A ran­dom sur­plus of sea­sonal veg­eta­bles may pose a prob­lem worth solv­ing.

Com­ing out of a flush hol­i­day pantry or work­ing through a fat CSA box, par­tic­u­larly with seem­ingly incom­pat­i­ble or unusual fresh ingre­di­ents, may trip us up at first.

Take a sec­ond look at what there is to work with in the kitchen. Fen­nel, cele­riac and but­ter­cup squash…then what?

After a bit of head scratch­ing, turn to an inter­net search for a blog post spout­ing the ben­e­fits of that pecu­liar ingre­di­ent. A recipe pos­si­bil­ity is cer­tain to fol­low.

A wide spec­trum of menu options will be pre­sented. Decide first on which meal solu­tion to tackle. Break­fast, lunch or din­ner? Snack or appe­tizer? That answer will clear a path to the next hur­dle.

Cooked or served raw will be the next line to cross. Var­i­ous cook­ing meth­ods will pro­duce com­pletely dif­fer­ent tastes and tex­tures. Com­pare a crisp, crunchy car­rot to that of one, moist and soft, roasted in a hot oven.

Roast­ing ver­sus grilling pro­duces dif­fer­ent results. Sautéing ver­sus pan fried yields takes it in yet another direc­tion.

The pop­u­lar­ity of fresh pick­les lends itself to con­vert­ing some of these more obscure veg­gies.

Thinly shaved, juli­enned and whole items brined or soaked with sweet and sour spices make for good snack­ing and gift giving.

Read more: A Mixed Bag →

It could very well be a savory pear tart. Or a car­rot souf­flé or even a Brus­sels sprouts Cae­sar salad with pecans that starts a hol­i­day dis­pute.

A seem­ingly nice sur­prise and uncon­ven­tional approach to fruits and veg­eta­bles this time of year might sound per­fectly ratio­nal.

Thanks­giv­ing is a time to gather with friends and fam­ily around a table that holds mostly tra­di­tional favorite dishes.

The mere thought or sug­ges­tion of sneak­ing in a new take on a famil­iar salad, side, appe­tizer or dessert may be grounds for a fam­ily fuss.

Chances are good that if the group assem­bled at your Thanks­giv­ing table has been there year-​after-​year, the expec­ta­tion is to serve exactly those same “tried and true” dishes that have been plated before.

Read more: Savory Pear Tart →

Soup from scratch is well worth the small effort it takes to make. Likely, the famil­iar, basic com­po­nents are already in the pantry.

Why wait for that req­ui­site sea­sonal cold or flu to set­tle in? Make soup now as it can be a com­fort for the soul and a tonic to the body.

The nutri­tional val­ues and sooth­ing prop­er­ties of soup work on mul­ti­ple lev­els.

Con­sum­ing plenty of liq­uids is always advised when fight­ing of aller­gens or bat­tling anti­bod­ies. The broth of soup counts toward flush­ing out the tox­ins and hydrat­ing the weary body.

Warm liq­uids tend to clear the sinus pas­sages. Hot water and hot tea suf­fice, but hot soup is a wel­come change to the daily steam regimen.

Read more: Soup Vitality →

The cal­en­dar page says Novem­ber so all bets are off. The imme­di­ate feel of this new month takes on a more fes­tive and impres­sive aura.

Maybe we start to pay closer atten­tion to every detail of the plate. Is it pos­si­ble to have even more col­ors avail­able when using fresh ingre­di­ents this month?

The shift towards apples, pears and cit­rus is evi­dent as they crowd out peaches and nec­tarine dis­plays. Hard squashes and root veg­eta­bles make their way to menu selec­tions at food­ser­vice venues.

Besides pump­kin every­thing (food and bev­er­ages), there are some easy ways to add drama to the plate. Take Sat­suma man­darins, com­ing on region­ally through­out Cal­i­for­nia, are a good start to glam­our.

These delight­ful hand fruits have a zip peel and make the per­fect any­time snack. When the indi­vid­ual seg­ments are sep­a­rated, they brighten up a morn­ing break­fast and do more than dec­o­rate a sup­per dish. They perk up a ho-​hum serv­ing right away with a pop of color.

Read more: Glam­our Shots →