In lieu of a deep-fried turkey (dangerous), any version of a sweet potato puree topped with marshmallows (slow death), or the same side dish that has graced your Thanksgiving table decade after decade (yawn), try some of these alternatives to spice up your menu and offer your guests a meal for which they can truly give thanks.
Persimmon bread This sweet bread is such a treat to greet guests as they enter the front door. Not only is it fairly easy to prepare, the aromas, flavors, and textures are a perfect signal that it is time to celebrate the season.
Soup Even though the holiday weather in San Francisco doesn’t reach the biting cold temperatures of our northerly neighbors, a hard squash soup or a carrot soup is an exquisite introductory course to warm things up. A personal favorite that I love to serve at my own family table is a nice carrot soup garnished with scallops. Even though it seems like a contradiction, carrots in our region are sweeter in the winter, adding a flavor to the soup that makes guests beg for more.
Pasta It may not be traditional, but that is my point. Any type of ravioli prepared with some of the fall’s finest fruits, such as pumpkin, pomegranate, butternut squash, or chestnut, enveloped in homemade ravioli dough, will raise the bar of expectations for future holiday dishes.