Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
It’s the time of year where we celebrate nature’s bountiful harvest by gathering with family and friends. Whether you are looking for some new last-minute recipes to serve your guests this year during the holiday season or some ideas for how to revamp your holiday meal leftovers, here are a few delectable ideas from some locals downtown.
All Things Virginia is a quaint shop located on Water Street, overflowing with a vast assortment of products made in Virginia. Vicki Ruckman, the owner of All Things Virginia, was happy to point the way to some of her favorite recipes featured in the store. In between the cans of roasted peanuts, baking mixes, candy, cheeses, country ham, syrups, and pottery are delicious recipes from some of the product makers.
One recipe that caught my eye was an apricot and almond baked brie provided by Barbarah Robertson from Dragonfly Arts and Pottery. Barbarah makes brie plates, which she sells at All Things Virginia along with the following recipe:
Apricot and Almond Baked Brie
One 8-oz round of brie
One sheet of puff pastry
A large spoonful of apricot jam
A handful of almonds
Preheat oven to 350F. Place defrosted puff pastry onto lightly floured parchment paper and roll out with a rolling pin until it is slightly larger than its original size. Place brie, with rind, on top of the pastry in the middle. Spread a large spoonful of jam on top of the brie and sprinkle with almonds. Wrap the puff pastry over the brie like a present. Brush with melted butter and place in a lightly buttered brie plate. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with crackers.
All Things Virginia also has baking mixes for everything from hushpuppies and biscuits to cornbread and cobbler, all from local Virginia businesses. So if you don’t have the time to whip up some biscuits from scratch, run down to All Things Virginia and grab a mix or two.
While you’re there, stop by Wine on Water and grab a bottle of wine or two that will pair nicely with your meal.
Katrina Hudy, the manager of Wine on Water, offered some suggestions for good general wines that will work well with various dishes:
• Barrel-Aged Viognier 2010, Cave Ridge Vineyard (pairs very well with turkey and squash)
• Syrah 2010, Cave Ridge Vineyard (pairs well with heavily herbed dishes, such as stuffing)
• Rambling Rose (dry), Cave Ridge Vineyard (a safe pairing for a variety of dishes and flavors)
All the wines above are dry, so they pair well with food.
For those who have a sweeter palate, here are some white and sweeter red alternatives:
• Riesling 2011, Cave Ridge Vineyard
• Mount Jackson Rouge, Cave Ridge Vineyard
After dinner, your guests can enjoy a Mulled Wine made with Chambourcin 2009 from Cave Ridge Vineyard:
Mulled Wine Recipe
1 bottle Cave Ridge Chambourcin
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups water
4 cinnamon sticks
1 whole nutmeg
Mix spices, water, and sugar in a pot. Boil for 5 minutes on the stove. Let mixture sit for 10 minutes. Add wine. Reheat mixture on stove or in a crockpot until steaming. Do not boil. Serve hot. Add orange slice for garnish. (Serves 4)
All of these wines, along with many other local wine favorites, can be found at Wine on Water.
The Harrisonburg Farmers Market is another great place to get inspiration for recipes, with fresh seasonal ingredients at your fingertips. The Farmers Market blog featured a recipe for Roast Butternut Squash Bisque by chef and enthusiastic Market shopper Raj Zvuvhol that we share with you here today. Raj comments on the recipe, “This bisque celebrates the flavors of the Valley in the fall. The slow cooking of onions and garlic in local butter brings out their sweetness. The apple cider, cinnamon, and herbs epitomize the aroma of autumn months.”
Roast Butternut Squash Bisque
1 butternut squash
1 tablespoon butter
1 large red onion
1-2 cloves garlic
1 3″ cinnamon stick
Salt & pepper
3 cups milk
1-2 cups apple cider
To garnish, fresh thyme or sage
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap the squash loosely in aluminum foil and bake for about an hour. Allow to cool and remove the seeds and peel. Chop into large chunks. This step can be done a few days ahead of time but keep the squash in the fridge.
Melt butter on medium heat in a large pot. Add the cinnamon stick, chopped onion, and chopped garlic to the butter. Add salt and pepper. Stir well, cover, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook for about 10 minutes.
Stir again and add the roasted squash. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking and burning. Add the milk, stir well, and allow to simmer a further 5 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick. Using a handheld immersion blender, blend the bisque until smooth, slowly adding and incorporating the apple cider. Allow to simmer another 10 minutes on low heat. Stir very well and serve topped with chopped fresh herbs or with croutons and goat cheese.
I had the opportunity to stop by the Farmers Market last Tuesday for some further inspiration and met Elaine Nolt from Woods Edge Farm in Singers Glen, Virginia. She proudly passed on what she believes to be the best pumpkin pie recipe.
Says Elaine, “This recipe is from my great aunt Anna Zimmerman who lived in southern Missouri that she shared with me when we visited. I know there are lots of pie recipes out there, but my family and I think this is the best.”
2 1/4 cups pumpkin [Elaine uses butternut squash or pie pumpkins]
2 heaping tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cup milk [scalded]
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten [sometimes Aunt Anna would beat the eggs whole and sometimes separate the yolks, adding them to the batter, putting the whites into a separate bowl, beating them and folding to the batter last, though either way works just fine.]
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix and pour into prepared crust. Sprinkle top with coconut and/or chopped pecans if desired. Bake at 350-375 degrees until set or until knife inserted near center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
I might just have to try this pie recipe this Thanksgiving!
Pumpkin pie is a must when it comes to Thanksgiving. But if you would like another dessert option, here’s one to try: Shawn Richard from New Leaf Pastry Kitchen shared with me one of his personal favorites, Streusel Jam Squares.
Says Shawn, “This recipe is a big favorite of mine ever since I picked it up while working at a small catering company in Washington, D.C. I’ve prepared it at every place I’ve worked since then, from luxury hotels to country inns to small pastry shops. It’s a simple recipe, made with a few ingredients, and is quite versatile. The recipe can be personalized by using different nuts, jams, or spices or by replacing half of the sugar with brown sugar or ¼ of the flour with whole wheat flour.”
Streusel Jam Squares
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup nuts (sliced almonds, pecans, or walnuts)
1 cup sugar
8 oz butter
2 egg yolks
½ tablespoon vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract
zest of half a lemon
Raspberry or apricot jam
Roast the nuts on a cookie tray at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or until light brown and fragrant. Allow to cool and then grind in a food processor until fine or chop finely with a knife. With a warm knife, cut the butter into pea-sized cubes and place them in the fridge to chill firm. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour and any spices and stir well to blend. In a small bowl, combine the yolks, extracts, and zest and blend together. Add the cold butter to the flour mixture and toss together. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour mixture and toss to coat the butter as you rub the butter into smaller pieces.
When the butter pieces are small and the flour mixture is moist, pour the yolk mixture over the whole streusel mixture and toss to incorporate. The streusel mixture should be crumbly. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with pan release and line with a strip of parchment. Sprinkle 2/3 of the streusel evenly over the pan and press gently. Spoon jam over the dough and spread evenly. Sprinkle the remaining streusel over the jam and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 -30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool and then slice into bars.
I’m looking forward to trying these recipes this holiday season and hope you will too. Thanks again to all of the businesses and chefs who were willing to share. In appreciation for all these wonderful recipes, let’s all make an effort to support these local businesses this holiday season,
Now go put those turkeys (or tofurkeys) in the oven!
Eliza Seibert is a writing intern at Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and a senior Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communications major at James Madison University.