the butter holidays

Just in time to distract me from the ever present darkness of this time of year come the butter holidays.  Up first on Thursday is Thanksgiving, aka the Festival of the Brown Food.  This year, as in past, I will be showcasing local foods for the meal; as much as possible from my garden, other supplemental vegetables, notably potatoes, purchased at the farmer’s market,  a locally produced turkey from one of Dan’s teacher pals, and local dairy wherever possible.

Dan’s mom will be joining us again this year, and two friends from work, H, a human rights worker from Israel here for the fall, and J, an AmeriCorps member working with me.  We are really looking forward to it.  To make things easier on the big day, I’ll be prepping in advance wherever possible.  Today, I roasted 2 pumpkins in preparation for Maple Pumpkin Pecan Pie.  The larger pumpkin in back is a Winter Luxury; in front, a Small Sugar.  Both were from my garden, unfortunately, the only 2 to fully ripen before the frost killed them off.

I halved them, removed the seeds for roasting, then halved them again, and roasted the pieces at 425°F on an oiled pan until they were soft and browned, about an hour.  I let them cool a bit, then scooped the flesh out of the skin with a spoon.  I’ll divide the pumpkin into 2 cup portions and freeze the extra for future pies, or for Chile Cheddar Pumpkin Souffles.  Yum.

Turkey Day Menu

  • Nibbles (olives, nuts, goat cheese with savory tomato jam on crackers, pickled beets, dilly beans)
  • Cider Brined Roast Turkey with Sage Cornbread Stuffing & Gravy (local)
  • Mashed potatoes (local)
  • Roasted squash wedges
  • Pan roasted Brussels Sprouts with Onions
  • Swiss Chard with Raisins and Almonds
  • Blueberry Pie
  • Apple Pie
  • Maple Pumpkin Pecan Pie

There is really no need for three pies, except I love apple pie for breakfast the next day, and I want to share Maine Blueberry Pie with our guests, and Dan loves the Maple Pumpkin Pecan.  So, three pie it is.

Other do aheads for Turkey Day:

  • Make Pie Dough
  • Make chicken stock for gravy
  • Make corn bread and stuffing bread
  • Brine turkey
  • Make cranberry sauce*

A long list, but so worth it.

*edited to add cranberrry sauce thanks to Lynn reminding me!

9 Responses to “the butter holidays”

  1. Emily Says:

    Sounds like a great meal! We’re traveling to my cousin’s in Maryland this year. I miss planning the menu and the yummy side dishes and desserts.

  2. Farmgirl_dk Says:

    Mmmm….maple pecan pumpkin pie..I’m drooling.
    My son who is graduating from high school next year (2010) is planning to take a gap year before college and just sent in his application to AmeriCorps. What is your friend J. doing in the program? Does he/she like it? Any advice for a newcomer? :-)

    • Ali Says:

      AmeriCorps rocks! I’d be happy to e-mail or chat with more specifics. Send me an e-mail at henbogle at gmail and we can “talk.”

  3. Jean Potuchek Says:

    Sounds like a wonderful menu; maybe I’ll invite myself! -Jean

  4. Lynn on Pleasant St Says:

    Hi Ali!!! Your menu looks GREAT! Will you do all the cooking yourself?? Our family divides up the meal …but then we all live within 30 minutes of my brother’s house, so it works well. Question….no cranberrry sauce??

    Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    • Ali Says:

      Hi Lynn,
      OF COURSE there will be cranberries, I forgot! Thanks for the reminder. I’ll make a delicious cranberry-orange sauce, and Dan will enjoy moon-shaped pieces of canned cranberry flavored jello from Ocean Spray. The cranberries came from Ricker Hill Orchard in Turner.

  5. weez Says:

    Hey Dan,
    Lee & I will be enjoying the smooth “moon-shaped pieces of canned cranberry flavored jello from Ocean Spray” too!!!
    Someday I’ll have make jellied cranberry sauce.

  6. wf Says:

    Yum ! What time you want us there …. : )

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