Making Marmalade

January 10th, 2011

Jar of orange marmaladeIn 2006 I began a New Year tradition in my household: making orange marmalade from scratch, a process that’s fairly labor intensive but that results in some of the best marmalade that I and – to hear from my friends, neighbors and acquaintances who’ve gotten a jar – everyone else around me has ever had. No need to be humble about it I guess, since most of it is the work of Mother Nature.

It all started when a tree in my parent’s new garden suddenly bloomed one spring with an abundance of fragrant flowers, nearly a decade after they’d purchased the property. Whether the tree had been planted there deliberately by the previous owners or accidentally sprouted from a carelessly tossed seed we’ll never know, but my parents were delighted to see the blossoms turn into oranges over the course of the summer, fall and winter.

They weren’t so delighted when they actually tasted one.

The tree may very well be a Seville orange tree, famous for its fabulously sour fruit. Inedible out of hand, sour oranges are perfect for making traditional marmalade, so I picked a few armloads of fruit that first year and experimented at home with recipes found on the Internet. The tree itself has continued to produce fruit prodigiously and every year, when I return home to visit my parents for the holidays, we pick them all.

The fruit themselves are heavy. Really, really heavy. They look like ordinary oranges you’d find in the grocery store but the skins and pith are thick, the insides full of seeds and juice. They weigh nearly three times as much as you’d expect a normal orange to weigh. In fact, the fruit is so heavy that it bends most of the branches of the tree down to within easy reach. We all quickly learned, however, that the more fruit we picked, the lighter the branches got. Soon they’d lifted out of reach and we had to figure out how to get the rest of the oranges off the top of the tree. The second year we left almost half of the fruit unpicked simply because it was out of reach, even with the aid of a ladder.  Today it’s a quick and easy process involving a ladder, a pruning pole, shears and three people. Thick work gloves are necessary too because of the nasty thorns on the tree.

This year the yield was a little thin because of the drought and several freezes that diminished most of Dad’s citrus orchard, but last year the tree yielded nearly 145 pounds of oranges.

The New Year always starts out with a marmalade-making project of massive proportions that takes over my kitchen. It can take up to three months to complete and I’ve worn out at least one juicer in the process. The upside to this chaos is that the whole house smells of fragrant oranges until about March.

Despite being a novice at making marmalade, my first year was a success almost immediately — once I figured out how to get the slivers of peel just right.

The whole process begins with washing the oranges, then juicing and peeling them – in that order. Even though there are no pesticides of any kind, the oranges still manage to attract a fair amount of dirt (way up there in the tree, don’t ask me how) and need a good scrubbing before the peels can be used. I first soak the oranges to loosen the dirt, then use an antibacterial soap and scrub them, rinsing several times, before hand drying them with tea towels to keep them from going bad too quickly. With 145 pounds of oranges, just washing them took several days!

Next, I juiced them. Despite the thick peels and pith, the real weight of the oranges comes from an abundance of juice, so my puny little juicer gets a real workout. There’s a lot of pulp, pith, and seeds to toss as well as the occasional fruit that goes bad too quickly, so the trash fills up quickly with the remains of the innards of the oranges. Storage is also an issue, since the juice needs to be kept until the peels are prepared and ready to be cooked.

The really labor intensive part of the process comes next – preparing the peels. Frankly, this part took a couple of years of trial and error to get just right. Most folks suggest a sharp peeler to get thin pith-free slivers of peel off the oranges before they are juiced, but I didn’t really like the result: a somewhat tough candied peel. So I came up with a slightly more complex process that seems to result in a better end-product: once the fruit is juiced, I cut the emptied halves into half again and then slide a sharp knife along the flattened inside of the peel, scraping off most – but not quite all – of the pith. Kitchen sheers make quick work of the scraped peels after that. Obviously this takes a while to do and I’ve got to keep the peels moist or they’ll dry out and be hard to scrape and cut. I learned that juicing a few oranges and then preparing their peels right away worked best. The prepared peels also need to be kept in water and soaked and drained a couple of times to remove some of the bitterness. (Overnight for several nights worked best.) This method produces a slightly softer candied peel in the marmalade (especially when you add a pinch of baking soda later to the boiling water) with minimal bitterness and it leaves just enough of the pectin-containing pith intact for jelling the stuff properly with store-bought pectin.

Eventually all the peels are done (whew) and the jelly making can begin. That’s the fun part and it goes really quickly. If I’ve got enough sugar and jars, I can usually get all the juice and peels made into marmalade in a single day!

First, I start by boiling the peels. This is to get any remaining bitterness out of them rather than to soften them. To soften the peels, I boil them just once with a bit of baking soda. I found less is more here, since boiling them too long or with too much baking soda can result in mushy peels. It’s an inexact process: I usually have to boil, taste, drain and boil again several couple of times before they have the right taste and texture.

Once the peels are cooked and ready, it’s time to start making the marmalade. Six cups of sugar (yes!), four cups of peels and two cups of juice – that’s the recipe. I combine all but the sugar with one box of pectin and bring it to a rolling boil in the largest pot I’ve got. Then I dump in all the sugar at once and bring that to another rolling boil. At this point the marmalade is something akin to lava, so caution is necessary to avoid any bad burns. I keep it boiling for exactly one minute, then start ladling the liquid and peels into jars. If I’ve got the right balance of fruit, pectin and sugar, it starts firming up right away. If not, the peels float to the top of the jar and it takes a week for the marmalade to semi-set. If it doesn’t set at all, I’ll just recook with another box of pectin and reseal the jars. The taste is a little different if I have to do that, so getting it right the first time is always best.

I skip the processing part, which is when you put the sealed jars back into a boiling water bath for a specified amount of time, but only because I don’t have enough space and or equipment to handle all the jars and because the marmalade keeps pretty well once sealed. Any jars whose lid doesn’t go “pop” to indicate a seal gets stuck in the fridge and used first. Besides, between friends and family the stuff disappears rather quickly.

Last year’s massive haul – nearly 145 pounds of oranges – was used for experimentation. Friends happily volunteered to taste-test from eight different batches to find the perfect one. While peel texture seems to be a personal thing, I did come across one recipe that was universally liked. I also found that the marmalade can be made fairly successfully with the artificial sweetener, Splenda (I wanted to make something my diabetic mother could have) although it came out less sweet, more tart, slightly bitter and very cloudy due to the cornstarch that is blended with the Splenda. I’ll probably experiment with this formula a bit more to get a clearer product (liquid Splenda maybe? Stevia?) and a sweet, less bitter one too.

The marmalade making didn’t end with the oranges. Dad also grows Meyer lemons which made a beautiful marmalade one year. Unfortunately the peels stayed a little tough, so it wasn’t as satisfying to use but, oh my, the jelly was fantastic. I’d be doing that again this year, with improved peel preparation, but the Meyer lemon trees were hit hard by this year’s weather and didn’t produce any fruit. Next year, I hope!

Click here for photos of my Dad’s orchard.

Click here for photos of my marmalade-making process.

One thing I learned from all this? An effort like this requires a great deal of organization, but also a fair amount of patience and hard work. Now wonder it’s usually little old ladies and nuns who make this from scratch.

A Full Year

December 24th, 2010

It’s been a crazy year for me, no doubt about that; it’s taken paths I didn’t expect into a lot of exciting projects. I started out writing a couple of books and ended up auditioning for television, film and theater. I’ve been caving, rappelling, kayaking, fishing, and boating. I raised over a dozen butterflies, learned beekeeping and volunteered for an organic farming conference. I shot a glock 9mm pistol for the first time and got to wear a period costume as a background extra in a major movie currently in theaters. I made orange marmalade and tried to make cactus fruit jelly purely by experimenting. I’m learning to sing and to play the violin. I met a former President and toured NASA’s Johnson Space Center behind the scenes. I got to sit in the Flight Controller’s chair in the old Apollo 11 Mission Control Center. I helped my best friend get her own small business off the ground and I got behind the controls of a small plane to learn to fly.

And I’m only getting started.

One of the downsides of being in the world so much and doing so much is that I’ve neglected to update my personal blog with any of those goings on since, oh, September of 2009. So this is fair warning that I’ll eventually post a bunch of back-dated stuff on all the things I’ve done in 2010. Don’t hold your breath. I plan to stay this busy.

A Message

September 10th, 2010

Dear Pastor Jones,

Today I wished a happy Rosh Hashana to a friend then attended a Catholic rosary for the passing of another. I congratulated two wonderful human beings on 15 years of loving togetherness – despite the fact they are not allowed to marry because they are both of the same sex – and assisted an atheist friend who dedicates her life to comforting those grieving the loss of their animal companions.  Then I called my own family and wished them Eid Mubarak while I sat down to a family barbecue dinner with my Methodist in-laws.

Tomorrow I mourn my fellow human beings of every race, lifestyle, nationality and religion who died in the 9-11 attacks on America – an act perpetrated by a handful of unbalanced, hate-filled individuals – and I will do so the in the same way I try to live every day, with empathy and compassion.

This is how you “send a message”. And it’s the only one worth sending.

Peace and Love,
Fazia Begum Rizvi

Switzerland

December 29th, 2009

switzerlandI’ve not yet written a summary of my recent trip to Switzerland but at least all the photos are done! I’ve a ton of them up on Flickr if you feel like slogging through them but the following Facebook albums actually have some useful and descriptive captions:

Switzerland 2009 (1 of 5) – Basel
Switzerland 2009 (2 of 5) – Interlaken and Zermatt
Switzerland 2009 (3 of 5) – Zermatt
Switzerland 2009 (4 of 5) – Glacier Express and Chur
Switzerland 2009 (5 of 5) – Luzern and France

Curating My Family Media History

December 9th, 2009

Back in December of 2002 my husband and I spent a few days rescuing some family mementos:

Jeff’s helping me to finish digitizing the rest of my parent’s old Super 8
home movies. We did about four of them last year at the same time as a a
surprise present for my parents. Now I intend to get the rest of these onto
video tapes, and then eventually onto DVD.

This is the second holiday season I’ve spent as curator for my family’s visual history. The VHS tapes we created from the original Super 8s was hands-down one of the most successful and heartwarming gifts I’ve ever had the pleasure of giving. But how quickly times flies for technology! My parents now own nothing but DVD players – no more VHS – and it’s time to convert formats once again.

filmThe initial conversion required quite a bit of ingenuity to accomplish. My husband setup the process and together we spent several days carefully playing the original film (occasionally cleaning off a mold that can form, eating away the organic emulsion portion of the tape) through an old projector (while watching to make sure the ailing old film’s perforations actually caught on the projector’s sprockets and fed through the machine properly) onto a wall in a darkened studio. We had to stop playback several times to feed film through the projector when it failed in spots or when we came to a break in the film.  A digital camera captured the playback directly from the wall with surprisingly accurate results. The digital clips were then played back on a computer connected to a VHS recorder.

Understandably, this whole process was fairly time consuming. We could have simply handed the film canisters to a company that specializes in this sort of recovery but – at the time – that would have cost us thousands of dollars.

But with a little ingenuity and a few evenings spent in the studio marveling over the old film while I shared what I remembered – both of the content of the films and memories of evenings watching home movies with my family on our old projector – we now have the digital clips and it’s only a matter of another weekend or two to convert them to a DVD format using iMovie.

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Besides the visual history, we also saved some audio recordings of my sister and myself from when we were toddlers. My mother made these tapes from time to time to send to my grandmother in Finland. (Remember kids, this was WELL before the Internet.) My sister and I would sing songs, read stories or just chatter away into an enormous tape recorder until my mom had enough to fill up a sixty minute tape and send it to her mother. When my grandmother passed away decades later and we visited Finland to settle her estate, we discovered she’d kept all the tapes.

For this conversion I made use of the fact that I worked at a media services outfit; the recording studio was setup to capture playback from audio cassettes directly into a computer. From there I could just use my own desktop computer to burn a music CD with tracks made from the recordings. I even used Photoshop to create a little CD jacket cover with a picture of my sister and I on the front cover and the tracks listed on the back.  (Listen as I recite “Humpty Dumpty” – I was 3 & 1/2 years old at the time.)

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I picked up a new project this year – converting all the old pictures in my parent’s photo albums into a digital format. To do them all will, quite frankly, probably take years. At the moment I’m concentrating only on the collections from before I was born: photos of my parents when they were children, photos of my grandparents when they were married and even photos from when they were children. Some of what I’ve stumbled across may even be of my great-great-grandparents. The fact that all of these old photos come from two different regions of the world — Finland and India — makes them all the more fascinating to me.

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The process is fairly simple. I scan the photos at a fairly high resolution and then save them – without making any changes whatsoever – as TIFFs for as little loss of data as possible. These go into a digital archive where we can retrieve them as needed. These are the files I’ll work from if I want to make a printable photo for a frame in the bookcase or on the wall.

Since I already have Photoshop open I then save a second copy of each photo, after doing some basic level, contrast and color correction as well as any repairs for water stains, tears or other blemishes. I then resize the image and save it as a JPEG, to be shared with family or on Flickr or websites.

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It’s a simple process but does take some time. I’ve finished one album but I’ve got six more to go before I go home for the holidays and then I get to start on the hundred or so other albums of family photos from after I was born.

Baked Salmon

May 7th, 2009

I’m being lazy with my blog and just re-posting my recipes for now. I hope you like them!
This one was originally posted on Monday, August 4th, 2003

Baked Salmon

Prep work takes about 10 minutes.

1 one pound salmon fillet (Coho Salmon if you can get it)
2 Tablespoons of a dry white wine
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon lemon pepper spice mix
a pinch of kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon dill (dried is fine, fresh would be better)
a few grinds of black pepper
1 shallot, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 350.

Drizzle a little of the oil into a shallow baking dish. Wash and pat dry the salmon, then place it in the baking dish. Using small needle-nose pliers, pull out the pin bones. (Run your finger up along the thick part of the meat and you’ll feel them sticking out.)

Carefully pour the white wine and lime juice on top of the fish. Drizzle the rest of the olive oil on top. Sprinkle with lemon pepper spice mix and gently rub the oil and spices into the fish. Sprinkle on the kosher salt, dill weed and a few grinds of black pepper. Lay the shallot slices on top.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Slow Cooker Chicken with Garlic Mashed Poatatoes

May 1st, 2009

Another recipe from the archives.

Originally posted December 15, 2003:

Slow Cooker Chicken with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This is a recipe that’s best made one day ahead of time. On day one you’ll need:

1 whole chicken
2 yukon gold potatoes
10 or so new potatoes
several pinches of kosher salt
several grinds of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
1 large handful (several springs) of rosemary

Wash and trim the chicken of any extra fat and remove (and discard) all the innards. Pull back the skin. Cut the yukon gold potatoes in half and arrange all potatoes on the bottom of the slow cooker. Set the chicken on top of them and stuff with the rosemary. Sprinkle salt, pepper, thyme and basil and replace the skin. Sprinkle with the lemon pepper. Cover and cook on low, 6 hours. When cooked, remove chicken to an oven-proof container. Remove potatoes to another container, and drain all the liquid into a third container. Place everything in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day you’ll need:

2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon whipping cream
1 cup canned low sodium chicken broth
1 cup of the chicken stock from the previous night (skim the fat off of
the top and discard)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Place the chicken in the oven and turn it on to 350 degrees for the chicken to warm up while you prepare the potatoes. Cut all the new potatoes in half and then push all the potatoes through a potatoe ricer into a microwave-proof bowl. (Alternatively you can simply roughly mash them up and leave the skins on, or peel them all and roughly mash them up. Leave chunks.) Heat them in the microwave for three minutes, stirring every minute. In a pan on the stove, heat the other tablespoon of butter and four over medium-low heat until it has a light golden color. Remove from heat and add cream. Stir until it a smooth paste again. Slowly whisk in the chicken stock, then the broth. Remove potatoes from the microwave and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder and stir. Add one cup of the broth mixture and stir. Add another 1/2 cup or cup, depending on the potatoes and stir. (You want them to be thick and fluffy and not watery.)

Remove the chicken from the oven and enjoy!

Halibut Baked in Grape Leaves

April 6th, 2009

One afternoon in 2003, while waiting in a Doctor’s office lounge, I came across an intriguing recipe  recipe that suggested wrapping a piece of fish in grape leaves before baking.

I had two enormous jars of grape leaves, packed in acidulous water that I had bought from a Mediterranean grocery store. I’d intended to make dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) but never got around to it, then forgot I had one jar and bought another one! Naturally, when I saw a recipe for baking fish inside a pouch of grape leaves I decided to try it.

It is absolutely fantastic. If you can get grape leaves – fresh or in a jar – I highly recommend this approach; it was quick, easy and absolutely delicious and the fish was moist, tender and full of flavor.

Originally posted Friday, July 8th, 2003:

Halibut Baked in Grape Leaves

You can use just about any fish, but I used halibut as the recipe recommended.

2 boneless/skinless halibut fillets
3 or 4 fresh grape leaves (or 5 or 6 canned/preserved) for each skinless fillet
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then lightly oil a baking dish. Lay out the leaves on a cutting board, overlapping them to create an 8 inch round circle. Sprinkle with half the olive oil, the thyme, salt and fresh ground pepper. Place a fillet in the center of the leaves and wrap them around it in a clockwise fashion to close it up. Lay the package, seam side down, into the baking dish and bake for 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. (The grape leaves will crisp up.) Carefully transfer to a platter and peel away the leaves.

I cooked mine for twenty minutes, then turned off the oven and let it sit in there until I’d finished some pasta (about another 5 minutes).

The fillets are delicious plain but the recipe also included a fantastic vinaigrette to serve it with:

3 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients together and pour about a tablespoon or so over each fish fillet

Bar M Ranch Ride

March 21st, 2009

img_8732Ye gods, I’m sore. I wasn’t feeling it last night, or even this morning; the aches and pains kinda creep up on you and yell “psych!”

Still, it was so very worth it. I spent an absolutely gorgeous morning riding horseback through a Texas Hill Country ranch with my best friend Valerie and I can’t wait to do it again.

Valerie and I have known each other since we were in junior high school – I think that’s been about twenty-eight years now (my mother calls Valerie her “other daughter”) – and in all the time I’ve known her, Val’s always been an avid horse fan. From collecting Beyer horse models, to reading every fiction and non-fiction book about horses to her jacket full of patches of the different breeds, horses have always been a passion for her. She even manged to live her dream and own several horses, including seeing one through a pregnancy and then raising the foal to a healthy, lively adult mare.

img_4230When she was a horse owner, she took me out riding a handful of times and I learned how to (mostly) handle myself (western-style) on a horse. I even did a trailride in Cuero, Texas back in 1999. But since her Raindancer passed away Valerie hasn’t been around horses much. Cloudjumper (Raindancer’s foal) has a new home as do many of the other horses I remember Val fostering for brief periods of time.

So, naturally, it had been a while since she’d been riding and she was really missing it. That’s when she called me up and invited me to ride with her at the Bar M Ranch in Bandera, Texas:

Located just 55 miles northwest of San Antonio in the midst of the majestic Texas Hill Country, the “Bar M” ranch is situated on a hilltop plateau offering 360 degree panoramic views of the neighboring Bandera countryside. Just 2 and 1/2 miles from the historic town of Bandera, we’re only minutes away from the festivities of the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” where rodeos and horses are a way of life.

The “Bar M” is comprised of scenic mountain views and has over one mile of wooded trails along the picturesque San Julian creek. The ranch provides a safe haven for an abundance of wildlife including whitetail deer, the exotic axis deer and blackbuck antelope, Russian boar hogs, mountain lions, bobcats, wild turkey, the elusive fox, the adorable armadillo, ringtails, coyotes, jack rabbits and, of course, the curious raccoons.

The Bar M offers private and personalized horseback rides tailored to different experience levels. We chose a three hour morning ride along prepared trails through the ranch, up and over some of the hills and through different kinds of terrain.

It was early enough to be a bit nippy at first. In fact, the drive into the ranch from Bandera was so foggy we weren’t sure we’d find the ranch entrance! Still, the fog in the hills was breathtakingly beautiful and it burned off quickly to become a beautifully sunny day.

Our wrangler started by talking to us about the horses, and the specific personalities of the ones we were about to ride – Gus and Reny:

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She asked about our backgrounds and experience. Since I was not that terribly experienced she took some time to show us how the bit worked, how to approach the horse, mount, dismount, sit on the saddle, handle the reins and guide the horse. None of it was unfamiliar, but the refresher was much appreciated and I did learn several new things.

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After the lesson we gave the horses some treats and pats, then got our gear, mounted up and got going. The two ranch dogs, Chula and Paris, joined us for the whole trip, trotting alongside, charging up the hillside and splashing in the water. They were pretty tuckered out when it was all over.

I was carrying along a Canon Rebel in a backpack that I only pulled out when we were stopped and off the horses. Next time, I might leave the backpack behind and simply take two lenses and the camera body in the saddlebags. The smaller Canon Elf was a lot easier to whip out with one hand and take pictures of the scenery, myself and Valerie behind me.

We rode single file, in a specific order – horses do have a pecking order that has to be respected or there can be biting and kicking. Our wrangler reminded us that a little space between riders is also a good idea, especially since Gus was a bit of a prankster and liked to nip the butt of the horse in front of him if he could.

The property itself is a good example of every kind of terrain you might see in Central Texas, from flat meadows with grazing cattle and deer, to rocky hillside slopes covered in oak, mesquite and cedar. Our wrangler pointed out the creek, which unfortunately was pretty dry due to the severe drought we’ve had. Still, a few spots had some water, and she pointed out her “redneck jacuzzi” – a spot on the creek where water would normally rush over the rocks into a small pool before bubbling out, very much like parts of Perdenales State Park.

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At one point in the ride the sounds our horses hooves made changed dramatically, as if the ground they were walking on was hollow. In fact, it was! We were riding over just one of the many caves on the property and the sound was especially hollow sounding because the caves were drier than usual. One cave, high on the hill, was used by the turn-of-the-century owner to store the bootleg hooch that he made with his own still. I found all the cave info especially fascinating because my sister-in-law, Jessica, is now a cave biologist who was extremely active in Texas caving when she lived here. The ranch also has evidence of its geologic past, when the Gulf of Mexico covered this part of the state.

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Other historical tidbits included evidence of Native American use from long ago, from the arrowheads found on the property, to evidence of encampments, use of the caves, a pecan grove that was obviously planted, rather than natural and one oak burl carved into a bison head. The original homestead, dating back to the late 1800’s is still on the property as were two hand dug wells that dated back about a hundred years.

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We saw cattle, hawks and antelope, and our wrangler pointed out a watering hole that she’d spotted a black cougar (either a black panther up from Mexico or maybe a jaguarundi) drinking from not too long ago.

In the end it seemed like the time just flew by. This ride was so very different from the trail ride I’d been on in Cuero with its hundreds of people and horses over wide open spaces, stopping every twenty minutes for a break to drink and socialize. This ride was a level of magnitude nicer, just the three of us women riding through a much more interesting countryside, at our own pace on a peaceful morning. When I wanted to stop and take a picture we could, and we could just keep going if no one wanted a break.

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I enjoyed it so very much. I know both Valerie and I will be back there, perhaps several times.

Check out the whole photoset of our ride at Flickr.

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Sweet Potato Pie

February 22nd, 2009

Apparently today is “National Cook a Sweet Potato Day” day, according to Foodimentary. In that spirit I offer you my recipe for Sweet Potato Pie. I used a recipe from “The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink” and added some of my own touches.

Originally posted Friday, October 31, 2003:

Sweet Potato Pie

1 lb sweet potatoes
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 t salt
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t ground cloves
3 eggs
3/4 c milk
3/4 c heavy cream
1 T butter
1 pie plate lined with pastry crust (I used Mrs. Smith’s 9″ deep dish home style pie crusts.)

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Poke a bunch of holes in the sweet potatoes with a fork, then microwave on high for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Cut in half and scoop out the meat inside into a large bowl and beat till smooth. Blend in the brown sugar, salt and spices. Beat in the eggs, milk and heavy cream and then beat in the butter. Pour into pie crust, leaving about a half inch space from the top. Bake at 400 degrees for about 40-45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

I think the cream is important and I use one type in all my ice creams and in this pie. It’s a product of Holland, “Dairytime” or “DairyLand” pure cream. Since I get mine from
Phonecia in Houston
it’s got Arabic writing all over it.