Sweet Potato and Pumpkin

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    11/16/2009
    10:02 pm
    It’s November and  my mind is turning from novels and politics to sweet potatoes and pumpkins. I am starting to plan the Thanksgiving dinner.
                  Every year it’s the same problem, I far prefer sweet potato pie to pumpkin pie but I can’t do without mashed sweet potatoes with my turkey--which leaves me looking for a way to include pumpkin in our November feast.
                Sometimes I put it in the soup. One year it was a pumpkin and peanut soup that sounds awful but was wonderful. Other times I make a pumpkin pie of some sort. Last year it was a tiny pumpkin pie with candied ginger in a graham cracker crust accompanied by homemade pumpkin seed brittle.
                This year it’s going to be something a whole lot more fun and a whole lot easier. I’m buying pumpkin pie ice cream from a local artisan ice cream maker and pecan pralines from Pralines by Leon; which you can buy online. I am freezing the pralines in a plastic bag, bashing them with a rolling pin. I am then forming a ball of pumpkin ice cream which I am then rolling in praline crumble and placing in a martini glass.
                I am topping that with a hot chocolate sauce and sticking another praline on the back to look like a turkey tail in full fan.
                I like my pureed sweet potatoes with brown sugar and bourbon as the dominant flavors, and just a little cinnamon and nutmeg and allspice. I also like to add the tiniest bit of butter. And I whip them with a hand held electric mixer because the stringy parts get wrapped around the mixer blade and out of your puree.
                This year I’m making corn chowder for my soup and I’m using prosciotto from Benton’s hams to flavor and garnish it.
                 What ever soup you make try serving it with toast leaves. All you need is thin white bread, a rolling pin, and some small leaf shaped cookie cutters. Roll the bread flat. Stamp out leaf shapes with cookie cutters. Place the leaves on a cookie sheet in a slow oven till browned.
                You can float a single leaf in the center of a bowl or put several on the plate beneath the soup bowl.
                This is my twenty-second Thanksgiving with my daughter. My best friend Mimi ,who’s coming down with her husband and kids, have spent near to thirty Thanksgivings together. It has become our touchstone.
                Herb crisps, cheese straws, and dates stuffed with cream cheese, when these are passing on a silver tray I know it’s Thanksgiving. And when I’m ironing the white napkins getting ready to set the table I remember how deeply and how long I have l loved the guests who are coming.