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Friday Night Happy Story: Thanksgiving!

by: Jill Richardson

Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 20:31:35 PM PST

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MY happy story this week is a new effort by two groups I strongly support: Eat Well Guide and Consumers Union's Thanksgiving Eat Local Challenge! Participating is easy: Find one local food and include it in your Thanksgiving dinner.

So that everyone can participate, Eat Well Guide and Consumers Union are giving out a number of tools to help. Starting with, of course, Eat Well Guide itself. It's a website I rely on as a Google (and Google Maps) of food. Put in your zip code, and it returns where you can buy local, organic food. Or, use their travel tool: enter where you are and where you're going, and they will tell you where to eat along the way.

Then, anyone who participates is encouraged to share their recipes and stories. I've already entered in my recipe for baked delicata squash, which I first made when I received a delicata squash from my CSA a few years ago.

Celebrity chefs have kicked off the recipe-sharing by sharing a few of their own. Alice Waters shared a chard gratin recipe. Scroll down on the page to see recipes from Dan Barber (brussel sprouts) and Mario Batali (butternut squash). Below, I've included a pumpkin soup recipe from my friend Destin, director of Eat Well Guide.

Jill Richardson :: Friday Night Happy Story: Thanksgiving!

This recipe uses some of my favorite vegetables and spices, and I recommend serving the soup with steamed kale (or other greens from the farmers market) and rice or hearty bread on the side. Pumpkin soup is a delight to make and your house will be filled with a wonderful aroma! You should not shy away from this recipe if you haven't cooked with pumpkin before, or if you don't have all of the ingredients or spices. Feel free to adjust the recipe to what you have on hand.

1 - 2 Pounds Fresh Sugar Pumpkin, seed and skin removed, diced (you may substitute 100% canned organic pumpkin if necessary)
1 Pound Farmer's Market Butternut or Acorn Squash, peeled and diced (optional)
4 Tablespoons of Chopped Fresh Ginger (to taste)
4-5 Tablespoons of Diced Fresh Garlic (to taste)
1 Sweet Yellow Onion, sliced thin
1 Red Onion, diced for garnish
Bunch Celery, diced
Bunch Leeks, diced
1 Can Coconut Milk
Spices (to your taste, just use what you have) Ginger, Garlic, Cumin, Coriander, Clove,Cumin, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Tumeric, Garam Masala, Crushed Red Pepper, Chili Pepper, Black Pepper, Sea Salt
2 Tablespoons of Toasted Sesame Oil
Touch of Sweetner (Maple Syrup/Brown Sugar)
Vegetable/Chicken Broth (optional)
Splash of Vinegar (Apple Cider Vinegar or another)

To start, pick up a pumpkin from your local farmer's market (and a small squash if you'd like to blend), along with some celery, leeks, and onions. Cut up and layer all these organic vegetables with the diced garlic and ginger, spices. Mix in plenty of olive oil and salt, and roast at 350 degrees until everything is soft (about 45 minutes). Transfer half of the roasted vegetables, in batches if necessary, to a blender or food processor and add can of coconut milk and spice (I added extra cinnamon and chili pepper). Or use an immersion blender directly in the pot. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan on stove and mix in the remaining roasted vegetables and coconut milk, along with a splash of vinegar and toasted sesame oil. Adjust seasonings to taste. With the soup on low heat, you might want to add a touch of salt and sweetener (maple syrup/brown sugar), and mix. If the soup is a little too spicy or thick add vegetable broth or organic chicken broth.

Serve warm in individual bowls and garnish with chopped red onion, chopped peanuts, and parsley before serving with steamed kale or other greens. I don't measure when I cook so the measurements are a rough approximation, I always think it's best to let your tongue be the judge and measure ingredients according to taste. Enjoy!!

Yes, I used the Eat Well Guide to find a local farmers market. I enjoyed making this soup and will have it for a few days.

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Oh wow... (4.00 / 2)
I am so doing that chard gratin thing this weekend!  (adding chard to market shopping list...)

I liked yours, too - that's the great thing about fresh local chemical-free winter squash...most of the time, all they need is just some heat and a little bit of salt, eh?

If I get a minute and remember to do so, I'll try to send in to that site a potato salad thing I do with local fruit vinegar, potatoes and a couple other things from the Saturday PSU Market.

A non-food Happy Story (4.00 / 3)
Of heroes and saints:

Charilus, dubbed "Ronaldo the Hero" by the Haitian media, saved the lives of several dozen children trapped under the debris while putting his own life in almost constant danger, according to numerous eyewitness reports.

...and don't forget: Cuba and Haiti hard hit in hurricane season

"If a man is as wise as a serpent, he can afford to be as harmless as a dove" Cheyenne

You can say that again! The whole area has been battered (4.00 / 2)
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