I was thrilled, thrilled, thrilled to be selected as one of 24 food bloggers that gets to post about our Thanksgiving dinner – and I’ll even get a little moolah for it! Foodbuzz 24×24 is a monthly program from my ad network, Foodbuzz, featuring 24 bloggers and a special party or gathering that they hosted.
My guy and I, being newly married, were so excited to host our very first family Thanksgiving as a hitched couple. For many reasons, not the least of which is we love this goshdarned state of ours, we decided on a feast highlighting locally grown and raised Washington State foods. We were so excited to feature fresh, delicious fare from our area like locally-grown sweet potatoes, pumpkins, chanterelle mushrooms, wonderful Washington wines, and, of course, apples.
First Off: Finding the Food
Finding local food for Thanksgiving is not as difficult as, say, achieving world peace, but it’s certainly not as convenient as I’d like – especially for the average suburban bear. Until a couple of years ago, I’d prepare for the big day by heading to my local big-chain grocery store and stocking up on canned cranberries, apples, and potatoes from who-knows-where. Never again, if I can help it.
Finding a Farmer’s Market that’s still operating in November is indeed a challenge. Some of the local chains carry food from nearby, but it takes some effort to find it. And finding exactly what you want at the farms that are actually still open? Not easy. And us suburbanites are busy, am I wrong? But I had a little extra time this year, so I did some research (what did we do before the web?) and scouting, and then set out to fill our table with a few dishes made strictly from locally-grown fare.
My very favorite source for finding – and learning more about – local food here in Washington is the Puget Sound Fresh website from King County. They have guides to finding local farms, farmer’s market locations and schedules, a harvest schedule, and even a bunch of delicious-looking recipes. They even have an Eat Local for Thanksgiving campaign – allow me to channel my inner Barefoot Contessa when I say, “How cool is that?”
We searched for local foods at PCC (who clearly labels local food, very helpful), Central Market, Haggen, and even Fred Meyer, and we found a treasure trove of produce – organic, locally grown sweet potatoes, celery, onions, chanterelle mushrooms, and more at a place up in Arlington called Garden Treasures. They stay open until the day before Thanksgiving. Yay! Their produce was amazing, and the service was great.
Cozy and casual – pumpkins, gourds, apples, leaves, and lots of candles. And Cute Crabapple Place Cards to continue the Simply Washington theme.
A variety of delicious Washington wines and beers to please all palates, along with hot-spiced apple cider and sparkling apple cider for the kiddos. Spirits included Maritime Pacific Jolly Roger Christmas Ale, Scuttlebutt 10 Degrees Below Ale, Pike Naughty Nelly, and Leavenworth Whistling Pig Hefeweisen. Wines included Pasek Cellars’ Raspberry Wine, Chateau Faire LePont Viogner, Helix Syrah, and a 2006 Napeequa Malbec that we’d been saving for a special occasion. It was amazing.
Smoked Salmon Platter
I couldn’t call this a Simply Washington Thankgiving without serving a little smoked salmon. Crostini were served alongside smoked salmon, capers, red onions, fresh dill, and whipped cream cheese for an easy build-it-yourself appetizer.
The Main Affair
Washington Apple, Beecher’s Flagship Cheese, and Hazelnut Salad
An adaptation of this salad recipe (pdf) from famed Washington chef Tom Douglas, using all-local ingredients. Gotta love it!
Rolls & Butter
Green Beans Sauteed with Bacon
Caramelized Onion and Chanterelle Mushroom Stuffing
Made with amazing Washington-grown chanterelle mushroom and locally-baked bread.
The traditional cranberry sauce with a delicious Washington State spin. Cranberries are grown on the Washington coast, but we couldn’t find any for sale around here – a shame. We had to settle for some from Oregon.
- Recipe for Apple Cranberry Relish
Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Sage and Garlic
Locally grown sweet potatoes shine in this savory recipe with a hint of sweet. I followed Ina Garten’s recipe for Maple Roasted Butternut Squash, and just subbed the sweet ‘taters.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes with Onion-Sage Gravy
I made a version of my Easy Vegetarian Onion Gravy recipe, throwing a bit of chopped fresh sage and some sherry in with the onions. Yum.
Peppercorn Sage Brined and Deep-Fried Turkey
Leave it to my guy to mention deep-frying the turkey a mere split second after I broached the subject of hosting Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, if you want a local turkey, around here you’ve got to reserve it weeks – or even months – in advance. We weren’t that prepared (though we did, at least, find a free-range friend). So for the brine, I planned to get about as local as you can get – right in my own backyard, where I thought I was going to have a bunch of sage thriving merrily. Except we experienced a seriously deep freeze earlier in the week, and my sage was shot. I was able to find some organic locally-grown herbs at the local grocery store… not quite the same, but close.
Yes, the deep-frying was scary. Yes, we had fire extinguishers at the ready. Yes, my guy did great, and it was the highlight of the meal.
My favorite part! My wonderful mom brought three (three!) pies – pumpkin, peanut butter, and her amazing wild blackberry pie, made of the teensiest, most amazing blackberries that can be found in the woods around here. I also threw in a Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake.
I wish I’d had more room.
- Recipe for Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake
We were so, yes, thankful to be able to spend the day with our family and be able to feed them so much delicious, local, and sustainable food to celebrate our beloved state of Washington.
Someone even cleaned their whole plate – and was very, very proud!
Happy Thanksgiving, all!
- Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake with Cinnamon Whipped Cream 7:00 AM
- Sweet, Spicy, and Savory Pumpkin Seeds 10:31 AM
- Iced Coffee 3:09 PM
- Hawaii & Haupia (Coconut Pudding) 11:05 PM
- Fresh Bing Cherry Ice Cream 1:17 PM
- Foodbuzz 24×24: A Simply Washington Thanksgiving 10:31 PM
- Sweet Potato Pie 8:48 AM
- Goodbye to The Hazel Bloom. Hello, Kitchen Treaty! 7:59 AM
- Junk to Treasure: 70′s Clock Turned Cool New Wall Art 3:11 PM
- Honey Rhubarb Brown Betty 11:03 AM
- Almond Poppyseed Shortbread Cookies 10:43 AM
- Deep Dark Hot Fudge Pudding Cake 10:51 AM
- Glazed Greek Yogurt Lemon Poppyseed Muffins 12:01 PM
- Glazed Vanilla Bean Cookies 8:56 AM
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