Maura gave herself 365 days to do 36 things she’d never done, all before her 37th birthday. No. 1 was start a blog. Once she’d accomplished Nos. 35 and 36 — planting a tree and death by chocolate — she retired. I wish she hadn’t, because she’s a good writer, and I miss reading her.
I was honored to serve as a guest blogger for Maura once, and she’s agreed to return the favor by letting me reprint her post about lucking into the best sweet potato casserole recipe on the planet.
Seriously, you have to try this.
For the past four or so years, I’ve served the absolute best sweet potato casserole at holiday gatherings. It’s not an heirloom recipe like all the others in my rotation. And I didn’t cull it from the pages of a glossy gourmet cookbook. Instead, I kind of lucked into it in a way that almost makes me feel guilty (but not guilty enough to stop using it).
GB and I were enjoying our first evening out sans baby. To celebrate the occasion, we made reservations at a famous, rather upscale local restaurant. We’d visited this particular place once before for our annual Christmas dinner with GB’s boss. I wanted to go back because I remembered the potatoes.
Dear God, the potatoes.
Baked, buttery orange goodness topped with a thick pecan crust. Served so hot the server warned me to not touch the plate. As delectable and candy coated as pecan pie itself.
Not to get all Man Vs. Food on you, but oh my goodness, oh my goodness.
Our server was a young guy. He was very serious, and when people are too serious, I get nervous. I really just wanted him to loosen up, so I struck up a conversation.
“These sweet potatoes, I swear. They’re like candy. I would absolutely kill for this recipe.”
“I’m glad you enjoyed them,” he said gravely, then added, “I’ll see what I can do.”
As he marched back toward the kitchen, I looked at GB. “Did he just say he’d see what he could do?”
“I wonder what that means,” GB answered.
Five minutes later, the server returned with his grim face and a small slip of paper in his hand.
Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet Potato Mixture:
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
½ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs (well beaten)
1 stick of butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 stick of butter, melted
- Combine crust mixture in mixing bowl, then set aside.
- Combine sweet potato mixture into a mixing bowl in the order listed. Combine thoroughly.
- Pour mixture into buttered baking dish.
- Sprinkle the surface of the sweet potato mixture evenly with the crust mixture.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
“Here you go, Miss,” he said. “The recipe you wanted.”
I stumbled through my shock enough to manage a quick, “Oh! Thanks!” I wanted to add, “Is there a charge for this? This isn’t like the Neiman-Marcus chocolate chip cookie recipe story is it?” But really, I didn’t want to be gauche.
We’ve been back to this restaurant every December since then. And we’re going back next weekend. It makes me wonder what would happen if I publicly doted on the garlic herb cheese-stuffed chicken breast…or the lyonnaise…or the crème brulee…