One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is to make at least one dish with homegrown food from our garden. Near the end of summer, I planted purple Brussels sprouts in the hopes that they would be ready for Thanksgiving, but I got the seedlings into the ground a bit late and the sprouts are still teensy tiny. Oh well! We luckily have lots of greens and herbs to harvest for the meal.
I planted in arugula in late August and it is now the perfect size for a fresh salad. The leaves are about the size of my palm, very tender and peppery without being overpowering.
I am thinking about using the arugula as a base for a salad that is studded with candied hazelnuts, blue cheese and chunks of heirloom apple. But my mom doesn’t love blue cheese, and since she and my dad are our guests this year, I am also considering making a super simple salad of just arugula, shaved parmesan, toasted walnuts and a lemon vinaigrette.
Incredibly the ‘Rainbow Lacinato’ kale that I planted in March is still going strong eight months later. This is a seriously amazing variety. It just keeps growing and growing and growing! The tall stalks recently tipped over, but were nearly five feet tall before they fell. Jon is a vegetarian, so I always like to make a special main dish for him to enjoy along with all of the vegetable based side dishes. Rather than serve stir fried or braised kale, which we eat on a weekly basis, I am going to make a savory tart stuffed with with roasted vegetables, narrow ribbons of kale, and gruyere cheese.
It may have been a bad year for tomatoes, but it was a great summer for onions. We harvested tons of ‘Walla Walla Sweey’ onions in late summer and I set aside the biggest ones to use for Thanksgiving. They will find their way into our cornbread dressing, the tart mentioned above, and I’m sure other dishes as well.
In my Seattle garden I had a huge ‘Berggarten’ sage plant. I was very sorry to leave it when we moved because it was so beautiful and produced an endless supply of leaves that are perfect for cooking with. I planted a new ‘Berggarten’ sage in my Portland garden, but it is seriously unhappy in the spot I chose. The chickens dug it up on more than one occasion this summer and the soil doesn’t drain well. Even though the plant is pouting, there are still enough leaves to make Mark Bittman’s prosciutto wrapped sweet potatoes!
I am so excited to cook for Thanksgiving and share the meal with my parents and our good friends. I’m putting the finishing touches on the menu this week and am curious what will be on your table next week that comes from your garden?