Thanksgiving sides

Creamed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon. (Photo and styling by John Houser III, for The Baltimore Sun / November 7, 2012)

Thanksgiving can be an overwhelming holiday. Even the most seasoned cooks can become agitated by the menu planning and trying to get all the details just perfect.

Relax. Area farmers' markets have got you covered. Even as the growing season draws to a close, the markets' bustle increases with shoppers looking for ingredients for their Thanksgiving feast and farmers selling their last big crops of the year.

The weekend before Thanksgiving is traditionally the markets' biggest weekend of the year (though many run until the week before Christmas). Anything you would want to buy for your Thanksgiving spread — fruits, vegetables, spices and even turkeys — is available for reasonable prices. Especially cheap are the ingredients to make the side dishes that escort your turkey to the table.

These three side dishes use local ingredients you'll be able to find at the market. But they are also easy to make, and they are nontraditional options, so they can be made to complement usual favorites like mashed potatoes or green bean casserole.

All three can be made the day before and reheated to make Thanksgiving just a little easier on your nerves — and a little more local.

Roasted turnip soup

Makes: 8 servings

Turnips are not terribly popular; they have a tendency to become bitter and watery if not cooked properly. The key to cooking turnips is to roast them. Like radishes, turnips become sweet and creamy when roasted, and when paired with leeks, garlic and cream, they produce a fantastic winter soup.

2 pounds turnips, cut into large dice

1 tablespoon oil

2 leeks, dark green part cut off, sliced in half lengthwise and thinly sliced

5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon butter

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 cups heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss turnips in oil, place on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 45 minutes. In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown the butter and toss in leeks garlic and salt. Cook until soft, add the turnips and stock, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cream and cook for another 5 minutes. Transfer the hot mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.