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Last Minute Thanksgiving Recipes and Sweet Potato Bread

Posted Nov 23 2010 10:11pm

One day, a full Thanksgiving meal will be my personal responsibility. Until then, my friends rely on the sidekick dishes I contribute to their menu. And, if I’m feeling truly lazy, a good bottle of red wine is a peace offering to a disappointed host for not making a dish. Here’s another secret: This Sweet Potato Bread recipe makes two loaves. One loaf is immediately enjoyed, while the other is tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and zip loc for the freezer waiting to defrost after accepting a last minute holiday invitation.  

For the past couple of years, this bread has prevented holiday stress and saved time. One year, an extra loaf was brought to a potluck Christmas party hosted by the president of my organization. Her event was held when personal freelance projects were being finalized before the close of the year. Sipping a cup of tea, a loaf of Sweet Potato Bread was removed from the freezer to defrost for an event happening the next day. Instead of wasting time baking, money earned by the hour and arriving at the president’s house with a loaf of bundled bread artistically wrapped in brown paper and twine were thankfully achieved. Already this year, there were two events held in the same week that needed a dish. Instead of spending two weekday afternoons baking, this recipe came to the rescue, again. 

By now, the über-organized, foodie individuals are en route to picking up a pre-ordered heritage turkey; the grocery shopping has been completed; produce from the farmer’s market is prepped; and dishes of a menu planned weeks in advance are frozen. They’re nonchalantly opening their first slightly chilled bottle of Beaujolais for the holiday. Non-foodies start planning and prepping a Thanksgiving meal with only a few hours before their first guest arrive. For those individuals who strive to be organized, but fall short of their responsibilities, here’s a list of Thanksgiving recipes from the archives for traveling, breakfast, snacks, side dishes and for leftover turkey. To further be of assistance, this list has hints of where to include a slice of Sweet Potato Bread in a last minute Thanksgiving menu. 

> Traveling Light: A Road Trip Picnic

> Smoothie No. 11: Pumpkin and Apple Cider
> Ginger Carrot Muffins
> Open-Faced Sandwich with Saute Mushrooms and Amaranth Greens
> Blood Oranges, Grapes and Italian Pistachios in Rose Water
> Sweet Green Tea Latte

> Slices of Sweet Potato Bread (see recipe below) serve with Brie cheese and tart apples slices
> Breakfast Couscous with Dried Fruit and Nuts with Greek yogurt and Honey
> Frittata with Baby Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Young Fontina Cheese, Red Onions and Fresh Rosemary
> Buttermilk Pancakes with Caramelized Pears and Pecans topped with Vanilla Whipped Cream  

> Toasted Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
> Sweet Corn and Cheese Pasties
> Blood Oranges, Grapes and Italian Pistachios in Rose Water
> Almond Salty Butter Cookies  

> Cranberry Salsa
> Brazilian Collard Greens
> Asparagus with Toasted Pistachios
> Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips and Southern-Style Collard Greens
> Mustard Vinaigrette Green Beans
> Grated Raw Beet Salad
> Macoun Apple and Gorgonzola Salad Served with Savory Biscuits
> Roast Turks Turban Squash and Duck Bacon Risotto
> Maple Rosemary Roasted Acorn Squash
> Sage Butternut and Apple Soup
> Butternut Squash Ravioli with Shrimp and Ginger Sauce
> Buttermilk Cornbread
> Roast Brussel Sprouts  

> Sweet Potato and Chocolate Cream Bars
> Sweet Potato Orange Cake
> Almond Poppy Seed Cake
> Banana Pudding
> Buttermilk Pound Cake
> Sweet Potato Pie  

> Vegetable Chicken Soup
> Tortilla Soup
> Saucy Enchiladas with Amaranth Greens and Corn
> Turkey Empanadas Served with Mango Tomato Salsa over Brown Rice and Black Beans
> Chicken Corn Chowder
> Braised Red Curry Winter Vegetables and Chicken
> Curry Chicken Salad (Great for a sandwich en route home after the holidays)
> A Sweet Potato Bread sandwich of roast turkey slices, Cranberry Salsa, mustard, mayo (or olive oil and balsamic vinegar), baby greens and thick slices of brie cheese 

Ingredients (Makes 2 loaves)
5 oz. butter; room temperature
1-3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs; room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
5 oz. plus 2 tbsp. water; room temperature
2 cups pumpkin or sweet potato purée (roasted or canned)
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans; roughly chopped; extra for garnish
1/2 cup dried cranberries and/or raisins 

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter two 8- or 9-inch loaf pans. 

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. About 2 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the flour, baking soda, and spices together. Set aside the flour mixture. 

3. Add eggs, one at a time. Then include the water, vanilla and pumpkin/sweet potato purée. The mixture will look watery, but it’s okay. 

4. Add the flour mixture at a low speed to prevent flour dust. Mix until the flour mixture is just incorporated into the batter. Do not over mix. 

5. Gently stir in the nuts and the dried cranberries. 

6. Divide the batter equally (your best estimate) among both loaf pans. Sprinkle the nuts on top. Place both loaf pans in the oven. Bake for 45 min. to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

7. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Then remove the loaves to a rack to finish cooling. 

8. Enjoy!

Note: Recipe reproduced by Neil Kleinberg, Owner/Chef of the Clinton Street Baking Company.


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