That's what goes in the sweet potatoes—my mother-in-law's recipe. I popped my sweet potato cherry, so to speak, with her Thanksgiving sweet potatoes. I'd grown up as a picky eater, but then around 1990, I bravely ventured a taste of Mom's yams, and yum! Could easily double for dessert.
It keeps really well—this I know from Thanksgiving weekends when I'm still enjoying the leftovers come Sunday—so Ben and I made the sweet potatoes this afternoon. He helped me peel them (...I think I should've peeled all the way down to the brighter orange flesh to avoid the stringiness I fear is lurking in the casserole dish now) and boil them. We're having a small dinner group tomorrow—my mom and cousin are joining our threesome. So I figured five smallish sweet potatoes was enough for us. (Second thoughts: The leftovers are so good, I will want more, and I won't have them.) Boil for 45 minutes, drain the water, mash 'em. Melt together 1 cup of brown sugar and a stick of butter (well, that's the quantity for eight spuds, not five) and stir those in. Also stir in about a half to two thirds of a can of thawed OJ concentrate. Mmm, orangey goodness! Orange color + orange flavor = Orange Tangerine favorite.
If you're serving them right away, you might want to warm up the OJ concentrate first. Otherwise, throw it in a casserole dish and before serving, bake at 375° for 30 to 45 minutes.
What else is on the menu? Turkey, coming cooked from the grocery store. We'll just heat it up tomorrow. Dinner rolls, white and nubby multigrain. Mashed potatoes—oh yes, mashed potatoes. I like to load 'em with butter and sour cream and some black pepper, maybe a little rosemary if the mood strikes. French green beans, which is to say skinny green beans served simply with butter. The can of cream soup plus canned deep-fried onions thing has always grossed me out. Dumbly, I decided not to buy too many beans, and now I'm thinking how much I'd like to have those for leftovers lunch Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. My mom's bringing stuffing, gravy, and a cranberry-orange relish.
And for dessert, pecan pie. Ben and I need to roll out the pastry dough for the crust. I got the recipe from my friend Carla last year. She graduated from pastry chef school, but the all-butter recipe she likes is from her friend's late mother. I suck at the rolling and shaping of dough, and the dough wasn't cohering into a ball so I kept adding a little more milk until suddenly...too sticky. (I think that's how it went last year, though, and it tasted good anyway.) As for the pie filling—oh! the pie filling! It's my dad's recipe modification. Take the pecan pie recipe on a bottle of Karo dark corn syrup. Triple the quantity of pecans. Throw in a little extra butter, because butter is yummy. Use a deep-dish crust to accommodate the extra volume of pecans. The resulting pie: It's pecans all the way down. The wanness of a standard pecan pie, with a thin layer of nuts suspended atop an inch of goo? Not for me. I like it this way. One option I do sometimes is stirring in chocolate chips to make a chocolate pecan pie. Not sure which way I'll go this time—it may depend on whether I have two pie pans and enough crust to make both kinds of pie.
What am I grateful for this Thanksgiving holiday? Two things, mainly: That I don't have to travel (we're expecting the season's first snowfall here) and that the turkey will be cooked by Jewel. Not so sentimental, but there you have it.
Hope you all have a relaxing, safe, warm, nourishing holiday and that the people you're with don't drive you bonkers!