Holiday Sweet Potato (no, not yam) Recipes

photo from NC Sweet Potato Commission

photo from NC Sweet Potato Commission

Okey dokey. Let’s clear this up before we go any further: What is called “yam” in the US is not a yam – it is a sweet potato. Sweet potatoes and yams are not even related or even part of the same family. Yes, both are tubers, yes, both are sweet, both are flowering vines. But…

YAM: grown in Africa, Asia and the Carbbean. It has a thicker skin and some of those pups can grow to be seven feet in length! Yams are starchier, drier, paler interior, darker exterior, must be cooked to be eaten safely, firmer textured, lower in beta carotene and Vitamin C. The yam is part of the lily family.

Sweet Potato: Grown in the Southern US, has tapered ends, flesh can range from white to deep orange, moister, thin skinned, and is a member of the morning glory family. There is a purple variety grown in Okinawa, however. What is called “yam” in the US is actually – Sweet Potato!!! So, no more candied yams, baked yams, fried yams. Unless of course you have been to a specialty grocery and specifically bought a yam imported from the Caribbean, Asia, or Africa.

The Recipes: Cornwallis Yams, er, Sweet Potatoes. I don’t think General Cornwallis ever had this dish or a yam and haven’t a clue as to why this ridiculous name was given to this recipe. But, it is one delicious and rich casserole. It could be considered dessert but it is a side dish typically served during the Holidays. Both of these are standard recipes and came from handwritten recipe cards from my Grandma Ninny’s recipe box and have been part of our family celebrations since Ninny was a baby.  Sweet Potato Pie is a Southern Classic. You folk can have all the pumpkin pie you want, most of us in the South will take Sweet Potato Pie, thank y’all very much.

I did a Christmas post a couple of seasons ago about sweet potato pie, family, and honoring those who have passed before. Here is the link:  kanzensakura.com/2012/12/24/the-smell-of-home a true Christmas-story   I am link challenged and it probably won’t work but the name of the post is The Smell of Home – a True Christmas Story.  You can also search under sweet potato.  I hope y’all enjoy.

Cornwallis Sweet Potato Casserole
6 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon
ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup grated coconut, plus some for garnish (I use the frozen, unsweetened grated rather than the sweetened coconut in a bag or can)
1 1/2 cups milk
½ c. chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:
Boil sweet potatoes until softened. Peel and mash. Season with cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter.  Beat eggs and add to cooled potatoes. Combine with remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased 9×13-inch or 3-quart casserole. Bake in a 350 oven until light brown, about 1 hour. Top with a sprinkle of coconut.

Sweet Potato Pie
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves or mace
2 tbs. orange juice
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon peel
1 – 2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (12-ounce) package frozen deep-dish piecrusts, thawed
Garnishes: whipped cream, grated nutmeg

Directions
Cook sweet potato in boiling water to cover 30 minutes or until tender; drain .Beat sweet potato and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, orange juice, peel, and spices, beating well. Pour mixture evenly into each piecrust. Bake at 350° on lower oven rack for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Garnish, if desired.

 

Oven Roasted Autumn Vegetables

I like oven roasted veggies!  The roasting sweetens them and gives them depth of flavor steaming or boiling cannot.  I grew up with roasted vegetables, before they became stylish. Whether savory or sweet (sweet potatoes, apples, acorn squash, honey, spices…oh my!) we ate them on a regular basis.  Hot out of the oven, room temperature, or even cold, roasted veggies are a delicious and easy way to get your veggies.

The recipe is forgiving and you can use whatever you have on hand.  Just keep in mind some veggies, such as onions, peppers asparagus – are more delicate and break down quicker.  Add them the last 20 minutes of cooking.  If you find the temperature is too high, then lower.  I often loosely cover them with foil for about 20 minutes, remove the foil, and add in the delicate veggies.  You can add a good sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese at the end and use whatever herbal flavorings you prefer.  I also like to line my pan with parchment paper to help with clean up.

I do not use olive oil as do some people.  Olive oil has a lower smoking point and when oil smokes, carcinogens and toxins are released.  I use a good neutral vegetable oil instead.

どうぞめしあがれ  Douzo meshiagare y’all!

INGREDIENTS 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed 2 red bell peppers seeded and diced 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed 3 Yukon gold potatoes, cubed (or other potato) 1 large red onion, quartered 2 parsnips, cut into 1 inch slices 1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, cut in half 3 tbs. balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup. vegetable oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 3 tbs. minced fresh herbs: parsey, thyme, rosemary, basil, whatever

DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the (heavier” veggies. Put delicate veggies in a separate bowl. In a small bowl, stir together seasonings, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Divide between the two bowls and toss until well coated. Spread heavier veggies evenly on a large roasting pan. Loosely cover with foil and cook for 30 – 40 minutes. Add delicate veggies and stir in well. Do not replace foil and continue to cook for about 15 minutes more, or until cooked through and browned. If you do not like your veggies as soft, then of course, don’t cook as long.

stock-photo-11060871-roasted-vegetables-in-the-oven[1]

Turkey Day in the South

Times changes and things change with time.  However, some things stay blissfully the same in my memories – like the Thanksgiving day we put the cooked turkey out on the back porch and the neighbor’s dog stole it and drug it around half the neighborhood before another dog took it away from him.  Or the time mama’s cousin Benny unexpectedly showed up for the day, fresh off the ship that had docked in Newport News.  How handsome he was in his uniform and how proud I was as we sat on the side porch and neighbors dropped by to welcome him home for the holiday.  Our cousins from various parts of NC showed up and brought their feasts with them so we could all have a brief visit before he shipped out to the Mediterranean.

I’m looking over my menu today and find that is almost identical to one from 1960:fried chicken,  baked ham,  turkey and stuffing, gravy, cranberry orange relish, collard greens, home canned greened beans, home frozen butter beans, corn, candied yams, devilled eggs, potato salad, home made pickle tray, home made yeast rolls, iron skillet baked cracklin’ cornb bread, fresh coconut cake, pecan pie, ambrosia, banana pudding, citrus punch, sweet iced tea.  In other parts of the South, similar menus will be spread out on tables to ooos and ahhhs.  There will be local specialties added to menus and some items will be subtracted.

The day starts with hunters heading out to the woods while the women stay home and cook, listen to the parades on TV, and tell stories about the past or present – laugh and cry together.  Those who have passed are remembered with tears and love.  Babies on the way are belly kissed or touched and given a prayer that their delivery will be safe and mom and child will be healthy.  And if a new member of the being is introduced, to tell her horror stories about her date (yep, that boy rode that old hawg a mile before he had the sense to fall off).

I’m grateful to be a Southern woman.  I probably move a little too slow and say “bless your heart” too many times, but I’ll do my best to make you happy and comfy and safe.

I wish all of y’all a blessed Thanksgiving.  My our gracious God cause His face to shine upon you and His love extend to all of you and yours.  Bless your heart!

 

%d bloggers like this: