Thanksgiving Menu Tips – From Appetizers to Dessert (Minus the Turkey)

We’re headed to southern Colorado to visit family and celebrate our favorite holiday: Thanksgiving! We love the food. We love the cooking and fabulous aromas that permeate the house. And we love sharing a special meal. We figure you’ve got your own favorite recipes for turkey and stuffing.  So below are suggestions for other dishes, beginning with appetizers and ending with dessert.

APPETIZER

Dried Fig and Black Olive Spread

Marie Simmons, the award-winning cookbook author, created this spread for our friends  Valley Fig Growers. It combines dried figs, pitted olives, crushed fennel seeds, garlic, grated orange zest, and extra virgin olive oil. Marie recommends serving this spread on crostini – say with a little crumbled feta … or blue cheese. Or: “Smear some into celery boats or red pepper wedges.” (Click here to see the recipe.)

SOUP

Gingery Carrot Soup 

We like starting the Thanksgiving meal with soup. This carrot soup has a gorgeous color and gingery kick. To give the soup a creamy texture, you add a potato which is then  puréed along with the other ingredients: carrots, leeks, and ginger. (Click here to see the recipe.)

SIDE DISHES

Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts 

We love Brussels sprouts. And we love bacon. So this dish is a great marriage of flavors – at least for us. It also combines diced red potatoes and garlic – all roasted with extra virgin olive oil. A finishing drizzle of balsamic vinegarprovides the final touch. (Click here to see the recipe.)

 

Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries

This colorful dish combines two of our favorite seasonal ingredients: butternut squash and cranberries. It comes from Boston chef Tony Polito, author of Fresh (Aurora Foods Publishing, 2010). For some added flavor, we’d give this dish a finishing drizzle of our Miller’s Blend or Arbosana oils (Click here to see the recipe.)

 

Fennel-Roasted Vegetables

Napa Valley chef Michael Chiarello declares this “one of my all-time favorite vegetable dishes.” You can pick and choose your veggies: fennel, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, etc. The recipe is in Michael Chiarello’s Casual Cooking  (Chronicle Books, 2012). (Click here to see the recipe.)

DESSERT

Cinnamon Pecan Mini Tarts 

“Don’t let the size of this mini pie deceive you,” Micki Sannar, our friend who created this dish, says. “With the perfect blend of cinnamon, pecans, & brown sugar, it doesn’t take much to satisfy your cravings for a slice of pecan pie. Enjoy this guiltless little tartlet knowing it has a fraction of the calories as compared to the real deal.” (Click here to see the recipe.)

Bon appétit,

Your friends at California Olive Ranch