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Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Make my Thanksgiving side dish

Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday. We get together with the same group of friends and whip up a culinary orgy. But it's actually more than just the Thanksgiving feast -- it's a weekend-long affair, hopefully punctuated by a good concert. Basically we just party for three straight days. Afterwards I always feel like going on some sort of green tea and seaweed detox diet.

Last year was not as fun as usual for a number of reasons. First, I had a baby. Lane happily agreed to watch Jasper while I cooked but I was distracted. Caring for the little guy meant that we didn't even eat together (he'd just learned to walk the month before and damned it he was going to sit still for anything). I don't even remember tasting my food. I spent most of the weekend focused on Jasper and found it too exhausting to insert myself in and out of conversations when I could. Meanwhile half the house party came down with a horrible stomach flu and I got into an argument with one of the most diplomatic, loving people I know.

This year is Lane's father's 80th birthday and we are joining the rest of his family to celebrate Thanksgiving in Utah. We'll be eating at the Marriott buffet style, sans booze. While I've been fighting this trip, kicking and screaming, I also think we're due for a fallow year. In a way it may be cleansing. And it will make me appreciate next year's Thanksgiving all the more. Plus my own family will gather the day afterwards for a tamalada, which will be a lot of fun.

Anyway, I make this sweet potato dish every year. It started when I attempted the sweet potato souffle recipe of a friend who was absent. I started with a few variations and then realized I was out of time and would have to do something simpler. This is extremely rich. You will gain five pounds just reading the recipe. But I love it.

6 large sweet potatoes
4 cinnamon sticks
6 star anise
1 lb. unsalted butter (cut into chunks)
1/2 cup maple syrup
salt to taste

Start by peeling the potatoes. Cut into 2-inch chunks and boil until soft. Drain, removing cinnamon and star anise. Mash with 3/4 cup butter. I usually then push the potatoes through a strainer for or five times to get rid of the fibers and achieve a silky texture. Put back on low heat, add the final 1/4 cup butter and the maple syrup, mix well, and salt to taste.

I've served this dish to 20 people at a very large pot luck (so there were several other dishes). If you're with a more restrained group with a smaller number of dishes it'll feed 12 easily.

3 comments:

Dave said...

Oh my god, Adriana, you're giving away your most valuable recipe! Seriously, all you readers of Adriana's blog, this dish might be the single most delicious thing I've ever eaten. It's ridiculously fattening, but every calorie is completely worth it. It will be the talk of your Thanksgiving, guaranteed.

Co said...

Thanks, Adriana. I will definitely have to try it pre-Turkey Day. It looks really decadent. :)

DramaLady said...

I can't remember if I've introduced myself before, but I'm sure you have lots of random people reading your blog so I won't waste your time. :O)

Did you write more at any other point about what a tamalada is or how it went? I googled it so now I know, but I'm drooling to know more.

-Wendy