Fresh vegetables, international flavors and style all of its own are the hallmarks of California cuisine. Thanksgiving is no exception. These vegetable dishes are interesting sides to serve with whatever main course is being offered – whether it is turkey or tofu.
Brussels Sprouts with Pepitas and Pecans
Frozen Brussels sprouts can be used if necessary, but the fresh ones bring a wonderful taste to this side dish.
- ¼ cup pecan pieces
- 1 ½ pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
- ¼ cup roasted pepitas
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- black pepper
- Boil a pot of water. Add salt to taste and put the Brussels sprouts in the boiling water. Boil them until they are just beginning to get soft. It should take between 3 – 5 minutes.
- Remove the Brussels sprouts from the stove and drain. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half and set aside in a colander.
- Heat the butter and oil together in a skillet. Add the onions and sauté. Stir often until the onions are golden. It should take about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and the Brussels sprouts. Saute, stirring often, until the Brussels sprouts have golden spots.
- Stir in the pecans and the pepitas.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Herb Fresh Green Bean Casserole
Many families rely on the green bean casserole as a standard Thanksgiving side dish. This recipe provides a fresh and interesting twist to this standby.
- 4 cups whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 pounds fresh green beans, with the ends trimmed
- 1/2 pound fresh chanterelle mushrooms – other mushrooms can be substituted as desired
- 1/3 pound diced pancetta
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
- black pepper
- ¼ cup toasted chopped hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts
- In a large saucepan, boil the cream and the water. Stir in the kosher salt and the sugar until dissolved.
- Add the green beans to the saucepan. Cook the bean for 5 minutes until they tender but still crisp.
- Drain the beans, but save 1/3 cup of the liquid. Run cold water over the beans until they are cooled. Drain again, discarding all of this liquid and set aside.
- While the beans are cooking, cook the pancetta and the 1 ½ cups of water over medium heat in a skillet. Cook until the water evaporates. The pancetta should be crisp. This should take about 25 minutes. Drain the pancetta liquid and set aside.
- Chop the mushrooms. In a different skillet, melt three tablespoons of the butter. Cook the mushrooms until they are tender.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Raise the heat to high and put the beans and the pancetta in the skillet that has the mushrooms. Add the reserved cooking liquid and cook until the liquid evaporates.
- Add the butter and half of the mint and parsley. Stir until the butter melts and the beans are coated. Season the beans with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the beans casserole dish. Place the nuts, mint and parsely on the top.
- Place the casserole dish in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Watch to ensure that it does not burn.
Whipped Chipotle Sweet Potatoes
Much of Californian cuisine has a southwestern flair. This is especially true of these creamy sweet potatoes.
- 5 ½ pounds sweet potatoes
- 2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- ¼ cup light cream
- 1 tablespoon tequila
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil.
- Bake the sweet potatoes until they are very soft.
- While the potatoes are cooking, mash the chilies into a paste.
- Cool the potatoes until they can be handled comfortably. Scoop the flesh of the potato into a bowl.
- With an electric mixer, mix the potatoes, the chili paste, the butter, the brown sugar, the lime, the tequila and the cream.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread the mixture into a buttered 2 quart baking dish.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the potatoes for 25 minutes, stirring once half way through.
- Serve hot.