Saturday, November 30, 2013

Praline Yams (Sweet Potatoes) with Orange Sauce

The night before I was to prepare our Thanksgiving meal this week, I cuddled in bed with Mike and listed out the dishes for the next day: turkey in the doufeu, dressing, gravy, spinach madeline, cranberry sauce, yeast rolls, and pumpkin pie.  Then this happened:
Me: What was your favorite Thanksgiving dish growing up?
Mike:  Sweet potatoes.
SWEET POTATOES.  The one dish I didn't even THINK to include.  Of course.  It just so happens that Riggs is on a big sweet potato kick, so I had the ingredients for this dish in the kitchen.  I rattled around and found the recipe in one of my old standbys: Best of the Best from Mississippi Cookbook.  I also happened to have the ingredients for the orange sauce, and let me just say.....that stuff is FINE.  It has completely revolutionized the way I think about sweet potatoes, and I'll never again be able to make this casserole without the orange sauce.

4-5 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered (I chopped into 1/2 inch cubes)
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar, divided
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted, divided
1 teaspoon salt
pecan halves

Cook potatoes in water to cover until tender (about 25-30 minutes).
Add 1/4 cup brown sugar to hot potatoes.
Add eggs, 3 T butter, and salt.
Beat until smooth.
Pour into a greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.
Lay pecan halves end to end, covering the entire casserole. (I just roughly chopped pecans and sprinkled liberally on top.)
Sprinkle with remaining brown sugar.
Drizzle remaining melted butter over top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
Ladle Orange Sauce over individual servings.

Orange Sauce

1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup orange juice
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons butter
3 dashes Angostura bitters

In saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, orange rind, orange juice, and lemon juice.
Bring to a boil over medium heat.
Cook until thickened.
Remove from heat.
Stir in butter and bitters.
Serves 8-10.

Great Performances Cookbook

Photo courtesy of Bakers Royale.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Chocolate Chess Pie

So the other day Riggs and I were playing as Avery was at Mother's Day Out.  I was craving something but didn't know what.  Then it hit me..... like a bolt from the blue....  CHOCOLATE CHESS PIE.  I absolutely HAD to have it.  And I was willing to risk being a teensy bit late to pick up Avery so I could bake it.  Fortunately from start to finish, this pie only took a little more than an hour and a half, and that's with a 60 minute baking time, so I was able to finish it AND go pick up our little monster.

I think has my favorite recipe:

1 1/2 cups sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 partially 9-inch baked pie crust

1  Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
2  Combine sugar, cocoa, flour, and salt.
3  Blend in milk.
4  Beat in eggs 1 at a time.
5  Add butter and vanilla, beat until smooth.
6  Pour into prebaked pie shell.
7  Bake in 325* oven for 55-60 minutes.

I whipped up my new pie crust recipe and baked it for ten minutes at 375 while I mixed the pie filling in the same bowl in which I prepared the crust dough.  So easy, so delicious.  Don't even try to taste this stuff without some whipped cream on top.  And it's even better the next day.  

Thank you to Food-in-Mouth for the above photo.

New Pie Crust Recipe

It's a rainy, rainy Monday afternoon.  Both babies are napping, as should I be, but I wanted to jot down my new go-to for a pie crust before I forget:

Makes 1 pie
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

With your fingers, crumble the shortening into the flour and salt until it resembles coarse cornmeal.
Do not overwork.
Add water - it works better very cold, but that's not necessary - until desired consistency.
Roll out onto floured surface.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

First Tooth and Toddler Bed

Wow, it's been a big night at the Peacock Coop.  I don't know why, but for some reason I absolutely HAD TO set up Avery's big girl bed.  Maybe I figured it would be like ripping off a Band Aid - do it quickly and don't make a big deal of it, and it won't be a big deal to her.  She loves it and took to it great, particularly enjoying jumping in it and climbing in and out, in and out, in and out.... and repeat.  She hadn't taken a nap in three days straight, and I thought perhaps the nap era was over, but now that it's a big girl bed, she puts herself to bed.... and my heart breaks a little, missing that sweet weight of our little girl in my lap as I read her bedtime stories.  Surely my snuggling days with her aren't yet completely over.

Meanwhile, Riggs has been having a sleep regression, waking up every two to four hours.  Last night was an every other hour night, and when he woke at 3:30, I told Mike, "Either this is a huge brain blast or teething."  Sure enough, this morning his first tooth has popped out, bottom front left, AND he's pulling up on the coffee table.  Two birds with one stone!  Maybe with the help of a little Motrin, we'll all sleep better tonight.

First tooth and first night in a toddler bed.  I sure know how to pack in the milestones.  

These babies are SO much fun right now.  It's exhausting, hard, heartrending work, but incredible.  Avery is really talking and telling us the most interesting things.  Her vocabulary is huge, and she doesn't bat an eye at four-syllable..... and -letter..... words. Riggs is crawling all over the place, particularly to electrical cords and Dante's food dish.  

 Gosh.  I'm blessed.


Made by Lena