Miss Ruby’s Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

A popular expression is, ” as American as apple pie.”  However, if one wants to become more specific about the African American cultural group then it might be fair to say, “as African American as sweet potato pie.”  I have quite a few African American friends who do not like the pie but truthfully most that I know love it.  My family has a multi-generational recipe that I am not allowed to give out or punishable by death by my mother.  Tough luck getting Southerners of the U.S.A to give up family secrets.

Well, I found this recipe on the site of a fellow Examiner Talli Counsel, Presidential Master Chef.  Do not take the title lightly.  He actually has consulted for three U.S. Presidents.  This pie was served to Bill Clinton while in office. –Crystal Johnson, MCCN Editor


  • 2 medium sweet potatoes about a 1/2 pound)
  •  1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  •  3/4 cup sugar (*or to taste)
  •  3/4 cup half & half
  •  3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  •  1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (*pan toasted)
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1 tablespoon dark Jamaican rum
  •  1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch good quality pie shell PREPARING THE PIE

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the sweet potatoes on a shallow baking pan or pie tin, in the middle of the oven and roast until very tender, about 1 1/4 hours. Cool to room temperature. With a soup spoon, scoop out the sweet potatoes into a bowl and dispose of the skins. Mash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher or fork until smooth. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the sugar. Add the melted butter to the sweet potatoes with the half and half milk and the eggs, and beat with a whisk until smooth. Whisk in the remaining ingredients (the filling will be very liquid). Pour the filling into a docked (fork holes in the pie crust) pie shell. Depending on your oven, and where you live, the middle rack may be a better alternative to place the pie for baking.

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Restaurants open in Harlem for Thanksgiving

Whether you can’t cook or don’t want to cook if you are looking for a place to eat in Harlem on Thanksgiving.  The following restaurants will be open.


300 West 114th Street


Will have a three course prefix Menu for $45

Website: http://www.melbasrestaurant.com/


Amy Ruth’s

113 West 116th Street


On the Menu: Prefix Meal for Thanksgiving, in additon to the regular authentic southern cuisine menu items

Website: http://www.amyruthsharlem.com/


Billie’s Black

271 West 119th Street


On the Menu: Upscale Gourmet Soul food

Website: http://www.billiesblack.com/


Red Rooster

Prefix Menu for $55

Website:  http://redroosterharlem.com/

For more info about Harlem visit uptown flavor at: http://uptownflavor.com/


(Photo Credit: (Jean-Paul Aussenard, Wireimage.com)

Recently actor Brian White(Stomp the Yard/ I Can Do Bad All By Myself) posted a recipe on his myspace blog.  This may work out well while stalling guests as you strive to finish the rest of the Turkey Dinner or work out well while watching the game.

Current mood: Hungry


½ cup teriyaki sauce
1 cup oyster sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons garlic powder
¼ cup gin
2 dashes liquid smoke flavoring
½ cup white sugar
1½ pounds chicken wings, separated at joints, tips discarded.
¼ cup honey


1. In a large bowl, mix the teriyaki sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic powder, gin, liquid smoke and sugar. Place the chicken wings in the bowl and marinate in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.

2. Preheat the grill for LOW heat.

3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Arrange chicken on the grill and discard the marinade. Grill the chicken wings on one side for 20 minute, then turn and brush with HONEY. Continue grilling 25 minutes or until juices run clear.

Like this?  Watch former NBA Player Reggie Miller at Princess & the Frog Red Carpet with wife and Daughter:  Princess and the Frog Red Carpet

Chef Jay Jones: Roasted Garlic and Spicy Pumpkin Soup Recipe

1 Pumpkin
8 cloves of roasted garlic
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 chipotle peppers chopped
2 tbsp course ground black pepper
2 tbsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp ground ginger
Olive Oil
4 cups vegetable stock


Large Sheet tray
2 Large Pots
Large Bowl

Preheating: 375

Cut pumpkin in half remove seeds and brush with olive oil
Put on sheet pan and roast until tender
Remove from oven and set aside to cool
Spoon out contents of pumpkin and place in large bowl
Add spices and garlic to bowl and mix
In large pot add pumpkin mixture and vegetable stock
Stir on medium low for 20 minutes

For Service– Laddle into bowl.

*See Chef Jay Jones recipes and videos at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chef-Jay-Jones/145348698978?v=wall

Best spots for Dessert in Los Angeles: Part One

Dessert is certainly the sweetest taboo in a weight conscious town such as Los Angeles but alas we all surrender at some point.    And boy do we tend to surrender during the holidays.  If you aren’t good at making desserts from scratch or you can’t make it home for grandma’s best fixins’ then stopping at these selected restaurants below may do the job.   The Los Angeles Comfort and Soul Food Examiner presents the best desserts in Los Angeles and the surrounding area.

Top Dessert Restaurant HonorsMs.  Peaches located in North Hollywood gets top billing for having the best desserts.  They have a wide range of desserts to please almost any dessert lover.  My favorite dessert at the establishment are the Gooey Butter Cake and the Banana Pudding which is only served on the weekends is an absolute must have.  Gooey Buttercake has a bottom layer of buttery yellow cake and a top layer of either of egg and cream cheese, or butter and sugar.  Ms. Peaches also gets nods for their very homemade tasting Red Velvet Cake and Sweet Potato pie.

red velvet

Banana Split: Cool off with a Banana Split at Granville Cafe in Downtown, Burbank.  The Banana Split is a sharable dessert for two or three people. The bananas are brulee’d. The dessert also consists of hand crafted Tahitian vanilla, dark chocolate and black  chip ice cream, Port-poached cherries, caramel and Kahlua chocolate sauce with whipped cream and pecan brittle.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte: Ladies, if you have chocolate cravings and you don’t want to feel like a kid because you want a peanut butter cup.  Market City Cafe located in Downtown Burbank ups the ante on the comfort snack favorite with their divine chocolate peanut butter torte.

Bourbon Bread Pudding: Les Sisters located in Chatsworth offers a bread pudding which is drunk with flavor.

To see the best places for Pumpkin Cobbler and Buttermilk pie visit:

Review by Crystal Johnson- Restaurant Critic for the Los Angeles Examiner and Valley Scene Magazine

Hollywood After Dark: The Sweet Love Hangover Restaurant

sweet love hangover

The Sweet Love Hangover restaurant located on 6506 Hollywood Blvd is a trendy diner obviously meant for the late night party crowd.  With that in mind, everything about the place is appropriate for extending fun until 4 AM.  As I walked through the door, I couldn’t help but notice the patrons were all engaged in playing child hood games such as Connect Four and Scrabble.  The listings of games available to play has barely begun but I will spare you of a detailed listing for the exception of having to mention that Rockem Sockem is available for your pleasure. As for pleasing the palate, American comfort food with a twist is the predominant theme.

rockem sockem

Let’s face it, for reasons which are obvious many people want something heavy to eat after going to the club.  An ultimate comfort food available is the Mac & Cheese Times Four consisting of smoked Gouda, Parmesan, Asiago, Jack and a smattering of Pancetta.   Their take on the fave is creamy.  Although creamy is not my preference I must admit  their version of Mac & Cheese is flavorful.  My guest and I also dined on the Love Club sandwich which is  very good sandwich.  It includes turkey and avocado.  It is not too oversized like many club sandwiches tend to be.  The sandwich eating continues with the hamburger slider accompanied with sweet potato fries.  Our burgers were medium rare.  The slider has the hearty  taste of real beef not processed.  However, my vegetarian dining companion went off his normal diet to sample the burger and cites that he has had better burgers in his burger eating days.

The dessert of the night presented to us was the deep fried Twinkie.  I have to admit that I have been wanting to try the deep fried twinkie and deep fried Oreo for a number of years but have never gotten around to it.  The plating of the deep fried Twinkie is sophisticated with a generous dollop of whip cream and strawberries on the side of the plate.  First, I must state that I love this item is on the menu although I didn’t love the dessert.  My prejudice is that I don’t eat much fried food.  However, the dessert is a surprisingly sensual dish.  You have to order the dessert understand.

Now on to drinks…Well you have to read about that at: http://www.examiner.com/x-9408-LA-Comfort–Soul-Food-Restaurant-Examiner~y2009m11d7-Sweet-Love-Hangover-in-Hollywood-A-Great-Place-to-Hang-and-Eat

Review by Crystal Johnson-Restaurant Critic for the Los Angeles Examiner and the Valley Scene Magazine

Cider Baked Butternut Squash Soup Recipe


Fall is a fickle season: hot one day, cool the next; too toasty for lentils and/or stews, too cool for gazpacho. This time of year we welcome soups back like dear old friends on our table. So celebrate the season with a great fall soup.
Cidered Baked Butternut Squash Soup

2 each (1 pound each) Butternut Squash
¾ cup Apple Cider
2 large onions chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium carrots peeled and chopped
2 medium parsnip peeled and chopped
2 small apples cored, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
6 cups chicken broth
½ cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons sage finely chopped
1 teaspoon rosemary finely chopped
Dash of fresh grated nutmeg
Shredded Gruyere cheese (garnish)
Herb croutons (garnish)

(Original recipe directions no longer exists. However, we suggest use this ingredients and follow these steps.

  • Step 1

    Pour specified amount of olive oil  in a large pot, and cook the onion, celery, carrot, parsnips, cored apples, celery and squash 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Add the spices.   Pour in enough of the chicken stock to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 40 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.

  • Step 2

    Transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Return to pot, and mix in any remaining stock to attain desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe for Beignets: A New Orleans Specialty

Beignets (picture from Photobucket.com)

 If you have a sweet tooth, this recipe was made for you. This fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar is a confectionary dream for those of us who are not ashamed to admit we’ve eaten sugar sandwiches. This treat is so beloved in Louisiana that it became the state doughnut in 1986.

Here’s the recipe for beignets! Do yourself a favor and get a pot of coffee brewing to go with this special indulgence.

Recipe for Beignets (Whatscookingamerica.net)


1 cup lukewarm water

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg, room temperature & beaten

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 cup evaporated milk

4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons instant active dry yeast

Vegetable oil*

Powdered sugar for dusting

* Use just enough vegetable oil to completely cover beignets while frying.


Using a mixer with a dough hook, place water, sugar, salt, egg, butter, evaporated milk, flour, and yeast in the bowl. Beat until smooth. If using a bread machine, select dough setting and press Start. When dough cycle has finished, remove dough from pan and turn out onto a lightly oiled surface. form dough into an oval, place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled (3 to 4 hours) or overnight.

To prepare dough, remove from refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured board to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into approximately 3-inch squares or circles.

In a deep fryer or large pot, heat vegetable oil to 360 degrees F. Fry the beignets (2 or 3 at a time) 2 to 3 minutes or until they are puffed and golden brown on both sides, turning them in the oil with tongs once or twice to get them evenly brown; beignets will rise to the surface of the oil as soon as they begin to puff. NOTE: If the beignets don’t rise to the top immediately when dropped into the oil, the oil is not hot enough. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels, then sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar. Serve hot.

NOTE: The dough can be kept for up to a week in the refrigerator – it actually improves with age; just punch down when it rises. Dough can also be frozen; cut and roll, or shape doughnuts before freezing.)

Makes 18 beignets.

Learn about the History of King Cake:


Pictures from rachelleb.com

Turducken: The pride of a Louisiana Thanksgiving (by Monica Johnson)


Turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken with Chorizo stuffing between each layer

The initial thought of a a chicken stuffed in a duck which is then stuffed in a turkey is a little hard to comprehend. It just seems like too much! However, when you find out that this specialty called turducken is said to have been created in Louisiana; it somehow all makes sense.

The history of turducken is relatively recent and has a lot of different stories, but over the years there is one that seems to stick. The story begins in 1985 – the setting…Maurice, Louisiana, home of a butcher shop called Hebert’s Specialty Meats. The History Channel show, American Eats, investigated the matter, going right to the source of the story – Sammy Hebert. Hebert, owner of the shop, tells about an old farmer who walked in one day with a turkey, duck, and chicken which he had killed in his backyard. The farmer asked Hebert to debone the birds and stuff them in one another along with some sausage dressing in between each layer. Hebert admits, “I thought he was crazy asking for that, but we did it, and it ended up not being crazy.” Come on Sammy…maybe there was just a touch of crazy in the old farmer.

Nonetheless, the result is a creation that is the stuff of Thanksgiving dreams. Orders for this Louisiana delicasy have increased more and more over the years and the more exposure it gets, the more likely you may be to see turducken on your Thanksgiving table some time in the near future. Try the following recipe for Turducken. Happy eating!

Recipe for Turducken from  (Allrecipes.com)

Prep Time: 1 hour/Cooking time: 4 hours/Total Time: 5 hours (times are adjustable according to the size of turkey, chicken, and duck)



3 pounds whole chicken, boned

salt and pepper to taste

Creole seasoning to taste

1 (4 pound) duck, boned

16 pounds turkey, boned

3 cups prepared sausage and oyster dressing


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lay the boned chicken skin-side down on a platter and season liberally with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Lay the boned duck skin-side down on top of the chicken and season liberally with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Cover and refrigerate.

Lay the boned turkey skin-side down on a flat surface. Cover with a layer of cold Sausage and Oyster Dressing and push the dressing into the leg and wing cavities so they will look as if they still have bones in them.

Lay the duck on top of the turkey skin-side down and cover it with a layer of cold dressing. Lay the chicken on top of the duck skin-side down and cover it with a layer of cold dressing.

With the help of an assistant, bring the edges of the turkey skin up and fasten them together with toothpicks. Use the kitchen string to lace around the toothpicks to help hold the stuffed turkey together. Carefully place the turducken, breast up in a large roasting pan.

Roast covered for 4 hours or until the turducken is golden brown. Continue to roast uncovered for 1 hour or until a meat thermometer inserted through the thigh registers 180 degrees F. and a thermometer inserted through the stuffing registers 165 degrees F. Check the turducken every few hours to baste and remove excess liquid. There will be enough pan juices for a gallon of gravy. Carve and serve.

Click here to watch the American Eats: Turducken video.

Try this cornbread chorizo stuffing featured on MCCN

Picture from the Thyme for Food