Plan B delivered this week: our delivery included three kinds of squash, potatoes, kale, spinach, lettuce and tons of apples. They’re fantastic fresh but we’re having friends over for brunch tomorrow so I made a batch of whole wheat apple muffins from Smitten Kitchen. They’re really good, and I love that they have chunks of apple instead of grated apple (easier to prep and more apple flavour in the muffins). She claims they keep well for several days so I hope that’s true – even with guests, 16 muffins is a lot!
We’re also going to try this puffed German apple pancake, and serve both with a cherry sauce from cherries I froze in the summer.
And speaking of local breakfasts, I had a great brunch at Calico Cafe this morning – butternut squash and pecan waffles with an apple compote and maple syrup. If you haven’t made your way there yet, I highly recommend it – this is the second great meal I’ve had there.
My parents were in town for Thanksgiving last week, and together with my sister and her boyfriend the six of us put together a pretty fantastic Thanksgiving meal – although unfortunately I didn’t take pictures of everything. We enjoyed it so much (and had so many recipes we wanted to make but couldn’t) that we’re thinking of doing a second Thanksgiving next month.
I let a turkey in the house this year, ordered from Fiesta Farms – at $60 for 9 pounds, it seems expensive, but when you consider that it served dinner to five people, plus leftovers for many sandwiches, plus the makings of a few litres of turkey soup, I don’t think it costs much at all – per portion, certainly less than a turkey sandwich or soup at Tim Hortons. You may have been following the articles on thestar.com by Margaret Webb about the perils of organic turkey farming in Ontario – if not, here they are for your reading pleasure. Good luck to the farmers.
But it was the side dishes that really shone. To start with, we did our standard baked mashed yams (spiced with mace) topped with marshmallows. But this year, to make it more of a foodie affair, I made homemade marshmallows, which were divine and puffed up and melted far better than the bought ones. They’re actually quite easy, too, if you have a couple of mixers on hand. (I used my stand mixer for the main mixing and my handheld for the egg whites.) I got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen, of course, and here’s a close-up of the marshmallows post-baking.
We also did a couple of recipes from the November issue of Bon Appetit: a brussels sprout slaw with mustard dressing and maple-candied pecans that are to die for, and a beautiful butternut squash kale bread pudding from the kitchen of Orangette. (I’m not always the biggest fan of brussels sprouts, but the ones my sister picked up at St Lawrence Market were divine – both green and purple and full of flavour, and no bitterness.)
And here’s a close-up.
And for dessert, a butternut squash pie with a ginger cookie crust courtesy of Canadian Living. I used ShaSha cookies for the crust, and tripled the spices in the filling. This is the second time I’ve made this and I’ll make it again.
What did you make for Thanksgiving?
I don’t know that these count as local in my kitchen, unless you count a can of pumpkin that’s been sitting around since last fall as local, but they’re certainly seasonal, and there’s no reason you couldn’t make them with puree from fresh pumpkins or even butternut squash. It’s a recipe I got from my mother, I’m not sure where she got it from. Don’t skip the icing, it’s an essential component.
The original recipe calls for walnuts, but I’m allergic so usually use pecans, but today I didn’t have enough pecans so I used half peanuts (local, from the market). The verdict: different, but not at all bad. I also didn’t have enough raisins so used half dried cranberries, which almost works better in my opinion. Whole wheat flour works fine, and I tend to add way more spices than any recipe ever calls for, but do it to taste.
1/2 cup/125 mL butter
1 cup/250 mL sugar
1 cup/250 mL pumpkin puree
2 cups/500 mL flour
2 tsp/10 mL baking powder
1 tsp/5 mL salt
3 tsp/15 mL cinnamon
1 tsp/5 mL nutmeg
1 tsp/5 mL ginger
1 cup/250 mL raisins
1 cup/250 mL nuts
Cream together butter and sugar; add eggs and pumpkin and mix well. Combine dry ingredients and add to butter mixture. Stir in raisins and nuts. Bake at 350F on greased pan for 15 mins. Cool and ice.
Combine 2 cups/500 mL icing sugar and 1 tsp/5 mL lemon juice; add milk as necessary. (Well, that’s what the recipe says – I just use lemon juice.)
Plan B is back to sending me tons of carrots, and I improvised this salad to help use them up. (Excuse the terrible picture, I made this when it was already dark out.)
Mix together (all to taste):
• Grated carrots and beets
• Sunflower seeds
• Olive oil and lemon juice
• Salt and pepper
• Crushed garlic
• Chopped fresh parsley
• Chopped beet greens (optional – if your beets came with them)
This makes a delicious side dish, or you can make it a full meal – serve with a hard-boiled egg and some black bread and pickles to make it really Russian-style. You can embellish it in a number of ways, too – tonight for my dinner I tossed some with mixed greens, a chopped apple and a spoonful of sour cream.
Also, I picked the rest of my beans from the garden today. Aren’t they pretty?
I was very hungry at brunch time today so didn’t take pictures, but I very much enjoyed the French toast I made (standard – leftover bread, eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, maple syrup) and served with plain yogurt (Pinehedge) and stewed plums. I had one of those baskets of local plums – despite eating 5 or 6 a day, I couldn’t seem to make a dent in them – so just sliced them all in half and simmered with a bit of water. Easy.