Have you ever rolled a sweet potato, carrot or chayote? It sounds a bit silly, but I tried it and it was really good.

It’s a bit difficult to find sweet potatoes in Boquete, but they are usually available in the nearby city of David.

Because the holidays are coming soon, I thought I’d try a new way to prepare one of my favorite vegetables, by rolling them around a flavorful filling of apples and cheese. Inspired by Martha Stewart’s Sweet Potato Cannelloni, this is my version of this very creative dish.

Rolled Sweet Potatoes
3 medium sweet potatoes
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 apple, diced with skin on
3 tablespoons chives
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Pierce one potato with a fork, wrap in foil and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, peel the remaining potatoes and slice them lengthwise with a mandoline, about 1/8 inch thick.

Partly fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add half the potatoes and cook about 2 minutes, lift out with tongs, and lay flat on a plate to cool. Repeat with the remaining slices.

When the baked sweet potato is tender, remove it from the oven and lower the temperature to 350F degrees. Slit the skin of the potato and scoop the flesh into a food processor. Add the ricotta cheese and puree until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add chopped apples, chives, grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

Spray a 9 X 13 inch baking dish with Pam and the interesting part begins. Holding a slice of potato in your hand, put a large spoonful of the potato mixture in the middle of it and roll up to form a cylinder. Place the roll in the baking dish along one end of the dish, seam side down. Continue with another roll, placing it in neat, even rows until the dish is filled with beautiful, bright orange rolls.

Brush your rolls with canola oil and bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle with walnuts and Parmesan cheese and serve. This menu included roasted stuffed pork chops and scalloped squashes, paired with Liberty Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2008.

Now that I made these delicious, unusual rolls, I’m thinking of making them using carrots rolled around chopped raisins, grated cheddar cheese and crushed pineapple topped with toasted coconut, or slices of chayote rolled around shredded carrots, cottage cheese and diced onions, topped with tiny mint leaves.

If you think of any other combinations, please let me know and I’ll try your suggestion.

Get rolling creatively!