet potato ideas!

(Confession: As much as I would dig seeing Mr. Flay without his shirt on, I really wrote this entire entry because I am looking for sweet potato recipes. (I tend to dance around for seven hundred words (or more) before getting down to business.))
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29 thoughts on “It’s Shirt vs. Skin, Mr. Bobby Flay.”

  1. Cut up the sweet potatoes into cubes.
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
    In a bowl, mix a packet of dry onion soup mix, sweet potatoes and 1/3 cup of olive oil until the sweet potatoes are well coated.
    Arrange the mixture on a large baking sheet. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender. We like them in longer – very crunchy!

  2. I don’t have any sweet potato recipes, but I have to say I met Duff Goldman last summer and he was every bit as awesome as you would think he is.

  3. Full disclosure: this has been sitting in my recipe file for quite awhile but I’ve never made it (I am an avid food column reader + recipe hoarder, just not such an enthusiastic cook). It looks devine, though. Let us know if you make it!

    Firey sweet potatoes – NYT

    Time: About 2 hours
    5 pounds sweet potatoes
    1 cup coconut milk
    1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
    1/2 cup dark brown sugar
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 teaspoon salt.
    1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake potatoes on a baking sheet until very soft, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, peel and mash.
    2. In a small saucepan, heat coconut milk with curry paste over low heat. Mix coconut milk mixture, half the sugar, half the butter, and salt into potatoes. Keep warm until ready to serve, or cover and refrigerate up to two days.
    3. At least 30 minutes before serving, heat oven to 425 degrees. Put potatoes in a baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover potatoes, dot with remaining butter and sugar and broil until brown and crusty on top, checking often to prevent scorching.
    Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

  4. I am roasting sweet potatoes right now! I don’t have a microwave, love to eat sweet potatoes, and try to avoid having a high electric bill, so I figured out this trick to have sweet potatoes almost every day. They are super delicious too!

    First, roast a bunch of sweet potatoes in the oven. Then let them cool and store them in the fridge or whatever. When you are ready to eat one peel it and slice it into rounds about 1/2″ thick. Melt some butter in a pan, at medium-ish heat, and stick the potatoes in the pan. Let them sit until they get nice and brown and crispy and then flip. Salt them at some point. Let the other side get brown and crispy too. Then eat. The browner and crispier they are the better. They taste sort of like marshmallows. It’s seriously my new favorite food.

  5. He loses a lot, and I heard once that Food Network specifically set it up this way because audiences used to think he was kind of an egotistical jerk.



    Sorry about that. I get ranty. And caps-locky.

  6. As a avid Food Network viewer, I know that the ultimate show-off stunt that gets pulled on ‘Iron Chef’ is to take an ingredient and make ice cream out of it.
    So, here is my offering:

    * 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
    * 1 cup whole milk
    * 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
    * 5 egg yolks
    * 1 cup sweet potato puree
    * 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    * 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Heat the cream, milk, and brown sugar in a heavy medium saucepan, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks briefly; slowly pour about 1 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks, whisking briskly while you pour. Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon, about 6 to 8 minutes. Do not boil.

    Strain the mixture into a bowl. Whisk in the sweet potato puree and spices. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

    Freeze in ice cream freezer following manufacturer’s directions.
    Makes about 1 quart.

    “Go Pud-ding, Go Pud-ding!”

    -Transmission Ends

  7. I would like to suggest that you make a singular sweet potato as if it were an entire casserole – ie. fill it with brown sugar and sour cream and finely chopped pecans and topped with marshmallows or mandarin oranges – whichever your preference. And I suggest you do it in a tank top.

    I love your use of caps in this post…that, and the fact that you eat a sweet potato each day for lunch. These things endear you to me.
    I think we should watch the Olympics together.

  8. Sweet Potato Pie made with Jack Daniels

    I believe its in the Miss Mary Bobo Boarding House cookbook

    You may borrow my copy.

  9. I too have a small (large) crush on Bobby Flay. Here in Canada the ad for his show has him doing a little dance (“And if he wins? A little hoedown…) I wonder if would do a throw down that involved sitting in drive thru waiting for a coffee? I could KILL him. And by kill him I mean, laugh like a 14 year old girl while he schools me in the art of the double-double. Oh Bobby Flay…

  10. The perfect use for an extra baked sweet potato:

    Spiced Sweet Potato Muffins

    1 c flour (may use part whole wheat)
    2 t baking powder
    ½ t salt
    1 c mashed sweet potato (or pumpkin or squash)
    ½ c brown sugar
    ½ c milk, canned milk, buttermilk, or yogurt (plain or vanilla)
    4 T (1/2 stick) butter, melted
    1 egg
    1 t vanilla
    1 t cinnamon
    ½ t nutmeg
    ¼ t ginger
    1/3 c chopped pecans
    2 T brown sugar

    Preheat oven to 400*. Grease (or put papers in) 12 muffin tins.

    Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

    Stir together sweet potato, sugar, milk, butter, egg, vanilla and spices. Stir together until well combined. Add dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fill each muffin tin ½ way (these are slightly small muffins). Combine 1/3 c chopped pecans with 2 T brown sugar. Evenly distribute on top of each muffin, press slightly to adhere nuts. Bake for 20 minutes, until top springs back when pressed (toothpick should be slightly moist). Allow to cool in pan about 10 minutes, then cool on rack.

  11. Sweetpotato for lunch? Now there’s a good idea! Years ago I lived in Japan for a little while and a man roamed the streets with a cart selling roasted sweet potatoes. The cart had its own brazier. It was fab.

  12. Sweet potatoes are near the top of my favorite foods list. One of my favorite ways to eat them is sweet potato hash with fried or poached eggs on top. Cube up 1 large sweet potato, about 1/3 cup onion, and 1/3 cup red or yellow bell peppers. Get a large heavy skillet and brown either 4 -5 slices cut up bacon or about 4 oz of sausage. Set aside to drain but keep remaining grease in skillet and add enough light olive oil so that you gave about 3 Tbsp of oil in pan. Brown potatoes, onions, and peppers in oil. You can also add about 1/3 cup of frozen corn if your inclined. Add the bacon or sausage to potato mixture. At this point you can top the whole thing with a dusting if your favorite cheese or not before finishing it by topping the hash off with a couple of poached or over-easy eggs. Good for breakfast, dinner, or anytime between!

  13. Dude! We make fries out of them. The kids LOVE them. Just peel ’em, cut them into fry-sized sticks (think steak fries, not shoestring), toss them in olive oil and sprinkle them with sea salt, ground cumin, garlic powder and chili powder. Then put them on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 425 degree oven for 45 minutes, tossing them around every 15 minutes or so. After 45 minutes, turn the heat off but leave them in the oven for another 15 minutes before serving (this makes them less soggy/floppy). They go with just about anything, except maybe quiche.

  14. I’ve always had a thing for Rachel Ray. It may be her incessant perk or the fact that she just does that thing with the stuff, but it’s something. Definitely something. Thankfully, she looks certifiably insane every month on the cover of her magazine, which takes away the yearning.

    Rum-glazed Sweet Potato, Aple, & Chestnut Gratin
    3 lbs sweet taters
    3 apples, peeled + diced
    1/4 c lemon juice
    1 c chestnuts roasted by an open fire
    6 tbsp unsalted butter
    1/2 c brown sugar
    1/2 c honey
    2 tbsp rum
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 tsp ginger
    1/4 mace

    Bake or boil the taters. Toss the apples with the lemon juice in a bowl, then arrange in a casserole dish taters & chestnuts. In a sauce pan, cook remaining ingredients until sugar dissolves, then spoon the mixture over the potato/apple goop and bake for 30 minutes in a 450-degree oven until the apples are tender and/or you’ve finished the drinking the rest of the bottle of rum.

  15. my favorite food personality / chef is tony bourdain. no one can top tony. all the recipes above look great. (i got nothing, as i usually just throw them in the oven.)

  16. Everyday Food (which my mom got me for Christmas and I am very surprised to find that I really like) had a recipe for Old Bay Sweet Potatoes last month. So I went on the ol’ innernet to look it up, and found that people weren’t that crazy about them, and instead recommend these:
    Also, I thought you would like to know that my husband calls our daughter Ava Bava Sweet Potava. (Well, you try it – nothing rhymes with Ava.)

  17. oh, i think you need to watch more episodes! he usually looses, in fact i think he is terribly embarrased when they win. his two lady-chef-aides, however, always think they should win and are not embarrased about it. did you know he is married to that blonde actress from law and order? i think her name is stephanie (i know, not much help). the show you really COULD get on (though i don’t think they make it anymore) is Food 911 w/ tyler florence. he came to your house and helped you with whatever food problem you had.

    can you tell i know my food network!

  18. Bobby Flay = meh. I’m a Tony Bourdain girl.

    I made this recipe for Thanksgiving and it’s awesome. It was served at Obama’s inaugural luncheon.

    Molasses Whipped Sweet Potatoes
    Makes 4-1/2 cups or 6 servings of ¾ cups each

    3 or 4 large sweet potatoes (about 3 pounds), pierced a few times with a fork
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1?4 cup orange juice
    1?2 tablespoon of brown sugar
    1 tablespoon of molasses
    1 teaspoon of ground cumin
    2 tablespoons maple syrup

    1) Preheat oven to 400°F. Prep a baking sheet. Put sweet potatoes on it.

    2) Roast sweet potatoes about 1 hour, or until you can stab them through without resistance. Remove from oven and peel the skin from the flesh. (They should still be hot while you’re doing this.)

    3) In a large bowl, using a potato masher or a hand mixer, mash the sweet potatoes. There should be no big chunks when you’re done. Add all the rest of the ingredients. Mix thoroughly until lumpless. Salt and pepper to taste.

  19. You and your readers have made me laugh and salivate at the same time. Yay, Jessica D. I also hoard recipes and don’t cook.

  20. Not a fan of the sweet potato, but if Bobby Flay comes over for a smackdown, er throwdown I will fly out there to cheer you on!

  21. I love all of these recipes, but I feel like I don’t have time to mess with the prep time. I have fallen into the “do you want bologna sandwiches or chicken nuggets for dinner, kids?” rut, and I don’t see myself crawling out any time soon.

    The husband and I eat after they are in bed. But we sit with them and talk with them while they eat dinner.

    That’s weird, isn’t it? I know.

    I vote for Shelley’s easy-peasy potato cubes. Maybe I’ll get off my duff and give it a try myself!

    BTW – how did the Respect Party go? I hope there were nice gifts.

  22. I am not a very good cook so I definitely don’t have any sweet potato recipes (sorry) but if I did I don’t think I would send it to you anyway for fear that I would have to look at Bobby Flay shirtless.

    Sadie at heyMamas

  23. Ok…speaking of FN, Tyler Florence has a REALLY awesome recipe for whipped sweet potatoes with roasted bananas…sounds weird, but OH.SO.YUMMY! I topped mine with marshmallows instead of the pecan/brown sugar crunch topping and they were divine!

    And speaking of Mr.Flay shirtless…I’d watch! ;)

  24. 1) Grab a huge handful of sweet potatos
    2) Throw them in the trashcan
    3) Pour a bit of cooking oil into a fry pan
    4) Set the fry pan on medium heat
    5) Slice up an embarassing amount of idaho spuds
    6) Slice up 2 Vidalia onions
    7) Add sliced spuds and onions to fry pan
    8) Cover quickly with splatter screen
    9) Cook until done (or untill your girlfriend smacks you for making the apartment smell like onions)
    10) Place in serving dish and cover
    11) Bring to David’s apartment
    12) Watch David eat the whole lot

    (Julia is spinning in her grave)

  25. This is a fast and tasty way to prepare sweet potatoes…microwave sweet potato…top with seasoned black beans (garlic and cumin) and either plain greek yogurt or sour cream…Delicious…by the way, love your writing.

  26. Just as an afterthought to this post that was obviously done a few days ago, I am an avid Food Network watcher–the canadian version fo this channel has a few different shows but still includes Bobby Flay –your thought on having Bobby Flay shirtless kind of bugs me–I mean he IS definitely eye candy, but I do believe he may not be so buff–I think I caught a glimpse of him in a t-shirt that wasn’t so loose and he may have m-oobs…(or man-boobs)..just sayin’ maybe we should leave it to the imagintion…and on a sidenote–I’d love to see your bathtub cake with marzipan scrambled eggs–chef Duff always seems so fun! My 3 year old loves to watch Iron Chef America and Chopped with me…always fun!

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