An old friend called today wanting some advice about preferred dishes for the looming Thanksgiving meal .. a treat in preparation for some and a daunting task for others.

While I like turkey and all of the classic sides, it’s an annual feast that can be bland and repetitive in texture and taste.  The traditional meal can quickly congeal into a mucky heap if someone doesn’t show up with a dish with texture, crunch and bright flavors. If we think of the Thanksgiving repast as music, it’s mostly bass notes and mid-tones, in need of some treble.

Here’s where something simple, crunchy and locally available comes in.  The humble coleslaw. Earthy winter vegetables, shredded and tossed with a light healthy dressing.  There are hundreds of good coleslaw recipes and this one owes its origin to my good friend Mark Bittman and Jamie Oliver.

2 carrots, peeled and shredded

1/2 head each savoy and red cabbage, shredded

1 small celery root, peeled and shredded

1 bulb fennel, trimmed and sliced thinly

1 turnip, peeled and shredded

1 red pepper, seeded, diced 

1 shallot sliced finley

1 handful of fresh herbs 

1 cup plain yogurt

2 tablespoons olive oil

juice of one lemon

2 tablespoons dijon mustard

Wash, trim and shred or slice all of the vegetables thinly. A mandoline or the julienne blade of a food processor is great for this task. Whisk together the mustard, yogurt, lemon juice and olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper to taste and toss the sliced vegetables and herbs in this dressing. Refrigerate until an hour before serving.

Be creative if you like.  Consider adding thinly sliced fresh ginger, sliced fresh chili peppers, rutabaga or other fresh, local root vegetables. 



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