It’s amazing that dinner ever made it from concept to reality tonight.  I had too many concepts.

Sunday tends to be a bit of a clean out the refrigerator day in preparation for the Monday Shopping Trek.  I had a lot of choices and a lot of ideas today.  I have a single pie crust left from making the pumpkin pie the other night that would have gone great on my Mom’s Steak Pie.  But I needed to use brussels sprouts.  And that yam.  And those last few mushrooms.

There is chicken in the freezer – and several varieties of sausage.  A pork tenderloin…

Leafing through the latest copy of Wegmans magazine, I saw a recipe for Apple Almond Yam Cakes.  A sweet potato latke by any other name…  That set the tone for dinner.  Sweet potatoes go great with brussels sprouts, and tri-tip roasts and mushroom gravy go with everything.

A dinner was born.

The tri-tip went into the oven at 425° along side the brussels sprouts.  I halved the sprouts, put them into a casserole dish with about a half-cup of chicken stock and just let ’em cook down.  About 5 minutes before they came out of the oven I added dried cranberries and pine nuts.

While the roast was resting, I made a pan gravy using the drippings, a handful of sliced baby bella mushrooms, a splash of brandy and a carton of condensed portobello mushroom soup.  Really.  Condensed soup.  Me.

It was something new and I thought I’d give it a try.  I have to admit that the last time I used condensed soups in anything was back in the ’70s when I lived at Lake Tahoe.  I used to make a stuffed chicken breast dish with a champagne mushroom sauce for crowds (we always had crowds at that house!) but over the years just stopped using them.  Since Victor just said my gravy is better, I probably will continue to stop using them.

The sweet potato latkes were good.  Nice balance of potato with apple and onion.  I used sliced almonds as the recipe stated, but will use probably use slivered almonds next time I make them for a bit more pronounced crunch.  The recipe makes a dozen large potato cakes, so be forewarned.  We’ll have a couple for breakfast tomorrow and more are going into the freezer.

Apple Almond Yam Cakes

  • 1 1/4 lbs yams, peeled, coarsely grated (about 7 cups)
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, coarsely grated
  • 4 oz Chopped Onions
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Sour Cream
  • 4 large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • Salt and ground white pepper to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil


  1. Combine yam, apple, and onion in a large mixing bowl. Add sour cream and eggs; season to taste with salt and white pepper. Stir to combine. Slowly fold in flour. Stir in almonds. Mix well. Form yam mixture into patties by scooping up portions with ice cream scoop (about 1/2 cup) and pressing firmly with hands. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high, 1-2 min, not allowing oil to reach smoking point. Reduce heat to medium.
  3. Add yam patties to pan (pan should hold 5 patties). Cook, 7-8 min until edges begin to brown. Gently turn patties over. Cook 5-6 min until browned and tender. Drain on double thickness of paper towels.
  4. Repeat with remaining yam patties, heating additional vegetable oil if necessary.

Can be made a few hours ahead and reheated in a 350 degree oven for 20 min.

It was an easy dinner to put together, but I did seen to dirty an awful lot of stuff.  Fortunately, we have a great system.  When I cook, Victor cleans and when Victor cooks, Victor cleans.

It really is a great system!