Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone and with it the 100 mile Thanksgiving challenge is over. My in-laws hosted us for Thanksgiving this year, along with my grandmother in law and 2 foreign students who were at the local university over the holiday weekend. I brought all the food and prepared most of it so we could make sure to eat as locally as possible. Everything turned out great. We had turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, stuffing, butternut squash, green beans all made from local ingredients. We also had pumpkin pie, mincemeat pie and a lettuce salad that weren’t local but were included in the meal. (I didn’t partake in these to maintain my local participation. But I also don’t like any of them anyway so it wasn’t really a hardship for me either.)
We picked up the turkey 2 days before Thanksgiving from a local farmer who grew them free range and organically. I had orignally wanted to brine it but capitulated to the group over concerns of excess salt in the meal. We did use a roasting bag and the turkey out just fine, although slightly overcooked because I lost track of time doing everything in the kitchen. A light covering of olive oil and paprika gave the skin a nice brown with a fairly decent crunch.
There were a few parts of the meal that weren’t local though so I have to use this paragraph to list them. I used some celery in the stuffing that wasn’t local. (In my defense, only 1 time EVER have I even been able to buy celery at the farmer’s markets here. I hear it’s hard to grow.) I also used a little brown sugar and a smattering of marshmallows on the sweet potatoes. And I had to use canned chicken broth. I thought I had some packed away in the freezer but I couldn’t find it. After I get done with the turkey carcass though I’ll have plenty of broth in the freezer. But other than that everything was made by me or from local ingrediants, with the exception of spices and oils.
Some interesting tidbits about the meal.
If you’ll notice on the blue plate there are some stuffin’ muffins. This was only my second attempt at these and they turned out very, very good. In fact, I’ve been eating the leftover ones for breakfast the past few days. I have never seen a homemade stuffing recipe that called for eggs as a binding ingredients to hold all the pieces together, but I would recommend using them for the muffins. My first attempt was extremely crumbly and the problem seemed to be mostly rectified on this try. I linked to a recipe above from Rachael Ray, but I didn’t use that recipe. Too fancy. I just used a plain old stuffing recipe.
Lesson learned for the future. A 17 pound turkey is huge. And when you are eating with my wife’s family and not mine there is way, way more leftover than you expect. Difference in families I guess. Although I have been able to not have turkey for every single meal so far.
I enjoy the squash recipe that I made at Thanksgiving so much I thought I would share it. I’ve probably made this recipe 3 or 4 times already this fall. This is probably an actual recipe, but I haven’t seen it if it is. I just made this up one day and it turned out great so I keep doing it.
Cut 1-2 butternut squash into roughly evenly sized cubes. Place in casserole dish.
Dice up 1/2 medium red onion (adjust to your taste) and place on top of squash.
Sprinkle approx 2 tablespoons Rosemary onto your cutting board. Use a meat hammer to “crush” the Rosemary. Don’t swing the hammer far or you’ll send Rosemary flying all over the kitchen. Sprinkle crushed Rosemary over the top of squash/red onion mixture.
Apply 2 tablespoons butter to the top of the casserole dish in 4 roughly even pats. Salt and pepper to taste.
Bake at 350 until squash reaches your desired doneness level. I prefer it to be quite mushy, almost like boiled potatoes. This usually takes about 45 minutes or so. I would recommend that you stir the mixture about every 10-15 minutes to help everything get evenly coated with rosemary, butter and onions.
Put on your plate and enjoy! It should have a sweet taste to it. Makes a great side dish.
Without further ado, here are the pictures. As usual, please excuse the fact that I am a horrible photographer.