23 October 2009

Screen Doors and Sweet Tea

Martha Hall Foose is the executive chef of the Viking Cooking School. She spends her days surrounded by Viking stoves and food. What a great gig. Last year she published her first book, Screen Doors and Sweet Tea. The recipes come complete with stories and cooking tips to make your recipes come out right.

The book is full of little hints that you may or may not know such as:

Taxamati rice is a good rice to serve under gumbo.

Cake flour is better to blend into sauces.

Don’t cook okra in cast iron.

To check the temperature of fish frying oil, drag a Diamond Strike Anywhere Match across the surface. If it lights, the oil is hot enough.

It’s a Southern cookbook, so there are recipes for fried chicken, grits, macaroni and cheese, ambrosia, corn bread and many other favorites. I think the key to a great Southern cookbook is taking something everyone makes and making it better. This recipe is one of the best!

Inside-out Sweet Potatoes

1 cup crushed cornflakes
1 large egg
6 sweet potatoes, baked and mashed
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon sherry, Bourbon or vanilla extract
8 large marshmallows
Canola oil, for frying (1 1/2 cups)

Put the cornflake crumbs in a shallow dish or pie pan. Beat the egg with 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl. Set aside.

Combine the mashed sweet potatoes with the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, flour, orange juice, and sherry. Working with your hands, use the mixture to encase each marshmallow, forming a ball. Dip each ball in the egg wash and then roll in the crumbs. Refrigerate while preparing to fry.

Preheat the oven to 200F. Set a wire rack over newspaper or paper towels to cool and drain the balls after frying.

In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat to 375 F.

Fry the balls one or two at a time for 3 to 4 minutes, turning as needed, until lightly browned.

Remove with a spider or slotted spoon, and place the drained balls on the prepared rack and in the oven to keep warm while frying the remaining batches. Serve warm.

Instead of those same old yams with marshmallows, give these a try. They are sure to become a family favorite.

Yesterday, we featured The Farmhouse Egg Cookbook. It shares a photographer with this book, Ben Fink. to see more of Fink's work check out his website, Ben Fink Photography.

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