Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Albert G's Sweet Potato Pie

I love Sweet Potato Pie.  I didn't know it until I married my husband.  I was prepared to make Pumpkin Pie for our first Thanksgiving, when he announced that he would prefer Sweet Potato Pie.  I had heard of this type of pie, but I had never tasted it and had no idea how to make it.  Fortunately for me, about that same time, The Tulsa World printed the recipe for Albert G's Sweet Potato Pie.  Albert G's is a local Southern-style barbecue joint.  Everything they serve is delicious, but heads above the rest is this pie. 

(The recipe is at the bottom of this post.  Bear with me.)
I'm not sure why I failed to take any photos of the ingredients or the preparatory stages of this recipe, but I didn't.  I baked these in Frankoma pottery pie pans.  I think Frankoma pottery is fantastic!  I own the Oklahoma Centennial collection (pie pan, rectangular pie pan, square baking pan, and large round bowl), two of the Oklahoma-shaped baking pans (one in each size), a cornbread pan, a super-large round bowl, and a few other pieces.  The Centennial collection has the most wonderful graphics baked into the pottery.  Another time I will post photos of the set.  They are gorgeous! 

I bought almost all of my pieces at the Frankoma Factory Store in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, which isn't far from my home in Broken Arrow.  I bought a lot of them in the Seconds section and a few of them off of the "Ugly" rack, which was where they put the items that were still suitable for use, but had cracks, glazing inconsistencies, etc.  The items on the "Ugly" rack were only $1 each, so even if I only got one or two uses out of them, they were still a bargain!

I used the Williams-Sonoma Piecrust Cutters to cut leaves for decorations.  I cut lots of them and lightly sprinkled the extras with cinnamon and sugar and baked them on a Silpat sheet.  I used the extras for dog treats.  My dogs loved them! 

This pie went to my neighbor's mother.  She is a very sweet, elderly lady, who couldn't bake for herself this year for a variety of reasons.  My neighbor is also very sweet, so it was nice to do something for them.
I kept this pie for us, as I stuck a knife in it to check for doneness. 

The pies set for several hours until they were thoroughly cooled.
This is Leiua after she consumed a LOT of the piecrust leaves. 

Albert G's Sweet Potato Pie

2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (freshly cooked and still warm, although I have warmed and mashed canned sweet potatoes in a pinch)
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
1 small can (5 ounces) evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed milk)

9-inch pie crust shell, unbaked (The recipe calls for one pie crust, but I have always had enough for two pies.)

In a mixing bowl, blend softened butter with warm sweet potatoes until smooth.  (Use a low to medium speed, so that you don't splatter the batter.)  Add remaining filling ingredients and beat in mixer at low speed until mixture is smooth.  Pour into pie shell and bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  (NOTE:  If you are using a Frankoma pie pan or similar pottery, it is important to start with a COLD oven, not a preheated one.  You will have to adjust the baking time to account for this.)  Be sure to check the edges of the crust after about 30 minutes, as you may have to use a piecrust shiel or aluminum foil to prevent over-browning.

Here is another Sweet Potato Pie I made in 2007 using this same recipe.  I used Williams-Sonoma Piecrust Cutters to decorate this pie, too, but from the set put out that year.  I layered the shapes around the edge of the pie to create the rim.

Chicken Curry with Apple

This recipe was slightly adapted from 365 Ways to Cook Chicken, by Cheryl Sedaker.

The photo doesn't do the recipe justice.  The monochromatic colors of the dish belie the deliciousness of the flavor blend.  Of course, the bowl - a vintage piece of Fireking Peach Lustreware in the swirled pattern - is also too close to the shade of the curried chicken.  I should have picked a brighter color for the plating.

Chicken Curry with Apple
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine (I used butter.)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup peeled, chopped apple (I used Pink Lady or Gala.)
1 can (16 ounces) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 cup chicken broth, or more if needed (I used about 1 3/4 cups.)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon curry powder, or more to taste (I used about 3 Tablespoons.)
4 cups cooked chicken breast, chopped or shredded
Salt & Pepper, to taste (I used freshly ground black peppercorns and a combination of Black Lava Hawaiian Kai Sea Salt & Red Alae Hawaiian Kai Sea Salt.  These salts are much "saltier", if you will, so you use less.)

Toasted Coconut
Mandarin Orange segments
Chopped Peanuts
Cooked Bacon
Mango Chutney
Sour Cream
Chopped Chives
Dietz & Watson's Jalapeno & Cayenne Pepper Cheese (This is my favorite.  It adds a nice "bite" to the dish.)
Greek Yogurt, plain (This is my husband's favorite and adds a different type of "bite" to the dish.  It is the garnish shown in the above photo.)

1.  Melt butter in a Dutch oven or a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add apple, tomatoes with juice, broth, lemon juice, and curry powder.  Simmer, uncovered, about 35 minutes.
2.  Add chicken and heat through, about 5 minutes.  Add more broth and curry powder, if necessary. 
3.  Serve with a scoop of white rice, either above or below, and your choice of garnish on top or on the side.

After making this recipe for the second time, it occurs to me that curry powder is an excellent organic food colorant (if it wasn't something you necessarily wanted to eat).  Below is a photo of my beautiful blue silicone spoon.  After using it to make this dish, the spoon part is on its way to becoming forest green.  : /

Monday, January 10, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Swap!

Sami over at Symmetry in Motion sponsored the Christmas swap and it was an exciting 13 days!  Yes, that was 13 Days of Christmas for me, because my swap partner, Sylvia of Mi familia, included a birthday gift for me.  I was so excited to get the box.  It was heavy!  I opened it as soon as I got in the house.

It was loaded!  Sylvia put cute little, fuzzy stickers on each package, along with a short note on most of them.  She included ribbons and that really cute flower hairclip as package decorations.  I am sorry to say I was much less clever with my wrapping.  Now days, if someone actually gets wrapping paper it's a miracle!  (I at least wrapped all of the items I sent.  LOL)

The first package was for my birthday, which was December 7th.  It was the BIG 5-0, so it was nice to have that little extra remembrance.  It was unexpected, and therefore, even more special.

Possibly the most adorable Nativity scene ever!  : )   Since we went low-key with decorating this year, it fit in perfectly with our decor.  (Yes, that's a Rosemary bush doing double-duty as our Christmas tree.)

Day 1:  A Christmas DVD by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and a CD of assorted Christmas music helped to set the holiday mood.  These were quite inspiring!

Day 2:  Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate!  This went to my office where it's locked away. LOL

Day 3:  Sylvia was right.  You can't have too many of these!  We have been using the heck out of these kitchen towels.  They are thirsty and work great!

Day 4:  This leather-bound journal with pen has been my go-to book for keeping track of all my work-related stuff (i.e.  Court information, mileage, hours worked, dates/times of visits, etc.).  It has been a life saver, as the State has not provided us calendars this year and I keep forgetting to go buy one for myself.  I haven't used the stickers yet, but you can be assured that I will.

Day 5: I love the ladybug perforater.  I always wanted one, but never bought one for myself.  The rolls of ribbon and the cute Christmas tree buttons will go to good use. 

Day 6:  Cookie cutters!  These were so cute!  Sylvia made some very good choices.  I especially love the Noah's Ark one.  There is also hand sanitizer (a must in my field) and some Hemp hand lotion.  Good choices!
Day 7:  The Lorax and Fancy Nancy: The Show Must Go On.  I love children's books!  And I recently learned I am going to be a Grandmother, so these will make great additions to my library.

Day 8:  A "blingy" crystal nail file (which I absolutely love!), Plumeria body wash from Bath & Body Works, Redken shampoo & conditioner, and a lip liner pencil in the perfect rosy shade for me.  Couldn't have chosen better myself!

Day 9:  Two stamp pads and six inspirational word stamps.  Now I have no excuses for not attempting to make my own cards.  I already have a Cricut and now I have the stamps.  I'll keep you posted on my progress in this area. 

Day 10:  The flower hairclip I mentioned earlier was the decoration on this handmade box.  (At least I think it's handmade.  Sylvia did such a great job on it, the box looks store-bought.  You can't completely see the design, but it's a very tired angel soaking her feet.  Cute!)  The pearl necklace is gorgeous!  I love it!! 

Day 11:  This adorable tile, which I think Sylvia stamped and drew the flowers and bee using paint markers similar to the ones she included with the gift.  Did I tell her that the office I worked at was 72B and often referred to as "The B"?  (I even made bee cupcakes for work once.)  I don't think so, and that makes this present even more special.  Obviously, it was serendipity at play.

Day 12: Good day, and welcome to Day 12!  (Kudos to anyone who got the "Doug & Bob Mackenzie's Great White North" reference.  For those of us who remember and for those who have never seen it:  Doug & Bob Mackenzie: 12 Days of Christmas.  It makes me laugh every time.) 

Anyway... back to Day 12:  European Chocolate Truffles.  Need I say more?  Simply delicious!!!

Thanks to Sylvia for such great gifts and for keeping me guessing each day.  Thanks to Sami for sponsoring the bloggers event.  And a special thanks to the United States Postal Service for getting the package there on time.  It was great fun!!