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Last-Minute Thanksgiving Finds

Check out our fresh ideas for your feast. Then hit up the farmers market on Tuesday to complete them!

Thanksgiving is three days away and you still have no idea what to make or have yet to stock your kitchen with the necessary ingredients. Don't fret! The can supply you with plenty of feast fixings. Listed below are fresh ingredients you'll find at this week's market, as well as ideas for how to put them to use in your kitchen come turkey day. Find the dish you need help with and check out our fresh ideas underneath it.

Dress Up the Turkey

  • Herbs: Stop by Casa Blanca's tent for some fresh to help liven up that bird. Stick some fresh rosemary and thyme underneath the turkey's skin for a flavorful and fragrant bird. Want to try something out of the ordinary? Reach for the lavender. "[Lavender] goes well with white meat," said Matt Fink, co-owner of the nursery. "Use small amounts though, and make sure you pulverize it."
  • Persimmons and Pomegranates: Make your presentation beautiful with some persimmons. Persimmons are a small orange fruit that look like tomatoes at first glance. They have a texture similar to an apple and a great, sweet flavor. Enedina Lammers, who sells rare fruit with her husband, , suggests cutting the persimmon open horizontally, rather than vertically. This creates a beautiful star shape in the middle of the fruit. Cut persimmons like this and arrange them all around the turkey on a platter. Make them really pop by topping off the tips of the "stars" with ruby red pomegranate seeds.

Spice Up the Stuffing

  • Herbs: If you're making your own stuffing, throw in some thyme or sage to add your own flair. Fink suggests using parsley to make your stuffing a bit spicier or some fresh to add bitterness.
  • Apples: The market has plenty of apples to choose from—a staple in stuffing. Choose from organic apples, fuji, pink lady, granny smith and even a Chinese apple called mutsu that's slightly sour, slightly sweet.
  • Persimmons and Jujubes: Change your dressing up and use persimmons or , which both have an apple texture, in lieu of apples. You'll keep the consistency of your usual stuffing but it'll have a new flavor.

Enhance Those Taters and Gravy

  • More Herbs: Herbs are a simple way to boost flavor in the mashed favorite. Snip in some garlic or regular for a hint of flavor and some pretty color. If you're feeling decadent, fry some sage leaves in butter and toss both the flavored butter and the crispy sage leaves into your potatoes.
  • Quark: Trying to eat light this holiday? Rachel Peter of Spring Hill Cheese has the perfect mashed potato solution. Skip the butter, sour cream or milk. Instead, drop in a couple healthy dollops of her garlic for a creamy, flavorful and guiltless side dish.

Ideas for Side Dishes

  • Almonds: See Darrin Hopkins of Hopkins Ag for some to chop up and throw into your cooked green bean dish or sautéed spinach for an added crunch.
  • Bacon: Visit Brandt Beef, right smack in the middle of the market, for some beef bacon. It has less fat than pork bacon, so you can feel a little better about crumbling it up into your steamed green beans with some caramelized onions.
  • Green Beans: You have a lot of options for fresh green beans at the market. Take your pick of regular, haricot verts or yellow wax beans. Mix the yellow wax beans with the green variety for a prettier presentation. Note: the yellow wax bean can become grey and a bit translucent when cooked. To save its pretty pale color, blanch them and then shock them in an ice bath.
  • Butternut Squash: Maciel Family Farms has plenty for your Thanksgiving feast. Load up on their butternut squash for roasting. Stick the scooped out and diced gourd into the oven with olive oil and brown sugar at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for a sweet alternative to yams.
  • Green and Yellow Squash: Pick up some squash from various farmers and cut into one-inch pieces. Saute some garlic and onion in some olive oil, throw in the colorful squash and cook until tender. Add some fresh mushrooms (not available at the market) for an earthier dish.
  • Carrots: Buy some fresh carrots and throw those in a pan with some or parsley. If you have room in the oven, roast them with these herbs for a deeper, more concentrated flavor.
  • Oranges: Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving must. Polito Farms carries a variety of Valencia oranges. Complement the cranberry taste with a splash of fresh squeezed Valencia orange juice and top off with some orange zest.

Save Room for Dessert

  • Pumpkins: If you want all the comforts of Thursday's holiday, pick out some for homemade pumpkin pie.
  • More Quark: Don't have time to make pumpkin pie? You might get lucky and snag some of 's pumpkin quark. Dip gingersnaps or persimmons in this for a guilt-free version of a pumpkin pie.
  • Apples: Take home some Granny Smith apples for that homemade apple pie or apple crisp. Complement the tartness of this green apple with some milder, sweeter apples, like golden delicious (not found at the market).
  • Cheddar: Go for a classic combination and grab some fresh and slice it thin to top off that piece of apple pie.
  • Pears: It's the season for pears and the market has plenty. Grab a pear or two for each guest at your table. Cut the pear in half and core it. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit with a small pat of butter and a sprinkling of brown sugar until soft. Serve warm with your favorite caramel sauce and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Be Festive

  • Flowers: There are four different farms that sell gorgeous arrangements of flowers at the . Marigolds are a beautiful orange addition to your table. Pick some with complementing purple for your centerpiece. Want something smaller? Choose some small, orange Gerber daisies and place them at each guest's seat with a name tag attached.
  • Gourds: Grab some gourds and arrange in a beautiful bowl. Gourds scream fall and market manager has plenty to choose from. You'll find striped ones, bumpy ones, green ones, white ones and orange ones to make your centerpiece colorful and creative.

Have fun "freshening" up your Thanksgiving menu. I hope your holiday is safe, fun and full of fresh food. Happy feasting!

Melissa Phy is an SDSU grad and our resident foodie. She'll be giving Patch the weekly lowdown on what's new and fresh at the .

The Coronado Farmers Market is held every Tuesday, rain or shine, from 2:30-6 p.m. at the .  Parking is available inside the parking lot.

Jayne Jang Belz November 24, 2010 at 02:20 AM
Coronado Farmers Market offers a fantastic variety of apples that are all so fresh and delicious. Ha Family Farms provides them and are very knowledgeable - I'm sure they could provide a sweet replacement of golden delicious that will save a trip to the grocery store. Great tips!
Melissa Phy November 24, 2010 at 07:29 PM
Jayne--yes, I thought the fujis from Ha Family Farms would be a great replacement for the golden delicious. And they come in organic varieties, too! Thanks for the reminder! Hope you have an awesome Thanksgiving!

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