This year for Thanksgiving I got to be a guest! I really like hosting every other year, and getting to be a guest every other year. It means I get to mix it up. I can be in charge of it all one year, and just bring a couple dishes another year. And, one thing I really like about being a guest at a big Thanksgiving potluck is that I can try things that are a little experimental or a little different. No one is counting on me to make perfect mashed potatoes or the best green bean casserole! So, I get to play a little!
This year’s menu…
Cheese Puff Bread or Brazilian Cheese Bread (Fogo de Chao Bread) from Savory Experiments
Raw Pecan Chocolate Date Bars from This Rawsome Vegan Life
Chipotle Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes from Cooking Light
and, My Roasted Cranberry Sauce
Cheese Puff Bread: In a word, Awesome! I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to find the Tapioca Flour that’s called for in the recipe. But, it was actually quite easy. Both Sprouts and Mother’s Market carried it, and I’d guess that Whole Foods would as well. These are dense and have a cheesy doughy center (don’t expect light and fluffy bread rolls, and don’t overcook the milk batter. It came to a light scald and then I took it off the heat). And, they’re actually gluten-free. I baked them the day before, let them cool on a rack, and placed them in the fridge. A few minutes before Thanksgiving dinner we popped them in the oven for about 5 minutes. They came out perfectly! They were moist and cheesy, and were the first thing to disappear from the table. I would totally make these again!
Raw Pecan Chocolate Date Bars: These are rich and creamy little dessert bites. I made these with pecans in the crust (a pecan pie kinda thing). My crust came out pretty crumbly (as you can see in the pics), and I think I’d like a little maple syrup to bind the crust a little next time. I made the ganache topping in the food processor, and used 3 tablespoons cocoa powder along with maple syrup. My topping came out thicker than Emily’s topping, but I really loved the flavor of it! These were very good, and were a big hit. I was really happy with how many people ate and loved these!
This year Dan requested one of his favorites, Chipotle-Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes. The first time I made these was in 2001, so this recipe’s been around for a while. I made them once for Thanksgiving, and I made them WAY TOO spicy! It made me laugh just how hot they were. Since then, I’ve changed the recipe to use my chipotle paste. It helps keep the heat levels a bit more consistent. I’ve found that sometimes the peppers inside the cans vary widely in heat, so by blending them into a paste you get a more even heat level. And, you can measure the amount exactly.
My cousin told me that I need to make these sweet potatoes for every Thanksgiving from now on. He said he doesn’t usually like sweet potatoes because they’re usually too sweet and all covered with marshmallows and well, that’s just not for him. But these are nice and tingly and savory. I’ve given (what I consider) to be a medium spiciness for these; if you’re worried about the heat, just cut the chipotle paste in half, and taste. You can always add more, but you can never take it out.
- 1 pound sweet potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 ½ teaspoons chipotle paste
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- Place chopped sweet potato in a saucepan, and cover with cool water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until tender; drain. Push the cooked hot sweet potatoes through a potato ricer and into a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients to the mashed sweet potatoes, and stir until smooth and well combined.
- Find the instructions for making Chipotle Paste here: http://lifecurrents.dw2.net/chipotle-paste/
- If you don't have a potato ricer, you can mash the sweet potatoes by hand with a potato masher, or use an electric hand mixer.