… and A Little Hope Prevailed

Earlier this month, I posted a photo of one of my Amaryllis bulbs just starting to send up shoots. Can you believe it? – its buds opened on Christmas day. Finally this afternoon, I had a little time to photograph it.  And lucky me, I still have three more yet to bloom!

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A Little Hope

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The foliage on my amaryllises from last Christmas only just died back a few weeks ago. Since it took so long for them to go dormant, I was starting to wonder whether I would have any flowers from the bulbs this winter. Then a few new leaves started to appear in each pot a few days ago. There is hope yet!

Preparing for Thanksgiving

I ordered some Amaryllis bulbs early in the Fall in the hopes that they would be in bloom for Thanksgiving. Somehow, I timed it just right. It’s always so nice when things work out that way.

One of the side dishes that I will be preparing on Thursday is Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes.  The recipe was sent to me by one of our guests. It’s delicious. I tested it out this summer while I was visiting my mother.

Tim’s Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes

4 – 5 large sweet potatoes, washed

8 T. unsalted butter

1/2 c. good Bourbon, or to taste*

1/4 t. vanilla extract

1/2 c. honey, or to taste

1/4 c. brown sugar, or to taste

1/4 t. ground cinnamon, or to taste

milk or cream, just enough to achieve desired consistency

(1) Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork. Cook in microwave until tender or wrap  in buttered aluminum foil and bake at 425 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes or until tender.

(2) Remove sweet potatoes from their skins. Mash together with the remaining ingredients, making adjustments as needed to achieve desired flavor and consistency.

* Note: the alcohol is not “cooked out” in this recipe.

Another one of the side dishes that I’ll be serving is my Cranberry Compote, which I make every year. I prepared the base this morning (photo below) and will add fresh apple just before serving on Thursday.

Cranberry Compote

1 c. granulated white sugar

1/2 c. cold water

6 whole cloves

3 whole allspice

2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 c. dried cranberries

1/2 c. dried apricots, diced

1/2 c. raisins, currants or chopped dried dates

3 c. whole fresh cranberries, washed and picked over

1/2 c. pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped

zest of 1 fragrant orange, finely minced or grated

1 1/2 c. chopped fresh apple or pear, or orange slices, optional

(1) In a medium pot, stir together granulated sugar, water, cloves, allspice and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low so that they syrup is barely at a simmer. Cook 10 minutes. Carefully remove spices.

(2) Add dried cranberries, apricots and raisins, currants or dates to sugar syrup. Bring dried fruits to a simmer  and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in cranberries, pecans and orange zest. Cover. Remove from heat. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes. The cranberries should just begin to pop. If they do not, you may need to return the pot to a low heat for a few minutes.

(3) Serve warm or chill before serving. If desired, stir in apple, pear or orange right before serving.

Note: Cranberry Compote is very versatile. It can be served on its own, mixed into yogurt, or mixed with maple syrup, warmed and served over French Toast. For Thanksgiving, I will be serving it as a chilled side dish.

Now, I’m off to do some more cooking! I’ll try to do a Thanksgiving Preparation, Part II tomorrow or Thursday morn. Just in case I don’t manage to get another post in before the holiday, Happy Thanksgiving!!!