Saturday, November 24, 2012

Weekend Cooking; Thanksgiving Menu

Some people eat turkey every Thanksgiving but I've actually had the opportunity to eat a wide assortment of food as a long time vegetarian and now as a locavore.  As a teenager I ate Thanksgiving meal at my grandmother's table-the same cherry wood table that sits in my dining room-and ate lots of salad and mashed potatoes as my meat-eating family devoured huge birds and ham slices around me.

A few years ago my lanky Teenage Boy begged for meat to have a place at our table.  He, like his dad, is very active athletically on top of being a growing boy.  Many strapping young men can be just fine with tofu but he was not. We live in Iowa where I knew I could locate plenty of healthy meat choices and I think now that is probably true of anywhere in the U.S.  Wherever you live someone is choosing to farm in a more respectful, humane manner, it just takes some research.  I found our sources through friends and our local farmer's market so it was easy to chose the life of a locavore or perhaps even a flexitarian as we transitioned from vegetarian to carnivores.  We eat mostly  meat free meals but we balance with a little farm fresh meat.  This Thanksgiving we had such a simple meal it was exquisite.

One of the easy choices was to stay home and relax instead of traveling to relatives. After driving the 10 hours to Oberlin two weekends ago we knew we needed a break.  I'd questioned the three family members that would be sitting at our table if they were interested in turkey as I needed to place an order with my farmer, Tim Daley of Daley's Shamrock Acres.  My peeps opted out of the turkey choosing instead to go with a more reasonable chicken for the holiday.  

I've used Tim's chickens now for about 3 years and I've tried a variety of recipes.  this year I chose PW's easy roasting method based on the fact that I easily had all the ingredients at hand.  The rest of the menu was rounded out with mashed potatoes, which TB requested to be mashed WITHOUT the skin, so I had to peel the beautiful farm grown potatoes.  What a pain he's becoming-so opinionated!  I don't know where he gets that from?  We had a tossed salad with greens from a local farm.  We always have fresh cranberry sauce-I love to watch them burst as they cook.  I made a cranberry tart for one of our desserts and I surprised my husband with a pecan pie baked fresh at our local co-op.  I had planned to make one myself but after gasping at the price of pecans I thought the $9.00 they were charging for the pie was a terrific price.  I scooped it up.  I make fresh whipped cream for both desserts and our vanilla ice cream came straight from our local dairy farm. My mouth is salivating all over again. 

We went for a nice hike through our nature reserve and then headed home for dinner.
Here are the links to the recipes I followed to create our meal.

We finished off the cranberry tart earlier this evening and we were pretty sad to see it go. I'm happy because a pie has finally been created that all four of us enjoyed!  The pecan pie on the hand is just for husband and I to enjoy together and it was better than I could have done on my own. Truly one of the best pecan pies I've tasted.  It brought back the flavor of my grandmother's pecan pie.  

I love how as we go through this journey we gather new traditions to add to the favorite old ones.  I know that cranberry tart will become one of our new menu additions and that we will probably never go back to a tofu thanksgiving now that we have such a wide range of local options.  And what of your holiday traditions? What came with you from your parent's home and what have you created on your own as a family?

This post is linked to Beth Fish Reads weekly food meme-click to her link to find many other food-related posts to check out.  


Beth F said...

Lovely post. We too mostly eat local -- as much as we can in terms of budget and eating a variety of foods.

A chicken is a great way to go. We always have turkey because my husband adores the leftovers. I buy ours from a friend who raises them.

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

What a beautiful post, it sounds like your Thanksgiving is what it was intended to be- a real family holiday, sharing good food.

Esme said...

Sounds like a delicious meal-pecans are expensive-depending on the recipe I will substitute walnuts-a friend does almonds given their price. I do like their taste.

Unknown said...

Happy Thanksgiving! Sounds like a really nice one.

Deb G-T said...

A dear old friend has an organic farm in upstate VT where we visited and took home one of her chickens. Since this year it was just my husband and myself it was a perfect choice...brined, stuffed and grilled to perfection. I work at a Whole Foods, so of course our organic and locally grown choices are quite fantastic. And their pecan pies are quite delicious as well. My favorite dish was a new recipe; green beans with a lovely meyer lemon vinegrette topped with parmesan breadcrumbs made from onion focaccia bread. Not that the good food made up for the two empty seats where our daughters usually sit, but still a peaceful day at home which is always nice.

Christine said...

Sounds like a wonderful meal for your family. I'm glad you had a lovely Thanksgiving. :)