Friday, November 25, 2011

Fried Sweet Dough Sweet Potato Pie, Oh My

Fried Sweet Dough Sweet Potato Pies from Anna's Pies, Lake Charles, LA.
During a visit to Lake Charles, LA, a group of food and travel writers were served fried dough sweet potato pies. While savoring these chubby little half circles of comfort in the Ranier Gardens, I discovered they came from Anna's Pies where they are the house specialty.

Alas, Anna's recipe is secret and will remain so, but Megan Hartman was able to find a recipe that is close. According to Eric Cormier, food writer for American Press, these fried pies were every kid's favorite after-school snack.

Fried Sweet Dough Sweet Potato Pies

2 eggs
1/4 pound butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups flour

Combine eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla in a food processor and pulse together until the ingredients are well-mixed. Sift the baking powder and flour together and add this to the processor, combining until they form a ball. Wrap dough in plastic and allow to rest, refrigerated, for an hour. Roll into a circle approximately 12 inches in diameter with a thickness of 1/8th inch.

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (5 oz.) evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 TBS. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Oil for deep-fat frying
Confectioners' sugar (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the seven filling ingredients; stir until smooth.

Divide the dough into 25 portions. On a floured surface, roll each portion into a 5-inch circle. Spoon 2 TBS. of filling on half of each circle. Moisten edges with water, fold dough over filling and press edges with a fork to seal. Prick tops with a fork 4-5 times.

In a skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil to 375 degrees. Fry pies, a few at a time, for 1 minute on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired. Change oil during process as necessary. Store in the refrigerator.

Don't worry about storing; they won't last long.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ember Maque Choux

When you visit Lake Charles, LA, you expect to find Cajun cuisine and L'Auberge Casino Resort is no exception. Even at Ember Grille and Wine Bar, the facility's top-shelf steak room, you will find that touch of Cajun. In this case it was an excellent, mild Maque Choux.

Here's the recipe.
                                             L'Auberge Casino Resort
Ember Grille Maque Choux

2 cups fresh corn
1/2 TBS. shallot, minced
1 TBS. butter
1/4 cup cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 TBS. chives
10 each heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved

Heat saute pan, add butter and saute shallots until translucent. Add cream and reduce by half.

When reduced, add tomatoes, chives, salt and pepper. Heat through and serve.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mike Dean's Yellowstone Stuffed Tomatoes

                                      Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park

When noshing with the Yellowstone National Park execs at Mammoth Hot Springs Lodge, I asked for two other recipes. The secret of the delicious vegetarian stuffed mushrooms went with the chef who prepared them then left for another cooking opportunity elsewhere.

However, the stuffed tomatoes came from the creative mind of Mike Dean, executive sous chef for Yellowstone National Park Lodges. Once again, it was from a made-on-the-spot, no recipe inspiration, but here's how he did it.

Mike Dean's Yellowstone Stuffed Tomatoes

Hollow out cherry tomatoes with a small melon baller.

Mince some garlic and shallots then sautee them in a little olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper. Allow to cool.

For the filling, start with a creamy chevre-style goat cheese, preferably from a local producer. Whip the goat cheese until smooth then fold in the sauteed garlic and shallots as well as some chopped fresh thyme, parsley and basil. Pipe the cheese mixture into the hollowed tomatoes.

Before serving, roast the pan of tomatoes at 400 degrees for a few minutes to warm the tomatoes and soften the cheese filling.