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(The very, very) Last-minute answers for your Thanksgiving cooking questions

Daniel Neman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Entertaining

Are you suddenly overwhelmed by the thought that Thanksgiving is around the corner? Has the panic started to set in?

Don't worry. The Food Dude is here to answer all of your pre-holiday questions.

That's right, this year's Thanksgiving edition of the Food Dude actually answers real questions that have been asked by real people. It's an odd sensation, but I'll get used to it.

Q: What's a great vegetable side dish to take to a family dinner? No green beans or Brussels sprouts, please. — J.W.

A: You just eliminated my top two go-to vegetable sides. But I have a couple of ideas that are even better.

For an elegant occasion such as Thanksgiving, I would go with roasted asparagus. It's ridiculously easy and miraculously delicious. First, snap off and discard the woody bottoms of the asparagus spears, the bottom few inches. Then, toss the spears lightly in olive oil, place in a single layer on a baking sheet and season significantly with salt and pepper.

 

Cook at 425 degrees until they are tender to a fork. They will look a little wilted, but that is fine; it means they are perfect. And if you're bringing them to a family dinner, it helps that they reheat easily.

But asparagus can be expensive. If you don't want to spend that kind of money, I would suggest roasted cauliflower, which is much the same idea. And roasting the cauliflower brings out a wonderfully nutty flavor.

Slice a cauliflower crosswise into slices thinner than 1/2 inch thick (the slices will mostly fall apart, but that's OK). Toss with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook at 400 degrees, turning once, until tender and starting to brown on the edges.

Q: I am hosting Thanksgiving for the first time and am thinking of skipping turkey and going for a beef main course. I was originally thinking about prime rib, but I am a little intimidated by the price and the preparation. Do you have any other suggestions? I will have 10 people to feed. — L.J.

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