Wow, I was really on a roll there for awhile—cooking up lots of good things and posting almost every week. Well, friends, the last couple of months have been full of change and, consequently, I’ve fallen behind on the blog. (That, and the whole sunset at 5pm thing is not conducive to photographing stuff at night.)
Last month I made what is to date the hardest decision I’ve made in my not-actually-so-short life…I left my amazing, incredible, and a million other adjectives job and co-workers/friends at BCC to take a job at World Vision (another amazing, incredible place). Those of you who got roped into the saga know how long I hemmed and hawed about this decision. For a few days, I’m pretty sure I called my mom every hour on the hour, and the first thing out of my mouth every time was, “I still don’t know what to do.” I never got anywhere near 100% clarity, but at some point I had to make a decision and I chose to do the (somewhat) scary thing. I started at WV last Monday and my first week went about as well as it could have…I’m excited for what’s to come, and inexpressibly grateful for the outpouring of support and encouragement from family and friends (including those co-workers/friends I was leaving behind).
How about some pretty flowers?
They’re from a few weeks ago when I hosted an “orphans” Thanksgiving at my house in Seattle for all of those (mostly Georgia and Texas folks) who weren’t going home for the holiday. It was a huge success and the best alternative to not being with my family. I wasn’t brave enough to undertake the turkey, but I made a whole host of other things—all of which were from family recipes. I knew from the beginning that I would make sweet potatoes, so I’ll share that recipe with you first and post about all of the others (including oyster dressing, bloody marys, sour cream rolls, and pecan pie) in the weeks to come.
These also made an appearance:
According to my mom, this recipe appears in the 1970-something First Baptist Church Swainsboro cookbook (my grandparents’ church in Swainsboro, Ga.), but I’m not sure whether my grandmother submitted it or if it was originally someone else’s recipe that she took a liking to. Either way, it entered the family culinary tradition and has graced the table at pretty much every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner of my life. It can also be made with marshmallows on top, but I prefer the pecan/brown sugar topping for a little crunch. I’m excited to share this recipe with y’all!
Sweet potato soufflé
From the First Baptist Church Swainsboro cookbook; makes a casserole dish full of the good stuff.
3 large or 4 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar (this is why it tastes like dessert)
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened (not melted!)
1/3 cup flour
Peel and cube the sweet potatoes. Make sure the cubes are all the same size so that they’ll cook evenly. Drop them into a pot, cover with water, and bring it to a boil. Continue to boil for 15 minutes, or until a cube of sweet potato breaks apart easily with a fork.
Meanwhile, get the butter, sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt out and ready to go. My mom said she usually puts the butter in the bottom of a big mixing bowl so that it melts easier when you pile the sweet potatoes on top.
When the sweet potatoes are done boiling, drain them and add them to the bowl with the butter. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
The sweet potato part of this recipe can be made ahead of time and frozen (I’d recommend it, actually—less work on the actual day). Just let the mixture cool completely, put it into big Ziploc freezer bags or tupperware, and stick it in the freezer. To defrost, put it in the fridge the night before you plan to bake the dish and it should be good to go when you need it.
After you’ve defrosted the sweet potatoes, pour them into a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. To make the topping, combine the softened butter, brown sugar, flour, and pecans in a small mixing bowl and spread the mixture over the sweet potatoes. A tip for the topping: Leave the butter out to soften way before you plan to make the topping mixture. It takes awhile to soften and it’s essential that the butter is soft (not melted—so no microwaving!). (Pretend like there’s a picture of the pecan/brown sugar topping being mixed in a bowl. And a picture of the dish before it goes in the oven.) Bake at 350˚ for 35 minutes.
Now pretend like there’s a picture of the dish of sweet potatoes fresh out of the oven.
Apologies for the lack of photos; the sweet potatoes went into the oven as people began to arrive and I wasn’t about to be that girl who holds up Thanksgiving dinner so that I can photograph the food we were about to eat. To make up for it, here’s a photo of a fraction of the dishes I had to do the next day: