Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dark Days - Meal 2

Thanksgiving Dinner!

I was scheming for a totally local Thanksgiving before I even came across the Dark Days Challenge, but once I was signed up, my search for local ingredients to fill my menu became more serious. I managed to round out a pretty nice meal with only one giant cheat dish for the hubby.

The meal:
turkey (weighing in at 16.01 lbs)
candied butternut squash with bourbon (tweaked the sweet potato recipe I found over at eat make read)
purple mashed potatoes
apple cranberry relish
gravy made from turkey drippings and a bit of wine
cheat dish: green been casserole
my mom's stuffing (recipe to follow)
wine: Burnley Vineyards Chardonnay from Barboursville, VA

There were only three of us for dinner this year. Since our stay on the east coast began, we have been unable to afford the $800+ plane tickets (total for two) to Omaha for Thanksgiving with our families. One year my family came here for a visit, another year we made a meal for 20+ with our neighbors at the time. This year a good friend of ours, who just started his graduate degree at Emerson in Boston, made a similar discovery about airfare home. Thankfully, a train ticket from Boston to Baltimore does not break the bank.... so it's three for dinner.

The turkey was raised by Locust Point Farm in Cecil County, Maryland. Purchased through Mill Valley (we put down a deposit in October), our turkey was picked up on Wednesday, fresh and ready to go (never frozen!). Dave ended up taking charge of the bird so I don't know the details, but I do know he stuffed some cut-up apples and an herb bundle in the cavity, and roasted it in an oven-safe bag. Some herbs were ours, but most were from a bouquet gifted to me by the parent of a teen I supervised through work. It was such a sweet gesture, especially the week of Thanksgiving.

We didn't have any local sweet potatoes left, but did have squash, so I just made an even swap in the recipe linked above. I must say - the end result was rather bourbon-y! Even our vegetable-averse visitor thought it tasty enough to keep sneaking additional bites. Bonus: the bourbon I used was hand-carried home from Kentucky, one of our gifts to ourselves on our honeymoon a few years back.

The mashed potatoes were purple because that's what we got from the CSA. Rather comedic - and made me think of the crazy marketing idea awhile back to make ketchup crazy colors like purple and green. Like you need to make ketchup crazy colors to get kids to dip their fries in it!?! I always assume One Straw Farm grows an oddly large amount of purple varietals since we're in Raven's football territory... but it could also be to get kids to try new veggies.

The apple cranberry relish was made back in February(!), all ingredients from the Winter Buyer's Coop at Mill Valley. I must have frozen half the batch and forgot about it, but that came in handy when I saw it was going to be $8 for a tiny container of local cranberries fresh this past week. Thank goodness for forgotten freezer stores! All I had to do was thaw and serve.

I could have just not mentioned that I made a green-bean casserole completely from big-store pre-packaged products - but I'm only cheating myself if I try and pretend it wasn't there. I also offered to make a local version from scratch (completely doable in my book), but marriage is all about compromise, right? The hubby would have eaten the local from-scratch version, but he wouldn't have been happy. And so there it was. Recipe available on the label of the French's fried onion package.

My mom's stuffing recipe is a classic. Even when I was a vegetarian in high school I pretended the sausage in the stuffing wasn't there so I could still eat it. It's just that good. Here's the classic recipe (although I did adjust the scale - this is 1/4 what my mom usually makes which is enough for in & out of the bird stuffing) with my adjustments to fit the SOLE requirements:

Linda's classic Thanksgiving stuffing
(fills a 8x8 baking dish)

2 celery stocks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
(I added 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms)
1/2 loaf of bread, toasted and cubed (I used 3 leftover challah rolls from a local bakery)
4 oz. sausage (I used sage sausage from a farm in Mt. Airy, MD), crumbled & browned in a saute pan
2 oz. butter
4-6 oz. chicken broth
1/4 TBS black pepper
1/4 TBS garlic powder
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning (I use salt-free)

Melt butter in bowl in microwave.
Add celery, onion (and mushrooms) and microwave on 70% power for 5-8 minutes covered, until translucent.
Combine all ingredients in 8x8 pan and bake for 15-20 minutes.

After all this meal, with wine (also from our honeymoon), how could you possibly eat dessert? My answer - eat it the next day. My next post will talk about the cherry pie I made the day after Thanksgiving, when I had plenty of time and stomach room.

p.s. most of these photos were compliments of our guest, who was kind enough to take on the task of photographer whilst Dave and I were in the height of our dinner-preparing rush.

1 comment:

  1. Purple potatos? Oh my....
    Your mom's stuffing is really that good. She made gluten free for me this year using knicknick tapioca rice bread and it was just as good.

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