Serves 4-6 / Although there is great debate on what makes a "grunt," it seems that a grunt or slump is simmered on top of the stove rather than baked in the oven. Grunts are usually made with berries; the name supposedly comes from the sound the berries make as they simmer. In summer I generally use fresh, but IQF (individually quick frozen without sugar) berries, available in most markets, are a perfectly acceptable alternative. If your pan is large or you just like dumplings, double the dumpling amount recommended here. View recipe.
Zucchini Salad with Lemon and Mint
Serves 4 / Serve this simple, delicious salad as part of a picnic or other alfresco meal. White onion retains a firmer texture, but you could certainly use yellow or red onions, too. It's very important to use a flavorful olive oil in this recipe. View recipe.
Goat Cheese Tart with Marinated Beets and Arugula
Serves 8 / From Teri Rippeto, chef and owner, Potager, Denver. A champion of seasonal eating, Rippeto buys produce from local growers and farmers’ markets for her renowned eatery. “I’m in this business because, in our own little way, it’s a showcase for what’s in season,” she says. She offers this recipe because “we still have beets and arugula that time of year; plus it’s a little bit lighter and adds color to the Thanksgiving table.” Use your favorite pie-crust recipe for the tart shell. View recipe.
Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Citrus and Mascarpone
Serves 10–12 / From Sarah Stegner, dining room chef, The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago. Stegner, a Chicago native, promotes a seasonally driven menu featuring top-quality produce from small, local farmers. She also helped develop Chicago’s Green City Market, the city’s only venue featuring regional, sustainable produce. For the harvest holiday, her natural pick is sweet potatoes. “Almost everybody has some form of sweet potato on Thanksgiving,” she says. “This is a way of dressing it up and making it something special.” The consistency of the purée should be very light, “not thick like mashed potatoes.” View recipe.
Roasted Beets with Crème Fraiche
Serves 8 / Serve this beautiful side dish warm or cold. You can make the beets a day or two in advance to streamline day-of preparations. View recipe.
Blood Orange Panna Cotta
Panna cotta is Italian for “cooked cream.” This variation on traditional panna cotta replaces some of the cream with yogurt. Using clear glasses makes an attractive presentation, but you also can use ramekins. Top with granola to create a great special-occasion breakfast. View recipe.
Iroquois Corn Pudding
Serves 12 / From Donna Prizgintas, personal chef, Los Angeles. Prizgintas, who cooks for some of Hollywood's best-known celebrities, rhapsodizes about delicate, roasted Iroquois cornmeal, ground from an heirloom variety. View recipe.
Chicken and Pasta in Brodo
Serves 6 / Your dinner’s centerpiece. The simple homemade chicken broth (brodo) is the basis for the deeply satisfying flavor. Ingredient tip: Choose an unusual pasta shape, like fusilli, for visual appeal. Using whole-grain pasta is delicious here and doesn’t feel heavy in so much broth. Prep tips: Cooking in advance and letting the broth set for a day makes it taste even better. Serving tip: Crusty bread with this course would be nice. View recipe.
Grilled Eggplant, Tomato, and Mozzarella Salad
Serves 4-6 / Bright green basil vinaigrette offers a surprising burst of color and flavor to this late-summer favorite. View recipe.
Apple, Cranberry, and Pecan Galette
Serves 8–10 / An elegant yet comforting dessert. If cranberries are not available, try substituting fresh blueberries; just stir them in when you add the toasted pecans, so they don’t bleed too much. View recipe.
Baked Winter Squash with Heirloom Beans and Hominy
Serves 6 / Served grouped on a platter or on individual plates, this dish is a striking centerpiece for any festive table. Hominy, also known as posole, adds a nutty flavor and texture to the creamy beans. For convenience, the hominy and beans may be cooked in advance. In a pinch, canned beans will do; you’ll need about three cans total, and be sure to drain and rinse well. View recipe.
Carrot and Ginger Corn Bread
Makes 2 loaves or about 16 muffins / This gluten-free recipe has a fantastic texture and zippy ginger taste. Make-ahead tip: The uncooked batter keeps in the refrigerator for several days, so you can make fresh, hot muffins any morning you feel like it. Ingredient tip: Turbinado sugar is similar to brown sugar but with a coarser texture. View recipe.