Ask Farm Aid | November 2, 2007

What are you serving for Thanksgiving?

November 2007

Hi Folks!

Given that it is Thanksgiving season, and we have this fantastic contest going on for people to show off their HOMEGROWN menus, I thought that I would use this month’s column to share what I am putting together for my very first Thanksgiving in my own home. Including the two of us, my boyfriend Vance and I are having ten people to dinner: his folks Merle and Jamie, Aunt, sister Carin, Uncle, two cousins and a cousin-related significant other.

When it comes to sourcing this meal, our first goal will be to buy as much as possible from local, sustainable farmers. Organic/commercial products will fill in for what we can’t find locally. Vance and I have a CSA that just ended but we have plenty of winter goods that will last. His parents, who live in Burlington, VT, enjoy a summer CSA share, a winter CSA share, a meat share and a cheese share – lucky for us, they are bringing a fair number of ingredients the night before! Between the four of us, we feel pretty well equipped to make a delicious, HOMEGROWN holiday meal.

HOMEGROWN and the City: A 2007 Thanksgiving Feast

Disclosure: This is a tentative menu since we don’t know precisely what will come into those CSA boxes in the next week. Also, I tend to be a bit of a fly by the seat of my pants, with new recipes for time sensitive dinners with an expectant audience, type of cook.

Turkey: it’s the main event. We pre-ordered ours from Natick Community Farm ( a few weeks ago. We will pick it up at the farm on the day before T-day. Current debate is whether to roast or fry. What holiday doesn’t need a big vat of boiling oil out in the backyard?

Veggies: Kim’s Famous Kale Salad with garlic, organic dried cranberries and peppered goat cheese, featuring kale from the Intervale winter CSA (if they have it and organic from the grocery store if not) and goat cheese from Does Leap Farm in Fairfield, VT.

Roasted parsnips with red onion, rosemary and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Parsnips from the Interval and the onion from our CSA Brookwood Community Farm.

My Mom’s squash with maple syrup, bacon and a splash of bourbon. Squash from the Intervale and Brookwood and bacon from Boucher Farms in Highgate, VT.

Stuffing: Celeriac and cornbread stuffing. I am counting on Vance to make magic out of this one. Celeriac from the Interval, organic cornmeal and a ton of butter, please!

Potatoes: Cousin Rebecca is on mashed potato duty. We have a few from Brookwood, which we will probably mix in with some organic tubers from the local co-op. I’m guessing/hoping that a fair amount of organic butter and cream will make their way into this dish as well.

Cranberry Sauce: Just straight up organic berries from Cape Cod. I am a purist on this one.

Dessert: Jamie’s Sour Cream Apple crumb pie will feature apples from Champlain Orchards. YUM.

My super special, with-a-kick pumpkin pie. I’ll use fresh sugar pumpkins from Brookwood and kick it up several notches with fresh ginger, ground black pepper and a dash of espresso.

As a side note, Vance just built a home carbonation machine and we are working on our own recipe for ginger ale to serve along with this meal. Doesn’t get much more local than starting from scratch in our own kitchen! Will keep you posted on that one!

So that’s what we are looking forward to on our big HOMEGROWN holiday. It’s a real pleasure, not only to sit down with family and eat delicious food but also to say a little bit about the food, where it came from and how we discovered it. I like to have people introduce their dishes, particularly if there are many cooks at the table, so there is time to share this story along with the food. Well, there ya have it. I say “Let’s eat”! And I look forward to hearing from all of you about your HOMEGROWN menu.

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