Thursday, January 3, 2013

Recipes 36 & 37: Sweet Potato Casserole and Brussels Sprouts

So one of the traditions that my friends and I have been doing recently has been a Friend Thanksgiving, which we usually hold sometime around actual Thanksgiving.  When it first started I tried to get it so that everyone could bring something that they felt was special to their family Thanksgivings.  But this didn't always work out, especially since I just wanted to bring Jello, which caused some gaps where people had to make the other foods.... like the Turkey, which was always handled superbly by Katie.

This year I just let everyone make their choices and then I filled in the gaps.  In this case that meant that I would be making a sweet potato dish and also a green dish, which ended up being a brussels sprout dish.

In all of the excitement of the friend Thanksgiving dinner, I managed to not take any pictures of the final results, which is kind of sad.  I also made the brussels sprouts for actual Thanksgiving, but again failed to take pictures, so I will just use pictures from the sites that I got the recipes from. 

Here is a picture of the brussels sprouts, taken from:

And here is a picture of the sweet potato casserole, taken from

The recipe that I used for the sweet potato casserole is (Link) :


  • 4 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
  •  1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest plus 2 tablespoons orange juice (from 1 orange)
  •  3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  •  4 tablespoons butter, cubed
  •  1/4 cup heavy cream
  •  1 teaspoon salt
  •  1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  •  1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Adjust an oven rack to the middle position in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. F. Mix 3 tablespoons of the brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of the orange zest together in a small bowl until thoroughly combined (reserve the other 1/2 teaspoon orange zest for later). Set aside.

Lay out 4 pieces of aluminum foil, each about 18 inches in length. Take two of the sheets and lay them perpendicular to each other (so it forms a thick cross) and do the same with the other two sheets of foil. Divide the sweet potatoes in half and put one half on one set of foil and the remaining potatoes on the other set of foil. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon sugar over all the potatoes in both packets. Fold the opposite edges of the foil toward each other and crimp the edges to seal tightly. Place the packets inside a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the potatoes are tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and preheat the broiler.

Carefully open one end from each pouch, careful to avoid escaping steam, and pour the potatoes and any remaining liquid into a blender or food processor. Add the butter, cream, orange juice, salt, cinnamon and remaining 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, pepper and cayenne. Process until the mixture is completely smooth. Transfer the potatoes to a 2- or 3-quart baking dish (that is broiler safe) and sprinkle evenly with the reserved brown sugar/zest mixture. Broil the sweet potatoes until the topping is lightly browned and bubbly, 2 to 4 minute. Serve warm.

And here is the recipe that I used for the brussels sprouts: (Link it is at the bottom of the page)


  • 12-14 large brussels sprouts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted


Slice each brussels sprout very thin until you have a mound of feathery brussels sprout ribbons. Heat the olive oil over medium high in a large skillet and saute the garlic for 30 seconds. Add the brussels sprouts and continue sauteing for another 4-5 minutes, until bright green and tender. Add the sea salt and brown sugar and toss together. Finish by adding the toasted nuts.

The Process

 So I first worked on the sweet potato dish and then once that was in the oven I worked on the brussels sprouts.

Here the sweet potatoes are getting wrapped in foil in preparation for the oven.
 Here and the individual little packets.  I probably used a little bit more sugar than the recipe recommended when I sprinkled it over the potatoes.  There just didn't seem to be enough with the small amount they said to use.
 I then placed both packets on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven.

Sprinkles was pretty unimpressed with my cooking and spent the whole time sleeping on the couch.
 Soon the sweet potatoes were done and I removed them from the oven.
 I then placed them in the blender along with the butter and sugar and other stuff.... and mixed it up!

 Here is the end result!

This recipe managed to destroy my blender as it no longer worked after this.  But it managed to finish this recipe, so that was good.  I poured it out into a casserole dish and added the topping.  Then broiled it for a few minutes and it was ready.  When I took it to dinner I heated it up slightly in the oven just so that it was warm.

The brussels sprouts was a much less involved dish, the only real difficulty was in chopping up the brussels sprouts.  I had to thinly slice them which was a little taxing, and I am not sure that I got it totally right.  I ended up removing most of the end pieces on the dish since they didn't really seem to fit.

Once they were all sliced up I cooked them up over the stove for a few minutes, then I added the toasted nuts and stirred it up.

I thought that both of these dishes turned out really well.  I probably liked the brussels sprouts a bit better and I know that my parents loved it at actual Thanksgiving.  It was fun making something that I don't always make for thanksgiving, and I think that I also managed to destroy my first cooking equipment, which is always fun.  Of course, I think this is the first time I've used the blender in several I am sure that I will soon find a recipe that I want to make that calls for a blender.


Anonymous said...

The Brussel Sprout dish sounds excellent!
Sounds like you need a food processor....


The Elephant said...

Do food processors slice brussels sprouts? If so that would have been excellent. I got a Kitchen Aid mixer for Christmas and have been looking at the attachment possibilities for those.

The dish was really good though.