Wednesday, November 23, 2011


In order to prepare for the foodfest, I have to make a few dishes prior to Thanksgiving, therefore, today's selection is coconut sweet potato balls and baked cranberry brie phyllo triangles.  I have never made these before so I share the recipe in hopes they turn out to be as desirable as they sound.  Before I begin these delights, I will brine the bird.  Mike and Dan are beginning their band bonding today and their first rehearsal is here, at our house.  This is Wayne-O's karma payback for all the times he jammed at his mom's house.  LOL. It's hard to believe tomorrow is Thanksgiving already.  Time sure flies.

Coconut Sweet Potato Balls

6 large sweet potatoes
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoon orange juice
2 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups shredded coconut
3 cups rice krispies cereal
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large marshmallow per potato ball
stick of butter

Peel potatoes and boil until tender then mash them and add a stick of butter.  I am deviating a bit from Paula Deen's recipe but you can also bake the potatoes until tender, then peel and mash them as she suggests.  Once you have your mashed potato mix, stir in the brown sugar, orange juice, zest and nutmeg. 

In a separate bowl, toss the coconut with the sugar and cinnamon then add rice krispies cereal.  Press mashed potatoes around each marshmallow, creating a 2-3 inch diameter ball.  Roll the balls in the coconut mixture.  This is very messy and once you get the rhythm down, it's easier to roll the ball just as you would a meatball.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Watch carefully for the last few minutes of cooking, the expanding marshmallows can cause the potatoes to burst open.  OMG I hope that happens ~ that would be too funny to have the balls bursting all over.  Ha Ha Ha.

Cranberry Brie Phyllo Triangles

2 lbs. phyllo dough
2 cups melted butter
1 can cranberry sauce
1/2 bag fresh cranberries, cooked
1 cup pineapples
1/2 cup mandarin oranges
2 triangles Brie cheese
chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut phyllo dough in half  ~ lengthwise.  Keep covered with plastic wrap while working to avoid drying out. 

Place 2 sheets of phyllo dough on work surface, brush with butter.  Fold in half ~ lengthwise and brush with butter.  Place 3 big spoonfuls of  cranberry sauce and 9 cubes of Brie at bottom of strip.  Fold corner over filling.  Fold up, then over the opposite way, forming a triangle.  Continue folding this way until the end.  Brush with butter and place on a jelly roll pan.  Repeat with remaining phyllo dough and filling. 

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool 5 minutes before serving.  Makes 40 appetizers.

I am not so sure I care for working with phyllo but I made three of these wrap things and we'll see how it tastes.  After cutting into triangles, top with extra cranberry mixture and yogurt.  The brie cheese is extremely dominant and this tastes a little European, if you know what I mean...
Apple Cranberry Stuffing

about 2 bread bags filled with assorted breads
Hawaiian, whole grain, gonnella, butter, cubed and lightly toasted in butter and oil
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups dried cranberries
1/2 cup butter
2 onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
3 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped
2 boxes brown and serve sausage, cooked and chopped
6 large eggs
salt and pepper to taste
dash of cayenne and paprika
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
some chopped nuts
a couple sprigs of fresh thyme and sage

Preheat oven 350 degrees.  In small bowl, combine chicken broth and cranberries and let soak for 30 minutes.  In a large skillet, melt butter and saute onion, pepper and celery for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until tender.  Add apples and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and place in large bowl.

Beat 6 eggs in a separate bowl and add salt and pepper.  Set aside.

In the large bowl with veggies, stir in chicken broth mixture, celery soup and cinnamon.  Add toasted bread cubes, sausage and nuts, stirring gently to combine.  Add eggs.  Mix with hands to get in there real good.
  Spoon mixture into prepared dish and bake for 50 minutes or until center is set. This recipe is a blend of sweet and spicy for variety is the spice of life. 

Just as a tip for hosting these gatherings, it really helps to pre-prepare a couple of days ahead by having all your veggies chopped and bagged and then all you have to do is pull them out when putting together the recipe.  The day before, which would be today, I combined all the ingredients and have them at the ready to pop in the oven.  There is no way on God's earth I could make all these dishes the same day I entertain.  No way, Jose.  Thanks to Wayne-O for running around today to get sausages at Selena's in Lemont and Stevie's birthday cake in Hinsdale.  Much obliged and extremely grateful.  xo

ps.  the garage and closets look aces