ANCHORAGE — Thursday is a big day for feasting and one place ready to help cooks and last-minute dinner preparers is Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop.
No doubt many cooks will be thankful Fire Island is open on Thanksgiving Day. In addition to its regular hours on Wednesday, those looking for the freshest baked goods can swing into the bakery at 14th Avenue and G Street until 2 p.m. on Thursday. The bakery will be closed the rest of the week.
And what will the bakers have on hand?
In addition to traditional items perfect for a big meal -- artisan white, prairie and onion poppy seed rolls; a variety of breads, including white and wheat baguettes; seasoned stuffing; organic apple pie; pumpkin tart; and babka -- the bakers have been busy crafting new treats.
One new creation is the sweet potato cupcake.
"This cupcake has all the best parts of a sweet potato pie," says Rachel Saul, general manager and daughter of bakery owners Janis Fleischman and Jerry Lewanski. "Mom always says, 'Here's the winner right here! The sweet potato cupcake gets the gold star!' I love it."
The cupcake is topped with a toasted marshmallow frosting and boasts a creamy filling made from caramel made in the shop, pecans and Maker's Mark bourbon.
Another new treat is the Bavarian pumpkin layer cake. The cake starts with pumpkin cream cheese filling sandwiched between two thin pumpkin cakes. It is topped with 10 rum balls. It's as beautiful as it is tasty.
"It's beautiful, so if you bring it to a Thanksgiving party everyone will 'ooh and aah,' " Saul says. "If you want to end Thanksgiving with a bang, this is the cake for you.
"Everybody in the shop is so excited about Thanksgiving," says Saul, who recently finished six months of intense training at the San Francisco Baking Institute. "We love the holidays, we love when the shop is filled with excited people. We love being a part of our customer's holiday."
At the market
Visitors to Wednesday's Center Market at The Mall at Sears can also focus on their holiday meal.
"If you are looking for deviled eggs that impress the guests, come on by the market this Wednesday and pick up some duck eggs," says Alex Davis of A.D. Farm. "If you are a little less adventurous you can get some chicken eggs. If you want a turkey, my friend Duane will have a few at the market. Do you want something a little less traditional? You can make a meatloaf out of my ground pork."
Warning: If you want one of Duane Clark's locally raised turkeys, get to the market early -- they are sure to be gone quickly.
In addition to the limited number of turkeys, Clark will have his regular lineup of grass-fed Alaska beef cuts, free-range chicken and duck, local pure raw honey and goat milk cheese.
Also expect special holiday items from Matanuska Creamery, including eggnog and pumpkin pie ice cream. Other items that may prove beneficial for holiday cooks include butter and heavy cream, along with the regular cheese and other flavors of ice cream.
Sleeping Lady Alaskan Foods plans to be at the market with her regular supply of items, along with extra pies from the House of Bread.
Davis' pork and eggs will also be joined by his regular supply of Valley vegetables, including beets, carrots, cabbage and potatoes. "We have great cabbage for slaw and if you use the purple carrots in the slaw you will have wonderful flavors with a taste that will truly delight," Davis says.
Also at the market this week will be the Rempel Family Farm will have three varieties of beets, sugar pumpkins, stripetti squash, carrots, Snow Apple turnips, daikon radish, parsnips, green cabbage and 12 kinds of potatoes.
The market is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday inside the Mall at Sears.
Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. If you have a suggestion for a future Market Fresh column, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.