Saturday, March 8, 2014

Another Birthday for the Op Op!

Can you believe it? It seems like only yesterday, but I started the Opulent Opossum in March 2009—so the Op Op is five years old! Thanks, y’all, for sticking around! I sincerely appreciate you!

I started this blog amid some personal turmoil, but fortunately things have improved a great deal, which is one reason why my posts haven’t been as prolific as before. But I’ve really enjoyed doing this blog, and I’ve learned a lot.

Anyway—to celebrate this anniversary, I’ve prepared a little dessert, made with sweet potatoes. Yum!

Sweet potatoes seem kind of “possum-y,” don’t they. The sweet potato is a humble root vegetable that achieves enough sweetness to be worthy of a pie. Despite its southern twang, the sweet potato is capable of great elegance, when prepared with care. It can become a sweet or savory dish. It’s got a glorious orange color and a rich, complex flavor and is high in nutrients.

And sweet potatoes are possum-y for another reason: One associates sweet potatoes with possums, because they’re a traditional accompaniment to roast opossum . . . for people who eat opossums, anyway. I think it is perfectly all right if you don’t want to eat an opossum!

The recipe for my dessert today is from Manjula’s Kitchen; she calls it Sweet Potato Halwa (Eggless Pudding), and she posted the recipe, including a helpful how-to video, on December 24, 2012.

Yes, she posted it on Christmas Eve that year, and yes, it can be a fantastic addition to the holiday table, a tasty and interesting spin on the traditional pumpkin pie. Done up in a Jell-O mold, it’s also reminiscent of the traditional English plum pudding.

The cardamom in the recipe gives it a distinctly Indian flair, but you can fiddle with the spices to make it more like traditional American pumpkin or sweet potato pie (that is, use pumpkin pie spice, and/or use just cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg).

I’m not going to give the recipe here, since I encourage you to visit Manjula’s page so you can watch her video.

This is a vegetarian and gluten-free dessert, it’s incredibly easy to make, and it doesn’t require many ingredients: Sweet potatoes, butter, milk, sugar, and three ground spices: cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Plus whatever garnishes you choose.

Note: You can cook it longer to make it drier and more solid (as I have done here), or cook it less so that it is softer and creamier. When served soft and warm (highly recommended), it is great with ice cream or with a plain cookie or two. It’s a good cold-weather recipe.

I cooked it longer than usual because I wanted to mold it in one of my little vintage Jell-O molds. (The molds were given to me by Sue’s mom—thanks, Mrs. F!)

I think Julia Child would call something like this an “edifice”!

Manjula uses cashews, but I garnished it with crushed pistachios and some orange zest. As you can tell, I had fun with my little photo shoot!

Thanks, friends, for reading my blog! Here’s to Op Op Year 6!


Osage Bluff Quilter said...

Happy 5th Anniversary. Time flies when you're having fun!

Julianna Schroeder said...

Thanks, Patti, the OBQ! Time also flies when you're *busy*! It's good to have so many fun things to do!