It’s not true that there are no seasons in Southern California. Every November, many leaves turn crimson, the air grows crisp, and, sometimes, snow comes early to the mountains. Still, there’s no denying that Southern Californians have it good when it comes to weather.
So why not take advantage of our cool, sunny days? Instead of celebrating Thanksgiving the way East Coasters do--indoors--why not put on a sweater and take the turkey outside? After all, barbecuing in Southern California isn’t just for summer.
When you cook a turkey on the barbecue, you not only get moist, wonderfully flavored meat, you free up space in your oven, which means you don’t have to leave so much cooking for the last minute.
Our menu, dreamed up by our cooking school interns, Andy Broder and Rommel Delos Santos, starts with Honey-Glazed Soybeans and cool, crisp White Sangria With Pomegranate Ice Cubes. Set out with a bowl of mixed nuts, the soybeans, which we’re seeing more and more in supermarkets--offer great munching while final touches are made on the meal.
Next comes autumn-colored Butternut Squash Soup, flavored with bacon and a little carrot and bell pepper.
The turkey, stuffed with citrus for flavor and cooked right on the barbecue, is pure California eating. We serve it with grilled vegetables instead of the usual green beans, Parmesan-Crusted Potatoes instead of mashed potatoes, Savory Applesauce and Cranberry-Orange Relish instead of straight cranberry sauce, and an untraditional but wonderful stuffing made with croissants, French bread, dried cherries and toasted pumpkin seeds.
For dessert, we have two sweets. One, Pumpkin Cheesecake With Caramelized Pecans, is a terrific alternative to plain pumpkin pie. Baked Persimmons With Muscat Wine and Creme Frai^che is a lovely way to end the meal, like baked apples with more depth.
It’s a nonconformist meal in style, but at heart it’s as satisfying as any traditional turkey dinner.