Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dicots and Monocots

Dicots and Monocots came to my attention when I was researching the weeds in my yard. Then the terms kept popping up, like when you want to buy a new car and you begin to see that car everywhere. Today I'm cooking from The Tropical Vegan Kitchen  by Donna Klein and the recipe calls for sweet potatoes. I went to google and asked the difference between a yam and a sweet potato and learned that they are not related. Not even cousins. Follow the link above and you can read more, but here is the dicot, monocot explanation I found there:

 "Although yams and sweet potatoes are both angiosperms (flowering plants), they are not related botanically. Yams are a monocot (a plant having one embryonic seed leaf) and from the Dioscoreaceae or Yam family. Sweet Potatoes, often called ‘yams’, are a dicot (a plant having two embryonic seed leaves) and are from the Convolvulacea or morning glory family."

There you have it. If you study further you will learn that the way a dicot reproduces is different than the way a monocot reproduces. Intrigued? I recommend A Rum Affair: A True Story of Botanical Fraud by Karl Sabbagh and The Secret Life Of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird.

On to dinner. Beautiful, flavorful, delicious.

Caribbean-Style Baked Sweet Potatoes
with Chili Black Beans
4 servings

4 (8 ounce) sweet potatoes - I had to use yams - that's all my market offered
3/4 cup rinsed and drained canned black beans
3/4 cup vegetarian refried pinto beans
3/4 cup salsa or picante sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
4 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper

Pierce each potato with a fork and place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake until tender (45-60 minutes)

In a small saucepan, combine the black beans, refried beans, salsa, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often. Stir in the scallions and remove from heat. Cover and keep warm.

To serve: slit the tops of the sweet potatoes, making an X, carefully press to "burst" the baked goodness through the top.  Top with bean mixture, garnish with cilantro.

A green salad completes the meal. 

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