A documentation of my preservation and preparation of local foods as I work through the seasons. This will serve as a reference tool for me in the future and as a sharing guide for family and friends...and anyone else interested. Hopefully, I can offer some useful methods, tips and recipes to share with everyone--be they novice or pro--and encourage them to join me in the exciting world of preserving and cooking with local foods.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Remembered

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love its simplicity--just that families are gathering 'round a table to share a special meal together.  After a busy preserving season, my pantry is bursting with color and flavor.   Thanksgiving is the time I can now enjoy and share the fruits of my labor.  Traditional family favorites are pulled from my recipe box, relishes and chutneys inspire new creations and the pickle jars are opened for their first tasting. 
Thanksgiving is the debut of everything I've preserved that year.

  I have included recipes below for our family favorites--without which the meal would not be complete.  But first, a poem my Grandpa Springer wrote for Thanksgiving.  In his honor and memory, it has become a tradition to recite this after the prayer and before our meal.

What Thanksgiving means to me
The harvest is finished, our Fall work is done
The past year was one of showers and sun
The seeds that we planted grew tall and more
We have everything now to be thankful for
Come take a look as I open the door
The fruit cellar's full as never before
Apples, peaches, onions and pears
Fruit jars are filled by a mother who cares
But the best will come on Thanksgiving Day
When relatives come by car and by sleigh
To help us enjoy this wonderful meal
Except for the turkey--he got a raw deal!
Traditional Favorites: 
 Squash and Pumpkin Bake   Serves 12+
6 cups cooked squash (I like butternut or a combo)
1 cup cooked pumpkin (not canned)
6 med. potatoes, cooked and mashed
Mix and mash all three together, then add:
2/3-1 cup butter
1 cup Half and Half
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 TBlsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Combine all, bake at 350 until heated through (or heat in microwave)
Scalloped Corn   makes one 9"x11" pan
5 cups frozen corn (four 10 oz packages)
4 cups cracker crumbs
1 cup melted butter
3 cups Half and Half (or whole milk)
3 eggs
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
-Spread cracker crumbs in even layer on bottom of pan.  Spread corn on top.  Beat together rest of ingredients and pour over.  Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hour; but, stir well halfway through (after 1/2 hour).

Waldorf Salad  Makes one 8-cup mold, two 4-cup molds or 9x11 pan
Two 3-oz packages orange jello
small pinch salt
2 cups boiling water
1-1/2 cups cold water
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1-1/2 cups diced unpeeled apple
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Dressing: 1 cup whipped cream, 1/4 cup Miracle Whip, 1 TB sugar
-Dissolve jello and salt in boiling water.  Add cold water and lemon juice.  Chill until thickened.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Pour into mold.  Chill until firm--about 4 hours.  Unmold.  Combine dressing ingredients and serve with jello salad. (center opening of mold)

For "Rosemary Green Beans" see post from 8-26-11.  This dish is a lighter alternative to the common green bean/mushroom casserole.
For "Pickled Beet, Pea and Onion Salad", see 7-21-11 post on Beets

Deluxe Pecan Pie
1 cup flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/3 cup lard, 3 TB cold water
Mix flour and salt, cut in lard with pastry blender or fork until mixture is like small peas.  Add water 1 TB at a time, tossing until ball in formed.
Roll out  and lay in 9" pie pan
3 eggs, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 TB melted butter, 1/2 cup dark corn syrup, 1/2 cup whipping cream, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 cup brandy, 1 cup pecan halves (or broken pecans)
-Preheat oven to 375.  Prepare crust.  Beat together eggs, sugar, salt, butter,  syrup and cream.  Stir in vanilla, brandy and pecans.  Pour into pastry.  Bake 40-50 min until filling is set and crust browned.  Cool.

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