I am thankful today to be alive and well and for the Lord Jesus who gives us life and hope. Early yesterday morning my husband and I were traveling home to Kentucky for Thanksgiving. It was still dark, we weren't far from home, but I was traveling on a rural road I wasn't too familiar with. In the blink of an eye, we got into a bad accident and ended up on our side in a ditch. We are so THANKFUL that my broken leg and BJ's concussion were our only major injuries. Of course we have some very sore bumps and bruises and have muscular aches, but we are still here and okay. Thank you, Lord!!!
This post was originally supposed to be a local Thanksgiving menu from the Roost but I thought I should update you on my situation. Some of our family came down from KY to take care of us for which we are grateful. We have always wanted to try staying in NC for a low-key Thanksgiving, just not quite this way! So, without any further delay, here is the rest of my original post:
I was thinking how nice it would be to have a Thanksgiving menu that used mostly local, natural ingredients but yet still retain the delicious familiarity and warmth of traditional autumn dishes.
Before you begin, here are some thoughts to consider when trying to eat local Thanksgiving fare:
1) How much of your meal can you obtain from your own garden? If you tend a small or moderate sized homestead garden, you might be able to utilize more of the past year's harvest than you think. Sweet potatoes, autumn squashes, garlic, brussels sprouts, fresh pumpkin, dried herbs, and preserved jams, jellies, and chutneys can all be integrated into traditional Thanksgiving dishes.
2) Where is your turkey coming from? If you do not raise your own turkeys, consider purchasing a heritage, pasture raised fresh turkey from a local farm. This year, we reserved two pasture-raised heritage turkeys (one per family feast) that we will contribute. The flavor and tenderness of the fresh turkey is said to be far above the standard frozen one, and you will rest better knowing no hormones or preservatives were pumped into your bird (not to mention that it lived a happy life while alive!) Of course, our turkey ended up ruined and all over the car from our accident :(
3) If you don't raise a garden or didn't have much of a harvest, purchase local foods from your farmer's market. They usually have a wonderful array of seasonal produce and supporting your local farmers is an added plus.
4) Keep dishes simple and avoid processed ingredients like pre-made canned soups and other canned goods.
Okay, enough of the advice. Let's get to the good part! I've tried to include a variety of dishes and recipes from various sources so you can pick and choose your favorite to try!
-Maple-Bourbon Roast Turkey with Gravy (recipe from the Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook)
-Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Parmesan (recipe from Real Simple)
-Butternut Squash Bread Pudding (recipe from Real Simple)
-Brie and Chive Biscuits (recipe from Real Simple)
-Bourbon-Cranberry Compote (recipe from Real Simple)
-Leek and Potato Gratin (recipe from the Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook)
-Corn Pudding (heirloom recipe from my in-laws)
-Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Roasted Chestnuts (recipe from the Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook)
-Pumpkin Goat Cheese Cheesecake (recipe from the Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook)
-Sweet Potato Pound Cake (from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)
P.S. If you family is repulsed by the idea of (heaven forbid!) overhauling your traditional Thanksgiving dishes for different ones, try introducing just one new dish this season. Then, if it's a hit, you can introduce another one the next year, and so on.
Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving - be sure and count your blessings! Sometimes we don't give thanks enough until we are faced with losing all we have.