Warning: this post contains explicit language & delicious bread.
I don't think I've told you guys about the fucking yams yet, have I? Well, it happens to be my very favorite holiday story.
So, to set the stage… my parents certainly didn't have the mouth's of angels when I was a kid, but the F-bomb was a place they never went. I think I heard my mom say it once my whole childhood, when a thrift store wouldn't accept her donation (she was really riled up that day). Then, when I was in like, 7th or 8th grade, Amanda, Mel, and I spent one super hot summer reading through Stephen King's The Green Mile out loud together. That's what you do out in the country when you don't have cable TV…sort of like old timey radio stories. So we all took turns reading chapters. We were at one super intense part in the story, my mom was reading and Amanda and I were leaning forward in anticipation of what would come next. All of a sudden, Mel stopped reading, her face got super red, and then she continued "Eff-You-See-Kay, Percy Said!" Amanda and I looked at each other, then fell on the floor laughing. She couldn't even read the F-word out loud to us, she had to spell it out. Needless to stay, we lost our steam after that, and it took us awhile to carry on with the story.
So, fast-forward to a few years ago. It's Thanksgiving day, and Mel is hard core stressin'. We have a house full of people, and she's pulling everything out of the oven, just about ready to serve dinner. From the living room, we hear a giant crash in the kitchen, so we all run in, and Mel is standing there, covered in yams. Orange mush on the walls, the floor, every where. My dad asks "what happened?" And then she bursts into tears and wails "THE FUCKING YAMS!" So, of course, Amanda, John, and I all die laughing. And then, to make her feel better, one of us says "we don't really like the yams anyway." If bullets could shoot out of peoples eyes, that's what would have happened at that moment.
The next year, Amanda and I wandered out Thanksgiving morning in shirts we had made with a cartoon yam and Mel's new catchphrase "THE FUCKING YAMS." Needless to say, this time her tears were laugh-tears, and the phrase sort of just stuck. So now every year we make sure we add some sort of fucking yam to the Thanksgiving menu.
But the truth is, we weren't lying when we told her that we didn't really love the yams. The mushy, sweet, marshmallow covered yams. So ever since that day, we try to do something new with them. Roasted sweet potatoes, scalloped sweet potatoes, etc. This year, I figured we could go in a whole new direction, and make a sweet potato quick bread!
I based this off of the pumpkin quick bread in my trusty Fannie Farmer cookbook, and was inspired by the recipe just below it for cranberry quick bread. Full of nuts and tart cranberries, with warm fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, this bread is perfect for the main meal, the dessert table, or even breakfast the next day.
Cranberry Pecan Sweet Potato Bread
Based loosely on a Fannie Farmer recipe
Plan ahead so your puree has time to cool before mixing with the egg, otherwise you'll have weird cooked egg pieces. To make the sweet potatoes, I just peeled and cubed one orange sweet potato, then steamed it (in a veg steamer) for about 15 minutes, until it was super tender, and then mashed with a pastry blender until smooth. You can also roast a whole, unpeeled sweet potato, or try boiling the peeled chunks, ala Martha Stewart (minus the salt & pepper).
1.5 cups flour (I used half whole wheat, half all purpose)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sweet potato puree, cooled
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup water
1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
2 teaspoons course turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 350, and butter a loaf pan.
Whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, stir together potato puree, oil, eggs, spices, and water until properly mixed. Add sweet potato mixture to dry ingredients, and stir until just combined, don't over mix. Stir in nuts and cranberries. Pour into loaf pan and sprinkle course sugar over top. Bake 55-65 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack.