Side dishes that rock Thanksgiving~

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Someone with a job like mine, who is constantly working styling and producing stories for magazines and TV for all the holidays, might be over holidays in the most real sense. As far as Thanksgiving, I have probably set hundreds of holiday tables and prepared hundreds of Thanksgiving meals but I never get tired of celebrating this holiday probably because the message of giving thanks is so powerful+gathering with family and friends always makes me happy to my core.

Over the next few weeks I will be giving you my favorite recipes along with insights as to where these recipes came from some are original, or tweaked recipes and some come from my favorite cookbooks and magazines.

The history of my Thanksgiving stems from being the child of immigrant parents, my family is from Hungary, I as well as my husband ( his family is from Germany) were first generation Americans. In our respective homes Thanksgiving was not a tradition, although our parents were very proud to be American citizens our Mom's both struggled with what to prepare on that day. So it was my goal as a young Mom and wife was to create my own American traditions with my family that would be carried on but most importantly remembered.

Although I consider myself a gourmet cook, my family loves the good old American Thanksgiving standbys, like sweet potato casserole , yes with marshmallows ( even though I want to make a homemade version of marshmallows, I resist) I found a recipe many years ago in a Saveur Magazine, it is an old southern recipe, and adds pineapple and sherry soaked raisins, so for me it meets the gourmet criteria without compromising the marshmallow everyman appeal of the dish.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows

1⁄2 cup raisins
1⁄3 cup sweet sherry
3 medium sweet potatoes
2⁄3 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp. butter, melted
1⁄2 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp. finely chopped orange zest
1 tsp. pumpkin spice (or 2⁄3 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1⁄4 tsp. ground ginger, pinch ground nutmeg,
   and pinch ground allspice)
1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup drained pineapple cubes, coarsely chopped
1 1⁄2 cups miniature marshmallows

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Soak raisins in sherry until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain raisins and transfer to a large bowl.
2. Meanwhile, place sweet potatoes in a roasting pan and bake until tender, about 40 minutes. Allow potatoes to cool, then peel, purée (it is best to do this in a food mill), and add to raisins. Add brown sugar, butter, orange juice, orange zest, and pumpkin spice and mix well. Fold in pecans and pineapple and transfer to an 8'' square baking dish.
3. Bake casserole for 20 minutes, then cover with marshmallows and bake until marshmallows are golden, about 5 minutes more. Serve warm.

Over the next few weeks I will reveal my entire menu, backwards, to the final reveal and star of the show, The Turkey.