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Marshmallow Meringue Sweet Potato Pie

Tonight I attended a potluck for D.C. foodbloggers at Union Row in D.C., hosted by an array of area food bloggers.  It was good times.  It was actually super different times because while Dan and I are both social people (theoretically) we’re not big on the D.C. scene, we mostly just stay cloistered in our tiny apartment eating pie.  So when we are confronted with 30-40 REAL. LIVE. HUMAN. ADULTS. we’re struck (or maybe I’m just speaking for me) with paralyzing social anxiety. Whatever, Dan is fine and I’m a dweeb.

As it is Dan and I are working on eating more seasonably and locally (see the new life list), but since some of the attendees have blogs completely dedicated to seasonal local produce and the likes, I figured my contribution better be seasonally appropriate.  Since we’re just coming off the high of the holiday and my new motto for losing the cookie weight is “fatties don’t deserve treats” I was stumped about what dessert to bring.  And then I said screw it, you’re a southern food blogger and tonight you’re representing your people.  And my people love butter.

So I opted for a sweet potato pie topped with a marshmallow meringue.  Go big or go home, right?  I chose this combination for a few reasons.  First of all, we had my (delightful) friend Julia over a few weeks ago and she was telling me that she uses this Bill Neal recipe for sweet potato pie where you whip the egg whites separately into a frenzy and then fold them in so that your pie has more fluff and height.  And I love fluff and height.  Secondly, we watched the White House Iron Chef special last weekend and the winning team did a meringue topped sweet potato tart that looked awesome.

I’m not usually one for marshmallow topped sweet potato pie but I polled Dan and the internet and the results came in overwhelmingly for the fluff.  Which leads me to my next point, which is that marshmallow fluff has to be the most disconcerting ingredient I’ve ever worked with.  It’s one of those 50’s-era things that I always envision being eaten in space.  Like Tang.  But when combined with egg whites and sugar it was just fluffy and lovely and browned in a very pretty way that made it both impossible to transport and delicious.

It did dawn on me that pie was maybe not the best dish to bring.  For one, regular size pies (as opposed to cup pies) are not finger foods.  I wasn’t aware that this was a fingerfood event beforehand, so the whole pie thing sounded like a great idea.  In reality I could have chosen a less messy dish.  I was just really tired of cookies.  Secondly, I put this in one of my favorite pie dishes, which meant that when Dan and I were ready to cloister ourselves at 9 I had to take half an uneaten pie home with us.  Great for us but this guy gave me the stink eye as we were leaving like I was being stingy with my food.  All in all, it was fun to meet some local food bloggers, get outside of our shell for once.  We even met someone that looked like Kara Thrace from BSG (geek alert)!

Marshmallow Meringue Sweet Potato Pie

For pie:

2 to 3 sweet potatoes

1 stick butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp cream of tartar

1 cup cream

1 tsp vanilla

Nutmeg

Cinnamon

Ginger

Pie crust (recipe here or here)

For meringue:

4 egg whites

1 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 tbsp white sugar

1 7oz jar marshmallow fluff

Peel, cut, and boil the sweet potatoes so that they’re tender.  Drain and put them in a large mixing bowl.  Use a masher or fork to mash them completely, leaving no chunks.

Cube the butter and stir it into the hot potatoes.  Separate the eggs and add the yolks to the potatoes.  Set aside the whites.  Add the vanilla, spices (not cream of tartar), and brown sugar.  Stir in cream.

In a stand mixer or with a hand blender whip the egg whites and cream of tartar.  Whip until frothy.  Add white sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and whip until stiff.  Fold into potato mixture.

Spread pie crust into a dish and pour filling in.  Bake at 475 for 15 minutes and 350 for 1 hour.  Allow to cool.

When the pie is cool, start your meringue by whipping egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla.  When it’s frothy, add in sugar one tbsp at a time, until it is stiff.  Fold in the fluff.  Spread over pie.

Bake at 375 for 6 minutes, or until the peaks have browned and the meringue is firm.

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Collard Greens, for Prosperity

I joke a lot here and around the interwebs about my distain for escarole.  I’ll clarify that, as an adult, I’m actually fine with escarole.  But as a child I hated it.  It was the one food that I absolutely could not eat, the only thing I couldn’t stomach.  Until I became a vegetarian, and then there were lots of things I couldn’t stomach (including meatloaf).  I read somewhere once that kids have something like twice as many tastebuds as adults, and therefore taste everything twice as intensely,which is why children often have catastrophic aversions to certain foods.

The point of this story is that my mom’s lucky New Year’s day dish was lentil soup and escarole.  Gag.  Which is why I always preferred my dad’s lucky foods, collard greens and black eyed peas.  On New Year’s Day, greens (whether they be spinach, escarole, collards, chard, etc) are served to bring prosperity.  The greens are traditionally cooked with ham, because pork symbolizes progress.  Other common foods for ringing in the New Year are beans (prosperity), fish (good luck), and anything circular, like cakes (the year comes full circle).

This year I opted for fish and collards, skipping the ham hocks and beans because after a few batches of bean soup, I’ve been kind of beaned out lately.  And when it comes cuts of the pig, I’m not the biggest ham fan (I prefer the shoulder).  Collards cooked without ham are cooked essentially the same way, just pan roasted with water or stock, served with garlic and onions.  Because collards are a tough green pan roasting is the ideal way to cook them, low and slow for 45 minutes to an hour allows them to soften and develop flavor.

Instead of resolutions this year I’ve written my “culinary life list.”  Right now it’s 100 things, but it may grow.  It’s a list of things, all food related, that I’d like to accomplish before I kick the bucket.  Do you have a life list, culinary or not?  What’s on it?

Collard Greens

3-4 large collard leaves

1/2 white onion

2 garlic cloves

Salt & pepper

Red pepper flakes

1 tsp nutmeg

2 cups mushroom broth (or vegetable stock)

3 tbsp butter

In a medium size pan, melt butter.  Mince garlic and chop the onion, and saute both in butter until soft.  Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, and red pepper.  Chop the collards into 1/2″ strips.

Add the collards a handful at a time, wilting them before you add more.  Use tongs to toss the greens with the butter and onions.  Add broth, cover.  Simmer on low heat for 45 minutes to an hour.

Uncover and allow the broth to reduce.  Serve and enjoy a year of prosperity!

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And Onward to Vimeo

I had an interesting conversation the other night with my aunt, a marketing specialist, about the Power of Youtube.  Last year I set up a Youtube channel for b&s, complete with an inaugural video of me peeling & cleaning fresh shrimp.  And the quality sucked, I don’t think anybody looked at it, and I never did anything with Youtube again.  Clearly, I failed at the whole video angle.

Today I made a slideshow of our year in photos, something nostalgic to send to our family.  At first I tried to upload it to flickr because we love flickr, but it was too big.  So then I turned to Vimeo, a video sharing site that my father has been preaching about for a while.  Right off the bat I think that Vimeo is cleaner looking and feeling than Youtube, a little more professional, if you will.  I was so inspired by the end result that I moved the shrimp video and resolved that in 2010 there will be more instructional videos, just not on Youtube.

And here’s our year in photos.  Happy end of 2009, everybody!  I hope that it’s been a good one for you!

 

2009 from elena rosemond-hoerr on Vimeo.

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