Every week we get Down & Dirty, in which we break down our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more.
Today: Because bread does not a meal make (on Thanksgiving anyway), here are the fruits, vegetables, and herbs you'll want to pick up for your holiday meal.
1. Fresh Thyme
Cook: Vegetarian Mushroom Thyme Gravy is a non-negotiable must-have item, but you also might want to consider serving a side of roasted root vegetables with horseradish-thyme butter or crostini topped with thyme pesto and preserved lemon cream for an appetizer.
Cook: Homemade cranberry jelly, in a can -- because it tastes better with ridges -- and a Double Layer Cranberry Ginger Upside-Down Cake, which will likely be polished off before the pumpkin pie.
Cook: Make your own pumpkin purée, and then use it in pie, mashed potatoes, or a latte. Don't forget to set some aside for a breakfast parfait -- you'll need your strength for all of this cooking.
4. Fresh Water Chestnuts
Cook: Make a four-ingredient appetizer everyone will rave about, add them to homemade green bean casserole, or chop them up and add them to your favorite stuffing recipe for added texture.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Cook: Whether you procure purple ones or stick with the standard orange, no one will be able to resist individual sweet potato gratins or a slice of sweet potato pie.
Cook: Celeriac Purée, Celery Root and Potato Gratin, or -- if your guests will revolt without standard mashed potatoes on the menu -- try slipping some celeriac into the mash for a subtle update on the classic.
Cook: Serve Balsamic-Roasted Shallots for a heroic (yes, heroic) side dish, or make a Glazed Shallot, Walnut, Sage, and Goat Cheese Pizza and cut it into small pieces for an elegant appetizer.
8. Fresh Sage
Cook: Set out little bowls of Sage-Candied Walnuts for guests to nibble on, and then throw the rest of your sage into the stuffing and roasted vegetables.
9. Brussels Sprouts
Cook: The side dish that no one thinks they want until they go back for seconds. We recommend choosing one (or more) of the following: "Pot-Stuck" Brussels Sprouts, Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Red Onion, Lemon, and Pecorino, or Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pears and Pistachios.
Tell us: What fruits and vegetables are essential to your Thanksgiving meal?
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