The Day After... Part I
|Well it's over. Hours upon hours of cooking. And then in a matter of 45 minutes or so those hours are a memory, your tummy is stuffed and all you can think about is that big over stuffed sofa with your heiney planted firmly upon it. Thanksgiving. Whadda ride.|
It started, for me, at 8:30 yesterday morning until 5:30 yesterday evening. I took about an hour break when I noticed there was a dog show on the tube. Can't pass those up, no I can not. My sister arrived during that time so we made a lil lunch and watched the cute puppies. My mom was due in a few hours and our other guests were due around 6ish. Everything was going well and I was pretty happy with myself and my progression through the day. At noon I had both desserts done, 3 side dishes prepped and ready to go into the oven later that night and 2 side dishes melding their flavors in my fridge. Not a bad start at all.
So what the hell happened at 4 pm when I started freaking out because I wasn't even halfway through my list? It's like I left this dimension for a couple hours to be returned with hardly any time left to finish up! Appetizers had to be made! The stuffing wasn't prepared yet! The wine! Where the hell is the wine? Every single one of my lil candles needed a new tealight put in and My. God. is that dust on the TV? Just when I'm pattin' myself on the back, all the little stuff starts closing in on me and I panic. Much to the chagrin of Hubbs and my family, but they all know.. BACK OFF and let her go!
I did finish everything with a 1/2 hour to spare to get myself presentable before our friends were due to arrive. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. Quite a feat for the world's most unorganized cook. At 6 pm I was presentable and no longer smelling of flour, cinnamon and bananas (yes, bananas). I was ready to relax with my family and friends and to give thanks for another year of good fortune. No one died. I still own my house and vehicles. And my job? Regardless of how mind numbingly boring it is, I still have it. My 3 most favorite people were with me on this beautiful, sunny day and both of my kids were in good health and looking quite spiffy after their baths. Life is good. =)
And then the phone rang at 6:01. They weren't coming. Someone is sick. I'm being told this story of dizziness and disorientation all the while scanning my counter tops, laden with various sized bowls and platters and baking dishes full to the brim with all that food. My party of 7 just got downsized to a party of 4. Well I guess it's better to have more than enough than too little, yes? And before anyone allows the thought to cross their mind that I'm a cold-hearted Thanksgiving chef who can only think of all the food she's made and not be concerned about her sick friend. Dizziness and disorientation also means, drunk with his buddies and most likely praying to the porcelain goddess while his wife called with her regards. Wayne saw his vehicle up at the local bar around 10:30 yesterday morning when I sent him out to procure more sweet potatoes and bananas because I feared the first batch just wasn't enough for 7 people. ha! And? This has happened before. Eh? Whatcha gonna do?
What you do is carry on and enjoy the evening regardless! And that we did! Everything tasted wonderful, we got to play some games and watch a ridiculously stupid movie (You, Me and Dupree) and my sis and I got to have our giggling gossip time after everyone else went to bed. I thoroughly enjoyed myself :D
So over the course of the next couple days I'm going to share with you some of the tried and true recipes we make each year as well as a new recipe I tried that really turned out well. Which is what I think I'll start with today.
The morning of the Fabulous Food Show! I caught Tyler Florence's Ultimate Thanksgiving episode where he made all kinds of wonderful looking dishes including a recipe for Sweet Potatoes with Bananas and Honey. I was intrigued. Bananas and sweet potatoes? Kinda weird, but also kinda yummy sounding. I knew that morning that I'd be making it for Thanksgiving this year because it's the sweet potatoes that I haven't perfected yet.. always trying a new recipe each year. Here's to hoping that Tyler's would be the one!
They were delicious, to say the least. The sweet potatoes and bananas really work well with each other. The only thing I wasn't crazy about what how sweet the dish turns out. A pretty heavy addition of honey to the mash and then the sweet topping of a brown sugar/butter/flour mixture was a bit too much. This could pass, easily, for a dessert. Now, I like my sweet potatoes sweet, but I need a lil savory there as well.. and there is no savory about this dish. But because of the banana/sweet potato combo, I will not give up on this recipe. I've already jotted down my notes for next year - I will cut the honey measurement in half, for sure. I will also go with a bigger sweet potato to banana ratio and will season this using more salt and pepper than called for. Finally, I will cut the brown sugar topping down to maybe a 1/3rd. With luck, those changes will create the ultimate sweet potato mash for my Thanksgiving dinners.
I'm going to do something with the left over mash - possibly a pie or tart of some sort, maybe some muffins or a quick bread. We'll see what's left after Mom and Sis take their share of the leftovers later today. ;)
Tyler Florence's Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Bananas and Honey
5 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
4 bananas, unpeeled
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped (Hadda leave 'em off cuz I can't have them. *sigh*)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork, put them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Toss the bananas into the pan and continue roasting for 10 to 15 minutes, until both the bananas and potatoes are very soft. Remove the pan from the oven but don't turn the oven off.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Peel the bananas and add them to the bowl then give it all a good smash with a potato smasher or fork.
Add 1 stick of the butter, and the honey. Season with salt and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until everything's well combined and the mixture is fluffy. Spoon into an oven-proof serving bowl and smooth the top.
In a separate mixing bowl, use your fingers to rub together the remaining stick of butter, the brown sugar, flour, and pecans until the mixture is the consistency of coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the sweet potatoes and return to the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the crumbs are golden. Serve hot.
My Notes: This dish can be prepared well ahead of time. I had my potatoes and bananas roasted early in the morning. Mashed them all together sometime during the afternoon and then put them in the baking dish with the topping a good hour or two before baking time. This could definitely be made a day ahead, stored in the fridge and maybe leaving the topping off until you're ready to bake.