I’m especially excited about our share this week, since you could make pretty much all of your Thanksgiving side-dishes and desserts with local produce! I plan on having squash pie, apple crisp, candied sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, kale salad with cranberries and walnuts, spiced squash, roasted Brussels sprouts, and home-made cranberry sauce. You could also have maple glazed carrots, cranberry bread, buttered turnips, roasted or pickled beets. . . the list goes on and on. I’m hoping there will be enough produce so that everyone has some left over for meals in the weeks after the big day, too.
This Week’s Produce
1 bag VT cranberries (VT Cranberry Company in Fletcher) ($5)
3 lbs empire apples (Douglas Orchards in Shoreham) ($4)
3 lbs onions (Quebec) ($3.5)
5 lbs russet potatoes ($3.5)
3 lbs sweet potatoes ($4)
1 green cabbage or 1 bunch kale (your choice) ($2)
3 lbs carrots ($4)
1 dumpling or delicata squash (there may not be a choice) ($2)
2 lbs turnips ($2)
1.5 lbs beets ($3)
1 stalk brussels sprouts (hopefully!) ($3)
1 bunch parsley or 1 bunch thyme (your choice) ($1.5)
Total retail value: $37.5
We got the cranberries from VT Cranberry Company in Fletcher (about 30 miles north of Essex.) We were thrilled to find that cranberries can be grown in Vermont, and that we could buy the 100 lbs we needed without any trouble a few days before Thanksgiving. If you’ve never made home-made cranberry sauce before, you really should. It really is almost as easy as opening up a can, and it tastes 100 percent better.
Simple Cranberry Sauce
1 lb fresh cranberries
1 1/3 cup sugar (Can be all white or half brown half white)
1 1/3 cup orange juice
Put sugar and juice into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook until cranberries start to pop, 10 to 15 minutes.
I like my cranberry sauce plain, but feel free to dress yours up with cinnamon, orange zest, walnuts, or candied ginger.
Kale Salad with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts
This salad would make a great Thanksgiving side dish. The bitterness of the kale and the brightness of the lemon and cranberries makes for a delicious salad, and it’s nice to have something green and healthy on a plate that’s loaded up with rich, buttery food!
1 bunch kale, center rib removed, cut into thin strips
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or from a bottle is OK here)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup crumbled gorganzola cheese (optional)
In a large bowl mix the kale, oil, lemon, salt, and pepper until kale is coated. Massage the dressing into the kale for a few minutes. Toss with walnuts and cranberries and cheese if using. Serve at room temperature if possible.
Note: If you want to make the salad ahead of time, it’s fine to refrigerate it for a day or two. You want to add the nuts, fruit, and cheese at the last minute though.
Best Mashed Potatoes
This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen Radio. Their recipes aren’t always the quickest or simplest, but they’re always delicious!
This recipe works best with either a metal colander that sits easily in a Dutch oven or a large pasta pot with a steamer insert. To prevent excess evaporation, it is important for the lid to fit as snugly as possible over the colander or steamer. A steamer basket will work, but you will have to transfer the hot potatoes out of the basket to rinse them off halfway through cooking. For the lightest, fluffiest texture, use a ricer. A food mill is the next best alternative. Russets and white potatoes will work in this recipe, but avoid red-skinned potatoes.
- 2 pounds potatoes (4 to 6 medium), peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks, rinsed well, and drained
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
- Table salt
- 2/3 cup whole milk , warm
- Ground black pepper
1. Place metal colander or steamer insert in large pot or Dutch oven. Add enough water for it to barely reach bottom of colander. Turn heat to high and bring water to boil. Add potatoes, cover, and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook potatoes 10 minutes. Transfer colander to sink and rinse potatoes under cold water until no longer hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Return colander and potatoes to pot, cover, and continue to cook until potatoes are soft and tip of paring knife inserted into potato meets no resistance, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Pour off water from Dutch oven.
2. Set ricer or food mill over now-empty pot. Working in batches, transfer potatoes to hopper of ricer or food mill and process, removing any potatoes stuck to bottom. Using rubber spatula, stir in melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt until incorporated. Stir in warm milk until incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper; serve immediately.