Is it Thanksgiving yet? How about now??

Picture this: You’re a kid again. The unexpected is scary, and you await the expected with baited breath. The more you plan that future trip or visit or birthday party, the more exciting it becomes.

That’s a little how I’ve felt as my family members planned out Thanksgiving menu. We have agreed on a wholesome meal, I think, with all sorts of stuff we can buy at the farmers market. (Wee! The farmers market!)

I thought I would share a little of that fun with the blogosphere. Here is what we plan to cook and eat.

For your added enjoyment, this menu is laced with a link scavenger hunt and even a recipe built in. All that’s left is the anticipation.

Snacking before the meal

Smoky black bean dip
Walnuts and raisins

First course

Squash soup

Salad with nuts, seeds, and all manner of veggie goodness Continue reading

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Super Bowl snacks go all the way to the farmers market

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Potato wedges. Photo: Creative Commons/fotoosvanrobin

Though neither Super Bowl contender hails from the East Coast area that you likely inhabit, dear reader, your game day spread can still come from local sources. Why not? Local food supports the economy of your home town (or adopted city), and offers healthier options. And with year-round farmers markets in full swing, it’s easy to find ingredients for locally-sourced snacks.

To add local tang to your table, compliment tortilla chips with salsas from Toigo Orchards (just be sure to warn guests that the medium-hot chipotle is addictive). Or make a veggie platter with kohlrabi, radishes, carrots, and raw turnips from area farms. For a refined Super Bowl soiree, spread Firefly Farms goat cheese on slices of Atwater’s sourdough.

As for recipes, guacamole is out. This year, everyone from Melissa Clark of the New York Times to Bobby Flay in Parade is sharing their perfect version of bleu cheese dip. Why not try it for yourself, and make yours local? Whether it’s for vegetables, chips, or wings, Keswick Creamery’s Blue Suede Moo and Firefly Farms’ Mountain Top Bleu are at your service. The recipe below pairs a bleu cheese dip with hearty wedges of potato. That fall crop still arrives fresh at farmers markets through the winter, thanks to farmers’ root cellars. (Recipe after the jump). Continue reading

Disastrously Delicious: Food Writers Get Together and Shake Things Up

The following is cross-posted from The Jew & the Carrot

Ratatouille

A group of Jewish food lovers, a spread of delectable dishes, and milkshakes made of laughter. If it were possible for one afternoon to be too good, this is where it would start.

A group of Jew & the Carrot writers, editors, and friends faced the risk—overflowing goodness and all—this past Sunday. Of course, it all started with the food. I arrived at host Avigail’s Clinton Hill, Brooklyn apartment to find hand-layered ratatouille swirling from the center of a clay baking dish, crusty homemade beer bread, a cake topped with the purple velvet of baked plums, aromatic rosemary bread, peach-basil salad, and made-from-scratch yogurt. That alone nearly tipped the scales to the side of the too good. Did I mention that we washed this down with homemade sparkling ginger-grapefruit juice? Spiked with gin? Continue reading

Smokey Black Bean Dip

black bean dip ingredients

One party-goer thought it was bacon that made it so tasty. I sensed a smoked salmon flavor. Others just said it was good. So it seems the Smokey Black Bean Dip (incidentally, completely vegan) was a hit.

I was surprised because, out of a mixture of laziness and arrogance, I hadn’t looked up a recipe before I started making this dish. I rarely look up recipes. Sometimes (okay, often), I don’t like the improvised result, and the dish requires so many tastings, minutes of deliberation, and adjustments, that I could have pored over a dozen tried-and-true recipes by the time I get it up to par.

Luckily, in the case of this dip, everything worked out. The dish didn’t even require much tasting! I admit I did peek at The Joy of Cooking, though, and added the lemon juice because of a black bean and salsa dip I saw.

Give it a try, and see if you can sense the bacon/lox flavor. It’s worth it just to experience that odd pairing of nuances. Continue reading

The asparagoi are here!

Asparagus with sea salt

Asparagus is in season, which means it’s fresh, readily available, and reasonably priced. This also means you don’t need to do much to these emerald and amethyst spears from the lily family to make them taste good. For a recent bunch I bought, I cooked them as simply as one possibly can, and they were quite yummy.  I share that method with you now… But I will not share with you the proper plural of asparagus.* Instead, I will make it up.**

Roasted Asparagoi

One bunch asparagus spears

Olive oil

A few pinches sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper, herbs, and fresh lemon, optional

Break off the woody ends of the asparagus spears. To do this, just snap off the part at the bottom that’s wider and lighter colored. The stalk should naturally break at the point where that undesirable part meets the succulent yummy part.  (If the asparagus is uniformly green all the way to the bottom, this whole snapping process may have been done for you). Continue reading