Why not break with tradition?

When September rolls around, I become acutely aware that the Holidays are right around the corner. Last year, Brian and I hosted our first Thanksgiving and invited his mom over for supper. With the wedding looming, I was trying to be as Paleo as possible, and so we tried something a little different. Full disclosure, neither Brian nor I are huge traditional Thanksgiving food fans to begin with, so we didn't mind parting with your typical stuffing, green bean casserole and turkey. Some of you might find that a bit more difficult. We had spoken often about our indifference to traditional Holiday fare, and how nice it might be to break with convention and serve up something unique. So we did a "Paleo Thanksgiving", though it really had more to do with throwing tradition to the wind, and less to do with dietary restrictions.

For my hors d'oeuvres , I did prosciutto wrapped melon ( a party favorite for any occasion) and smoked salmon and cucumber canapés. As I was trying to keep dairy out of it, I used mustard, rather than the traditional cream cheese, creme fraiche, or goat cheese route to adhere the salmon to its cucumber vehicle.

For my starters, I did a sauteed pear salad and a Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Truffle Oil. (Word to the wise, any dish containing truffle oil is instantly impressive when entertaining----It's the food equivalent of an Hermes blanket.)

I got the sauteed pear salad recipe from Country Living in college and it has been a fall go to ever since.

The cauliflower soup is incredibly easy. Roast one head of cauliflower (cut up and drizzled with olive oil or coconut oil, salt and pepper), one whole head of garlic and one whole onion (both drizzled with olive oil and wrapped in foil) in the oven. Puree in batches with chicken broth to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into bowls and drizzle with truffle oil. That's IT.

For the main course we decided on beef tenderloin, which was so delicious and easy. I was glad that we decided not to fuss with a Turkey, especially on our first time to host Thanksgiving.
My advice is to find a recipe that seems best and simplest to you. Brian researched a bunch of them and settled on what worked for him.

Our sides included Mashed Sweet potatoes (with grass fed butter) , Haricot Verts (which I simply steamed) and roasted brussel sprouts (halved brussels, minced garlic, chopped pecans and olive oil, salt and pepper, roasted in the oven). 

Yes, that's rosé in my insta-post. If you thought it was only for summer, you thought wrong.

I found that with the rich flavors of the soup, salad and tenderloin, it was best to keep the sides simple.

And a little glimpse at my table setting. I lucked out with the potted succulents---a good friend of ours got married the week before and these were her rehearsal dinner centerpieces. The advantage of an "in-town" wedding is that sometimes you get to take said centerpieces home.
The tablecloth was a $10 score from Home Goods, as were the napkins, which I believe are Ralph Lauren.

This year I don't want to completely repeat ourselves, so I'm thinking of going less Paleo and more gourmet. The tenderloin may make a reappearance since it was such a hit. I'm also DYING to use our new Anna Weatherley soup bowls.

And I'm kind of thinking this Butternut Lobster Bisque from the blog Savory Simple might be the perfect thing to serve in them.

image courtesy of savory simple

So, is breaking with tradition something you would dare to do?