Friday, November 11, 2011

A visit to the Mount Clemens Farmers Market is sure to spark your holiday spirit

AP Photos/Matthew Mead
With all of the warm weather we've had, last night's dusting of snow caught many of us (especially those in shorts) off guard. Can you believe Thanksgiving is only a couple of weeks away? If you're looking to create a dinner using supplies fresh from the garden, the Mount Clemens Farmer's Market is open today and tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and then one more week before winter. 

Macomb County famers will not only be selling fresh fruits and vegetables including butternut squash, apples, cider, mushrooms, eggs, cauliflower, broccoli, and potatoes but also honey, pasta, baked goods and autumn plants and fall floral arrangements, to adorn your Thanksgiving Day table.

Not sure how to store the fruits and vegetables so they keep longer than a week? The farmers at the market can offer some great tips.
When you go dress for the weather as it is an open air market. Part of Michigan’s charm is its weather and the Mount Clemens Farmers Market will be open rain or shine until Nov. 19.
For more information visit Mount Clemens Farmers Market or email mcfarmersmarket@gmail.com

In case you're looking for inspiration J.M. Hirsch, Associated Press Food Editor offers this recipe for squash and cranberries, which often end up alone at the Thanksgiving table.

The trouble with cranberries at the Thanksgiving table is that they so often end up alone.
These wonderfully tart and sweet berries generally are relegated to a sauce. If they are luckily, they might merit inclusion in a tart. But that's about it.
But there are plenty of other ways to work them into the meal. Not that you want a cranberry overload, but this year perhaps skip the sauce and find another way of giving the cranberries a presence at the table.
The stuffing - or dressing, depending on where you grew up - is a no-brainer. Fresh, frozen or dried cranberries are delicious mixed into savory stuffing. Consider cutting back the liquid in the stuffing just a bit, as fresh and frozen cranberries will contribute their juice during cooking.
A handful of cranberries (don't go crazy) can be added to the bottom of the turkey roasting pan, where their juices will blend with those of the bird and vegetables. The resulting gravy will be wonderful. I've even heard of people rubbing cranberry sauce under the skin of the turkey before roasting.
I like to use dried cranberries in a side of roasted vegetables. In this incredibly simple recipe, I roast carrots and butternut squash, then toss them with slivered almonds and dried cranberries. The result is nutty, crunchy, roasted, sweet and savory, wonderful mouthful.
Of course, as with all of my recipes, flexibility rules so feel free to substitute whichever winter squash or root vegetables you prefer for the butternut and carrots I call for. Likewise, my seasoning choices are tasty, but use whatever flavors you favor.
Also, this recipe is forgiving on cooking time and temperature. Roast the vegetables at whatever temperature you have the oven set for your turkey. If it varies much from the 375 F called for below, just keep an eye on it. The vegetables should be nicely browned, lightly crisp and tender at the center.

Start to finish: 1 hour (20 minutes active)
Servings: 8
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1/3 cup almond slivers
1/2 cup dried cranberries (sweetened is fine)
Zest of 1 lemon
Heat the oven to 350 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
On the baking sheet, combine the squash and carrots. Drizzle the oil over the vegetables, then use your hands to mix until evenly coated. Sprinkle the thyme, garlic powder and cumin over the squash and carrots, then mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender inside and lightly browned and crisp outside. Add the almonds and cranberries, toss well, then transfer to a serving bowl. Top with lemon zest, then taste and adjust seasoning.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 210 calories; 90 calories from fat (38 percent of total calories); 9 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 32 g carbohydrate; 3 g protein; 7 g fiber; 320 mg sodium.

Traditions are the guideposts driven deep in our subconscious minds. The most powerful ones are those we can't even describe, aren't even aware of -- Ellen Goodman.

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