Growing up, every year at thanksgiving there was a dish of flavorless canned yams covered in marshmallows. For years I assumed that was the only way to serve them, because of this assumption I went through most of my life never understanding the deliciousness that can be found inside a sweet potato. Then as an adult I started creating "traditional" holiday meals and there was no escaping that dreaded orange tuber.
Over the years I have discovered many way ways to cook sweet potatoes and have actually grown to love them and look forward to having them on my holiday menus, and throughout the year.
The recipe this week was chosen because I have never cooked sweet potato with apple before and because my grandmother was always the one who made the awful canned yams. So, in honor of grandma, from 1932, sweet potatoes with marshmallows that actually have flavor.
Sweet Potatoes with Apples
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
3 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease a casserole dish.
Place the sweet potatoes in a sauce pan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes.
Bring the 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil. Add the apples, salt and nutmeg. Boil for 8 minutes or until the apples begin to soften.
Stir the butter in to the apples.
Drain the sweet potatoes and, starting with the sweet potatoes, begin making alternating layers of sweet potato and apple in the prepared casserole dish.
When you are finished layering pour the liquid form the apples over top.
Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven, cover with marshmallows and return to the oven until the marshmallows are puffed and brown.
I believe the idea is to have something like a sweet scalloped potato when you are finished. Unfortunately, my grandmother no longer has a cutting board and all her knives are dull. How this was allowed to happen I have no idea, but because of the serious lack of cutlery I ended up with a product that tasted delicious but didn't look so good.
If any of you would like to share pictures of your creations I would love to see them.
Have a wonderful week and Call Your Grandmother!
I have been given an amazing opportunity, weeks alone with my grandmother. I have the most wonderful grandmother. She is sweet and kind, intelligent and generous, full of love and willing to help whenever her family needs her. She also has the ability with one look, one word, to make you question your entire being, the perfect grandmother.
She is ninety-one years old and is reaching the end of her time on this planet and called me to ask if I would come be with her for the remainder of the time she has left. While it is an inconvenience for my family and I miss my husband and daughters desperately I could never say no. This woman was a mystery to me as a child but was someone I looked up to and really, I am as much like her as I am my own mother. I owe her my love of music, antiques and old movies as well as my stubbornness and malformed baby toes. We have fought, argued, stopped speaking to each other, and I am grateful for every argument because each one made me see the world just a bit differently. So I am honored to be spending the next few weeks, possibly a couple of months, with this amazing woman.
Unfortunately, her kitchen supplies are extremely limited. So I will do the best I can with what I have at my disposal, while making food my grandmother might enjoy. So, bring on the prunes!
1 large loaf
1 cup prunes
2 1/2 cups graham flour*
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon shortening, melted
Place the prunes in a medium sized bowl and cover completely in hot water. Let the prunes soak until they become very soft, this takes several hours.
Grease a loaf pan.
Drain the prunes, remove the pits if necessary and chop.
Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder.
Stir in the milk, then add the chopped prunes and melted shortening.
Spread into the prepared loaf pan.
Let sit at room temperature for 25 minutes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake the loaf for 60 minutes.
* Graham flour is hard to find and I generally use whole wheat flour in its place but in this recipe I would suggest using 1 cup all purpose flour and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat.
I looked up what the suggested replacement for graham flour is and it's supposed to be one cup all purpose flour with three tablespoons removed and replaced with wheat germ. The only grocery store in walking distance was out of wheat germ so I was unable to try this.
The bread came out really well and I will be trying it again with the proper graham flour substitute.
Have a great week and call your grandmothers!
As someone from the Pacific Northwest every year is a game of waiting. Waiting to see if you will get snow or you will get nothing but month after month of rain. As a kid I hoped and prayed for snow every year. I remember every snow man I ever made and all the times I rode a sled. My favorite snow memory is the year it snowed on Thanksgiving and went for a ride in my grandparents van, it was magical. Now, I live right between Portland and Seattle and have discovered that snow is the only thing that makes winter bearable. As a kid I loved the snow for playing in, now I like it to give me some other winter color besides grey. Oregon gets rain, but the South Sound area is just grey. Summer ends and it becomes grey. It may not even be raining, but the sky is grey and stays grey for months. I know it's what makes it so beautiful and green here but, some days I miss living in Arizona
As I talked about before Retro cooking isn't just about jello salad its also about not throwing out food. I still had some leftover ham so decided to make it into Split Pea and Ham Soup. It was a delicious way to use up my leftover ham but is just as tasty if you are buying the ham just to make the soup. I am a big fan of having bread with soup and decided to go with biscuits so I could get dinner on the table at the necessary time. I chose the biscuit recipe because I had sour cream leftover from last weeks kale dish and because I have never made biscuits with sour cream before.
Split Pea Soup
1 pound dried split peas
3 quarts water
1 ham bone
1 large onion
3 stalks celery
1 sprig parsley
Place the peas and water in a large stockpot and let soak overnight*
Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Let the soup cook until the peas are tender and some of the liquid has cooked off.
* You can skip the overnight soaking by bring the water and peas to a boil and then turning off the heat and letting them sit for an hour or two, until the peas soften.
Remove the bone before serving.
As you see, I added carrots to my soup, I also added a couple handfuls of chopped ham, lots of pepper and some salt. Potato can also be nice.
Sour Cream Biscuits
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sour cream
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Combine the dry ingredients, stir in the sour cream,add the milk by the teaspoonful until you have a dough you can roll out. Roll out the dough 1/2 inch thick and cut into biscuits.
Place in a well greased oblong baking dish and bake for 10-15 minutes.