Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thanksgiving Dinner...Time to Plan the Menu!

by Andrea Yoder
Apple Cranberry Pie-recipe in this week's fruit newsletter
I’ve always enjoyed Thanksgiving, even going back to my childhood.  We used to spend Thanksgiving day at home and then celebrated with my mother’s family the weekend after Thanksgiving.  I liked this arrangement as it meant we got to enjoy not one but two Thanksgiving dinners!  As soon as I was able to start cooking on my own, I wanted to contribute to the meal.  By the time I reached junior high I was making the whole meal by myself.  I’d line up my recipes a week in advance in anticipation of the big day.  We enjoyed some traditional favorites—turkey, mashed potatoes & gravy, molded cranberry jelly, etc.  Like many families, we had a few specialty dishes that our family always had on the table.  My mother was known for her delicious yeast rolls as well as her runny blueberry pie and Grandma B always had to have at least one Jello salad and prune dressing (trust me…it’s actually really good).  Grandma Yoder always made her famous squash pie and turkey & noodles.  There were some formative years as I was learning to cook when I decided to experiment with my skills a bit….and not every dish turned out to be what I imagined it might be.  There was the year I decided I would try a new recipe for a pumpkin pie…all by myself.  Needless to say I hadn’t yet mastered the art of pie crust.  I made a pie crust that was so hard we had to cut it with a chisel….literally!  The filling was delicious, so the pie wasn’t a total loss and we all got a good laugh.

Beauty Heart Radish
As I grew up and left home, the holidays changed and there were years when I had to work on Thanksgiving or was too far from home.  I often spent the holiday celebrating with friends and was exposed to others’ traditions, family dishes, etc.  This was a whole new perspective for me and reminded me that it’s not so much the dishes on the table, but the people you spend it with and the memories you make.  One memorable Thanksgiving I spent the day with a group of college students.  Our mentor, Theresa, invited us to her home for Thanksgiving dinner and we all brought something to contribute.  I’ll be honest with you, I can’t remember what we ate because the lasting memory from that meal is that we laughed so hard our stomachs were sore and we accidentally set the table decorations on fire while passing the dishes family style!

Orange Kuri Squash
While I continue to hold onto some of those lasting traditions, new ideas have crept into the mix from time to time.  Inspired by vegetables or ideas from other people, I’ve learned that Thanksgiving is a celebration of a bountiful harvest and the possibilities for your menu are endless!  Whether you decide to stick to the old traditions, alter them with some updates, or go totally off the deep end and change things up completely, I’d encourage you to have fun along the way.  Embrace the bounty we have to enjoy….14 vegetables in this week’s box alone!  There are so many different things you can make….and that’s what makes the meal interesting and fun to cook in the company of friends and family.

This week's abundant CSA box!
With less than a week remaining to plan your culinary creations for the holiday, we thought it might be fun to highlight a few of our favorite recipes from our own archives utilizing the vegetables and fruits in your shares this week.  Maybe you’ll find some inspiration from these recipes or will give one of them a try this year.  I’ve cited the newsletter where the recipe was originally printed (all were from vegetable newsletters unless otherwise noted).  They can all be found on our website in our newsletter archives or in our searchable recipe database.  We’d love to see what you decide to cook for your Thanksgiving dinner.  If you have a minute to send us your menu, recipes or a picture of your creation, we’d love to have a glimpse into your holiday.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at HVF!

Creamy Gratin of Celeriac, Parsnip & Potato (December 20, 2008)
Parsnips with Brown Butter, Pecans & Maple Syrup (April 24, 2014)
Cranberry Maple Butter (November 22, 2014—fruit newsletter)
Cranberry Sauce with Dates & Orange (December 20, 2014—fruit newsletter)
Beauty Heart Radishes with Sour Cream Dressing & Poppy Seeds (January 12, 2013)
Grandma Yoder’s Squash Pie (September 29, 2007)
Ginger-Coconut Sweet Potatoes (November 9, 2013)
Brussels Sprouts with Ginger & Cranberries (October 31, 2014)
Crushed Potatoes with Cream & Garlic (July 18, 2015)
Creamy Horseradish Beets (November 17, 2007)
Celeriac & Apple Salad (September 1, 2007)

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