Today is Sunday November 27, 2016- the Sunday after Thanksgiving. This year, for my family, today is our Thanksgiving. With four out of the six of us working in the culinary industry, holidays are not always a standard day off. This year, my mother had to work, so we moved dinner until today. The day might not be the same, but the food always is. We know it’s the holiday season when my mother has been up the whole night cooking our delicious family classics after working until 2am at the restaurant. By the time dinner time rolls around, she’s passed out on the couch. It’s crazy how we spend hours cooking meals that get devoured in minutes. We fill the gaps of rest of the day spending time with family before the tryptophan kicks in and we all pass out. Like the Cowboys and the Lions playing each Thanksgiving, my family has many turkey day traditions. Like each of us taking turns stirring the rice pudding, that from start to finish takes 45 minutes of constant attention. Food has always been something that brings us together and the holiday food in my home is pretty darn delicious (oh, have I mentioned how modest I am? lol) But seriously, our traditional Thanksgiving recipes are so good the day of, but are even better served cold, even days after. It’s interesting the amount of effort that goes into our Thanksgiving dinner, when most of us are just looking forward to the leftovers.
I am very thankful to have been raised in a family that loves good food, and that can make some pretty amazing food, My family has definitely shaped my love for food and is a big reason I have set myself on this culinary journey. In most households, the turkey is the star of the meal, but in my family, it’s the sides: savory Italian stuffing made from fresh made breadcrumbs with a strong taste of garlic and parsley, chunky cranberry orange relish instead of the traditional sauce that most households are used to, the same fresh breadcrumbs with garlic and herbs stuffed in artichokes and roasted, mashed turnips which are a nice and spicy alternative to mashed potatoes, a rice pudding that is made with so much love and care that its constantly tended to for 45 minutes, and the delicious light and fluffy Sweet Potato Soufflé.
The Sweet Potato Soufflé has been a staple in our house for longer than I have been alive (but just by a month. It’s as if my family knew that I was going to love food, and needed to start adding to the traditions. My mother found this recipe in a 1990 article in Gourmet Magazine, and it has been on our Thanksgiving table and our late night snack, and breakfast, and our cold sweet treat ever since then. We have definitely learned over the years that making more than needed is expected; if we don’t leave with leftovers it’s a sad week for us.
As of the past few years, my mom has been more willing to let the rest of the family help with making the sides for dinner, so that she doesn’t have to stay up all night. Each of us does their part to help bring dinner together. I usually help with all of the prep that she needs the day of and some of the execution of the dishes. I also help by adding a few dishes that I’ve picked up along the way during my time working in kitchens. One of my favorite dishes is one of the three mashed potatoes that I made at the steakhouse. The Sour Cream and Onion mashed potatoes are packed with so much flavor and always velvety smooth.
From my family to yours, I hope that you all had a great and safe Thanksgiving weekend and for your next holiday event you get to try these recipes and enjoy them as much as we do.
For the Classic Family recipe the Sweet Potato Souffle you start by covering the peeled and quarter sweet potatoes with cold water and bringing them to a boil for 25-45 minutes until fully cooked (it depends on the size of the dice).
Once the potatoes are done, drain them and return to the pot. Using an electric mixer, blend the potatoes until smooth.
While blending add in each ingredient, besides the topping ingredients, one at a time. Blend until smooth.
Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray, pour the sweet potato mixture into the dish, smooth out the top and top with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. The souffle will slightly rise and become a little firmer. Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
For the recent family addition to the holidays is an adaptation from a side dish I used to prepare at the steakhouse, Sour Cream and Onion Mashed Potatoes. To start, in a medium sauce pot over medium low heat sweat the onions until they become translucent.
Once translucent add the cream and bring to a boil for 5 minutes over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and let it reduce by a quarter.
Strain out the onions and return to the pot. Over low heat melt two sticks of butter in the cream.
While the cream is reducing cover the peeled and quarter potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil, boil for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Drain the water.
Using one of mu favorite kitchen tools, the ricer, mash the potatoes into a mixing bowl or back into the same pot.
Mix in half of the sour cream. While whisking add in the cream/butter mixture until the potatoes are light and fluffy. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and adjust the sour cream and cream/butter until desired taste and texture is achieved.
To serve top with chives and serve hot.
I hope you had the chance to enjoy this holiday season with the ones you love and ate a lot of really delicious food. Until next week, remember to always stay hungry!