About this Blog

As I go into my second year blogging about cooking and eating locally, I am thinking more and more about my own heritage. Why is cooking and eating locally sourced food important to me? What values am I honoring by doing this and how were these values instilled in me.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Thanksgiving is the holiday that epitomizes what this blog is about...a celebration of the harvest and the abundance brought forth from the earth by a community.  Other than my mother's very delicious stuffing, all of the food you see pictured came from our CSA and was prepared by me and my mother. The meal that resulted was very simple, bountiful, highly nourishing and tasted delicious.

Our turkey was raised on the farm that grows our vegetables.  Included with our turkey at pick-up was a note providing some details about the turkey's breed, a Broad Breasted Bronze, which is believed to be the same breed the pilgrims ate for their first meal.  The  note also went on to tell us about the life the turkey had lived which had been rich in fresh air, sunshine with access to fresh water, bugs and other snacks (i.e. blueberries, strawberries, apples, greens, corn, etc.)  The result was a very flavorful, tender turkey which, according to my mother who cooked it, required no other intervention (i.e. brining, infusions of broth or basting of butter) to keep it moist.  After our Thanksgiving meal, my mom cooked the carcas down for broth.  I came home with nearly two gallons of broth (we had a 20 lb turkey) which I have since used for light soups.  A very simple one that PJ likes is with pearled barley and carrots. 

Brussel sprouts graced our plates for the first time. this holiday.  After the first time I found brussel sprouts in our CSA share, I told our farmer that I gave them a try after nearly 37 years and was pleased to say that they were sweeter and much more tender than I had remembered.  I cooked the brussel sprouts for our Thanksgiving feast using a recipe inspired by an article in Eating Well Magazine.  They were braised with vegetable broth and shallots. 

I pureed our butternut squash with maple syrup, cinnamona and some of the chili peppers we received in our CSA share. 
Pictured above is the pumpkin pie I made using the sugar pumpkin we received in our CSA box.  I consulted pickyourown.org  and  theheartofnewengland.com  for advice on how to get the pumpkin puree out of the pumpkin.  Basically, you carve the pumpkin and remove the seeds the same way you would to prepare a jack-o-lantern then I cut the pumpkin into quarters, placed them on a baking sheet, added water to the bottom of the sheet and baked at 400 degrees for about an hour.  Once the pumpkin is tender, you can remove the meat from the skin.  I then added the meat and some liquid to the food processor and pureed it.  Pickyourown.org  provided a  pumpkin pie recipe using a whole sugar pumpkin rather than canned pumpkin puree and I found a recipe for walnut pie crust.  Using walnuts adds some texture and flavor to the pie crust which I prefer over regular bland pastry.  I used fresh ginger in the pie filling instead of ground and have included both recipes with my modifications below. 

Pumpkin Pie with Walnut Pie Crust

Pie Crust

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup sugar (I used tourbinado sugar)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup walnut pieces

6 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You will need one buttered, nine-inch deep-dish pie pan either a light-colored or glass pan.

Place the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl and stir to combine.

Place the nuts in a food processor or blender and pulse just long enough to chop the nuts finely, not into a paste. Scrape the nuts into the flour mixture and stir to combine.

Add the melted butter and combine well.

Press the mixture into the buttered pie pan making certain that the crust is evenly thick.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until it just starts to brown on the edges. Do not over bake. A light-colored or glass pan will absorb less heat than a dark one and help ensure against over baking.

Pie Filling

1   8" pie pumpkin (yielding about 3 cups of pureed pumpkin)

1 cup brown sugar

1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground allspice

2 Tbsp fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1 12 oz can of evaporated milk

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Mix well using a hand blender or mixer.  Bake at 425 F for the first 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350 F and bake another 45 to 60 minutes, until a clean knife inserted into the center comes out clean.


  1. My mouth was watering the ENTIRE time I read this. If that Turkey was anything like the chicken that we had when we were visiting all I can say is yum! I too had been thinking about giving brussel sprouts a try. Something that I know Matthew has never had. You have inspired me to give it a try. I will look up that recipe.

    I also had wanted to try and make a pumpkin pie with a real pumpkin. I may give that a try sometime. I am not very sure though how to get the pumpkin ready for a pie. Do you peel it or bake it?

    Sounds like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, as well as tasty!

  2. Sue,

    I'm glad you enjoyed the post. After I posted yesterday, I realized I hadn't told readers how to get the pumpkin puree out of the pumpkin. I will add that into the post today!