Daily Archives: December 1, 2009

Dark Days Week 2: Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving is our main holiday, now, since we started growing food. We had a low-key dinner, with just Garth’s folks and one friend, which was exactly what we needed. But we went all out all the same, with a pretty traditional menu that was mostly local and significantly homegrown. We grew the turkey as well as many of the veggies, and of what we didn’t grow, we know many of the other farmers by name.

Apparently I’m still recovering, though, as despite our enthusiasm and dedication to a local and homegrown Thanksgiving/harvest festival meal, I am late to the Dark Days update and can’t bring myself to do much more than list what we had. You’ll have to imagine the beautiful pictures and delicious flavors.

I prepared some things ahead of time, including making butter from Fresh Breeze Organic (saving the buttermilk for later). All of our dairy came from them, actually, as is usual for us. I also prepared the beets and cranberry sauce, listed below, ahead of time, as well as some sugared cranberries (very delicious), which were later joined on the snacks table by Bittman’s fiery roasted pumpkin seeds.

Turkey was homegrown, roasted simply with salt & pepper and basted with homemade butter for crisping in the oven at 425°, then moved to the Nesco roaster and finished at 325°. Gravy of course composed of delicious turkey drippings and stock made from simmering giblets and neck. Thanks, big guy.

Stuffing was made of homemade bread cubes were left out to get stale for a couple of days. Homegrown carrot, celery and garlic, and shallot from Alvarez Farms (within 150 miles) were sautéed with butter until soft. I added some apricots from Tonnemaker Farm (180 miles), which I dried at home this summer and reconstituted by soaking in warm water all day, and hazelnuts from a vendor whose name I don’t remember at the U-District market. All was tossed with the bread cubes and enough turkey stock to moisten everything. Added some more pats of butter on top to get everything nicely browning in the oven.

Thanksgiving dinner

Mashed potatoes were a basic roasted garlic version with homegrown garlic and potatoes from Betsey at Laughing Crow here on Bainbridge.

We re-attempted a dish I burned last year at Thanksgiving, about which I was so heartbroken I never even managed to post about it: roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and apple. This year the sprouts were from Rebecca at Persephone Farm. The bacon was home-cured and -smoked pork belly from Skagit River Ranch (<80 miles), and the apple was from Tonnemaker again. It made it through unburned this year, thanks to the newly-discovered warming drawer feature of our oven, and was delicious.

I cooked thick-sliced homegrown carrots in a pan according to Bittman’s quick-glazed carrots recipe and garnished with homegrown parsley.

A story on NPR about ginger a couple of weeks ago inspired me, so I gave in and used decidedly non-local oranges (organic satsumas, even though they were twice as expensive as non-organic!) and similarly decidedly non-local (though also organic) ginger to make quick-pickled ginger orange beets with homegrown beets, onion, and garlic. Huge hit. I am considering trying to grow ginger.

I used a very simple recipe for a very tasty cranberry cherry sauce with cranberries from Mt. Rainier Cranberries, also found at the U-District market. Sustainable Eats has the scoop on their organicness as well as an identical dish.

A simple salad rounded it out with greens from Butler Green Farms, here on the island, and sold at our great grocery store, the Town & Country. I used the last of the hazelnuts and some more non-local orange segments and non-local, non-organic (gasp!) but thematic! with the season! pomegranate seeds. Ground more pomegranate seeds and orange segments to combine with a bit of olive oil and vinegar for a fruity vinaigrette.

The buttermilk resulting from the homemade butter turned into buttermilk biscuits according to my favorite biscuit recipe ever, one of the recipes that convinced me I could cook.

Dessert was a pumpkin pie with a crust bought at Blackbird Bakery (it was too pretty not to buy) and custard from scratch with homegrown pumpkin and our duck eggs. Garth’s folks brought a delicious apple pie from Sluys Bakery in Poulsbo, just a few miles away.

Even our wine was local — pinot noir (and all their wines, actually) grown & produced on the island at Bainbridge Island Vineyards.

All in all, a delicious meal and good, casual, comfy company. It is good to be wrapping up the season, celebrating our harvest and enjoying the luxury of taking time off and resting, spending time with friends and family.

(And we’ll stop looking like such show-offs in future Dark Days posts, I promise. After two weeks in a row of homegrown meat and mostly homegrown veggies, I am ready to do, like, mac and cheese, or spaghetti, or something.)

Unknown sources: orange, ginger (beets); pomegranate, olive oil, white wine vinegar (salad & dressing); cumin, cayenne, canola oil (pumpkin seeds); flour, sugar, baking powder, etc.