We all have our favorite holiday meal dishes – when I was growing up it was my mom’s baked sweet potatoes, which were bathed in butter and brown sugar. Now, as an adult, I find that I don’t have much in the way of a favorite dish. Our meals are potluck style now and vary wildly from one year to the other, based on which family member is hosting and who is coming to dinner, so there aren’t the same staples year after year.
If you find yourself stuck in a Thanksgiving meal rut, or if you simply want to try something new, look no further than the Portland Farmers Market Cookbook. The book features 100 recipes divided up by the season and the dishes cover salads to soups to dessert to drinks and condiments so you’ll want to try them all eventually. But to help you narrow down the choices we’ve chosen 10 recipes that are perfect for the holiday dinner table. Our staff, volunteers and market friends even prepared the dishes themselves to pass along tips and tricks for making this the easiest holiday meal yet.
Read on, and enjoy! And remember, the Portland Farmers Market Cookbook is available for purchase at all of our markets (PSU, King and Shemanski Park are all still open) and through our online store. As a non-profit, book sales go to support the programs and services we provide to vendors and shoppers so be sure to buy a copy today if you haven’t already. Oh, and while you’re at it, grab an extra copy – it makes a great gift!
Trudy Made: Southern Squash Casserole, by Jim Dixon of Real Good Food (PSU vendor)
Insider Tip: This slightly spicy autumn casserole will find its variations in my home often. This week, I chose poblano peppers and delicata squash. The richness of the peppers balanced perfectly with the sweet squash. I also used Panko instead of whirling bread in the food processor; it browns nicely and gave the dish a little crunch. It also makes terrific leftovers.
Joan Made: Black kale and roasted beet salad, by Kimberly Bolster of Deep Roots Farm (PSU vendor)
Insider Tip: I used some yellow beets because I thought it would be prettier and I think they taste better. The recipe says to boil the greens and then squeeze them dry, which might be OK for a casserole, but they were soggy so I recommend massaging the kale with a little lemon juice and sautéing the beet greens instead and increasing the vinegar to three tablespoons for better coverage.
Martine Made: Crispy Smashed Potatoes, by Gabrielle Rossi of Rossi Farms (former vendor)
Insider Tip: This recipe was super easy to make! I used a purple-skinned, golden flesh, low-starch potato that was perfect for this dish. Next time I might try sprinkling this dish with chopped bacon, or shredded Parmesan cheese to mix things up. Would definitely make this recipe again. My family loved it.
Josh Made: Fall Greens with Delicata Squash, Caramelized Apples and Bacon, by Erika Reagor of Thrive Sauce and Bowls (PFM vendor)
Insider Tip: This recipe can easily be made vegetarian by leaving out the bacon – that’s what we did and it was still delicious. If you want to make it a little more substantial you can serve it on a bed of quinoa.
Phyllis Made: Pear Upside-down Cake with Caramel Cream, by Melissa McKinney of Olympia Provisions (PFM vendor)
Insider Tip: Use a 9-inch cast iron skillet rather than a cake pan and increase the baking time to a total of 60 minutes. This cake needs the additional depth in order accommodate the fruit and batter and still have room to rise. Also, it is the bacon was totally unnecessary – the cake was complete without it.
Kelly Made: Parsnip Pear Bread, by Pamela Kraemer, PFM shopper
Insider Tip: Don’t overfill your loaf pan like I did! It spilled over the edges, which resulted in a loaf not fit for photos. But it was still delicious. I left out the cardamom and increased the cinnamon. I also swapped the hazelnuts for toasted walnuts.
Teri Made: Creamy Cauliflower with Dill and Bread Crumbs, by Trudy Toliver, PFM Executive Director
Insider Tip: Instead of mixing the bread crumbs and cheese together, I just sprinkled them, alternately, atop the cauliflower mixture before baking. I used pre-toasted bread crumbs, which lent additional crunch (and ease!). I put this together quickly on a weeknight with Italian chicken sausages and a simple green salad. The combination of dill, parsley, and smokey paprika was fabulous – even my teenagers raved!
Mike Made: Heirloom Apple Butter, by Wendy Jo Downing of Kiyokawa Family Orchards (PFM vendor)
Insider Tip: I would cook it longer and roast it in the oven longer to get the color deeper. It tastes amazing though. To serve, it’s great on toast.
Kelly Made: Freekeh Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Persimmons, and Yogurt Cheese, by Timothy Wastell, chef
Insider Tip: I substituted wheat berries for freekeh and on one salad, comice pears for persimmons, which were also very tasty. The cheese makes the dish but you could substitute chevre as well. To make it easier and quicker to plate for a large meal you could combine the grains, sweet potatoes, persimmon and greens and top with a dollop of cheese.
Sydney Made: Carrot, Prune, and Parsley Salad, by Kristen Murray, Chef/Owner of Maurice
Insider Tip: The shaved carrots make for a beautiful presentation, but I also made a grated version that worked nicely to brighten up a heartier grain salad, or serve as coleslaw-like accompaniment to a meal.