Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Feast! (part 1)

In planning this year’s Thanksgiving dinner, Katrina and I discovered that her family was excited to try some of the wild foods that we are always raving about. We decided to orchestrate a feast at their home in Seattle that featured some of our favorite edibles. The culinary choir included venison and salmon, acorns and wild rice, and wild greens and huckleberries.

Crackers and Cheese
Local Brie with Cranberry sauce

Stinging Nettles
Wild Stinging Nettles* (Urtica dioica) blanched

Steamed Beets
Locally grown beets steamed to perfection

Chef Salad
Organic vegetables tossed together with a light dressing

Main Course
Broiled Sockeye Salmon
Wild Copper River Sockeye Salmon seasoned with South African pepper jelly

Venison Tenderloin Steak
Locally hunted wild Sitka Black-tail Deer*

Wild Rice Pilaf
Wisconsin Wild Rice* (Zizania palustris) with Seaweed* (Alaria nana), American Hazelnuts* (Corylus americana) and homemade sea salt*

A-corn bread
Vancouver Island Garry Oak (Quercus garryana) acorns*, wheat flour, olive oil, and eggs sweetened with Wisconsin Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) syrup, seasoned with Katrina’s homemade sea salt*

Crabapple Meringue
Like your favorite Lemon meringue but with juice from Wild Vancouver Island Crabapples* (Malus fusca)

Wild Berry Pie
Local hand harvested Evergreen Huckleberries* (Vaccinium ovatum) and Red Huckleberries* (V. parvifolium), mixed with a few Saskatoons (Amelanchier alnifolia) from Eastern Washington

*Items that we harvested from the wild

Preparing such an extensive menu was actually much easier than it might seem. We started with the desserts, since I prefer to let pie cool before serving. The Stinging Nettles were already blanched and frozen, so they only had to be thawed and steamed. The pilaf only required 20 minutes to boil and the acorn bread needed only 25 minutes to bake. Perhaps the most time consuming foods in a typical Thanksgiving are the stuffing and turkey. Our Salmon and Venison substitutions were both delicious and expedient. The salmon cooked in less than half an hour and our thinly sliced venison steaks cooked in less than a minute on each side!

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