Mike and I were home alone for Thanksgiving this year for various and sundry reasons. We had lengthy discussions about what should be on the menu, and what we wanted to skip. We decided to skip the turkey as neither of like it all that much. Once you decide not to cook turkey for Thanksgiving, the world is your oyster. Or at least your dungeness crab.
The full menu included chilled crab with garlic butter, prime rib, sausage stuffed mushrooms, twice baked potatoes, sauteed brussels sprouts, salad, cherry pie and cranberry-apple pie.
This guy, and his less playful friend, became the first course of our holiday meal. He reached up and grabbed the vegetable brush from his spot in the bottom of the sink and who was I to argue with him having a bit of fun with it before he went for a hot water swim Wednesday night. They came from a boat operating out of Anacortes, so well within our 100 mile radius for dinner.
The 3 bone, 4.75 pound prime rib came the quarter steer we get from On The Lamb Farm each year. Usually Mike cooks prime rib on the grill, but we forgot to get charcoal for this one. We did a bit of scrambling to come up with a recipe for doing it in the oven, and settled on using Elise’s instructions. It took a bit longer than expected, likely because it was sharing the oven with the mushrooms. The horseradish was grated immediately after being dug from the garden and mixed with just a bit of organic sour cream to make it stick to the beef.
It was delicious and we’ll likely do roasts this way in the future due to the ease of making au jus with the drippings afterwards and the convenience of not having to monitor it on the grill. There was more left over than we managed to eat, but neither of us is complaining about these leftovers.
I often listen to Food Network when I’m writing or cooking. The other night Ina Garten was on doing an alternative Thanksgiving menu. These mushrooms sounded great to both Mike and I. Turns out they’re just as good as advertised. I substituted fresh breadcrumbs for the panko and leek for the scallion. The non-local ingredients were the marsala and oilve oil (California), mascarpone and parmesan (Wisconsin). The mushrooms came from BC, the leeks and parsley from Full Circle Farms and the sausage from the 1/2 pig in our freezer.
The potatoes were a mix of white and blue, the whites from our garden and the blues from Olsen Farms. They were baked and then the insides scooped out and mixed with Golden Glen butter, organic sour cream and Beecher’s Flagship cheddar cheese. I stuffed that back into the skins and put them back in the oven while the roast rested and we ate our crab.
There was also pie, two pies in fact since I couldn’t make up my mind about which to make. The better of the two is a cherry pie made with fruit from our neighbor’s tree and canned whole in anticipation of pie for Thanksgiving. I’m not sure what type of cherries they are – they’re not sweet and they’re not sour – but they have a unique taste. They almost tasted like pie filling before they were pie filling. It was delicious and well worth the effort – next year we’ll do at least 3 times as many jars.
The other pie, a cranberry apple version, is also nice but tarter than I might have preferred. I used Shauna’s recipe, but put a layer of tart golden apples on the bottom. I didn’t add any sugar to the apples, but did add an extra 1/2 cup to the cranberries before I layered them on top. I think I should have add closer to 3/4 cup due to the tartness of the apples. It also could have used a bit more cornstarch (although I used tapioca flour instead) as it’s a bit wet. It’s less tart today after melding overnight, and better warm than cold. I’ll definitely make it again, but next time pay closer attention to how much sugar the apples need.
There was of course a concession made in our locavore meal, the kind that I think we all make to make our spouses happy. Mike lives for lettuce salads and craves them year round. I managed to find lettuce greens and radishes at the farmers market last weekend and usually I’d fix them with cranberries and hazelnuts this time of year, but Mike specifically asked for cucumber and tomato (and Marie’s blue cheese vinaigrette dressing). I might normally have come up with a just as good alternative, but I figured we should all be allowed our indulgences now and then. The tomatoes came from a BC hot house and the cucumber from “USA”. While not very local, it was a nice counterpoint to the rich flavors of winter.
I hope your Thanksgiving holiday found you giving thanks for all that makes your life wonderful and whole. We definitely did, our lives more full of happiness, family and friends than ever before, even in a tough economic year. Here’s to the holiday season to come, may we all find joy in the intention behind it.