Thanksgiving 2015

We had the honor and pleasure of cooking Thanksgiving again this year for a really great family.

I bought a local turkey as I did last year from Long Shadow Farm in Berthoud, CO. Unlike last year when I arrived at the farm to find a woman seated at a desk in the garage near a large refrigerator distributing chilled birds to anyone who had pre-ordered, this year I walked into a slaughtering/de-feathering/cleaning of turkeys small-scale processing line that I was not expecting at all. Our bird hadn’t even been chilled as she had been slaughtered just a few hours prior to pickup. Talk about having a real understanding of where our food comes from! I have that image seared into my memory… and will spare you the few photos I took.

We’re very fortunate to purchase such a quality turkey, so it’s extra important to me to serve it with all made from scratch accompaniments and sides.

I made the caramelized onion gravy base on Tuesday night. I’ve been making this gravy for more than ten years now, and each year I think it tastes better than the last. The butter and onions cooked low and slow for six hours. Six. Hours.

caramelized onion gravy

I started with a full pot and snapped a photo every couple of hours…

caramelized onion gravycaramelized onion gravy

 

 

 

 

 

 

…until I couldn’t resist spooning it into my mouth.

caramelized onion gravy

Wednesday I made my pumpkin pie, but failed to snap a photo. I also made a cranberry sauce with roasted shallots and mandarin zest.

Cranberry Sauce

Thursday, Chef and I cooked the rest of the meal on site in their Boulder home. The beautiful bird went into the 325 degree oven after being rubbed with butter and herbs. She amazingly and somewhat surprisingly appeared done after just under two hours. That was a fast cooker!

Longshadow Farm TurkeyRoasted Longshadow Farm Turkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I put together a wild rice stuffing while Sean made a sweet potato and chevre gratin, which has now become a Thanksgiving tradition for this family.

sweet potato chevre gratinSweet Potato Chevre Gratin

The ingredients in this dish are simply sinful- The health benefits of sweet potatoes are far outnumbered by the cheese and heavy cream combo. But, that’s what makes it so GOOD too!

While the gratin baked, Sean worked on maple glazed carrots in a cast iron skillet.

maple glazed carrots

Next, he assembled green beans in shallot butter topped with fried shallots.

green beans with fried shallots

We added the pan juices to the gravy base, carved the bird,

caramelized onion gravyRoasted Local Turkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And set up a small buffet for them.

Thanksgiving 2015

We can’t wait until next year!

 

Sweet Baked Turnips

Now here’s a good way to eat your turnips. I had 2 bunches of turnips that I got over 2 weeks from Ollin Farms‘ CSA. So, part of my CSA Challenge was figuring out what to do with turnips. To be perfectly honest, I thought I was sick of turnips. I got a bunch of scarlet queen turnips one week and they sat in my fridge until the following week when I got another bunch. I officially had more turnips than I could eat… or so I thought.

I sliced them and a local walla-walla onion I got at the Boulder farmers market, and tossed them in a dressing of:
  • 2 TB Worcestershire
  • 1 TB dijon mustard
  • 3 TB heavy whipping cream
  • 3 TB maple syrup
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB grated parmesan
  • fresh ground black pepper
I then covered the turnips in foil and baked them at 375 for 30 minutes (I think… might have lost track of time on this one, so watch them) until they were soft, sweet, and starting to caramelize. These turnips were deliciously sweet and I now know my favorite way to prepare those sometimes unpleasant root veggies.

Banana Chocolate Chip Coconut Walnut Muffins

Could it get any better than banana chocolate chip coconut walnut bread? Or, in this case, muffins? I made muffins because they bake so much more quickly than a loaf, and in the summer heat, that makes a big difference. Muffins are also more manageable… you can easily count how many you’ve eaten. That might not be a good thing, but this recipe is.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda (a little less if at altitude)
  • 1 TB cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup toasted and coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 (375 if at altitude).
As with all of my baking recipes lately, start by whipping the cream into butter. Pour the cream into your KitchenAid stand mixer and whip on speed 10 with the wire whisk attachment for 3 minutes. Then scrape down the bowl, switch to the paddle blade, and add the honey. Cream that, add the egg and vanilla, mix well, add the banana, and mix again. Easy.
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl (except for the nuts, coconut, and chocolate). With the mixer on a slow speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Finally, mix in the nuts, coconut, and chocolate chips.
I poured mine into muffin pans lined with If You Care baking cups. I like this brand because they are more environmentally friendly than your average baking cups.
My delicious muffins were done in about 20 minutes. But, make sure to check them by sticking them with a skewer or knife to be sure they’re baked all the way through. Cool on a wire rack and try to enjoy in moderation.

Rhubarb Cobbler

Rhubarb is in season, which means I am serving rhubarb for dessert. I spiced-up my Peach Cobbler recipe slightly and came up with a very satisfying treat.
I started with 6-8 stalks of rhubarb (tops cut off) and coarsely chopped them into bite-sized chunks. I added these to a sauce pan on medium heat and cooked them down with 1/4 cup maple syrup until they were softened. I did not cook this until it was a completely mushy mess because it needed to be baked. I just got it started and incorporated some maple into it.
I poured it into a Pyrex pie pan and topped it with a mixture from my peach Cobbler Recipe.

Then I baked it at 350 for approximately 30 minutes until it looked ready to eat. I let it cool a bit… patiently.

I served it with homemade maple whipped cream.

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