Friday, November 26, 2010

And the best dish of the night goes to...

The last thing you probably want to think about right now is making your favorite Thanksgiving recipes again.  But I feel the need to conclude our meal with some lessons learned.  I make a lot of the same dishes from year to year so I try to incrementally make them and the overall celebration better every year.

Yesterday I tried one new recipe; something that used an old favorite of my husband's (corn) but in a more interesting way.  I made corn pudding from a recipe I found online.  It was fine but nothing special enough to repeat.  Do you have a corn recipe you love?  Please drop me a line in the comments.

The best side dish of the night award goes to the Sweet Potato Souffle.  Don't let the name "souffle" intimidate you.  This recipe was one my mother picked up over the years and she passed it along to me.  There's nothing complicated about it and when made right, it's heavenly.

I've made it the last 3 years in a row and it didn't turn out right.  I thought it was because I always cooked the souffle at my turkey cooking temperature of 325 but that wasn't the problem.  At long last this year I finally got it right and it was worth the wait.  I attribute my mishaps the last few years to being too insistent that I could make an organic version of my mom's version.  Given the canned sweet potato options at my disposal, that was just not possible.   As soon as I reverted to using the conventional ingredients, it magically worked out exactly as it should.

Sweet Potato Souffle

1 50 oz. can Princella sweet potatoes, drained
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
6 tablespoons butter, softened
Beat together until smooth.  Pour into a souffle dish and bake for 1 hour in a 350 degree oven (I cook my turkey at 325 but for that hour I crank it up to 350.  Try to minimize your turkey basting and temperature fluctuations from opening the oven door for that hour.  The souffle needs to be left still at a constant heat in order to set up.) 

For the topping:
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 chopped pecans
1 cup corn flakes, crushed
Melt butter and brown sugar and pour over the potatoes.
Sprinkle nuts and cornflakes on top and bake an additional 30 minutes.

There are a couple of other takeaways from the meal.  Next year I'll remember to send out the tablecloth to be steam pressed.  The only tool that my well equipped kitchen still needs is a carving knife so I will certainly buy one of those before next year's meal.  And of course, we will once again welcome family and friends to join us for laughs and conversation that make the food secondary.
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