Monday, January 31, 2011

sweet potato pie

Well, it was a debacle. The sweet potatoes are not orange, one didn't mash properly, the butter was all chunked in the pie. I have no pastry blender and my kitchen is about 300 degrees at all times. The only pie tin to buy in this entire city is a flimsy aluminum one. The oven doesn't work right - thank goodness I have an oven thermometer, because one millimeter adjustment takes it from 400 degrees to 200 degrees, and I am not exaggerating. Then I had to turn the oven off midway through baking so we could go shopping at the market (which was really a trip), and that's of course after the pie spilled and overflowed all over the oven floor.

But. The paramour's cousin came over to teach me to cook some Liberian dishes (eddoes soup and gravy for eddoes) and my contribution was the sweet potato pie, and he loved it. "Please, let me be here to learn how to make it with you next time. And we'll make potato greens." Deal!

So, I just followed these two recipes so I'll just give full credit.

Sweet potato pie


  • 1 pound (2 cups) sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust


  1. Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin.
  2. Break apart sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools.


8 Tbsp (1/2 cup) Chilled butter

1 1/3 cup Flour

dash Salt

2-3 Tbsp Ice water

Cut the butter into 8-12 pieces and place in bowl. Add the flour and salt and use a pastry blender to mix the butter with the flour until it’s the size of small peas. (If you don’t have a pastry blender, you can use two forks or your fingers.)

Using your fingers, mix in the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix just until it holds together, only a few seconds. Press the dough into a flat disk.

Sprinkle a little flour on a cool, dry surface and place the dough on it. (Note: if you’ve made the larger recipe, take about 2/3 of the dough for rolling the bottom crust.) Rub a little flour onto the rolling pin so it won’t stick and roll the dough in a rough circle a little larger than the diameter of your pan. If the dough sticks, sprinkle on a little more flour. The dough should be about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.

Use a spatula to loosen the dough from the surface, and fold it in half and then quarters to make lifting it easy. Place in the pie pan and press to shape. If you’re so inclined, use your fingers or a fork to make a pretty edge on the crust.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

oven roasted vegetables and chicken pieces

Seeking inspiration I found this recipe, which I tweaked.

*chicken pieces (I got 2 legs and 2 thighs in the mystery package) - seasoned with salt and pepper
*about 3 cups of small tomatoes
*1 small eggplant
*okra (maybe 4 cups?)
*drained can of cannellini beans
*2 heads of garlic, divided into cloves
*1 onion, sliced
*basil (sadly no fresh, so I dumped a bunch of dried)
*paprika (fresh chili peppers would have been better but didn't have any)
*olive oil (a couple of good glugs)

I tossed everything in together and gave it a stir.

350 degrees for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally.

This turned out quite flavorful yet soupy. I'd likely not add the vegetables until the end in the future because they're too mushy for my tastes. And the chicken was tender but definitely not crispy - this was more stewed.

Serious problems with controlling the temperature of my oven, but it seemed to work out ok. Not fab, but fine. Tasty and satisfying with a hunk of bread.