Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Santa keeps me cooking

I must have been good this year because Santa brought me lots of cooking accessories, implements, and appliances!

Looks like homemade waffles are on the menu for New Year's Day!!

This is an old timey cookie mold. It's almost too pretty to use, though, and will be just kitchen decoration at least for now.

I asked for these tools. The peeler because my old one is just too dull. I discovered that while attempting to peel a pile of potatoes for latkes earlier this month. Uf. The sharp grater is perfect for harder things, like nutmeg. And since, after tasting the intense flavor of fresh grated nutmeg earlier this month I vowed to never purchase ground nutmeg again, I desperately needed this to stick to that promise.

Isn't this cute? Since I often have to wear an apron when we're hosting friends for dinner, it's wonderful to get one that's just as pretty as a party frock. Detail of the front pocket below. Thanks, Mom!

I was so excited to unwrap Thomas Keller's "Ad Hoc At Home." It's a surprisingly large tome for a casual, family style cookbook, but since having the Heirloom Tomato Salad and Buttermilk Fried Chicken at Ad Hoc restaurant in Napa (while dining next to Mr. Keller himself!) I've been dying to recreate them at home. Coming up on New Year's Eve, Fried Chicken!!

Lastly, my mother gifted me her very own, well loved copy of Julia Child and Simone Beck's "The Art of French Cooking." I was most touched by this hand-me-down since Christmas is all about family traditions, particularly of the edible kind. My mother is an excellent cook and hostess. I continue to learn from her and will treasure her cookbook treasures!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Spicy Sweet Potato Casserole

These sweet potatoes have a spicy thai twist that had all our Thanksgiving guests happily licking their lips and guessing what the tasty magical flavorings were. I'm making them again this week to go with our Christmas ham.

Fiery Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from the New York Times

Time: About 2 hours

5 pounds sweet potatoes

1 cup lite coconut milk

1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste

1/2 cup brown sugar -dark or light

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon salt.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake potatoes on a baking sheet until very soft, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, peel and mash.

Heat coconut milk with curry paste over in a heat proof bowl in microwave until warm. Stir until combined. Mix coconut milk mixture, half the sugar, half the butter, and salt into potatoes. Keep warm until ready to serve, or cover and refrigerate up to two days.

At least 30 minutes before serving, heat oven to 425 degrees. Put potatoes in a baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover potatoes, dot with remaining butter and sugar and broil until brown and crusty on top, checking often to prevent scorching.

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.