A Taster's Journey is a newsletter on food, wine and travel. After 15 years of studying, tasting, teaching, and selling wine, I created this newsletter to not only share my passion about wine, but of food and travel as well. Each month I hope to share wines that I am drinking, food that is in season, restaurants that I have enjoyed, and places I have traveled. Enjoy!"


Thanksgiving Side Dishes

November 16th, 2009

When I think of  Thanksgiving I dream of  a golden brown turkey. I believe this tradition is embraced by most of us; and this bird will be the cornerstone of our meal. But why do so many people cook the same side dishes every year? I am sure many of these dishes are outstanding, but how about adding just one new dish?

Although I am always looking for ways to improve the Thanksgiving meal, I don’t want to make things more complicated. If I suggested a dish that was tasty, pretty easy to prepare, and added a new twist to the meal would you try it? Here are two sides that you might consider…

Carrot Souffle

I had the pleasure of visiting Blackberry Farm in Tennessee several years back; it’s a spectacular place with great food. Recently I saw an interesting  recipe from Blackberry Farm for carrot souffle. After a few modifications, I came up with the recipe below which is easy, very flavorful, and quite unique.

Cheese Souffle

Carrot Souffle

For 4-6 people…

16 medium sized carrots                           1/2 cup heavy cream

18 saltine crackers                                        1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese               1/2 cup grated  Monterey jack cheese

1/3 cup minced shallots                             3 eggs

1 tbs. butter                                                     1/4 cayenne pepper

1 tsp. salt                                                           1/4 tsp. ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel the carrots and cut into 1/4 inch rounds. Boil the carrots over medium heat till tender, about 10 minutes. Strain the carrots and add to the food processor with the milk and cream. Puree the carrots and add to a large mixing bowl. Place the saltines into a ziploc bag and break into crumbs. Add these crumbs to the mixing bowl with the cheese, shallots, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Add these ingredients to a buttered baking dish. Break up the tablespoon of butter into small chunks and add to the carrot mixture. Whisk the eggs till foamy (you may want to use an electric mixer) then fold into the carrots. Bake for 45 minutes. The dish will puff up and turn a light golden brown. Serve immediately.

For many years we made mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving. Remember the old days with the lumpy mashed potatoes? Well that is no longer acceptable, we are now told to put the potatoes through a ricer. I don’t know about you, but when I am trying to plate the Thanksgiving dinner with 6 side dishes a ricer is the last thing I want to deal with. A few years back I saw a recipe for smashed potatoes that I simplified. Smashed potatoes are so much easier than mashed, and I think they also taste better. I hope you like them as much as I do.

Smashed Potatoes (for 2 people)

14 small fingerling potatoes                            1 1/2 tbs. butter

2 tbs. sour cream                                                 bunch of fresh chives

salt and pepper

Boil the fingerling potatoes whole until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and return to the heat to cook off any excess water. Add butter and smash the potatoes with a potato masher, no need to over mash because lumps are preferred. Add sour cream, salt, and pepper and mix. Use a scissor and snip an abundant amount of chives. Serve. Note that small yukons can be substituted for the fingerlings.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

3 Responses to “Thanksgiving Side Dishes”

  1. Ed,
    I do remember lumpy potatoes! Have a great holiday. Sorry we will miss you when we are (briefly) in LA. love the souffle idea.

  2. Paul says:


    Good ideas. I’ve been tired of the same old side dishes every year. Definitely tasty ideas to try.


  3. sheila says:

    I tried a ricer once and the potatoes tasted like glue. Your idea of smashed potato came just in time; thank you. Sheila

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