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Farmer's Market Thanksgiving?


joncephine
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Hey guys,

So E and I have been together for 7 years and 11 months (today). Our families haven't met, and we plan on getting married next year. However, I would like them to meet prior to the wedding, so I want to host thanksgiving this year. Because I have started eating more and more out of the farmer's market, I thought I'd try to make as many of the dishes as I can come from local organic ingredients.

I'm starting to think about this now, because if there is stuff that I can get from the spring markets and freeze, then I'll want to do it. Plus, since our families haven't met yet, I get to be neurotic about this.

Here are my challenges:

-at least 9 people, ranging in age from 16 to mid-50s

-one side kosher - which means that they won't eat pork that they know is there (but I have seen them chow down on spare ribs, wontons, and house lo mein from a non-kosher restaurant. E calls this the "Wonton Principle. I do not get it). Also? no butter or cream in the main dishes.

-one person with diverticulitis, who cannot eat nuts or seeds, so the dishes with nuts, seeds or corn must be kept separate

-one insanely picky 16 year old. However, since she is my sister, I can tell her to suck it up. However, some of the dishes must be traditional enough for her to eat

-One type II diabetic

-One person who, if given an option, would eat nothing but Betty Crocker Cheesy Potatoes

Here are my thoughts...

-Something like this. How long will that mushroom mix keep in the freezer?

-I must have 2 or 3 kinds of stuffing, because I love stuffing.

-When do I need to order an organic, kosher turkey? And how big does it need to be for this many people?

-There will be apple pie, with some great tasting local apples. Possibly two.

-Lots of mulled cider

-When does squash come in? What squashes are good around here?

The only decision that I've really made so far

-I must have at least 12 bottles of wine to get through this dinner :lol:. I don't know what everyone else will be drinking, but I know I must accumulate at least that much wine :lol:.

Does anyone have any recipes or experience or suggestions that they can share? I'll keep you updated on my progress :).

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There's nothing listed on the menu you're using as your starting point that you need to buy more than a week before Thanksgiving. It will all be available. To some extent, buying now and freezing defeates one of the the main purposes of the farmer's markets, which is to eat ridiculously fresh food. I think you should take a deep breath, have a bottle of wine, and resolve to spend the next five months going to different farmer's markets every week, chatting up the supliers, enjoying yourself in the kitchen and forgetting that such a thing as Thanksgiving exists. Then, a month out, consider what you've learned, plan a menu and practice working with whatever you're going to cook.

They have lamb dealers at the Dupont and Bloomingdale markets, I believe. A leg will feed nine in a relatively kosher fashion. Consider making a pear chutney for it.

Re: stuffing. Buster should be back in the market with oysters by then. Make an oyster stuffing - very Plymouth Rock-y.

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I've read this quickly, but will give it more time for response later. I agree with Waitman, but am a bit of an obsessive planner who like likes to please people, so I understand!

My first thought is that cherries marry well with fall dishes ie: pork, foul, stuffing, pilaf.... and they freeze wonderfully. From Ranier to sour pie cherries, I hord them and freeze them to enjoy all year round.

I still have some in my freezer :lol:

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I did the whole thanksgiving dinner for the inlaws thing and you simply can't win. I brought apples from Reid's for the apple pie, I made.a special squash quinoa pie for the vegetarian brother-in-law, I lovingly roasted cauliflower, etc.

My MIL kept peeking at the turkey, which I tried to do using Dean's recipe thus reducing my high heat oven. The nephews ate grilled cheese sandwhiches. The cranberry sauce in the pantry expired in 1999. The vegetarian BIL doesn't like mushrooms so he didn't eat the special gravy I made so he could have gravy on his stuffing and mashed potatoes.

And I was pregnant so I couldn't even drink.

This year the MIL and SIL surprised us with Thanksgiving 2 weeks early when we came up for a visit. The turkey was dry and tasteless, there was no stuffing and at least I was able to have a glass of wine...

(We went to Corduroy for our actual thanksgiving dinner...)

My point...don't freak out. Don't jump through hoops. Drink early and often. Consider going out for the day. Good luck!

And if you survive this, the wedding will be a piece of cake.

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I've read this quickly, but will give it more time for response later. I agree with Waitman, but am a bit of an obsessive planner who like likes to please people, so I understand!

My first thought is that cherries marry well with fall dishes ie: pork, foul, stuffing, pilaf.... and they freeze wonderfully. From Ranier to sour pie cherries, I hord them and freeze them to enjoy all year round.

I still have some in my freezer :lol:

I too thought of cherries as a freeze ahead item. Generally, though, I agree with Waitman. Buy what's in season then. Pumpkin is a good squash. Butternut and acorn are others you should get pretty readily then.

If you can't find mushrooms you want fresh, you can always used dried ones. I love dried mushrooms for mushroom soup. Mushrooms do tend to be a food some people really don't like, though.

You've got plenty of time to go through old threads here and elsewhere to see what people select as good seasonally available produce for Thanksgiving. If you're making lots of food (which it sounds like you plan to do), there should be something for everyone.

I did something like this for Christmas once, probably a year and a half before we got married. HAHAHAHA. BLB is right. Don't stress over it too much. (I did lamb but don't recall what else.)

ETA: On the pork/kosher thing, I would avoid putting pork in dishes, even well hidden. People might be careless about it at a restaurant, but what are you going to do if someone asks you if there is pork in a major dish? I'd prepare for the worst case on that one and just avoid pork, shellfish, etc.

Bread or rolls

Cheese

Mixed green salad with no nuts and a couple of dressings on the side

Turkey with bread stuffing and separate cornbread stuffing

Braised greens (swiss chard or beet greens)

String beans

Au gratin potatoes and/or mac and cheese

Pumpkin bread pudding or persimmmon pudding

Apple pie

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I'd start with this thread. This thread is about where to find a turkey, and this has some favorite recipes. When the November issues of Gourmet, Saveur, Bon Appetit, etc., come out, look to those for some inspiration.

Definitely take Waitman's advice and don't think about it more than a month out. And some gentle advice from me - Think about what everyone will enjoy, and don't force "foodie" ingredients on family members who won't appreciate them. Thanksgiving tends to bring out the unyielding, locked-in-stone traditional side of most people, and they just want their damn Butterball turkey or canned cranberry sauce and to hell with "organic" this or "local" that. Make compromises if needed. And definitely stock up on wine.

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Not to be a downer, but I have no idea how you're going to get a turkey that is Kosher. organic AND local. Two out of three would be pretty good, especially for Kosher birds--I don't know about any local Kosher slaughterhouses, and there aren't many Kosher organics out there that I've seen. Is it important that the bird be Kosher? If so, and if you don't want a frozen Empire bird, it actually might make sense to do some planning on that right now...call around to the meat dept at Shalom Kosher in Wheaton and Koshermart in Rockville as a start and see what they have to say.

If the bird must be Kosher, I really like the frozen Empire ones. That's what we usually eat at Thanksgiving and Passover. I usually get them free from the supermarket I shop at most often, since the Empire birds are eligible for the "buy $x worth of groceries and get a free turkey or ham" deal. Defrosted slowly in the fridge, brined, and either roasted or fried, they're pretty good. Not as flavorful as the local organic turkeys I've bought from a local farmer, but pretty good nonetheless.

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My point...don't freak out. Don't jump through hoops. Drink early and often.Good luck!
Agree don't freak - After doing Pesach for 35 last month - Just do a few varieties (you can put butter and cream in some things and not others). Do a meat option.

Just a suggestion, you can put your own twist on the classics.

As to a kosher bird - Call Kosher mart around the high holiday's, I bet they can set you up with exactly what you are looking for and get it in a week before so it is fresh.

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