Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cooking up a plan

The countdown is upon those of us who will be laying out the Thanksgiving spread next week. The pleasure of the day is easy, eating way too much and then napping before going in for another round. My favorite memory is the midnight picking by my cousin and me that rendered the turkey carcass useless the following day. But before you can get to that level of relaxing you need a plan. De-stressing the cooking is paramount to enjoying the day, and in truth, enjoying the process of cooking.

Start by writing out a menu. I like to have my menu balance hot, cold and room temperature items this way I am not pulling my hair out trying to fit everything in the oven or juggling pans on the stovetop at the last minute. I want about third of the dishes to be hot allowing me the luxury of conveniently organizing the remaining dishes. I will start as early as Monday by making the cranberry sauce and pie shell: Tuesday will bring the caramelizing of onions and pumpkin soup; Wednesday is all the chopping I made need for Thursday – the celery, herbs, and everything to help alleviate a ton of day of dicing and slicing. Of course, it is also the day I rub the bird with some scently pleasure.

So, as you prepare take a breath and remember don’t start drinking until you have handed over the carving knife.

Ginger Sweet Potato Pie
3/4-cup ground macadamia nuts
3/4-cup breadcrumbs
1 egg white
2-1/2 pounds sweets potatoes
1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 whole eggs
1-1/4 cup cream

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl mix the macadamia, bread crumbs and egg white together to thoroughly combine. Distribute the nut mixture evenly in a 10-inch pie pan. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool the crust.

Peel and roughly chop the potatoes, and boil until fork tender. Drain the potatoes, and then mash the potatoes smoothly. Mix the ginger, nutmeg, cayenne, brown sugar, and salt into the sweet potatoes.

In a small bowl mix the whole eggs and cream together to completely combine. Incorporate the cream mixture in the sweet potatoes and then pour into the prepared nut crust. Place the pie into the oven and cook for 45 minutes. Cool and serve.

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