Monday, December 12, 2011

Local Holiday Dish Alternatives

Season's Greetings!

I hope all of you are having a peaceful December leading up to one of our biggest eating holidays. This past weekend I hosted my annual Fall Feast for my wonderful Charlotte friends and wanted to share some recipes that I made or have made in the past that can be great, local-sourced substitutes for your traditional holiday fare.

Of course, many places in North Carolina sell locally raised, organic turkeys. I took a different tack and got a rare large-cut pork shoulder from Windy Hill that easily fed 15 people. I used a large roasting pan and first sauteed the meat with only a minimal amount of olive oil on all sides till brown. I then emptied about 3 Uncle Scott's Root Beers into the pan, covered with tin foil, and cooked at 300 degrees for about 5 hours. The pork came out tender and juicy and was very easy to slice and serve! 

Side items:
I have reported many times on my famous Butternut Squash Soup which I made again on Saturday. This is one of the simplest soups out there, is full of great vitamins and is totally vegan and gluten free. Some other sides that my friends brought were maple syrup butter-cooked sweet potatoes and skillet corn bread, both of which can be made local with the right ingredients. Broccoli and cauliflower have been prominent at the markets recently too; the Lomax Farm and Houston Farms  sell them from week to week. One fun way to make these gems is to steam them just a little so they're not raw then sautee in minced garlic and olive oil, both you can get locally at Atherton Market.

I also tried some great new goat cheeses from Cheval Farmstead who just began attending the Saturday Atherton Market. She has several flavors of which I purchased salmon blend and an herb medley. Both were delicious on Duke's sea salt rosemary bread.

I have written about local pumpkin pie but here's a recipe for sweet potato pie. Sweet potatoes are all over the markets and will be through January so this a fun substitute for your standard holiday pies.

Sweet Potato Pie (v, LPO)
1 1/3 cup sweet potatoes - steamed till flaky with forked and food processed for 30 seconds
4 eggs
1 cup dairy - any combination of heavy cream, milky, condensed milk or half and half
1/2 teaspoon of each of the following: nutmeg, cinnamon, ground cloves and salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 9 inch pie crust
  1. Whisk the eggs, sugar and melted butter
  2. Fold in the sweet potatoes
  3. Mix in the dairy and seasonings
  4. Turn mixture into the crust. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes then lower the temperature to 325 and bake until crust is golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.
My local dishes as well as those made by my friends. Quite a spread!

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