Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sweet Potato Pie

Turkey this, and pumpkin that. Tights down to his shoes and a buckle on his hat. It never happened, and that is that.
Public schools are a great bullshit factory. A social engineering speak tank of pseudo-education and overbearing teachers who seem of the opinion that they are pretty hot stuff. They turn out compliant little nobodies who can't spell, won't read, can't tell the time unless the clock is digital, and do not have a clue how to use a ruler. But they can take a test the way they are taught to, and the collective rating, if high enough, brings the school a bigger piece of the money pie. No room for truth, for that would just mess up everything. If you are a great teacher and teach the kids the truth, you will soon find yourself ostracized by the cliques of your peers and then maybe out of a job.
Putting aside your religious beliefs, what sense is there to removing Christ from Christmas? And what is the point to having impressionable young children write letters to Santa Claus, who is a big FAT lie? And how moot it becomes to add further insult to our intelligence when the local newspaper devotes its 2nd of 2 whole thin sections to the whining prattle of I want this, and, I want that...I, me, me, my, me, me, mine...GIMMIE, GIMMIE, GIMMIE!
They want designer clothes and shoes that light up. They want electronics. And for all of their expectations of Santa, they get nothing you can't afford, and you then become the bad guy for not getting them what they wanted. You could keep life sweet and simple if you tell them the truth from the get-go. Because if you sell them on Santa, and then the gig is up and they figure out the truth, they will never truly trust you again. They see you as a few crackers short of a box, and you can't become a member of their clubhouse.
TV news likes to do blurbs about the corporate stores "suffering losses" due to a slacker public that won't spend its money like it used to. How can something be a 'loss' when it wasn't earned?How can they claim tax credit for what they never had? I have been asking that very question ever since I was a kid, and no one can answer me still. If the success of your business relies solely upon holiday sales then you need a new game plan.
I hear way too much about shopping and zilch on peace and collective good will. Oh, but, peace and love and gratitude do not come with retail tags, so, I guess the consensus is that if it doesn't cost a chunk of change SOMEwhere down the line, it must suck.
Shall we OCCUPY SANTA and hit the banks where it counts? Find the strength to close your wallets and just say NO. Gee, they will suffer the losses of billions of dollars they never had! Hey, their ancestors created Satan Claus and the December 25th Christmas. And now they won't give credit to Christ! (pun way intended) Think about it: The Big Red Guy puts you in the red. So, let's OCCUPY his ass and toss the goofy suit OUT. Those department store Santas can then take their flasks and their drippy red noses and find another place to fart and sniggle with little kids in their piss-stained laps. Alcoholics do dribble, you know. Of course, not all department store, and corner store and lodge or library Santa is a drunk. Some of them reek of pot.
My next jester's gesture will be the upside of what now becomes a pleasant and ambient, thankful
time. Best case scenario? Depends on what you like to do. I have spent many a Thanksgiving in coffee shops, loving the hot coffee and observing the gaggle of others who were alone, or with family in tow. The families seemed to be having a miserable time of it while the loners enjoyed their 'steal away' of semi-solitude and the freedom to be quiet. But when Mr. P and I spend the holiday at home, the words to describe it would be "gratitude, thanks, and blessings in joyful abundance". Yes, abundance can look sharp on a pretty dinner plate, but there is also abundance in holding your mug of coffee and looking out the windows at the trees, lolly gagging in your pajamas and holding hands with your beloved.
Never mind the clutter of the other entrees, I am beholding a bird that gave its life to sustain mine. Gee, it must be a holiday because this is a mighty big turkey.
My method for cooking turkey is to put it in a cooking bag that is coated inside with 2 Tbsp. of flour, snip 5 small slits through the top of the bag, position the package just right in the roasting pan, put it in a 325F oven and forget about it for 2 1/2 hours. When it's done, the meat will fall off the carcass and be so moist and tender, you might cry. Mr. P and I scramble for the dark meat, but he concedes the honor to me to pull off the skin (all of it) and eat as much as I want before sharing with him. "OOOOH, BABY!", as Grandma Susie used to say. I sprinkle a little fine salt on it and bite into the delicate, crispy, golden brown chimera of turkey beauty. Can't touch this. It's MINE.
Yup. The Bag is my buddy. It holds the juices and protects the juices from drying out, so there is quite a bit to make a sizable batch of gravy, especially when you add a big can of chicken broth for volume. Just think about those hot turkey sandwiches with dressing under the turkey slices on the bread, smothered in gravy. With the dressing inside, I call it The Marvel. With a thick slice of jellied cranberry on the side, and a fresh, crispy stick of salted celery, you are good to go. I tend to sprinkle the top of the gravy with black pepper. How about you? For this reason, alone, I make a very large casserole of dressing.
Sweet Potato Pie tastes like a Chiffon Pumpkin Pie: Silky. Scrumpdiddlyumptious. Filling and rich. Cooking is pretty much a regional thing. Some recipes spread far and wide because they are too good not to.
Think back to the times when spices and goods arrived in big, wooden merchant ships from across the oceans of wet-sprayed air, humungous waves, and smelly men. Whew! What a ride. People relied upon these ships (with their motley crews, smart-assed parrots, hadn't seen a wench in 8 months)to supply them with just about everything they needed for their stores and their homes. Nowadays, we have planes, trains, trucks, faster ships, and delivery services. (Oh, how I miss having a milkman!) We travel and view and taste and shop, and we bring back with us a new food to like at home.
We find that, despite our modern reaches into the food wilderness, there are still fruits and vegetables we've never heard of. Suddenly it is a kosher thing to make food using the durin fruit as an ingredient. Have you ever smelled one? Nobody really likes it, but the Iron Chefs use it on TV frequently, like squid and jellyfish. Jellyfish are like muscular snot with venom. But to the Asian taste buds, they are one more of a variety of textures used. I guess that Asians don't think of snot when they eat.
Sweet Potato Pie is one of the best southern traditions to hit California, along with fried chicken (its origin is disputable), jumbolaya, bourbon pecan pie and the Allman Brothers. Let's not forget Dr. John and the Neville Brothers. The south is a whole different way of life and social schisms. Why, they even have elephants in their living rooms! They must be plentiful there because nobody wants to talk about them. Some foods are stereotyped as "Black food", but don't get that confused with blackened fish. And Sweet Potato Pie is one of those proprietary claims. This one took me by surprise, my ignorance of it no secret. It was one of those easy, first-time perfect pies which beg presence on your dinner table. Here, I present it as dessert.

Mr. P took a liking to the pie and was truly enjoying it,...until I blurted out that it tastes just like pumpkin pie. Then his chewing slowed as he backed away from his plate a little. Mr. P absolutely hates pumpkin pie. I shouldn't have uttered a word. Appropriate time to shove a bite into my pie hole.

Adapted from Dooky Chase, New Orleans
One 9" pie.
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup ice cold water, as needed
1/2 cup cold butter OR vegetable shortening
A few shakes of ground cinnamon

In a food processor, pulse together all the dry ingredients and the cold butter (or shortening) into short bursts until the mixture forms pea-sized lumps. Add the water through the chute as you pulse until the mixture forms a stiff dough and pulls away from the sides of the food processor bowl. Remove the dough and form it into a 6" disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill for one hour in the fridge. This dough can be made in advance and kept refrigerated for several days, or it can be frozen. I would use it within one month.
If you are pressed for time, you can use unbaked Pillsbury pie crust (sold 2 to a box). Prick holes with a fork in the bottom and lightly sprinkle with ground cinnamon before pre-baking for 10 min. @375. Keep your eye on it so it doesn't cook too brown or burn. This is what I used for the pie pictured in this posting.
2 large sweet potatoes (weighing together no more than 2 lbs., preferably 1 1/2 lbs.)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup condensed milk (evaporated milk will work, too)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans OR enough pecan halves to decorate outer top of pie in a circle.
A few shakes of gr. cinnamon to mix with the chopped pecans, (if using chopped)
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Roll the chilled pie dough into a 12" round. Store-bought is already sized enough. Press into a 9" pie pan or fluted pie pan (Not for tarts. A fluted pie pan works nice for pretty edges and sides.) Sprinkle bottom lightly with ground cinnamon. Trim top flush with top of pie pan. Sprinkle bottom of nested crust with a light bit of cinnamon. Put in oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is set and begins to brown slightly. Remove from oven. Set aside to cool.

3. Peel and cut yams into 1" cubes and put into a stockpot. Fill with water to 1" above the yams. Bring to the boil and then lower heat to slow boil for about 25 min., until a fork goes in and out without resistance. You want them soft, totally done. No second chances.
4. Drain off water in a colander in the sink. Put the cooked cubes into a large bowl and, using a potato masher (NOT a ricer or food processor or a blender), mash them up. While doing that, mix in the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, then whisk in the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract, in that order. When all is mashed together into an evenly smooth filling, add the melted butter and mix thoroughly. Remember, the butter goes in last.
5. Pour mixture into cooled pie shell. Arrange pecan halves, if using, around the outer ring of the pie and sprinkle on a little cinnamon. If using chopped pecans, mix with cinnamon and sprinkle over the pie, all over.

6. Bake for 20 to 25 min. (I baked for 20 min. because my oven runs hot.) until the filling is set and the edges of the crust has browned.

7. Serve warm or at room temperature (cold is yummy, too) with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if served as dessert. You can use it as a vegetable entree, if you like.

It looks real pretty with ham, too!

Pictured here is Samtheyam. Samtheyam is one year old. This was an experiment, to see how long it would thrive and flourish before a last minute planting. One year, so far, but it has become like a member of the family, so, it gets its own pot and will be raised like a plant.

No comments:

Post a Comment