Musing with Max

Musing with Max

November 25, 2011

Giving Thanks

For the first time since I can remember living here in New Jersey I did not cook Thanksgiving dinner; meaning that I didn't have an entire week of marathon cooking and preparations which, frankly, is something I enjoy immensely. My sister-in-law asked us to go over to their house in Connecticut, I hesitantly said yes but also begged to cook something since I need my fix, and she said "please do" since let's face it for Thanksgiving we need the obligatory million side dishes and desserts. So I pulled out my old trusty Thanksgiving Food & Wine issue from 1994 (the best one ever) and proceeded to make my favorite Thanksgiving dessert.

warning: it takes 4 hours in the oven and MUST be refrigerated overnight.

Sweet Potato Ricotta Cheesecake adapted from Nancy Silverton

12 servings

1 lb. sweet potatoes
1/4 cup pecans
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 lb. cream cheese, at room temp.
4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbpn bourbon

1. Preheat oven to 400f. Bake the sweet potatoes for about 35 minutes, until tender when pierced (I find this takes more like an hour). Split them in half and let cool for 10 minutes. Scoop the flesh out and work through a food mill, there should be about 1 1/4 cups. Lower the oven temp to 250f.
2. Spread the pecans on a small baking sheet and roast tin the oven for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly toasted. Let cool then chop coarsely. Leave oven on.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
4. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter at high speed until smooth.
ad the granulated and brown sugars, the whole eggs and egg yolk and beat at high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add the ricotta and sour cream and mix at low sped until just blended. Beat in the flour mixture until incorporated.

Fold in the mashed sweet potatoes and the bourbon. Scrape the mixture into a lightly buttered 10 X 2 inch spring foam pan and sprinkle the chopped pecans on top
5. Bake the cheesecake for 3 hours. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour longer. Transfer to rack and let cool completely.
6. Run a small sharp knife around the edge of the cheesecake, remove the sides of the pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.

and some side dishes, yay, yay, yay

Roasted Sweet potato & black bean salad adapted from Chez us

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 T fresh lime juice
  • zest from one lime
  • 1 tablespoon blue agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
  • 1 small shallot minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 medium roasted sweet potato
  • 2 cups black beans
  • salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 425.  Prick the sweet potato with a fork, and put into the oven, as is.  Let roast until tender but still slightly firm;  about 35 minutes.  While the potato is roasting, rinse, and drain the black beans.  Gently pat the beans dry with a paper towel.  In a small jar add the oil, lime juice, zest, nectar, cumin seeds, and shallot;  shake to combine.  Once the potato is finished roasting, remove from the oven, and let cool to touch.  Peel off the skin, and cut the potato into small cubes.  Add the beans, cubes of sweet potato to a salad bowl, gently toss with the cilantro, and then drizzle in the dressing.  Gently toss before serving.  Season with more salt and pepper, if needed.  
I don't know how many this serves, so I doubled it and a half- didn't use the agave

Onions baked with rosemary & cream adapted from Saveur

Adding cream at the last minute softens the rosemary's pungency.

6 large yellow onions, unpeeled
2 cups chicken stock
3–4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Leaves from 3–4 branches
Rosemary, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 425°. Slice about 1/4" off the bottoms and tops of the onions so that they will sit upright; then slice in half crosswise. Arrange onions skin side down (cut side up) in a baking dish.

2. Pour chicken stock over and around the onions in baking dish. Drizzle oil over the onions, then liberally season with salt and pepper. Scatter rosemary over the onions and into the stock in the baking dish.

3. Transfer baking dish to oven and bake, basting often with the stock, until onions are soft when pierced with the tip of a paring knife and stock has been reduced by about three-quarters, 1–1 1/4 hours.

4. Remove baking dish from oven and pour cream over onions. Return dish to oven and bake until pan juices have thickened slightly and tops of onions have browned, 20–30 minutes more.
So as we set off with our offering packed into a cooler I couldn't help but feel a little melancholic  -  he couldn't come
which made me even sadder than this look, but there was turkey
and stuffing

and even more sides

and cheesy decorations made by children

and children

and seashores

and too much food and squabbling family members and drama and not enough wine to drown out the squabbling family members and memories of Thanksgivings past and finding all those things we should be thankful for but overlook when life gets in the turkeys, and stuffing and cheesy decorations made by children and children and seashores and too much food and squabbling family members and drama and wine, and for being able to get all the awful stains out of my tablecloth and another Thanksgiving memory to add to the repertoire. Here's to it all and to knowing that we'll get home to this
but hopefully not on the living room couch.

No comments:

Post a Comment