I get a message early Monday morning (Thanksgiving Week) asking for help at the store. Two of the six regular staff will not be in and 200 turkeys plus are ordered. Four relief staff quickly respond and the work continues. I get the easy job, working the front of the store, taking calls, waiting on customers and organizing. The professionals tackle the turkey processing line.
The work continues, ice baths, trimming, weighing, vacuum packing and tagging. One of the most tedious parts of the process was matching a specific turkey and weight to the customer who ordered. Think about it, finding a 16.27 pound turkey in a cold cooler with a couple hundred turkeys can't be easy, yet making a game of it made it fun.
Less than 24 hours after the turkeys walked cage free they were delivered to customers to place in their home refrigerators ready for the Thursday meal.
Here's my Thanksgiving platter-full of local foods:
Turkey from Working H marinated in a brine made with Martinsburg Apples,
Cornbread Stuffing made with Hawthorne Valley Blue Cornmeal, Working H Italian Sausage, Stewart's Farm Celery, Evans Knob Farm Fennel and Mountain Harvest Onions,
Maple Roasted Carrots featuring the crisp roots from Mountain Harvest and Charm Farm Maple Syrup,
Mashed Potato Casserole with Potatoes from Harmony Farms and Firefly Farms Cheese.
Our appetizer platter contained Broccoli and Purple Cauliflower from DeBerry Farms.
My friend Becky made delicious homemade rolls and Black Cherry Jello. The black cherry dish was Luke's Grandmothers' recipe that "cleaned the palate" and was a delicious alternative to cranberry sauce.
The potato recipe was inspired by Food and Wine Magazine, a make-ahead recipe assembled, then baked prior to the meal.
Mashed Potato Casserole
Combine potatoes and water to cover by 2 inch in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook 12 minutes. Drain and transfer to a mixing bowl.
2 pound potatoes, peeled and cut in inch pieces
Add buttery spread and mix. Fold in cheese and spices.
1 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk, warmed in microwave
1 tablespoon celery leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon sage
4 ounce Gruyere Cheese, shredded
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
Spread into baking dish greased with olive oil spray.
Mix crumbs and cheese.
3 tablespoon breadcrumbs
3 tablespoon Parmigiana Cheese
Sprinkle over potatoes.
Bake at 400 F. until internal temperature reaches 150 F.