I LOVE shopping at farmers markets. There is just something about knowing where your goods came from, meeting the person behind them and filling your kitchen with sustainably sourced products you KNOW are helping to support a small maker. I always spend way too much time and money at markets, and come home so happy.
That being said, I’m often guilty of skipping the local farm stand and heading straight to my grocery store. There’s nothing wrong with that (really!) but this fall I made a pledge to myself to shop a little smarter, cook to the season and eat as locally-sourced as possible. And what better way to be inspired than by a Thanksgiving meal?
So, while visiting my family homestead in Texas (check out Instagram for all the cute barn animal pictures 😍 ) I decided to try to make an entire Thanksgiving-ish meal using only farmers-market inspired ingredients. My meal wouldn’t feed an army, but it made for a very happy family of four and opened my eyes to the year-round goodies the earth has to offer.
With the exception of very few ingredients (Roma tomatoes aren’t in season okay – I’M SORRY), everything in this meal was either purchased from the Coppell Farmers Market or grabbed off our very own homestead. I’ll share our recipes and link vendors below – comment or shoot us a message if you incorporate a dish into your holiday celebrations!
This was the first thing that came to my mind when I decided to do a farmers market-based meal. The end of summer means the last real chance for summer squash and zucchini, and we’re also coming up on the end of eggplant season. Plus, when I saw the amazing basil plants from Elliott Grows at the market, there was no turning back.
- 1 eggplants
- 5 roma tomatoes
- 2 yellow squashes
- 2 zucchinis
- Fresh basil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 28 oz. crushed or stewed tomatoes
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoons Dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon Dried thyme
- Garlic, minced
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- Slice the eggplant, tomatoes, squash and zucchini into rounds. Slice them as thick as you’d like – I liked about 1/4 to 1/2 inch.
- Heat olive oil in an oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. I used a 12-inch. Sauté the onion, a tablespoon of minced garlic, and bell peppers until soft. Season with salt and pepper, then add the tomatoes. If you used a stewed like I did, I’d recommend draining off about half the liquid first. Stir. Remove from heat, then add chopped basil, about 8 leaves. Stir again, then smooth until an even layer in the pan.
- Arrange the eggplant, tomatoes, squash and zucchini into a pattern around the edge of the pan, moving inward until the pan is full.
- In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of olive oil, 8 leaves of chopped fresh basil, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, 1 tablespoon of dried parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Brush over the arranged veggies.
- Bake covered in foil at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover, top with mozzarella and bake for another 15 minutes.
This was the first time I ever experimented with mixing both sweet and Yukon potatoes in one mash and I cannot recommend that enough. So good! I love southern sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving – brown sugar, marshmallows, pecans and all – but this is a great compromise for hte more boring potato eaters in my life. Of which, sadly, there are many.
- Equal parts sweet and Yukon potatoes. I used about 1 1/2 pounds each
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- Splash of heavy cream
- Garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper
- Peel and dice potatoes into 1-inch chunks.
- Put Yukon potatoes in a large pot, cover with about 3 inches of water and add a tablespoon or two of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then add the sweet potatoes after 5 minutes. Boil 15 minutes more, until potatoes are tender. Drain and save 1/2 cup of the potato water. Return the potatoes to the pot.
- Pour back the 1/2 cup water to the potatoes, 1 clove of minced garlic, milk, butter and cream. Salt and pepper to taste. Mash together until they’re as thick as you want them, and top with chives.
Macaroni & Cheese
This creation came 100% from the brain of my fiance, Kyle. He loves to cook – and rarely uses a recipe – and I did my best to be a scribe as he made this dish. Our cheeses came from the farmers market, but any cheeses will do. Kyle recommends two hard cheese and one soft cheese of your choice, and I have to say the homemade pasta made all the difference. Enjoy!
- 7 tablespoons butter
- Garlic, minced
- 2/3 cup flour
- 6 cups milk
- Tabasco sauce
- 1 pound cubed cheddar cheese
- 1/3 pound cubed hard cheese of your choice (we used Chihuahua-style)
- 1/3 pound shredded soft cheese of your choice (we used Bierveza)
- 1 pound pasta of your choice (we used bow tie)
- Optional: 1/2 pound bacon
- Optional: 2 slices of bread
- Melt 6 tablespoons butter and saute 2 cloves minced garlic until fragrant. Over medium head, add flour slowly while stirring until a paste forms. Continue stirring until slightly browned. Add milk slowly and whisk, incorporating entirely each time milk is added. Add black pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste.
- Slowly add cheese to the sauce over medium heat, stirring to melt and combine.
- Boil salted water for pasta. Cook until almost al dente. Drain and add to sauce.
- For bacon topping: Cook bacon until crisp and roughly chop.
- For breadcrumb topping: Toast and dice bread. Over medium low heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 clove of minced garlic until fragrant. Add breadcrumbs and toast over heat until lightly browned.
- Transfer pasta and desired toppings to casserole dish and heat at 350 degrees until warmed through – about 10 minutes.
Honey Roasted Duck
This was by far our most ambitious dish – for more reasons than one. This lovely duck, who weighed in at 3.5 pounds when cleaned, was raised right here on our homestead. He free-ranged and was grain fed his entire life, and he was slaughtered and cleaned humanely on the farm two days before we made this meal. My mom, the matriarch of the farm, has been a vegetarian for 10 years and started our homestead with the idea of raising everything with respect, only growing or raising what we would use and being as sustainable as possible.
This was only the second animal ever slaughtered on the property, and the first we cooked ourselves. We have no plans to start raising animals for meat, but we have ducks on the property solely to provide eggs which, of course, our little boys cannot do. Farm life isn’t always blooming flowers and happy-go-lucky living, but we’re thankful for every bounty it gives us. (And – to be fair – it is mostly blooming flowers and happy-go-lucky living.)
Since we had NO experience cooking anything like this, I wasn’t about to go off script. I followed a recipe from House of Nash Eats to a T – and it was truly amazing. I’ll paste it below but you can also find the original post – which includes a ton of helpful tips – by clicking here.
- 1 duck, fully defrosted if using frozen
- 1 onion
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Completely defrost the duck if using frozen duck, then remove giblets and neck. Rinse well, inside and out, with cold water and pat completely dry using paper towels. Let the duck sit out on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour – letting it come up in temperature a bit.
- Use a sharp knife to score the skin on the duck’s breast in a diamond pattern, trying to cut only the skin without reaching the breast meat below. (I found kitchen scissors worked really well for this!) If there are other fatty areas, like where the duck legs connect to the body, give those a poke or slash as well.
- Stuff the cavity of the duck with the garlic cloves, a quartered onion, and a couple sprigs of rosemary.
- Fold the loose skin on both ends of the duck to hold everything inside and tie the duck legs with butcher’s twine.
- In a small bowl, combine the salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper, then rub over all over the duck. (I ended up doubling the amount of this spice rub.)
- Place the duck with the scored breast side up on a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet or on the rack of a large roasting pan.
- Roast the duck at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then decrease the oven temp to 350 degrees and roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes. At the 60 minute mark, brush half of the honey over the duck, then cook for 10 minutes before brushing the duck with the remaining honey.
- If the juices are still running pink, let it roast another 15 minutes before pulling it out of the oven and tenting with foil for 15 minutes to let the juices redistribute before carving. The duck will be done with the juice running from the thigh after poking it are just barely a rosy pink color.
Bacon Old Fashioned
This is a household favorite drink of Kyle and my stepdad, Estil. To be honest, I had no idea what this was until they showed up with them for our “Thanksgiving feast,” and I just knew I had to include them. Estil calls it “The Ron Swanson.”
- 3 shots of bourbon whiskey
- 3 bourbon cherries
- 1/4 shot bourbon barrel-aged old fashioned mix from Bittermilk
- 1/4 shot maple syrup
- 3 shots bourbon whiskey
- 3 bourbon cherries
- a dash of aromatic bitters
- 1/2 shot maple syrup
Combine ingredients and pour over ice. Add slice of crispy bacon if desired.