Sunday, December 5, 2010



Yup… more than a week later and I still feel like a stuffed turkey.

Richard and I started off Thanksgiving week (yes, I mean WEEK) arriving at my brother and sister-in-law’s (hereafter referred to as Bob & Nguyen) house in Sacramento after a grueling, pouring-rain, 6-hour drive on the I-5 to be greeted with single malt, fine wine and a glorious rib roast dinner w/ the most delicious mini popovers ever.  Bob is so in love w/ his new popover pan he wanted to show it to everyone the way a child shows off a new doll or truck – but Nguyen did put her foot down when he wanted to take it to bed w/ them.

The next day at our niece Hoang and her husband Eric’s home in San Francisco – more single malt, more fine wine and a huge Italian dinner.  Playing w/ their 8 month old son, Ari, did not burn enough calories.

Then there were leftover roast beef & cheddar grilled paninis, cheeseburgers, wine tasting, salads, ham, roast chicken, salmon on pureed peas and it wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet.

But turkey Thursday arrived and Richard and my cousins put on a feast that would have made the Pilgrims and native Americans proud.  I set the tables (hey, there were a lot of us!). 

Besides the obligatory turkey courtesy of John & Richard (what would Thanksgiving be w/o one!?) and stuffing (courtesy of Linda) – gravy via Richard (I’ll be doing a separate blog on this gravy) and mashed potatoes via John & Richard… there were the scrumptious appetizers from cousin Michele: 

Warm crab dip…

Tangy meatballs…

and eggplant caviar that’s become a favorite (see recipe below)

There was Richard’s Brussels sprouts w/ bacon…

and his sweet potato casserole w/ bourbon & pecans (see recipe below)…

and Michele’s sautéed stringbeans…

Stefany’s chocolate cupcakes w/ peanut butter frosting, topped w/ peanut butter cups…

Tarah’s pumpkin pie …

and an apple pie thrown in, just in case anyone remotely felt there wasn’t enough food…

One of the great things about large family gatherings (14 this time) – there’s an instant available clean-up crew. 

And, after that joyous meal, no one was complaining… some where snoozing maybe...

but not complaining.        

When we left for LA a few days later, I jogged home.



6 pounds sweet potatoes (about 6 large)
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups pecan halves (about 8 ounces)
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Prick sweet potatoes w/ a fork and roast in a baking pan bake in middle of oven until tender – about an hour.

When just cool enough to handle, peel potatoes and transfer half to a food processor.  Add bourbon and 6 tablespoons butter and puree 30 seconds.  Transfer puree to a large bowl.  Puree remaining potatoes in food processor until completely smooth and transfer to bowl.  Stir puree until combined well and season w/ salt and pepper.  Transfer puree to a 2-quart gratin dish or other shallow baking dish.  Puree may be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered.  Bring puree to room temperature before proceeding.

Reduce oven temperature to 325.

In a shallow baking pan spread pecans in one layer and bake in middle of over until fragrant – about 10 minutes.  Toss hot pecans w/ remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and coarse salt.  Pecans may also be made 2 days ahead and kept in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Arrange pecans on top of puree and sprinkle w/ brown sugar. 

Bake puree in upper third of oven until heated through and pecans are slightly browned – about 30 minutes.

Serves 8



2 eggplants peeled and chopped
one large onion chopped
3-4 or more chopped garlic cloves
green olives (optional)
capers (optional)
tomato sauce

Saute all in a great big frying pan with olive oil (quite a bit cause the eggplant really soaks it up) don’t worry its a healthful fat…
salt, pepper, I add Adobo seasoning and picant seasoning and basil
When eggplant is soft add some sliced green olives, and capers if you like. Then add your tomato sauce… a good thick sauce. Michele used one of those 5# cans and dumped it in until she liked the consistency. Heat through then splash on some more olive oil if you like.
Transfer to serving dish and refrigerate. She likes this dish because she can make it the night before, then reheats it on the stove and serves warm with crackers.


Elizabeth said...

Oh Mercy the brussels sprouts with bacon and sweet potato casserole with bourbon and pecans are just making my mouth water! I am printing off the recipe for the casserole. Damn I am already in love with your blog!

Anonymous said...

Oh, that looks delish! I think I may want to try that sweet potato casserole - and I'm not even a big fan of them! Something about a mushy lump of sweet potatoes scooped out of a can with marshmellows dumped on top just doesn't appeal to me...but that looks yummy!

Stu said...

My God! That Bourbon Sweet Potato Purée recipe from Thanksgiving sounds soooo good…and I don’t even like sweet potatoes! I’m copying it and we’re making it for Christmas! Count on it! -

bobsaari said...

Yes, it was a great food week... Just beginning to feel a little hungary again. I think I am going to do the brussels sprouts and bourbon sweet potatoes for Christmas... And, yes my mini popovers!