Pie for dinner

Sometimes I wonder if I think at all before I set out to do something. If I did, though, I’d probably wind up second guessing myself and missing out on a lot of things. After a stressful weekend of moving and unpacking, you’d think I would schedule the following week’s meals to be easy and straight forward, and probably not time consuming. Yet I seem to almost always skip over the process portion of the recipes, and pick them solely based on ingredients (and a picture too, of course).

Yesterday started off bright, well rather dark, and early. The fiancé and I were up at 5:30a and out the door by 5:45a to do our first pre-work run. Now that we’re a bit closer to the office we have more time to get ready in morning, so by waking up about an hour early, we’ll be able to get in anywhere from 4-6 miles, depending on our pace. We did 4.22 at about a 9:15 pace – I wound up getting a serious case of runner’s trots about a mile in, and spent the next two miles struggling, so it was slow and steady. At the same time though, it’s also the longest run I’ve done since the dreaded injury, so I’m more than okay with it.

After work and voting, it was time to start on the first of two long and involved recipes for the week. I went with the “Not Your Grandma’s Sweet Potato Pie” recipe, which jumped out at me due to the Southwestern styled ingredients (pobalano peppers, cumin, etc.). I can’t remember where it was linked, but this recipe comes from Grist. Since sweet potatoes were involved, they first needed to be softened. I decided to take a short cut and microwave them instead of waiting up to an hour for them to roast in the oven. When getting ready to put all the ingredients into the crust, I came to the realization that I don’t have a rolling pin. Seriously?! I need to get one of them! It amazes me how much I’m lacking in the kitchen in terms of tools and utensils, but I still manage to make almost everything I want.

It was really good – it was completely worth the effort and time involved. Even though I’ve never made a traditional sweet potato pie, I would make this one again and again as it’s a great twist on a classic. Having left-overs is also a huge plus. I’m sure a lot of guests at a Thanksgiving dinner or brunch would be thoroughlly impressed (especially if they’re vegetarian and skipping the turkey)!

While everything was in the oven I had the opportunity to get some homework done. If we hadn’t ran in the morning, there definitely wouldn’t have been enough time for this dinner, voting, and homework. I’m going to miss the longer days come this weekend, even if it means not waking up in complete darkness. But in the end it looks like morning runs have their benefits!

Hopefully I’ll get to do some baking this weekend. I’m thinking either cupcakes or brownies with Halloween candy inside. We have an entire bowl of candy left over from Sunday since we had two trick-or-treaters. Maybe it was because I was prancing around the house like this?

Power tools aside, I highly recommend making this bad boy!

Not Your Grandma’s Sweet Potato Pie
– Serves 4-6 –

9-inch uncooked pie crust, rolled into a 10-inch diameter circle and refrigerated (I used pre-made)
3 medium sweet potatoes
3 to 4 medium poblano or Anaheim peppers (or substitute 1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle peppers)
4 whole shallots or 2 small white onions, quartered
1/2 cup Mexican crema, or sour cream
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
a pinch of Mexican oregano
a pinch of cumin seeds
salt and pepper
wedge of lime

1. Wash the sweet potatoes well, pat dry, and prick with a fork several times. Place on a baking pan with the shallots or onions. Drizzle the shallots or onions with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Roast at 400 degrees F until the sweet potatoes are very tender and beginning to caramelize. If the onions begin to burn before the sweet potatoes are done, remove them from the baking tray and set aside.
3. Cool cooked sweet potatoes completely.
4. When cool, slip the skins off the sweet potatoes and cut into rough 2-inch chunks. (This step can be done up to several days in advance.)
5. If you have a gas stove, roast the poblano peppers over direct flame until blistered and blackened all over. Otherwise, you can broil them until they begin to blister. Place in a paper bag or wrap in foil and set aside to cool. When cool, rub most of the charred skin off the peppers, deseed them, and — with your fingers, if your peppers aren’t of the hot variety — tear the peppers into strips. Set aside.
6. When your vegetables are cool, remove your pie crust from the refrigerator. Roll out and be sure to patch any holes. Drape your circle of dough over your rolling pin and transfer to a pizza pan or baking sheet if not already on one.
7. Spread the bottom of the crust with the crema or sour cream, leaving a 2-inch border around the outside of the crust.
8. Next, spread the sweet potato chunks, the onions or shallots and the pepper strips over the crema. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cumin, oregano, the cilantro and the green onions.
9. Fold the edge of the dough up over the top of the filling, pleating the dough as you work your way around the circle. Place the tart in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm up while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
10. Bake the tart for 45 minutes or until the crust is dark golden brown. Remove from the oven, squeeze the lime wedge over the filling and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

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