For a twist on the traditional Old Fashioned cocktail, use apple cider and serve with a cinnamon stick, as seen here in Teri Robl’s kitching on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Teri Robl)

For a twist on the traditional Old Fashioned cocktail, use apple cider and serve with a cinnamon stick, as seen here in Teri Robl’s kitching on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Teri Robl)

Kachemak Cuisine: Spice up Thanksgiving with these side dishes and drinks

Happy Thanksgiving! I’ve missed writing to you and sharing special dishes from my kitchen. The Other Fisherman and I are doing great and we hope you all are too. We’ve begun our Christmas decorating, as the snow has put us in a festive mood, and look forward to the distraction of the holidays after this year’s events.

Our grandkids are visiting and our home is full of life. What a wonderful thing for us on the gazillionth day of the pandemic. We enjoy the laughter, smiles, cuddles, energy and chaos these sweet and innocent little beings are all about. A recent shopping excursion to stock up for their visit revealed that yogurt now comes in child size tubes with sparkles.What do sparkles taste like, I wonder? Pop rocks, funfetti, tutti frutti? I will ask 3-year-old Kase for his assessment.

I hope I can spark some inspiration for enjoying a delicious Thanksgiving meal.

Cranberries I’ll be using for this fresh and bright tasting relish were sent to me from my uncle in northern Wisconsin, as we had to cancel our annual trip there this fall. What a perfect surprise.

I love this recipe, as it’s quick to prepare, can be made ahead of the big day and welcomes any add-ins that may tickle your fancy. Diced apple, pomegranate, chopped nuts or raspberries are all things I’ve added over the years.

Fresh Cranberry and Orange Relish

Makes 3 cups

Ingredients

1 bag of fresh or frozen cranberries (3 cups)

1 orange with root ends cut off, cut into 8 pieces

1 cup sugar

Directions

Place half of the cranberries and half of the orange in the food processor. Pulse until evenly chopped. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the other half of orange and cranberries. Stir in sugar and store in the refrigerator for at least an hour or up to a week. If you plan on adding additional ingredients, just stir them in after the sugar is added. Freezes well.

Use relish smeared on a turkey sandwich, put a bit into yogurt, or add a dollop to sourdough waffles and pancakes. The sweet tangy flavor will wake things up.

A Southern born and raised dear friend contributed this favorite sweet potato dish to Thanksgiving dinners when she joined us. It’s been a must serve traditional dish since..

Sweet Potato Souffle

Serves 8-12

Ingredients

4-5 large sweet potatoes

3 large eggs

1/2 cup evaporated milk , or substitute cream or half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter, melted

For the topping:*

3 Tablespoons butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Or to add a marshmallow topping, simply top the casserole with a layer of miniature marshmallows and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the marshmallows are puffy and browned. You could also prepare this dish half-and-half with half crumble mixture and half marshmallows.

Boil potatoes: place the sweet potatoes in a large pot. Add enough water to the pot to cover the potatoes a little more than half way. You will need at least 3-4 inches of water but the water will not completely cover the potatoes.

Bring the water to a boil and then turn the heat to a medium simmer. Simmer them until they are fork tender. It may take 20-40 minutes to cook your sweet potatoes depending on the size of the potatoes, but you don’t want them to be mushy.

Drain water and place sweet potatoes on a plate or cutting board to cool down. Once they are warm enough to hold, peel the skin from the potatoes and place them in a large mixing bowl.

Add eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla, sugar, salt and butter and mash everything together until smooth. I start with a potato masher, and then use an electric mixer on low speed, for about 45 seconds, to get the mixture really smooth.

Pour mixture into a lightly greased casserole dish. Anything around the size of an 8×11 inches, 9×13 inches or even a deep dish 10-inch pie pan would all work great.

For the topping:

Add flour, brown sugar and pecans to a mixing bowl.

Add butter and cut in with a fork or pastry blender until well combined.

Sprinkle topping over sweet potato mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes.

Notes:

*Topping: To add a marshmallow topping instead, top the casserole with a layer of miniature marshmallows and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the marshmallows are puffy and browned.

To make-ahead: You can prepare sweet potato casserole 1-2 days in advance. First make the filling and smooth into your baking dish. Make the topping and store it in a ziplock bag, but wait to top the casserole with it. When you’re ready to bake your sweet potato casserole, take it out of the fridge and sprinkle the topping on top. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

This is a perfect Thanksgiving side dish to make a day or two ahead of time.

In Wisconsin, brandy Old Fashioneds are a popular drink, usually made with 7 Up. To switch it up a bit, try using apple cider for a festive autumn flavor.

Apple Cider Old Fashioned

Makes 1 cocktail

Ingredients

1/2 cup ice

2/3 cup apple cider

2 oz. whiskey, bourbon or brandy

2 -4 dashes Angostura bitters

Apple slices, for garnish

Cinnamon sticks, for garnish

Directions

Combine all ingredients in glass and stir to combine.

Garnish with an apple slice and cinnamon stick.

The perfect fall drink.

Apple Cider Mules

Makes 2 drinks

Ingredients

4 oz. vodka

ginger beer

sparkling cider

Sliced apple, for garnish

Cinnamon sticks, for garnish

Directions

Fill two copper mugs with ice. Pour 2 oz vodka into each cup. Fill 2/3 full with sparkling cider, then top with ginger beer.

Garnish with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Stay safe and healthy, and enjoy the holiday.

Reach Teri Robl at easthood.queen@gmail.com.

For a twist on the traditional Old Fashioned cocktail, use apple cider and serve with a cinnamon stick, as seen here in Teri Robl’s kitching on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Teri Robl)

For a twist on the traditional Old Fashioned cocktail, use apple cider and serve with a cinnamon stick, as seen here in Teri Robl’s kitching on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Teri Robl)

Photo by Teri Robl 
For a twist on the traditional Old Fashioned cocktail, use apple cider and serve with a cinnamon stick, as seen here in Teri Robl’s kitching on Sunday, Nov. 22, n Homer.

Photo by Teri Robl For a twist on the traditional Old Fashioned cocktail, use apple cider and serve with a cinnamon stick, as seen here in Teri Robl’s kitching on Sunday, Nov. 22, n Homer.

Photo by Teri Robl 
For a twist on the traditional Old Fashioned cocktail, use apple cider and serve with a cinnamon stick, as seen here in Teri Robl’s kitching on Sunday, Nov. 22, in Homer.

Photo by Teri Robl For a twist on the traditional Old Fashioned cocktail, use apple cider and serve with a cinnamon stick, as seen here in Teri Robl’s kitching on Sunday, Nov. 22, in Homer.

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