Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Mom’s Sweet Potato Recipe!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!   We’re heading over to Erica and Cory’s for Thanksgiving tonight and are in charge of a veggie dish, so we’re making sweet potatotes.  This recipe originally came from my Uncle Bill’s aunt Irene.  Mom’s been cooking it for a long time and now we’re picking it up.  I always thought it wasy yams, but it’s sweet potatoes.  My Mom’s friend Rich Marker says yams are inedible and sweet potatoes are the food the gods.  We changed it a little bit, using brown sugar instead of granulated and using butter instead of margerine.
  1. Six Large Sweet Potators,  Yams are darker, sweet potatoes are lighter. 
  2. One cup brown sugar
  3. 1/4 cup butter
  4. 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
  5. 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
  6. 3 eggs
  7. The zest of 1 large orange
  8. The juice of said orange.
  9. Marshmallows are optional.   We always used the small ones, but as Leslie pointsout, “There’s more marshmallow with the big ones!”
  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into quarter size pieces. 
  2. Put in large pot with enough water to cover.
  3. Bring it to a boil.
  4. Reduct heat and simmer 20-30 minutes until tender.
  5. Mash sweet potatoes in large bowl.
  6. Mix everything together.
  7. Put it in a pyrex dish
  8. Bake for 30 minutes @ 400 degrees
  9. Put mini-marshmallows on top for last 15 minutes.

Everyone should know Bechamel and Pepper Jack Mac!

What?!?!? You don’t know a Bechamel?!?  I didn’t until a few months ago, and don’t know how I survived without it. 
Bechamel is one of the four French “Mother Sauces”.   Also known as a basic white sauce.   Read the first part of this post and you’ll know how to make a base Bechamel (and I’ll have written down my recipe)  :)
Read the whole thing and you’ll learn how to turn a base white sauce into Pepper Jack Mac!
  1. 2tbsp Flour
  2. 2 tbsp Oil (olive oil, butter, grape seed, bacon-fat, etc.)
  3. 1 1/4 cup milk
  1. Step one, heat up the pan to medium-low. 
  2. Heat the milk.  Traditionally it’s a pan.  A microwave will work. 
  3. Add the oil to the pan. 
  4. When oil is hot, add a bit of flour.  Beat with a whisk. 
  6. Add a bit more flour when the flour you already added is blended in.  KEEP WHISKING.
  7. Keep adding bits of flour.  KEEP WHISKING.
  8. When the flour becomes a bit pasty, add in some milk.   KEEP WHISKING. 
  9. When you’re all out of flour, dump in the rest of the milk.  
  10. At this point, you’ll feel with the whisk that some bits want to stick to the bottom of the pan.  Knock those off with the whisk.  KEEP WHISKING
  11. Bring to a boil.
  12. At this point, you can slow down on the whisk, just make sure that nothing is sticking to the bottom.
  13. At some point (probably about two minutes) you’ll notice that you’re sauce is getting larger.  This is good :)   Whisk faster to keep it from going over if that’s a problem.   
  14. Boil for at least a few minutes, whisk to avoid burning. 
  15. Reduce to simmer.
You now have a “pure” bechamel!  This is the classic “base white sauce”.   If you haven’t done it, you should. 
The bechamel is incredibly flexible and many of your favorite dishes are made with it.  You’ve already done the hard part.
  1. Add in shredded parmesan cheese . . . you now have Alfredo Sauce
  2. Add in fully cooked sausage.  You now have Sausage Gravy to pour on biscuits.  Extra credit, cook the sausage early and use the fat as the oil in the bechamel.  (expect a gut bomb!)
  3. Put in any shredded cheese and you have a cheese sauce. (Oh, sorry, this is Frech cooking).  You have a Mornay Sauce
  4. Add crayfish to make a Nantua sauce
I always add at least 1/4 cup brown sugar, salt and a bit of spice.  Cayenne pepper, Chalula, Tabasco, etc.   Not enugh to taste, but enough to trigger the tongue.
This base sauce is great, and you can do a lot with it.  Today, I made Pepper Jack Mack.  To do so I  . . .
  1. Double the bechamel.
  2. Diced three fresh jalapenos. Added them when the bechamel boiled, which is step 13.  (probably should have done 2)
  3. Shredded 1/4 pound Beecher’s jack cheese.   Added after step 16.   
  4. Cooked a package of Penne. 
  5. Mixed everything in a big metal bowl.
Time to serve Peppar Jack Mac! 


  1. I love the deep color of this pie. Must be the addition of the brown sugar. I was torn between doing pumpkin or sweet potato but this one could win out! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving :)
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