Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dark Days Challenge - Leftover Style

I served this Dark Days dinner Leftover Style - self-serve on the counter. I made mine into turkey sandwiches. The bread was from a local bakery, but not the Miracle Whip. I am not sure Miracle Whip is even an organic substance, but I am deeply addicted to it on turkey sandwiches. Yummm!
For the third year, we went to DH's godparents in Philadelphia. They have 40-50 people and everyone brings food. I am slowly finding my niche at the buffet table.

My Cornbread Pudding went over well. I used leftover Sweet Potato Cornbread, broken into chunks to get stale for a day or two - otherwise it just dissolves in the custard. I didn't find it necessary to tell our hosts that everything in it was local - even the Brinser's Best Roasted Yellow Corn Meal from the Echo Hill Country Store in Fleetwood @ $1.40 for a 2-lb bag produced in Manheim by Haldeman Mills (37 miles). The sweet potatoes were from Two Gander Farm in Oley, eggs from a Lancaster farm that has a stand at the Fairgrounds Market, milk and half & half from Clover Farms. Not local: vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cane sugar, salt.

After dinner, we played games - word games, charades, poker. The younger kids got turns, even if they are not good players yet. People watch football, nap, and dandle babies. They hire help for the clean-up, so no one is trapped in the kitchen. We look through old photo albums, which include pix of DH's late parents, and DH as a child. There's a fire, and a pot of mulled cider. I like it.

But, we don't get leftovers. I like leftovers. This year, I planned ahead for that. Today, I roasted 4 large thighs and a quarter-breast of turkey. The meat was from Wegman's at the Fairground Market - local and affordable, but not organic. I made gravy with the pan drippings. Not local: salt, pepper, garlic powder, flour.

I also made my own cranberry sauce. Cranberries don't grow around here, so no way to make that local, but at least it was homemade. A cup each sugar and water brought to a boil, then toss in a bag of fresh cranberries and let it simmer until all the berries burst and get mushy. I poured it into a canning jar to gel up for use on the leftover turkey-in-progress. I still have three thighs worth of roasted turkey to use in recipes this week!

DH didn't make his sweet potato pie for the actual holiday, but I still wanted some, so I made one sweet potato and one egg custard pie. The major ingredients were local - sweet potatoes, eggs, and milk. But the crust was a localness FAIL - I used frozen pie crusts. I just don't have room on my 2-foot-square countertop to make pastry. The "secret" ingredient is Cream of Coconut, obviously not local.

Custard is really easy way to use up the second crust in the frozen 2-pack. As long as you don't accidentally slosh it when you slide in the stupid oven rack! I'll be scrubbing that tray for days.

It's not difficult to make holiday feast food from local ingredients - but it can be hard to give up the favorite recipes that call for a few exotic ingredients.


livinginalocalzone said...

One thing that helps me sort through local dishes in the holiday times with so many favorite recipes out there is to think about the local sources and ingredients as another world to explore and make new traditions out of. These live side-by-side with the old ones, and for themselves, not to compare with each other.
Your cornbread looks delicious! I'm addicted to that stuff these days :-) Have you tried it with maple syrup for dipping?

mandi said...

i'm impressed that you 'didn't feel the need to tell them it was local'- i'm always tootin' my local horn! so annoying, but it makes me so excited to make a whole meal out of local ingredients!

Matriarchy said...

I tend to eat my cornbread nekkid, but I will try the maple syrup next time. I'm trying not to add sugar and turn everything into bread pudding this time of year - LOL!

I think it was more like "resisted the urge" to insist on telling them it was all local. I think I would have just looked crazy to most of that crowd - or self-righteous about food snootiness, especially since I was not turning down the yam & marshmallow casserole. I am a newcomer to that event, and "becoming one of the family" is the goal for the first few years. THEN I will go to work on their food shopping habits. :-)

livinginalocalzone said...

Sounds like a smart strategy :-) You're right that some people find it hard to absorb local eating, and it's not always the best idea to bring it up at a gathering.... something I've got to keep in mind when I just get so excited about it and want to share (lol!) You always have such delicious things posted on your blog.