Friday, November 16, 2012

Eating Omily: Go Get Thankful!

I've been gathering photographic evidence of a change afoot...New York City is always a magical place, but it's decidedly more magical as the weather changes.  Halloween was all but lost in the scuffle of Sandy, but Thanksgiving is on schedule, and it's great timing, since we all could use a reminder of all the things we have to be thankful for.

There's still time to put down a deposit on a free-range, happy, healthy turkey at the Farmer's Market!  At $5 a pound you may choose to opt for cheaper sides this year, but trust me: more than worth it!  I had to opt for a twenty-pounder this year to satisfy the ever growing parade of pilgrims that come my way from points mid-west.  I'm glad I'll have someone to help me carry it home!

Between the hurricane, and my trip to Ohio for my sister's confirmation, I'm still putting together my Thanksgiving menu, but especially in light of my higher than usual number of guests, I'm committed to keeping it simple and cutting a few corners: store-bought pie crust, rolls from Bread Alone at the Farmer's Market, and as few recipes as possible.  I know how to make mashed potatoes, stuffing, baked sweet potatoes, and green veggies with little to no fuss.  My dad can handle the gravy (I just have to get one of those separators so we don't have a half-inch layer of golden grease on top this year...)

I've already started picking up things I know I'll need: extra onions, potatoes, veggie stock, etc.  I'll leave the herbs till the last minute, of course.  My eyes are open for the Farmer's Market cranberries, but I haven't seen them yet, and it's possible they're a victim of Sandy.

Why not take advantage of the need for extra cullinary goodies and go on a Farmer's Market forray?  We ALL need to be thankful for farmers, and what better way to cultivate gratitude than to meet them face to face, and take from their hands the foods that will grace your table?  Turkey pick-ups happen the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so go put down your deposit, and start picking up stuff now.

How about baked sweet potatoes for an easy, cheap, and sure to be loved side dish?

Why not eschew those weird boxes of croutons labeled 'stuffing mix' for a loaf of hand-made artisan bread for your stuffing base?  Pick up celery, onions, garlic, and safe, and you're on your way to a stuffing like nothing you've ever tasted!  You can even get Farmer's Market butter!  Yum.

The Farmer's Market is also accepting donations: just pick up a special bag at the Manager's Tent, fill it with Farmer's Market goodies, and drop it back off.  The food will be donated to those affected by Sandy throughout the city, and you'll be doing two good deeds in one by providing extra business to farms that have suffered set-backs from damaged roofs, to ruined crops thanks to the storm.

The Green Markets are always accepting donations through their website, and you can choose exactly what you want your money to go toward, including farmers suffering because of the weather.

I'll be back before Thanksgiving, and I'll offer some simple recipes for your farmer's market fare.  Just pick up sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, fennel (or celery), onions, garlic, sweet, crisp apples (or carrots), a loaf of bread, sage, rosemary, and butter.

Happy Harvest!

P.S. If you're buying a 'free range' turkey from the grocery store, this is what its range looked like.
 Did I mention these guys are given tons of antibiotics to promote faster growth, and keep them from getting sick in their unsanitary conditions, and that this breed fattens so fast, it's not long before many of them can't walk, and they're so stupid they literally cannot breed on their own?
 Rather have one of these happy, healthy, better-breed guys?  There's still time!  Get out there!!

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