Going Shopping

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Yep. I know it’s crazy but after three days in the kitchen it’s time to get into the madness!

I Have Seen the Light, Sweet Potato Pie!

022Sweet Potato Pie PD

I have never understood all the fuss around sweet potato pie.

It wasn’t something that we ate in my home growing up in Ohio.

But with my eldest daughter in the kitchen with me I have the pleasure of her adventurous spirit and youthful energy!

She loves sweet potatoes and suggested that we try a sweet potato pie. I set her loose with some recipes I’ve collected over the years and I now suspect that genius lies in this child.

Her ability to cull out the most fantastic collection of ingredients and method to develop the optimum of flavor, texture, and consistency astounded us all.

Here is the recipe below, courtesy of Paula Deen, and my daughter, a girl after my own heart, who substituted half and half for the milk. Genius, I tell you! I am now a sweet potato pie fanatic! I get it, I get it!

Old Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:

Cook Time:
1 hr 55 min
Level:
Easy
Serves:
6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

• 2 cups peeled, cooked sweet potatoes
• 1 1/4 cups sugar
• 1/2 stick melted butter
• 2 eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1 cup milk (we used half and half)
• 9-inch unbaked pie crust
• 3 egg whites

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the filling, using an electric hand mixer, combine the potatoes, 1 cup of the sugar, the butter, eggs, vanilla, salt, and spices. Mix thoroughly. Add the milk and continue to mix. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the pie on a rack and cool to room temperature before covering with meringue. (We skipped the meringue)

For the meringue, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form; beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is glossy and stiff, but not dry. With a rubber spatula, spoon the meringue onto the pie, forming peaks. Make sure the meringue touches the crust all around. Sprinkle with a pinch of granulated sugar. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until delicately browned. Cool and serve.

Note: I used my Martha Stewart Perfect Pie Crust.

Thanksgiving Day in Photos

017flowers pd

018

014

025desserts pd

023the desserts pd

011The table

015Grandmas china

010not quite perfect

005ready for the oven PD

Sugar, Sugar, How You Get so Fly?

021dulce de Leche PD

Going into the oven…It will be done in time for the cook to enjoy a well deserved night out!

The 11 Best Cookbooks of 2009

cookbooks 11 best of 2009

The 11 Best Cookbooks of 2009

Game On!

005stock pot PD

008Turkey PD

009Turkey Pantry Diaries

012Sweet potato pie shell PD

Everything is rolling along quite nicely.

The stock pot is full and boiling away.

The turkey is stuffed with garlic, herbs, 1 onion and 1 stick of butter.

I salted generously with coarse kosher salt and pepper.

The sweet potatoe pie crust is ready for filling…….

Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue is on the stereo. Life is good.

And so we begin….

010Dressing PD

The planning the shopping, the preparing…….
Ingredients become the history of a family.

008dressing PD

013Thanksgiving prep PD

2009 Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving breakfast:

French Toast Casserole with Neilsen –Massey Vanilla maple syrup and veggie Bacon

Mimosas

Appetizers:

Shrimp and cocktail sauce

Dinner

14.9 lb Turkey
Mashed potatoes
Dressing with raisins and pecans
Cranberry Salad
Corn Soufflé
Sweet Potato Pie
Mushroom Wild Rice with Butternut Squash

Desserts

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake @ 2
French Silk Pie
Pecan Pie

Kicking off the Holiday Season

neiman marcus cupcake car for $25,000.00

It’s the calm before the storm. The quiet right before the frenzy of Thanksgiving cooking begins here in our house.

And it is the start of the holiday season that will last until New Years Day.

For those of us who love to cook; It’s game time!

We love the madness, the energy and the chaos of the three of us; my two daughters and me, bumping elbows in the kitchen, swapping measuring cups and trying to figure out metric conversions or fractions, (my eldest is a math genius, thank goodness, or we could never double a recipe in our house!).

It is the Monday before Thanksgiving and I will begin to set the wheels in motion tonight.
First step is to take butter out of the freezer to soften for use in the morning. I gather up all the bread that I have been saving over the past few months and put that out to thaw, also.

I make a general roundup up of gadgets and gear necessary for preparing this meal. I have lists, menus, and recipes in neat piles in the kitchen and tomorrow morning I will start the preparing the stock which will flavor our dinner.

Although not a meat eater myself, I make an exception for this one holiday and prepare a turkey for my family. I have a local, organic, free-range, farm raised chicken and turkey to start the stock which will not only be used for Thanksgiving but for soup and turkey pot pie which will inevitably follow.

I make the pie dough and put it in the fridge for use on Thursday. The cheesecakes I always make the day before.

We start with appetizers on Tuesday. Yep. With all the activity we just kind of pick on appetizers while working in the kitchen for 2 whole days before the big meal.

No one seems to mind and there is often a stream of friends in and out who join us in the pre-festivity, festivities!

Mimosas are a must and with enough fresh juice you can drink them all day long!

I chose this photo out of the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book because it truly illustrates the mood right now. We are giddy in our little world of food and love; happy like a cupcake!

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

dulce de leche

Every year around Thanksgiving as friends are making dinner plans, the first question I get is, “are you making your Dulce de Leche Cheesecake?” Everyone knows that I am cooking dinner and that I will be making 5 or 6 desserts, which vary, but there are always hopes that this cheesecake will be in the line-up.

I always say, “of course”, actually this year I will make 2. And then I proceed to dig out my collection of recipes, line up my help; daughters, and begin to make lists.

I had a difficult time finding this recipe and the web was of little help. I needed the exact perfect mouthwatering recipe that has secured my place in the hearts and bellies of my friends and family.

After much searching I found this dog eared paper; water stained and coated in crusty something or other and copied it and committed it to a dessert file and on a portable disk.

It is amazing.

Now some may find fault with the Dulce de Leche part of this cheesecake. They may say it is not authentic or truly dulce de leche, however, I stand by the recipe and the method and contend that if a recipe translates into something this good then it must be right.

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs and macadamia nuts
3 tbsp. butter, melted

Filling:

3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese (24 oz. total)
1 cup superfine granulated sugar
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. vanilla extract (Neilsen-Massey)
3 eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
1/2 cup ready-made or homemade Dulce de leche sauce* (see recipe below for Homemade Dulce de leche)

For Serving:
Extra Dulce de leche sauce

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

2.In food processor mix crust ingredients together, and press into the bottom of a lightly buttered 9-inch springform pan. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.

3. Reset oven temperature to 325°F (160°C).

4. With an electric mixer beat cream cheese, sugar and flour together until well mixed and smooth. Add vanilla and beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until smooth. Add milk and mix until well blended.

5. Measure 1/2 cup of the cheesecake batter and pour into a small bowl. Add Dulce de Leche sauce and stir until well combined.

6. Pour plain batter over crust. Top with Dulce de leche batter by placing rounded spoonfuls over the cheesecake batter and gently swirl into plain batter with the tip of knife or spatula.

7. Bake in preheated 325°F (160°C) oven for 45-55 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from oven and gently run metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cheesecake (this helps prevent cracking). Let cool 20-25 minutes before covering and placing in the refrigerator. Refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight before serving. If desired, serve each slice drizzled with a little bit of dulce de leche sauce, or pass around a bowl of dulce de leche sauce for guest’s to help themselves.

Dulce de Leche

1 can of sweetened condensed milk
Make two holes in the top of the can
Place in a pot of water standing up and not allowing the water to get into the open can.
Simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours
Keep filling the water to maintain a level just less than half an inch from the top of the can.

Simple Soup on the Run

004 Quick soup PD

I needed healthy, hardy fast food. I am a vegetarian/vegan ( I sometime slip with cheese) so there were not a lot of options as I was running errands today.

I am working on a writing deadline and just needed to fill the growling belly…quick.

That is when, as I was hunting through my pantry, I came across this gorgeous soup idea.

Here is a recipe for a simple soup. This was insanely good and I would serve it to guests.

RECIPE

1 can cannellini beans
2 cloves garlic sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
A handful of fresh spinach
½ cup of veggie stock
2-3 pinches of dried rosemary
Salt to taste

METHOD

In a medium sauce pan add olive oil, garlic and rosemary

Drain some of the liquid from the can of beans and pour the beans into the sauce pan.

Stir it around a bit. I mashed up my beans, too. That’s how I like it.

Add a large handful of fresh spinach. Let it cook for a few minutes on medium to high heat.

Add ½ cup of the veggie stock and salt to taste.

This was amazing! So simple, so fast and truly filling and delicious!

If you want to get fancy I would puree it in the food processor for a more genteel presentation; however, the rustic look with say a Panini sandwich would also be fantastic.

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