Allspice Chronicles

Entertain like a Queen, Think Lean and Live Green! A personal collection of recipes,anecdotes,and good old fashioned advice…

Alabama Yams With Oranges

by Danica Waters / image courtesy of

Traditionally, any yam served in my childhood home during the month of November was baked, mashed with butter, cream, a wee bit of salt and brown sugar, and covered with mounds of fluffy marshmallows that were subsequently broiled until nearly black and gooey on top.  Come to think of it, the only time we actually ate yams back then was during the month of November.

Upon having children of my own and deciding early on there was no way I was going to feed my babies processed baby nasty-food,  I did some research into the nutritional merits of these terrific tubers.  It seems they have a far lower glycemic index than regular potatoes.  They also happen to be packed with potassium, manganese, vitamin C and vitamin B3 while registering low on the sodium counter.  Best of all, kids actually like to eat them with little or no negotiation, marshmallows or no marshmallows.   I started serving them regularly to the whole family as a tasty side that could double as homemade baby food.  Two birds with one stone?  That’s how I roll!  Baked in their skins with a dash of butter, seasoned with salt and pepper, or cut up and oven-roasted, yams are delicious and appear on my household menus at least once a week.

However tasty the good old fashioned yam might happen to be all by itself, the holidays call for something a bit more elegant, more celebratory.  This is it.  From the Heritage of Southern Cooking, author (and southern cooking guru) Camille Glenn has this to say:


” This is the Deep South way with yams or sweet potatoes.  It seems to always show up with the Thanksgiving turkey, but it is just as compatible with a good ham or chicken.  Do not peel either the potatoes or the orange.  If you don’t have a luscious rich sauce, you have been too cautious with the butter.”


Amen.  Be sure to slice the oranges as thin as possible – if you have a mandoline slicer, use it, but if not, just be sure to cut the slices super-thin.  Use real butter, and for heaven’s sake, listen to Ms. Glenn!  Don’t be shy!  It’s the holidays, after all.  This dish is excellent served with Green Beans Sauteed With Olive Oil; the citrus overtones keep the palate fresh and thoroughly entertained.



Alabama Yams With Oranges

(Heritage of Southern Cooking, by Camille Glenn)

6 yams or sweet potatoes, fully cooked and cooled (I bake mine for approximately 30 minutes at 400 degrees – the yam shouldn’t be too mushy, but it should be cooked to the point that it can be easily sliced)

3 navel oranges, thinly sliced

1/2 to 3/4 C (1 to –1/2 sticks) butter

3/4 C sugar

1 C fresh orange juice

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, or more to taste


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Peel and slice the cooked sweet potatoes very thin and place one layer in a shallow buttered baking dish.  Top with a layer of orange slices.  Dot generously with butter and sprinkle with sugar.  Continue layering.  You should have 3 layers, ending with a layer of potatoes, butter, and topping it off with sugar.

Mix the orange juice with the lemon juice and pour it over the potatoes.

Bake until a pleasant syrup has formed and the top is tinged with brown.

Serves 6 – 8



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Old Fashioned Potato Soup

by Danica Waters

June gloom is fully upon us here in Southern California. While the rest of you are enjoying the sun during your first days of summer break, here in L.A. all is gray-gray-gray, and a thick, chunky mist permeates the air. But I’m not complaining. The garden loves it… I love it, because it gives me a mid-season opportunity to occupy my kitchen without wilting in the summer heat. And I can make soup.

This is one of my favorite springtime soups. It’s not a heavy winter-weight soup; the ingredients are simple and very calming. The recipe comes from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks by the late Southern chef and author Camille Glen. Here’s what she has to say: “This is one of the best of family soups. Flavorful, nourishing, and easy for a nervous day. Parsley is essential to delicious potato soup. Don’t change the proportions. They are perfect.” Indeed they are.

Old Fashioned Potato Soup
The Heritage of Southern Cooking

4 C diced peeled potatoes
½ C chopped celery
½ C chopped onion
1 quart water
3 C milk
2 Tbsp butter
8 sprigs parsley, leaves chopped from stems, stems crushed and set aside
1-1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste
Freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Place the potatoes, celery, onion, and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are soft but not mushy, about 30 minutes. Drain, or allow the water to reduce until almost gone.

Add the milk, butter, parsley stems, salt and white pepper to taste.
Allow the soup to simmer, uncovered, for the flavors to blend, 8 – 10 minutes. Remove the parsley stems; taste for salt. Stir in the chopped parsley leaves.

NOTE: Potato soup should not be allowed to boil hard after the milk is added or it will curdle. Also, Camille Glenn recommends using whole milk instead of low-fat milk. I use low-fat and the results are still outstanding, though not as rich.

This is wonderful served with Spinach, Red Pepper, and Feta Quiche!

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