Sunday, November 29, 2009

Local Thanksgiving: Dark Days Challenge

We had a wonderfully quiet, almost 100% local Thanksgiving this year--following on the heels of a combination of travel to various conferences by both the adults in the family, work crises that took a lot of time and emotion, and lots of random busyness and its attending crankiness. It was lovely to take a day off just to cook, play games, and eat.

We have a tradition of splitting our Thanksgiving feast into two meals. This plan works well for both cooks and eaters.

For lunch, we made a thick apple-butternut squash soup enriched with local onion, cream, and hot pepper as well as some non-local spices such as ginger and cumin.


David fried up some fritters made with wild rice and frozen corn. The rice, while not local, is sold by the sustainable White Earth Land Recovery Project, an American Indian organization dedicated "to preserving and restoring traditional practices of sound land stewardship, language fluency, community development, and strengthening our spiritual and cultural heritage."

native fritters 2

It seemed especially fitting to recognize the importance on native harvests--like wild rice but also corn and winter squash--as well as American Indian cooking traditions. The recipe for the fritters can be found in the beautiful new book, Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions.

* * *

At suppertime, we had our main meal of local turkey, pickled lemon cukes, pickled garlicky green beans...

turkey with pickles in bowls

...roasted Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes-and-turnips, and cherry jam (instead of cranberries--which we could not find locally).  The dressing was made from cornbread (the gorgeous Indian corn we grew in our backyard!), assorted winter greens from our backyard garden, CSA carrots, sage and rosemary from our herb plot, local eggs, lots of local mushrooms--plus local oysters!  We ran into them at the very last moment--and it was absolutely kismet.  Oyster stuffing may become a tradition in our family.

thanksgiving table

The meal was served with a local white wine. When David first handed it to me, I misread the variety and honestly thought it said it was Vinegar. Luckily, it was a delicious, perfect-with-turkey Viognier.

To end the feast, David made a not-pumpkin pie using the recipe on the back of canned pumpkin. He made a few exceptions: first, he used pureed butternut squash and carnival squash which he baked himself. Second, he replaced the canned evaporated milk with a mix of milk and cream from our Amish dairy supplier.


The pie was fabulous--a little yellower than pumpkin pie but sweet, light, and delicate. We served it warm with whipped cream.

We enjoyed the rest of the evening in front of a fire in the fireplace, sipping our wine and reconnecting.


Mindful Momma said...

Mmmmmmm....that looks delicious!

The Tell-Tale Heart said...

Having time to reconnect may have been the thing I was most grateful for. Although it was good to give thanks for the farmers and the cooks and the fields and streams.

Elizabeth said...

Thanksgiving seems to me like the most logical time that people could go local -- so many of the traditional foods are seasonal. And it is basically a harvest festival, after all. Looks like you did a great job!

Pure Mothers said...

Good for you for doing it all local. When we lived in Northern CA it was easy to do almost everything local for food- but now we live in London. What "green culture shock".
I would love the recipe to your husband's local pie! What clever substitutions!

Naturalearthfarm said...

What a beautiful meal. We also try to either grow/raise our own or buy as much as possible local.
Warm wishes.

Sophie said...

What an excellent meal! thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and indeed the most logical to go local.

Nancy said...

What a lovely meal! Kudos for the effort it took to make sure it was local!

bibliotecaria said...

Ah! I've been wanting a recipe that replaced the evaporated milk for a long time, but wasn't sure how to achieve it myself. What proportions did he use?


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