Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Pie

For some reason, Pumpkin Pie has taken over in the minds and hearts of most Americans as the pie for Thanksgiving. A close cousin, which our friends in the South have been eating for years, is Sweet Potato Pie. They're only slightly different in texture and flavor but, to be honest, I like them better.

Sweet potatoes have been misnamed in America. Sometimes we call them yams. The true African yam has little to do with the sweet potato. In fact, if you don't cook a true yam properly, you could get very sick and possibly die. Yep! Without proper preparation, a true African yam will kill you.

Sweet potatoes, especially in pie, won't kill you, although the rest of the ingredients might. Oh, well. What a way to go, eh?


2 lbs sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed.
1 stick of butter, softened
2 eggs, separated
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup white sugar
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
Non-stick cooking spray

For lazy chefs, like me, you can substitute with canned sweet potatoes. Just make sure you mash them up.

Preheat your oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, butter, egg yolks, evaporated milk, brown sugar, salt, and spices. Use a hand mixer and blend until smooth and fully combined.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Combine with the white sugar, and then carefully fold the egg whites into the sweet potato mixture.

Spray the inside of the pie shell with non-stick cooking spray. Believe it or not, this will help keep the pie crust from getting soggy. Pour in the sweet potato mixture. Cover the crust with foil or a commercial pie crust cover.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove the foil, reduce the heat to 350 degrees F, and cook for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, or until the pie is set. (Give the pie a little shake. If the very center jiggles slightly, it's time to take the pie out.)

Serve with whipped cream and a glass of cold milk.

If you don't have the time, or inclination, you can skip separating the eggs, and just combine the whole mess in a mixing bowl, all at once. It still tastes great, it's just not as fluffy.

I like to make several pies and share them with my family and friends. I also use it as an excuse to visit my Home Teaching families in November. Why should the Relief Society get all the food credit?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo by Gilbert Tremblay. Used by permission.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Grandma Lucy's Eggplant Parmesan

I love how recipes get passed from one generation to the next. Food, just like journals and diaries, can connect us with our past.

It's not surprise that I'm into this kind of thing. It's not just a food issue. Mormon's are into genealogy. It's important to us to look into our past, and find our ancestors. We believe that families can be eternal. We believe that we can enjoy the familial relationships we have in this world in the world to come.

It's not just Mormon's dig up their past, though. Many families pass recipes as part of their culture and beliefs from parent to child.

What a wonderful thing that is.

Recently some friends of mine, Frank and June Demonte shared part their food heritage with me. Originally they posted it as a comment but, I thought it was worth having a posting of its own. Consider it a 'guest chef' if you will. I've edited it slightly, but I don't think Grandma Lucy will mind.

Grandma Lucy's Eggplant Parmesan

Frank's Grandma Lucy came from Bari, Italy. She handed down some of her recipes to her daughter, and then on to Frank. This is one of them.


1 Eggplant smooth and round,skinned & sliced thin
2 Tbs. salt (for prepping the eggplant)
Italian flavored breadcrumbs to dredge [or you can mix in a bit of marjoram, oregano, and thyme with regular breadcrumbs - MF.]
2 eggs, beaten
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 16 oz. cans crushes tomatoes
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese (low moisture)

Many people don't like eggplant because it's bitter. To remove the bitter oils, place the eggplant slices into a large colander and toss with about 2 Tbs. of salt. Place the colander over a large bowl and let it sit for about ten minutes on the counter. Rinse the eggplant slices very well and set aside.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl, and spread the breadcrumbs evenly in a large casserole dish. Dredge the eggplant slices in the breadcrumbs, then into the egg mixture, and then back into the breadcrumbs, to coat. (Hitting the breadcrumbs first gives the egg something more substantial to cling to, and gives you a better coating.)

Heat the olive oil in an oversized skillet. Fry the breaded eggplant in the skillet until golden brown on both sides. (You may need to add additional oil from time to time. Eggplant absorbs oil very quickly.) Lay flat on brown paper bags, or on paper towels, to drain.

Lightly brown the sliced garlic in olive oil. Add crushed tomatoes and seasonings. Bring to a slight boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover, and cook for about 45 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Layer the eggplant, sauce & mozzerella cheese in a large baking dish. Cook until eggplant is hot and cheese is melted (about 20 minutes).

Serve with a side of spaghetti & salad.

For additional recipes and cooking help, be sure to visit Frank and June's website, Magnolia Housewares.

[Disclaimer - I've included links to the Demonte's website in the recipe. This was done as thanks for a new recipe. I'm not being reimbursed in any way.]