Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

Sweet Potato Casserole

April 5, 2010

Although I normally make this dish for Thanksgiving, I made it for Easter this year to take to a friend’s house for a big family Easter Dinner (thanks Tim and Julie!). It travels well, is easy to make, and is always a crowd favorite. And – it transforms people’s views of sweet potato casserole if they are used to the super sweet versions with marshmallow topping.

I first tried this one a while ago to bring up to Michigan for Thanksgiving, and have been making it ever since. The recipe originally came from Food Network, but was adapted from reviews from others and my own additions. The result is a tried and true favorite that is made frequently in our house.

And, a testament to how easy it was – I made the dish during a 5-day stint of watching my adorable nephews (18 month old and 6 year old). I actually cooked and mashed the potatoes the night before during a break in the action, then put the rest together during the little one’s nap the next day. The whole dish takes time (an hour or so to cook the potatoes then another hour to put it together and bake) but not much hands-on time, which I love.

And, to those at Easter Dinner who asked for the recipe – here it is! Sorry for the sad looking picture, but it conveys how people were digging into it before I had gotten my camera out! My 18-month old nephew/godson even ate a few monster helpings (although a photo of him with orange mush all over his face and hands wouldn’t have been as appealing).

Bon Appetit!

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
Serves 6 (easily doubled for a crowd using a 9×12)
Casserole:
2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large), scrubbed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted plus more for the preparing the pan
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper

Pecan Topping:
1 stick melted butter
1/3 cup flour
1 cup pecans
1 cup brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and pierce each one 2 or 3 times with a fork. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool. (you can also peel and boil if you prefer)

Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F. Scoop the sweet potato out of their skins and into a medium bowl. Discard the skins. Mash the potatoes until smooth. Add the eggs, butter, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pepper to taste. Whisk the mixture until smooth.

Butter an 8 by 8-inch casserole. Pour the sweet potato mixture into the pan and sprinkle the top with the pecan topping mixture. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until a bit puffy. Serve immediately.

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Easter Dinner – Ham with Gingersnap Glaze, Yukon Gold and Fennel Puree with Rosemary Butter and Roasted Asparagus

April 17, 2009

table-with-foodOne of my favorite things is cooking for others. Although I do love cooking for myself and my husband every night, there is nothing like friends and family around the table enjoying a great meal.

I was lucky enough to have my parents come down from Michigan for Easter. Although they had to make the long drive back on Sunday, I couldn’t send them off without a large Easter brunch.

I have to preface this post by saying never will I ever have amazing photos like I do today. My father, lawyer by day and photographer by night (www.robertstonephotography.com) took photos of the food. And, it made me realize that I really need to take some food photography classes!

This meal is so much simpler than it might look. I have prepared this ham two years in a row (based off of Alton Brown’s City Ham with Gingersnaps), but I omit the bourbon. I have no clue if the ham would be better with it, but it sure is great without it. It is easy to cook and requires so little prep time. TIP: If you don’t have an instant thermometer that you can put in the oven with the meat hooked to a temperature timer you set on your counter, get one! It is essential. For just $20 or so, you can say goodbye to the days of opening the oven, poking the meat, closing the oven, repeat!full-ham-cutting10

The potatoes are a bit more work, but it can all be done the day before. I love the rosemary and fennel combination – very earthy and rustic. This time I made my potatoes, I actually used the small Yukon Golds and didn’t even peel┬áthem. This recipe, from Bon Appetit, is a great go to for Thanksgiving as well.

The asparagus is so simple, it really needs no recipe. I always take asparagus and coat it with olive oil, salt and pepper (and sometimes herbs and cheese) and roast it. There is something about the roasting of the asparagus that gives it a unique flavor.

As for prep the day before, I made the potatoes. The day of , I put the ham in the oven, then did a quick coating (took about 5 minutes) halfway through, then about 15 minutes before we ate (while the ham was resting) I put in the asparagus. It is a great meal with company because there really is so little time in the kitchen needed.

close-up-hamHAM WITH GINGERSNAPS
1/2 city-style ham
1/8 cup brown mustard
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup crushed gingersnap cookies.

Cook ham according to directions (tented with foil). When ham reaches 350, brush a liberal coat of mustard using a basting brush. Then, sprinkle on brown sugar, packing loosely as you go, until the ham is coated. Then, loosely pack on as much of the crushed cookies as you can. Return to the oven and cook until interior temperature reaches 140. Let the ham rest, then carve and serve.

full-ham2

YUKON GOLD AND FENNEL PUREE WITH ROSEMARY BUTTER

plate-with-food1
8 to 10 servings
2 large fresh fennel bulbs (about 2.5 pounds, trimmed, quartered through core, center core trimmed and discarded, cut into 3/4-inch pieces)
1 medium onion, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 1 3/4 cups)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt, divided (or kosher salt)
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled (optional), cut into 1.5-inch pieces
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1.5 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup creme fraiche

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line large rimed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine fennel, onion, oil and 1 teaspoon salt in large bow; toss. Spread in single layer on prepared baking sheet; sprinkle with pepper. Roast until fennel and onion are very tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Transfer fennel mixture to processor and puree until almost smooth.

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well. Cool slightly. Place in large bowl and mash with potato masher until smooth. Mix in fennel puree.

Melt butter with rosemary and 1 teaspoon salt in small saucepan over medium heat (or in micr0wave). Stir butter mixture into fennel, potato puree. Mix in creme fraiche. Season to taste with more pepper and salt.

ROASTED ASPARAGUSasparagus-on-plate1
1 bunch asparagus
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degree. Snap ends off of asparagus and place on baking sheet lined with tin foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix with your hands to coat every piece. Place into oven for about 13 or so minutes, or until tender.

asparagus1pepper-on-asparagus1


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