Not My Mama's Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potato-peach-cashew bake. 

Growing up my mother almost always made sweet potato casserole---the one with the marshmallows on top--- for Thanksgiving, and I had continued this tradition until this year.  I discovered a sweet potato-peach-cashew bake recipe in Better Homes and Garden, and I believe I've started a new tradition for my obligatory Thanksgiving sweet potato dish.



  1. In a small bowl combine brown sugar, cashews, salt, and ginger; set aside. In a 1 1/2 to 2-quart baking dish layer half the sweet potatoes, half the peach slices, and half the brown sugar mixture. Repeat layers. Dot with butter.
  2.  Bake, covered, in a 350 degree F oven 30 minutes, stirring once. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more or until potatoes are tender. Spoon cooking juices over potatoes and peaches before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

I prepared this a couple of days before Thanksgiving and placed it in the refrigerator.  It was ready to pop into the oven for dinner on Thanksgiving.
Out of oven and ready to serve. 

This was my favorite dish at dinner today, well second best, oyster stew was my very favorite. Yes, this recipe is a keeper.  

Something Other Than Pumpkin Pie

We are having an unusual Thanksgiving Dinner this year. Because of my eye surgery a few days before Thanksgiving it is difficult to cook so I toned down our usual Turkey Dinner.   I saw this recipe by Melisssa Clark in the NYT and thought it would be a different kind of dessert for the holidays.  Dan likes egg custard very much, and this is a twist on regular custard with maple syrup providing the sweetness.

                                                            NUTMEG-MAPLE CREAM PIE


  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • 2 ¼ cups heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pre-baked 9-inch pie crust


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce maple syrup by a quarter, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in cream and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
Reducing the maple syrup. 
Stir in cream.
In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and egg. Whisking constantly, slowly add cream mixture to eggs. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a cup or bowl with pouring spout. Stir in salt, nutmeg and vanilla.
Strain egg and cream mixture.
Add freshly grate nutmeg (The nutmeg is key to this recipe.)
Pour filling into crust and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until pie is firm to touch but jiggles slightly when moved, about 1 hour. Let cool to room temperature before serving.
Baked pie and custard.
Ready to eat. 
My pie crust didn't turn out so well, and I had more custard than it would hold so I filled three custard cups with the remaining mixture.  Since I have trouble making pie crust, next time I think I will just use this recipe and make individual custards. The nutmeg and maple combination made for a delicious custard.  I need to work on my pie crusts. 

Red Lentil Soup with Squash and Ginger

Red lentil, squash, ginger soup.

In the fall of the year, I am always on the lookout for new soup recipes, and I found this one in the NY Times.  I have modified this recipe by Martha Shulman.  Lentil soup is a favorite of ours, but never have I used red lentils.  I was intrigued by the use of a new (to me) kind of lentil especially in combination with winter squash.   And anything with a touch of ginger is always appealing.   


                                      Red lentil, squash, ginger soup


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 5 cups of diced butternut squash (I use the already diced available at the grocery.)
  • 2 quarts water 
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons butter 
  • Plain yogurt, for garnish


Heat oil over medium heat in large, heavy soup pot. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and cumin seeds. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute.

Stir in turmeric, squash, red lentils and 2 quarts water. Turn up heat, add salt to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, skim off foam, cover and simmer 35 to 45 minutes, until squash and lentils are tender.
Purée soup using an immersion blender (or working in batches in a blender).  Add black pepper and heat through.
Just before serving, add butter.

Add a dollop of yogurt as garnish.

Somewhere along the way of my learning to cook I discovered an easy way to peel garlic using the bowl of a spoon.
The red lentils turn a pale yellow when cooked.  
This recipe did not disappoint!