Thanksgiving Crazy!


Yes, I admit it, I am “one of those.” One of those hosts who loves to cook, obsesses about making everyone happy, searches recipes for weeks, and hardly leaves the kitchen the entire day. This will be my third Thanksgiving I have cooked, and this year not only is it going to be the biggest (I might have anywhere from 7 to 11 people over!) but it will definitely be the most flavorful. Most other Thanksgivings my father typically wins a turkey or spends enough money at the grocery store to get the turkey for free. Not really the highest quality. This year I will be purchasing mine from the local butcher, Long’s Meat Market. But unfortunately, I believe my turkey will have traveled the farthest of all my food items. I was hopeful to have a local turkey, but there are no more available for butchering, and the already butchered local turkeys run around 100 dollars. I wish I could support my local farmers, but the turkey I am buying is free range, organic, and from Northern California, and is about 50 dollars.

Seeking recipes for side dishes that include seasonal ingredients was actually surprisingly difficult. Yes, there are many recipes for potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and squash, but how many people have had green bean casserole, cranberries, and corn (which may be somewhat seasonal, but not here). There were lots of great root vegetables, but I was trying to get a little more diversity in my menu…. So here is what I found! Hopefully you find them as tasty as I think it will be.


Southwestern Black Bean Dip

  • 1 1/2 c dry black beans, soak (Getting mine from Camas)
  • 4 c water
  • 6 garlic cloves (root cellar-ed)
  • 1 c chopped onion (root cellar-ed)
  • 1 dried chile (dried this summer)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c olive oil (or butter)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 c cilantro or 2tbsp coriander (I think cilantro is still being grown in green houses in Willamette Valley)
  • 2 hot peppers (dried this summer)
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • This will take a while to cook down so give it a day or two in a slow cooker or expect to spend a couple hours on the stove. Can add yogurt or sour cream after cooking.

Homemade Cheese Wafers:

  • 1/2 c butter (Noris or Rose)
  • 1 c grated cheddar cheese (about 4oz) (Noris or Mariposa)
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 drops hot sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c flour (Camas)
  • In bowl, blend butter and cheese. Stir in Worcestershire, hot sauce, and salt. Add flour, mix well. Chill in 1 1/2 inch logs over night. Cut into slices, bake 10-12 minutes until golden (makes about 24)

Cheese Ball

  • 8oz cream cheese
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 c grated gouda, mozzarella, or other grated cheese (I might use Tillamook smoked cheddar)
  • Toppings: bacon, pumpkin seeds, nuts, herbs
  • You can make one big ball or lots of little balls and roll in all different toppings.

Pasta Salad

  • Pasta, Roasted Red Pepper (canned this summer), Feta (local goat feta, so good!), Balsamic Vinegarette, Onion, Garlic, and maybe Broccoli, Kale, or ZChard.

Popcorn! I found some great heirloom black kernel popcorn at the Fill Your Pantry event. I will probably have a bowl of this out with some herbs.

(Ok so I did not say these were going to be exactly “healthy,” I did notice a cheese trend aboveI will have some crudites out too like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, hazelnuts, and walnuts)

Dinner Side Dishes

Cranberry Persimmon Sauce (I know I said cranberries aren’t local, but this will be my luxury item, and my family would be disappointed without it)

  • persimmons (there is a persimmon tree at farm), minced fresh ginger (saved from Groundworks Organic Farm this summer) , cranberries, apple cider (can squeeze at home or maybe find some from Detering), 1/2 c honey.

Sausage and Chantrelle Stuffing

  • Sausage (probably Sweet Briar), chantrelles (dried some this summer and got some from Eugene Local Foods website), whole wheat antico from my lovely ECB (Camas), onion, garlic, salt, pepper, fennel seed, sage (dried this summer), and maybe something crunchy like apple or carrot.

Mashed Potatoes (I can’t get away without making these, thought I would spice them up a bit though..)

  • Purple potatoes (my secret weapon from Lonesome Whistle Farm), butter, milk, salt, and pepper. Make mashed potatoes like normal. On top carmelized onion, bacon, and bleu cheese (lots of local cheese sources). Bake in oven for a few minutes until crispy on top.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

  • 2 c flour
  • 2 tsp powder
  • 1/2 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 T honey
  • 3/4 c cold butter
  • 1 c mashed sweet potato
  • 1/3 c half n half or milk
  • Mix all dry ingredients. Work in cold butter with hands until crumbly. Mix in mashed sweet potato, honey, and milk. Do not over work. Roll out to about 1 in thick and cut with biscuit cutter. Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes.

Wild Rice Pilaf

  • 2 T butter
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bell pepper (still can find these some places, if not, just add in what you think tastes good)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 c rice (there is wild rice available on Eugene Local Foods, in the Kiva, and in Sundance from Junction City)
  • 2 1/2 c chick broth
  • 2 bay leaves (tree on campus and at farm)
  • 1/4 c nuts (probably walnuts is best option around Willamette Valley)
  • 1/2 c chopped kale
  • Saute onion and pepper in salt and butter until tender. Add rice and cook until smells nutty. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until rice is done.

Cauliflower Gratin

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • kosher salt
  • 4 T butter
  • 3 T flour
  • 2 c hot milk
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 c grated white cheddar
  • 1/2 c hard cheese like parmesan
  • 1/4 c bread crumbs
  • Cook cauliflower in water until tender. Melt butter in saucepan, add flour (to make a rue), poor hot milk in and stir until boils. Off of the heat, add spices and cheese. Mix cauliflower and sauce together and pour in baking dish. Top with bread crumbs. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.

Grilled Carrots in garlic and herbs (needed some simple things)

Baked Squash with honey and cinnamon left in skin.

Cornbread Muffins

  • 1 c cornmeal (I picked up some really awesome purple cornmeal from Fill Your Pantry)
  • 1 c  flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs (Blissfully Produced from Eugene Local Foods website)
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 c corn (canned from this summer)

Well, I feel stuffed just from writing this post. So I think I will stop here and there will be a Thanksgiving Crazy Part 2 coming soon with dessert ideas!


About Megan French

I am a dreamer. I am a hopeful soul that thinks one day we could come together to support each other in a community; support one another's services, hard-work, products, and knowledge. I hope that one day we can be global and local thinkers; supporting each other economically through local interactions and supporting the world globally by respecting other cultures and learning from them. Through local thought and community relationships we can clean up our world environments, power figures, and idea about what is most important in our lives. It all begins with knowledge and understand about how to get back to the basics: cooking, sewing, foraging, preserving, scouting... DIY for life and for the future of our society.

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