Saturday, November 29, 2008

Local Thanksgiving

Although on Thursday we attended a friend's Thanksgiving, on Friday we cooked our own meal--all local and some of it from our own backyard garden.

* * *

For several years, we've split our celebratory meal into two. This allows us to have a full menu, not starve in the early part of the day, and not get too extraordinarily stuffed at the end.

For lunch, we served a salad of our backyard-grown arugula, local feta seasoned with Herbes de Provence (found at the farmers market), and a homemade maple-mustard vinaigrette.

We completed our midday section with a thick and spicy pumpkin soup. After roasting the tan pumpkin for about 45 minutes, I scooped out the flesh and added it to some sauteed onions and apples that I had going in the soup pot. Then I threw in some some vegetable-peeling stock, a bit of cream, pureed hot peppers, and a pinch of non-local curry powder. A warming preparation for an afternoon of cooking.

* * *

Dinner was more elaborate.

We acquired the local turkey from our Amish dairy supplier and served it with all our favorite sides.

Using corn we grew and ground ourselves, I made a skillet of all-corn cornbread, then crumbled it up and added mushrooms, onions, and some of our own backyard mustard greens. Throw in a couple of eggs, a bit of turkey broth seasoned with sage and rosemary, and then bake in a casserole for about half and hour. Surprisingly delicious. I felt quite proud eating what we had nurtured from seed.

Our main vegetable was roasted Brussels sprouts--an all-time favorite around here. There is very little that is easier to make. Cut the orbs in half length-wise, toss them on a baking sheet with oil, salt, and pepper, then roast until brown and slightly crispy. I throw them in with whatever else I am cooking, so the temperature varies--but ideally, try something around 400 degrees.

Because we could not find local cranberries, we substituted a thrown-together relish: cherry preserves I canned over the summer with some farmers-market horseradish. It was the same combination of sweet and tart--but it reminded me more of Passover than it did of Thanksgiving...

We also served two of our pickles, both canned with produce we grew ourselves. The green beans were spicy and garlicy, while the lemon cukes were sweet and mild. Great combo.

We drank a bottle of white made by our county's own vineyard. A bit sweet, which went well with the turkey.

* * *

To end our local feast, we made a sweet potato pie with a whole-wheat crust, served it with maple whipped cream, and ate it in front of a lovely fire.

We all were satiated and slept very, very well.


Barbara deG said...

I can't do Thanksgiving without rutabagas and cranberries. Guess to get local cranberries I'd have to go to New England for my dinner :)

The Purloined Letter said...

Rutabagas sound like a wonderful addition--and are easily available around here. We'll have to add them next year!

David found cranberries grown in New Jersey--more or less local for us--in the grocery store. They are sold by Ocean Spray. Normally we take "local" to mean non-corporate as well, but I think these will be an exception in the future. Missed them too much.

Sophie said...

What a beautiful local meal!

I had to have the cranberries too, even though the MA bogs are just outside my 100 miles (west side of CT). I don't like to do corporate either, but some corporations are better than others, and Ocean Spray seems like one of the good ones. I actually met a cranberry farmer who sells to Ocean Spray!

Another corporation that's better than others is Cabot (cheese, butter, etc.) They're a group of VT dairy farmers who came together to sell their products. When I don't have time to make butter, I use theirs.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Purloined Letter said...

Thanks for passing that on, Sophie. I'm glad to hear about Ocean Spray!

The Cooking Lady said...

I am so jealous that you have arugula. No one here in the house likes it so I don't have to share it, but I cannot find it all that often.

Did I mention I was jealous? Great feast you had.

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed at the home-grown corn! Wow, that's something I could only dream of - was it hard? Your meals sound delicious, are you still growing the arugula? The frost killed mine last week :-(

The Purloined Letter said...

Yep, the arugula is still going, but I worry every morning that it will be dead. And the corn is a blast! David made little mounds in the garden and we planted three or four kernels in each mound, then planted beans and winter squash in the same beds--a "three sisters" garden. And then we left them all season long--no significant weeding or anything. (The beans and the corn were drying types, so we felt no need to pick until they were brown.) Definitely try it.


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