Sunday, November 28, 2010

- Don't forget the sweet potatoes: Another Thanksgiving recipe

Our Thanksgivings didn't include sweet potatoes until we started going to the Laroche family feast. Since then, sweet potatoes with butter, brown sugar, and marshmallows have been de rigueur. But as they did so many years ago, sweet potatoes have once again become a new tradition, this time thanks to Danielle and Cory. They said this was a dinner side dish, but I wouldn't hesitate to serve it with whipped cream for dessert. Just don't wait until next Thanksgiving to try it ...

Sweet Potato Soufflé
  • 3 lbs sweet potatoes, cooked and puréed
  • 1/4 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • nutmeg and cinnamon to taste
Beat the eggs well and then mix everything else in until smooth.
Bake for 1 hr to 1 hr 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

- Winging it

Walking stick by Don
I've mentioned this before, but there's something magical about breads made near the shore ... kaiser rolls, bagels, and pizza always taste better to me on Long Island and the Outer Banks. Still, recent efforts in the Hill Country have yielded passable results, culminating in some pretty decent sandwich rolls yesterday. At least, that's what Meg told me, although I'm thinking it was the hiking outdoors that whetted our appetites.

Now it seems I may have created a monster, as Paul has decided the rolls would be the perfect platform for smoked turkey sandwiches at the beach next summer. Don't know if I'm going to be up for baking a dozen fresh rolls every day when I'm on vacation. So, here's my plan: I'll post the recipe now, which will give everyone time to practice between now and June 18th. Good luck with that, huh?

Hill Country Sandwich Rolls
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 heaping Tbs. gluten
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 Tbs. yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
Stir the water, yeast, and sugar together and let it work for a few minutes while you put the rest of the ingredients in a food processor. When the yeast is bubbling, pour into the flour and process, gradually adding more flour until the dough masses on the blade and no longer sticks to the sides of the processor bowl. Let 'er rip for a minute or so more, then turn out into a bowl. Work the dough with your hands, turning the edges under and adding flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to your fingers. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with a damp towel and leave in a warm place for a couple of hours.

Divide into 10-16 rolls, depending on desired size. As before, roll the edges of the dough under and up, adding flour as needed, until you have little pillows of dough with smooth tops. Pour puddles of olive oil onto a sheet pan, dip the top of each roll in the oil, and then place each roll in the middle of some oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Let the rolls rise for another hour under a damp towel. Bake at 375 (convection) or 400 (conventional), checking after 10 minutes.  Watch for the tops to brown, and take the rolls out when the bottoms are crunchy and brown. Cool for at least 20-30 minutes before slicing and serving.