Thanksgiving Dinner: Foods of the Americas with recipe links

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All of us at Nichols Garden Nursery wish you a happy Thanksgiving. Among several of our favorite recipes for Thanksgiving dinner are those which include foods specific to the Western Hemisphere prior to Columbus. Hope you’ll find useful recipes and menu ideas.   Also if you are looking for recipes for yacon we have developed several to offer. This plant of the Andes, our best selling plant, produces heavy yields of crunchy sweet tubers. They make a great low calorie snack, peeled, sliced, and sprinkled with a few drops of lime juice and a touch of salt.

Every Thanksgiving I set myself a little challenge of preparing foods of the Western Hemisphere for this quintessential US holiday. What I’ve learned is only a few of the foods we associate with this celebration actually originated in the US, cranberries, pecans, sunflowers and of course turkeys. Corn, squash, potatoes, chocolate, etc. all made their way north from Central and South American. But then we’ve always been a mixed lot so why not our foodstuffs.

Here in Oregon it feels like winter. It’s wet and windy. Stay cozy.

Here are recipe links featuring foods of the Americas. All of these are on the Gardeners Pantry.

Thanksgiving Recipe- Gluten Free Corn Sticks

Thanksgiving – Zesty Chocolate Pecan Pie

Thankgiving Baked Squash

Yacon Pineapple Slaw

Thanksgiving – Tomato Aspic

Achoca with Sweet Red Peppers

Thanksgiving-Cornbread and Sunflower Seed Stuffing

Easy “Mole” Sauce for Turkey

All America Thanksgiving Menu 2006

Easy “Mole” Sauce

A turkey cooked in Mole Sauce is a delicious option for Thanksgiving dinner. This is the recipe Nichols Garden Nursery uses with Mole/Poblano Pepper seed. It is a simple traditional mole sauce. The Mole Pepper is a typical elongated  semi-spicy Pasilla type pepper. As they mature the color changes from green to chocolate brown. Seed starters should think about getting peppers into a starting mix the month of March and keep the sown seeds warm until germinated. As soon as you see sprouts remove from bottom heat.

Moles often include chocolate and a mixture of peppers, spices, broth and are delicious with poultry or pork, serve over rice or fold into burritos. Try this recipe and don’t be afraid to add a few other peppers to smooth out the heat or jack it up to your standards. You can make large batches to freeze.pepper-holy-mole

“Easy Mole” Mole

3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

2 cups Chopped Onions

8 Red/Brown ripe Mole Peppers,

deseeded & chopped

2 cloves garlic peeled & chopped

1/4 cup raisins, chopped

4 tsp Chili powder, hot or mild

3/4 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Ground cloves

2 cups Chicken or Turkey Broth

1 16 oz. can Diced Tomatoes or 2 large chopped, peeled tomatoes

1 oz. dark unsweetened chocolate

2 Tbsp. Peanut Butter

1 Corn tortilla, lightly toasted and shredded

Heat oil in a large skillet, add onion, garlic, pepers and raisins. Saute’ until onions are slightly transparent. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer 20 minutes. Puree sauce in food processor or blender until smooth. For chicken, turkey or pork mole, add precooked meat to sauce. Serve with rice.

This sauce without added meat freezes beautifully and it’s worthwhile to have several pints stocked away. One year we made a fantastic roast turkey basted with mole, defatted and cut into joints and bathed with more mole.A fantastic holiday meal!

Wild Turkeys On the Move-Happy Thanksgiving 2007

The last few years I’ve noticed a flock of wild Wild Turkeys On the Move-Happy Thanksgiving 2007turkeys clustered on Albany, Oregon street corners like wayward youth. I half expect to see cigarettes dangling from their beaks. Local news recently filmed wild turkeys in Eugene, OR, perching on roofs, digging in gardens, and lending a touch of wildlife. In general they are seen strutting their stuff and of course are safe and well fed in city limits. The neighborhood was split between those who would like to be rid of them and those concerned they might not be getting enough to eat.
The topic of wild turkeys came up in two garden talks this last year and I learned a bit from my audience. Gardeners don’t seem to like these turkeys in their garden. They eat most of what grows and leave a mess behind. Furthermore, I now know wild turkeys are not native to Oregon but are a transplanted subspecies from the Rio Grande valley that has adapted well or another subspecies, the Merriam’s turkey, native to the Ponderosa forests of New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona.
As with most non-native game introductions this is done to facilitate hunting. Here’s a quote from the Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife. “Wild turkeys provide significant recreational opportunity and economic benefit to Oregon residents. During the spring 2003 season, 14,152 hunters pursued wild turkeys in Oregon.” If you want to read more please go here.
A very happy Thanksgiving to you from all us at Nichols Garden Nursery. There is much to celebrate including the bounty of our gardens. Our table will be graced with a well stuffed turkey along with other foods of the Americas. Much the same menu as I posted in 2006, although we’ll add green beans this year, and skip the potatoes.

Des Moines Garden 11/23/06 – Chickens Give Thanks

After my front yard garden was literally cleaned out (see post “Divide and Conquer 10/8/06”), I sowed Tyfon seeds, which Rose Marie had sent me, as a winter cover crop. I confess that I did not keep up with the watering, and we were in a drought. Some seeds sprouted and the first set (cotyledon) of leaves lightly peppered the bare ground.

Although it got quite chilly in November, the weather warmed on Thanksgiving Day—it was sunny and in the mid 60s. Ton and David (who live two houses south of me, and own Chocolaterie Stam—the best chocolate this side of Amsterdam) had been working non-stop at the local store as well opening a new franchise in Ames, IA. Their six chickens had not free ranged for well over a month (Truth be told, a few times when I was feeding them, they got loose and I had to corral them back into their coop, but they had no grazing time), so David let them out to get some exercise and find some goodies, which indeed they did. The chickens made tracks to my front yard, where they had their own very trendy Thanksgiving feast—micro greens (the young tyfon). They had a great time, and I couldn’t begrudge them their holiday meal as I get to enjoy their fresh eggs every day.

As my Thanksgiving guests arrived, they were greeted by this sight—well-fed chickens having a group dust bath.

In case you want to know who’s who, from left to right: Marjolein (an Auracana), Princess Buttercup (the White Frizzle rooster who had been named by the daughter of the family who gave him—fully grown—to Ton & David. It’s very hard to tell the sex of 2-day old chicks and the name stuck), Shaniqua (a Black Australope, partially hidden by Princess Butterrcup and the two Rhode Island Reds—Ruby and Jezebel), and rounding out the group are Cordelia and Ophelia (Silver Wyandots).

Chickens enjoy a dust bath

Yacon Pineapple Slaw

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This recipe we’ve made since first growing yacon and we keep returning to it. An easy fresh and unusual winter salad it’s a novel addition to the Thanksgiving table.

1 medium fresh pineapple
1 pound fresh yacon, 1-2 tubers
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup sweet red pepper, rings or diced

Peel and slice the pineapple into eight sections making longitudinal cuts. Remove the core and slice the pineapple pieces into ½” thick wedges. To peel yacon, a standard potato peeler does a good job and doesn’t cut too deeply into the tuber. You can trim with a knife. Rinse when peeled. Yacon peel is bitter so peeling is always recommended. A food processor with a medium shredding disk produces larger shreds if you press down firmly on the feed tube. Immediately add lime juice to shredded yacon to prevent discoloration and then combine with pineapple and peppers. The tiny pepper rings in this photo are from Nichols new Baby Belle Sweet Pepper. A few shredded leaves of fresh spearmint is a good variation. If you choose to use canned pineapple chunks select two 16 oz. cans that are lightly sweetened with juice drained.
Note: a Mandoline produces a perfect julienne but watch your fingers, the blades are sharp and no one wants to see blood in the salad. I usually peel the yacon, cut into large chunks, and press firmly down as it goes through shredder on my food processor.

Happy Thanksgiving

thanksgiving-dinner4in.jpg

All of us at Nichols Garden Nursery wish you a happy Thanksgiving. Among several of our favorite recipes for Thanksgiving dinner are those which include foods specific to the Western Hemisphere prior to Columbus. Hope you’ll find useful recipes and menu ideas.   Also if you are looking for recipes for yacon we have developed several to offer. This plant of the Andes, our best selling plant, produces heavy yields of crunchy sweet tubers. They make a great low calorie snack, peeled, sliced, and sprinkled with a few drops of lime juice and a touch of salt.

Every Thanksgiving I set myself a little challenge of preparing foods of the Western Hemisphere for this quintessential US holiday. What I’ve learned is only a few of the foods we associate with this celebration actually originated in the US, cranberries, pecans, sunflowers and of course turkeys. Corn, squash, potatoes, chocolate, etc. all made their way north from Central and South American. But then we’ve always been a mixed lot so why not our foodstuffs.

Here in Oregon it feels like winter. It’s wet and windy. Stay cozy.

Thanksgiving-Cornbread and Sunflower Seed Stuffing

Our traditional stuffing. For Thanksgiving we use cornbread, the grain of America. Stuffing needs to be tasted and seasoned as you prepare, a reason to not use raw eggs. Hold back on the salt as the natural juices of the bird and sausage add sodium. This recipe makes 4-5 quarts of stuffing. The rule of thumb is ¾ cup of stuffing per pound of turkey. A 15-pound turkey holds 11-12 cups. Bake extra stuffing separately adding broth.
Sunflowers are native to North America and have been cultivated for thousands of years. Used for snacks and cooking, the seeds are one of our best sources of Vitamin E.

Ingredients:
2 lb. cornbread, semi-dried and crumbled for stuffing (three boxes of prepared Jiffy Cornbread is a possibility )*
1 lb. bulk lean turkey sausage or diced smoked turkey sausage
3 tablespoons butter
2-3 large onions, peeled and diced (1.5 lbs.)
1.5 lbs chopped celery, use the outer green stalks from two heads)
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, 2 teaspoons fresh
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dried rosemary or 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon butter(in addition to above)
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup dried cranberries
½ teaspoon salt if needed

To prepare cornbread, use your favorite recipe or cornbread mix and cook according to directions. If you can find a cornbread stuffing mix that is not overly seasoned use it.* When cool crumble onto a two large cooking sheets and place in a 200-degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and stir well and let cool. In an extra large skillet begin slowly cooking sausage, stirring occasionally and breaking into small pieces. While sausage cooks chop onions, celery and mushrooms. If celery leaves are in good condition include them. Melt butter in skillet with sausage and add chopped vegetables. Over medium heat sauté until onions are translucent and add seasonings. In a small skillet melt butter and add sunflower seeds, stir them about until lightly toasted. Combine all the ingredients in your largest mixing bowl, including cranberries. This makes a fairly dry stuffing if you prefer one that is moist add broth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stuffing can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Remove from refrigerator an hour before using as extremely cold stuffing will slow the cooking time of your turkey. It is recommended that turkey thigh temperature be 180 degrees and interior of the stuffing be 165 degrees for turkey to be considered done.
I find *Mrs. Cubbison’s seasoned cornbread is lightly and pleasantly seasoned. Three boxed provide the amount needed for this recipe. Since it is very dry you will need to add broth, if you can only find highly salted broth use white wine or apple cider.