Pomegranate Salsa


Not your everyday relish

Once pomegranates come into season in late fall, I like to use the fresh, tart seeds as much as possible before the fruits disappear. I’ve been known to juice the whole fruits to make into cocktails and sorbets, which is fun and also a tad messy, but after a few Pometinis who cares?

I discovered this Pomegranate Salsa recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques.

I’ve haven’t yet had a chance to eat at Lucques - it’s been a long while since I’ve visited Los Angeles – but Suzanne’s restaurant has been on my radar ever since she opened it more than ten years ago. She’s the kind of chef who inspires me to cook – her food is simple, soulful and deeply rooted in seasonal produce.

This sauce is like a sweet relish; it’s great spooned over grilled poultry, pork, or beef and also a good complement to soft, tangy cheeses. Plus the jewel-like colors of the salsa look so festive on a holiday table.

Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chili with Goat Cheese

Not-too-spicy vegetarian chili

Not-too-spicy vegetarian chili

We usually have at least one vegetarian sharing Thanksgiving with us, so I like to have a an interesting meatless main dish on the table along with some traditional side dishes – that way no one feels like they’re missing anything.
And personally, while I like trying a new turkey preparation every year – whether it’s brining, stuffing or not stuffing, oven-roasting or grilling, my enthusiasm for the bird wanes when it lands on the table. I’d much rather fill up on the colorful array of vegetables instead.
Plus, everyone knows that all Thanksgiving fixings taste better the next day, so having a pot of chili on hand is a good thing, vegetarian or not. There’s nothing wrong with some tasty chili in bowl, with a gravy-drenched turkey leg on top.

Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chili with Goat Cheese

Serving Size: serves 4 - 6


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, sliced

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

3 crushed garlic cloves

1 teaspoon each ground cumin, coriander, smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon each ground black pepper and ground chipotle

4 cups peeled and diced sweet potato (about 2 large)

Vegetable stock or water

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 (14-ounce) can black beans

1 (14-0unce) can pinto beans

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

Warm tortillas


  1. Heat the oil in a large (6-quart) pan or stockpot. Add the onion and cook until softened and just beginning to brown; stir in the salt and garlic and cook about 1 minute or until the garlic smells good.
  2. Sprinkle in the spices and ground black and chipotle pepper, stirring to dissolve in the oil. Add the sweet potatoes and pour over enough stock or water just to cover them. Cover the pot and cook over medium heat until tender (not mushy), about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the mustard, maple syrup and beans (including their liquid) to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered another 10 minutes or so to blend the flavors. If you like your chili more soupy, add more stock.
  4. Serve in bowls topped with some cheese with warm tortillas alongside.

Parmesan-Crusted Brussels Sprouts


This is a great time of year if you are a fan of Brussels sprouts – my hand is raised! – their season is brief and they taste so sweet and delicious when they’re super-fresh.

My local grocery store sells Brussels sprouts on the stalk every year around Thanksgiving, and I’ve grown to prefer buying them this way. Since you can pluck them off right before you want to cook them, they couldn’t be any fresher than if they’d grown in your own backyard garden.

I’ve always been intrigued by the unusual beauty of Brussels sprouts;  I love their miniature cabbage-like form and their distinctive taste, a combination of cauliflower and broccoli. And like cauliflower and broccoli – their siblings in the Brassica family – they take well to roasting and tossing with good Parmesan cheese – one of my favorite methods to use on any sturdy vegetable.

In addition to this rustic Italian-style recipe, I’ve recently given them the Julia Child treatment on my other blog, Dinner with Julia, where I prepared a recipe for Brussels Sprouts Braised in Butter and Cream from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Even if you are a confirmed Brussels sprouts avoider, you might change your mind after a taste of these buttery nuggets.

Brussels Sprouts on the stalk

Brussels Sprouts on the stalk

Parmesan-Crusted Brussels Sprouts

Serving Size: 4 side-dish servings


1 pound Brussels sprouts

Fine sea salt

Extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese


  1. Trim the Brussels sprouts of any yellowing leaves. Bring 3 quarts water to a boil; add 2 teaspoons salt and the Brussels sprouts.
  2. Boil for 5 minutes. Drain and toss in a large bowl with enough olive oil to coat the cheese.
  3. Arrange them on a shallow pan and place under a hot broiler about 4 inches below heat source until golden, 1 or 2 minutes.
  4. Serve hot.