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Monthly Archives: June 2019

Don’t forget desserts for Thanksgiving

Every Thanksgiving feast is not complete without dessert. Often people eat seconds and thirds on Thanksgiving, making the dessert course often saved until later. I personally like to have something sweet after this large meal.

With these two desserts, I am featuring two prominent Louisiana ingredients, Pecans and Sweet Potatoes. While both of these ingredients are often found in other Thanksgiving dishes, I feel that they really shine when included in a dessert. Pecan pies are a staple in Southern homes. Often, sweet potatoes are also made into pies for the holidays, but I wanted to share two different types of desserts. Here are my suggestions for this year’s dessert table.

Pecan pie is a perfect dessert any time of the year. If I could, I would have Chef Frank Brigtsen, in New Orleans, ship me one of his pecan pies. Since he does not ship, I make my own. One year, I was looking to put a twist this classic. Since chocolate tends to dominate dessert menus, I thought I would add some to my pecan pie. The results were well received. Now, I get as many request for a chocolate pecan pie as a do a regular one.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

3 cups Sugar
Pinch of Salt
7 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa
4 Large Eggs
1 tablespoon Vanilla
1 (12 ounce can) Evaporated Milk
1 stick Butter, melted
1 cup Pecan Halves
2 unbaked Deep Dish Pie Shells

Preheat oven to 350℉.

In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, salt and cocoa together. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and milk. Stir into the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter and stir until well blended. Sprinkle pecan halves into the pie shell, about 1/2 cup per shell. Pour the filling over the pecans. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

Creme Brûlée is often thought of as a fancy dessert. While it does lend itself to upscale dinners, Creme Brûlée is a great dessert anytime. This recipe is great for the holidays. Most Creme Brûlées are served individually. This one is served in a large dish, so you can eat as much or as little as you want. Since you have just eaten a large Thanksgiving meal, a small portion of dessert is a great way to end your meal.

Sweet Potato Creme Brulée

1 very large Sweet Potato, baked, peeled and mashed (1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup packed Light Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
2 cups Whipping Cream
3/4 cups Granulated Sugar
7 Egg Yolks, slightly beaten
3 teaspoons Vanilla
1/3 cup Turbinado Sugar (Sugar in the Raw)

Preheat oven to 325℉.

Butter a 10-inch quiche dish.

In a medium bowl, mix mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar and lemon juice. Spoon mixture into quiche dish.

In a 2-quart sauce pan, stir together the whipping cream, granulated sugar, egg yolks and vanilla. Cook over medium-low heat about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until hot (do not boil). Pour over sweet potato mixture. Place dish in shallow pan. Place pan in oven. Pour enough boiling water into pan to depth of 3/4 inch (about halfway up the side of the dish). Bake 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean. Carefully remove the dish from the water. Cool on cooling rack. Cover; refrigerate at least 8 hours.

When ready to serve, set oven control to broil. Sprinkle custard with raw sugar. Place dish on a sheet pan. Broil with top 4 to 6 inches from heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until the sugar is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Now that we have ended our Thanksgiving feast with something sweet, time to clean up the kitchen and put away the leftovers. My mind starts thinking what to do with the leftover turkey. Next time, I will share with you a couple of my favorite turkey recipes.

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

The holidays are quickly approaching. Thanksgiving is a few weeks away with Christmas right around the corner. These are the two largest cooking holidays on the calendar. In my family, everyone brings a couple of dishes. As large as my family is, the number of different dishes often number in the twenties.

The majority of the dishes are the sides. From Dirty Rice to Green Bean Casserole, the possibilities are endless. While there is always a new dish or two to try, a few dishes appear at every gathering. Today, I am sharing with you two recipes that are near and dear to my heart. A holiday gathering without either of these two dishes to me would be incomplete. Oyster Dressing and Dirty Rice are recipes that bring back memories of two very important ladies in my life, my mother Mona and my mother-in-law Lorraine. I cannot make these dishes without a happy thought coming to my mind and a smile being put on my face.

This recipe is a mainstay on New Orleans holiday tables. Oysters are a perfect fit to winter holiday menus. With their versatility, the sky is the limit in the ways oysters are used.

This recipe was a favorite of my mother-in-law. She used to make Oyster Dressing every Christmas. The only issue was that not many of the family ate the dish. As she got older, she stopped making it, with many other dishes to make. My second Christmas in the family, my wife asked me if I would make Oyster Dressing for her mother. Of course, I was more than happy to. Here is the recipe that I cooked that Christmas.

Oyster Dressing

2 teaspoons Butter
1 pint Oysters, reserving the liquor they come in
2 tablespoons Canola Oil
2 cups Onions, chopped
1 cup Green Bell Pepper, chopped
1 cup Celery, chopped
2 teaspoons Creole Seasoning
2 Bay Leaves
1 tablespoon Garlic, minced
1/4 cup Fresh Parsley, minced
1 cup Seafood Stock
1/4 cup Green Onions, chopped
4 cups French Bread cut into 1-inch cubes
1/3 cup Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 375℉.

Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish with the butter. Drain the oysters, reserving the oyster liquor. In a large skillet oven medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions, bell pepper, celery and Creole seasoning and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the bay leaves, garlic and parsley, and sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the green onions, oyster liquor and the bread cubes. Stir to mix well and remove from the heat. In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread mixture with the oysters and cheese. Stir to mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the baking dish and bake for 1 hour or until bubbly and golden brown. Remove the bay leaves before serving.

This recipe is a family favorite. I make it for every holiday get together. A few years ago, my brother Ken presented me with the skillet that my mother used to make Dirty Rice among many other recipes. To this day, I will not make this dish in anything other than my mother’s skillet. For some reason, it taste better.

Dirty Rice

1 pound Ground Chuck
6 cups Cooked Rice
1/2 cup Green Onions, chopped
2 tablespoons Garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Creole Seasoning
2 cups Chicken Stock

Brown ground chuck over medium heat. Drain the fat. Add the green onions and garlic and cook until soft. Add the rice and mix well. Add the creole seasoning and mix well. Add stock and cook until it is all absorbed. Taste and adjust the seasonings before serving.

These traditional side dishes are perfect on any menu, not just for holidays. Next week, I will offer some ideas to end a Thanksgiving meal, Desserts.