In the past two installments of our Thanksgiving Edition, I’ve neglected to do one very important thing.  I’ve neglected, entirely, to share any vegetables with you (unless you count the sweet potato soup — but that’s not really what I mean).

Thanksgiving is a celebration of the HARVEST, for heaven’s sake.  It’s all about the vegetables.  I know we want to think that it’s all about the turkey, but truthfully, that wasn’t really the star of the show for the Pilgrims — heck, some of them may not have even eaten any turkey at the first Thanksgiving, what with all the venison, lobster, oysters, and various other proteins hanging around the buffet table.  Turkey is the modern-day interpretation, and that’s fine; but honestly?  Raise your hands if your FAVORITE part of Thanksgiving dinner is the bird.

You, in back there, with your hand raised — simmer down, now.  Everybody else got my point.  We’re not at that table for the turkey.  We’re there for the OTHER stuff.  And so were the Pilgrims.  So it’s practically un-American of me to offer you Thanksgiving recipes without giving you a couple of fresh new takes on harvest-happy vegetable sides, no?

The thing is, when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner and the vegetables in particular, it’s hard to give people new ideas without stepping on any traditional toes.  I don’t want to be the cause of any dinner-table feuding, so I’m staying away from the sweet potatoes and the green bean casserole and all of that.  Instead, I thought I’d offer up something utterly non-traditional — a fennel and apple dish — alongside a different interpretation of a more familiar Thanksgiving vegetable, the butternut squash.  Both of these are easy to make, they bake at the same temperature (an important feature in Thanksgiving side-dish planning!), you can get some of the prep work done ahead of time, and they’ll definitely win you points for originality at your holiday feast.

On the Menu:

Butternut Squash and Parsnip Tian






Fennel and Apples with Roasted Garlic Cream