23 November 2012

The Days After


Photo and Post by Kelly Merrick

I say this every year, but this was the best Thanksgiving yet. My husband and I spent the day with family playing card games, drinking homebrew and giving thanks for all of the blessings in our lives. And then there was the meal itself, which was so delicious I can’t stop thinking about it. Almost all of it was sourced locally from Portland Farmers Market. From the turkey (Converging Creeks Farm) to the cranberries (Eagle Organic) our Thanksgiving meal was nearly as fresh and as local as you can get.

The turkey was stuffed with sage, rosemary and thyme, all picked from my in-laws’ garden, the traditional mashed potatoes were accompanied by a root vegetable mash, which comprised of sweet potatoes, delicata squash, parsnips, butter and walnuts, all sourced from the market. A few new dishes also made their appearance this year – green beans with glazed pecans, roasted Brussels sprouts and purple cauliflower, as did apple gravy with browned butter and thyme, a new twist on the traditional recipe.

Next came dessert. We had three different options to choose from, and naturally I chose to have a small piece of each of them. We had pumpkin cheesecake, rhubarb pie and huckleberry pie, all of which incorporated several ingredients sourced from my mother-in-law’s garden.

Now that I have made you jealous of my Thanksgiving meal, let’s talk leftovers. To be more specific, let’s talk turkey leftovers. Every Thanksgiving, Americans toss an estimated $282 million of uneaten turkey into the trash, and when you think about how much money and effort you put into cooking that turkey, not to mention all of people who go hungry during the holiday season, it’s a real shame.

Luckily, the possibilities for using up your turkey are many. You could make a turkey sandwich using your leftover meat, dinner rolls, cranberries and stuffing. Or make turkey soup with turkey stock from the discarded carcass as the base. A friend of mine makes a Thanksgiving leftover calzone that sounds delicious and even includes cranberries, and Martha has a whole slew of leftovers recipes that make my mouth water just looking at them. If you have a ton of leftover cranberries, considering making some of these recipes Dave wrote about last week. If your leftovers don’t include turkey, many of these recipes can be adapted to be vegetarian.

Once you’ve figured out how to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers, head on over to the PSU market to do some early Christmas shopping and pick up anything you may need to accompany your leftovers. It’s also a great place to take family members who are visiting to show them what Portland is all about and give them a chance to bring home some local treats. Don’t forget that the market hours have shifted to 9 am to 2 pm during these winter months, which will give you a few extra minutes to sleep off the leftovers from your Thanksgiving meal.