Alternate Side of the Sweet

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If you read me regularly, you know that I didn’t orchestrate an over-the-top Thanksgiving feast this year; our annual gathering was an out-of-state potluck with each family member contributing some favorite side dishes. (I brought these two.)

But I missed my Dandy Brandied Candied Yams. (Actually, they’re sweet potatoes, but that’s a story for another day.) On a subsequent shopping trip, I tossed one in the basket, but upon contemplating the solitary and rather forlorn looking sweet potato back in my kitchen, I knew that I wasn’t going to go through the process of creating a mini version of the elaborate side dish for just myself. I also knew that I wasn’t really up for a plain roasted sweet potato, no matter how much butter I doused it with. I needed to come up with an alternate side for that sweet potato.

So I decided to experiment. (Mwah-ha-ha!) I performed a cursory inventory of the fridge and the pantry and hatched a scheme: Roast the root, mash the flesh and instead of brown sugar for sweetness and butter for creamy unctuousness (two of the many DBCY ingredients), I’d use eggnog.

Now wait – before you go “Ewww!” stay with me; this is how recipes are born. Upon testing, the theory proved reasonably solid although it needed some intensification. For texture, I added some butter-toasted pecan pieces and crystallized ginger (both of which I had on hand). But it still needed a bit more sweetness (I was surprised, too) plus a jolt of spice so I drizzled a thread of maple syrup over the nogified veggie mash and sprinkled a bit of cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg on top.

Trust me: if it hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t have taken the time to photograph it and write it up for future fine tuning. Reckless abandon to the rescue again!

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