Isn't that just darling? I visited the LeCreuset outlet store a few months back when I was visiting my friend Tim. Wow, is that place dangerous to my checkbook. Not only do they have these just wonderful dutch ovens and roasting pans, now they have an entire section of little casseroles, suitable for 1-2 servings. Just like this little garlic bulb.
You may ask what does this have to do with Thanksgiving? Well, it was the perfect opportunity to cook something in it! It also gives me the opportunity to talk about our Thanksgiving. We are a bit untraditional. When I was living in So. Cal, I flew Mom out every year for Thanksgiving. Since my brothers kind of missed the holidays, Mom decided to basically move the holiday to the Sunday before. So, she (and my brothers) got 2 Thanksgivings for a while.
Now that I'm closer to home, we still have our untraditional Thanksgiving the Sunday before. It gives my brothers the chance to build their own family traditions, and provides a stress free family dinner that's fun! And, I do some different things on Thanksgiving, although this year, I should do more than play video games...
So what secrets are contained in that little bulb of garlic?
My thanksgiving sweet potatoes, of course! This recipe...well, I've been making it for a few years now. I just love sweet potatoes, and eat quite a few of them. One of the things I don't like, however, is candied yams. They are just too sweet for me. So, I decided to come up with a recipe that wasn't so sweet, but still had a little sweetness to it.
Of course, since I developed this recipe during my vegan years, my thoughts turned to coconut milk. Since I love sweet potatoes in curry, I thought coconut milk would be a great way to cook sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving. And, I was right. The coconut milk adds a richness so you don't necessarily miss all the sugar.
After tweaking the recipe a bit, this has been the result. And, it's just delicious. I added a streusel-like topping a few years ago, so it would remind you of the toasted part of the marshmallows on candied yams, but still gave a little crunch and spice.
Based on a lot of things I've read, I tried putting some different spices in these this year. While I didn't like the result (I liked them a bit on the sweeter side, and I'm a bit of a pepper wimp), I can appreciate how some would enjoy a touch of cayenne or harissa added to the sweet potatoes.
If you are looking for a nice, tasty twist on your sweet potatoes this year, give these a try! You won't be disappointed. I usually cook these in a casserole dish, but they can easily be cooked in individual servings. This year, I cooked my own individual serving so I could have it for leftovers.
Now for my tip. I realize I have been negligent on my tips the last few posts, but I have been frantically working on Christmas Cookies. I hope you like the results, because they are coming soon! I can't wait. I even bought a bunch of boxes at Costco so I could bake all the remaining dough and give friendly gifts...
My tip today involves foreign cans. You know the ones. Since I buy things like coconut milk at Asian Grocery stores, sometimes I find the cans a bit difficult to open with my handy dandy American can opener. And I'm talking a manual can opener here - I'm not talented enough to be able to pull off using an electric one. If you find a can difficult to open, flip it over, and open the bottom instead of the top. There's always one side that is easier to open than the other, and you aren't going to hurt the can by opening the bottom instead of the top.
Thanksgiving Sweet Potatoes
1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
1 14 oz can coconut milk
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cardamom
1/2 t. harissa, or cayenne (totally optional, I won't add this again)
1 t. salt
1/3 c. orange juice
1/2 t. white pepper
1/4 c. butter, softened
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. cinnamon
2/3 c. chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the sweet potatoes. The milk may start to look curdled when you add the orange juice, but it really is fine. Place in an oven proof dish and bake for 30-40 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender. The amount of time you bake them will depend on the dish. If you use a pie tin or an 8x8 baking pan, it can take up to 20-30 minutes only. If you cook the sweet potatoes in a deeper dish, it can take a bit longer to cook.
For the topping, combine all ingredients in a smaller bowl. Place on top of the sweet potatoes after they have been in the oven about 30-40 minutes. Continue baking at least 15 minutes, until the sweet potatoes and tender and a lot of the moisture has been baked out. Serve warm.