Sunday, November 23, 2008

Talkin' Turkey

We are lucky to be invited to my sister's in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner. This is a new tradition that was started about 3 years ago. Charlotte is a gracious host, makes delicious food, and her home is so beautiful. She sets an amazing table and I always feel like I have stepped into a Southern Living magazine when we are there. The only bad thing is, that we never have left overs at our house. Last year I decided that I would just start making a turkey for us so that we could have it for dinner one night and then enjoy leftover turkey sandwiches for the rest of the week. This year I thought why not make the full Thanksgiving dinner. So I bought a turkey and all the fixings for our favorite trimmings. Many of you know that I read Pioneer Woman daily. I used her recipe for dressing, and Gwynneth Paltrow's recipe for sweet potatoes...yes I said Gwynneth Paltrow. Who knew Gwynnie was so domestic? You can sign up for her blog newsletter at Meanwhile, here is the recipe for the potatoes, I'm sure she won't mind me sharing.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Maple Syrup, Orange and Spices

* 3 3/4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled* 1 1/4 cup real Vermont maple syrup* 1/4 cup vegetable oil* 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves* 1 large orange* 3 star anises
Preheat the oven to 375º F.
Cut each sweet potato in half horizontally and then cut each half into 1/3 planks (about four slices per half depending on the size of the sweet potato). Lay the sweet potatoes in a single layer in one large or two medium baking dishes (two 13 x 9 dishes will do the job).
Mix the maple syrup, vegetable oil, cinnamon and cloves together in a small bowl. Peel off four large strips of zest from the orange. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl with the maple syrup mixture. Pour this mixture evenly over the sweet potatoes, nestle in the strips of zest and the star anise. Bake for 45 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft and saturated.

The only change I made was that I sliced the potatoes into rounds. The reason for this is that some of my happiest memories are of being at my Mam-ma's house. Thanksgiving at her house was no exception. I still miss those days but am so thankful for the memories that I have of her. Her friend Audrey always joined our family for dinner and she always brought sweet potatoes. They were sliced into rounds with the most delicious, sticky, syrupy stuff all over them and marshmallows roasted perfectly over the top. I haven't tasted any better since then, and I sure have tried! I am sure every time I have tried that Audrey and Mam-ma are watching and saying to each other "Oh Lord, look at that, poor thing doesn't know what she's doing!" and they would be right. But these potatoes were pretty darn good, just not "Audrey" good. I also didn't use the star anises, I don't know what those are so I felt free to leave them out.
I hope you and your families have a great Turkey Day. I hope each of you have the fond memories of Thanksgivings past that I do and that one day, your children will look back and feel the same way!