Sunday, December 5, 2010

Eating Local for the Holidays Challenge

I accepted the challenge by aHa! Modern Living's Jayme Jenkins to create a Thanksgiving meal using local ingredients from within a 100 mile radius. Well, I'll be honest, a lot of stuff I couldn't find locally (or was already in my cabinets and I wanted to use up that first) but I focused my efforts on the farmers markets and was able to get the majority of my ingredients within in my 100 mile target zone, some from my own backyard!


Here's what I found:

For appetizers - local cheeses and pears
Turkey - from California, but more than 100 miles away. I'll try to find closer sources next year.
Vegetables - Baked Leeks, from a friend's backyard
Glazed Multi-colored Carrots, found at farmers market
Sauteed Brussels with Apples and Hazelnuts, all from farmers market except hazelnuts, which were already in my cabinet, in leu of those I would have used local walnuts
Green Beans tossed with Walnuts, Dried Cherries and Shallot Vinaigrette, all local ingredients (minus some spices), my favorite recipe! I'll include it at the end.
Homegrown Tomatoes, ripened indoors
In addition we had Pumpkin Puree, Turkey Gravy and Creme Fraiche from Three Stone Hearth, a really amazing local Community Supported Kitchen.
Desert - Persimmon Pecan Tart with Creme Fraiche sprinkled with Candied Buddha Hand Citrus, all local or home grown ingredients, except the pecans, flour and sugar.

fruitsveggieslocal cheesespersimmon tart

I am lucky to live where there are such bountiful farmers markets this time of year. I'm not sure what may be available to those in colder climates. While it's hard to have every ingredient be from within a 100 mile radius, it is fun to be aware of what can be had nearby, whether it is local meat, local nuts or even what can be stored from summer in your own root cellar. I'm planning on this being a new tradition to add to our holiday celebrations - a tradition that makes me thankful for the region I live in and what I can provide for my family and friends from my own garden. And I'm looking forward to cooking more local food for the upcoming holidays! What are your favorite local foods right now?


Green Beans with Toasted Walnuts and Dried-Cherry Vinaigrette from Bon Appetit:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup dried tart cherries
1 1/2 pounds trimmed slender green beans
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped

Whisk first 6 ingredients and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Mix in dried cherries; set aside. Vinaigrette can be made 1 day ahead. Bring to room temperature; rewhisk before using.
Fill a large bowl with water and ice; set aside. Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes. Drain. Transfer to bowl with ice water; cool. Drain.
Toss green beans, walnuts, and vinaigrette in a large bowl. Serve at room temperature.

Happy Holidays!


  1. Kelly, these photos are amazing! You could totally make some cute greeting cards with all those delicious colors.

    You certainly took my challenge to the next level. I bet your guests were super impressed, and how wonderful to support your local farming community. Hats off to you!

    That green bean recipe looks fantastic! I am totally making that for Christmas dinner.

  2. Those serving trays in the first picture? Someday, somehow, they will be mine.

  3. Love this idea! & gorgeous pictures...

  4. Mr or Mrs Grumblebunny, those trays are made by Magis-- and are called Cappuccino tray.

    Kelly's husband--

  5. Jayme - Thanks for reminding us to focus on local. I sometimes get in the habit of buying everything from the grocery store when so much of it can be found at my farmers markets. And that sounds like fun to make some cards!

    Meg- Thanks!

    Mr. Anonymous - Aw, I guess you do read my blog Babe! Do you know of a store that carries the trays?

    Grumblebunny - My hubby is a rep for Magis, we'll see if he can track down some of those trays.

  6. @Floradora & Anonymous -- Thanks for your replies. Now that I know the trays are from Magis, maybe I should amend my first comment: Someday, somehow, they will be mine... albeit used, because I know I can't afford the new ones. Alas, alas! Gorgeous, though.

  7. Your guests were very lucky people. Everything is drop dead gorgeous and sounds utterly delicious!


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