Monday, March 07, 2011

Cinnamon and Spies with Molly MacRae

It's the first Monday of March, and that means Molly MacRae is guest blogging. Molly is busy writing for her new series from Penguin and working as a children's librarian but she still has time to join us once a month with food and fun. This is a great post on handwritten recipes. Enjoy!-AA

I love Amy’s Handwritten Recipe Wednesdays. As corny as it sounds, some of my most treasured possessions are handwritten recipes. One of the best wedding presents we received was a recipe file box from my sister Jenny with some of her favorite recipes written out on pretty cards. Her English Toffee and Fläskpannkaka have become our favorites, too. I have a recipe for antipasto from Great Aunt Ruth that calls for sweet gherkins, canned tuna, and ketchup, a salmon loaf from Aunt Anne, and Florentines from my friend Nancy. MMmmm, I love them all and treasure them for the good wishes they symbolize and the charm with which they’re written – sometimes illegibly.

So, I started thinking about recipes and modern communication, about blogs and search engines, and I wondered if the mystery of indecipherable handwritten recipes will go the way of cod liver oil. And if that happens, what will take their place? Then it occurred to me that I have a couple of examples of the modern version of handwritten recipes – recipes recorded with voice recognition software. The two I have from my friend Norma are mostly clear, until you get to the places where the software didn’t really recognize what it was hearing. Here, for instance, is a pureed sweet potato dish that’s delicious and not tough to make, as long as you don’t believe everything the software tells you – like how many it serves, or even its name. Purity? I love that. It sounds so innocent. I’ve copied the recipe exactly the way it was sent to me, including Norma’s final notes.

Sweet potato purity with bananas and buttered pecans

Six pounds sweet potatoes
2 ripe bananas, unpeeled
½ stick unsalted butter, softened
½ cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp pumpkin pies spies
½ teaspoon salt
One pound pecans
½ cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and bake until tender, about one hour. Roast bananas, in their skins, for the last 15 minutes of cooking time. When cool enough to handle, peeled potatoes and bananas, transfer to food processor. Plans until potatoes are chunky. Add butter and maple syrup, puree until smooth. Add the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spies and salt, puree to combine. Transfer to a shallow baking pan and smooth out the service with a spatula.

In a skillet, cook the pecans in butter over low heat and sprinkle with salt. Sauté until well coded, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes. Transfer the pecans to paper towels to drain. Arrange pecans on top of puree and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit until heated through, about 20 minutes. Yields 628 servings.

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