Slow Food Thanksgiving Salad
David and I attended the Slow Food 25-mile Thanksgiving Dinner celebration again this year joining a larger group of like-minded individuals who enjoy the process of preparing and celebrating food through community. It was years ago that I became intrigued with the “Slow Food” movement. A non-profit member supported association, it was started in Italy in 1989 to counter the rise of fast food and fast life which resulted in the disappearance of local food traditions separating people from the taste and healthful benefits of good food and good community. New Hampshire has it own chapters and the seacoast group puts on this event; they roast the locally grown turkeys and we were each challenged to bring a dish that was prepared from local ingredients all within a 25 mile range of where we live. That was easy living in Canterbury; however this year I embellished a bit with my flavoring.
Since we were attending the event 58 miles from home and after a day of seeing clients, I did all my prep ahead of time. This ahead-of-time technique is great for any busy person or any celebratory meal that has lots of parts to it. I was inspired by the colors of copper and claret so here is my recipe for Roasted Vegetable Citrus Salad with Blue Cheese Buttermilk Cider Dressing.
Prepare and store each vegetable separately then assemble at the last-minute:
- Rinse then peel, then rinse again 1 1/2 lbs. of red beets. I got my beets here in town at Brookford Farm.
- Cut then into like-sized chunks. Put into a roasting pan then toss with a small drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper then roast at 375º for about 30 minutes – stirring once – until a knife inserts easily. Cool and refrigerate until ready to assemble the salad.
- Wash and lightly peel 1 1/2 lbs. of carrots. Cut into like-sized rounds for even cooking and put into a cooking pot with 1 cup of orange juice (1/4 cup concentrate + 3/4 cup water) and simmer with the lid off for 5 – 6 minutes until they are slightly tender. If you can find any of the variety that has the burgundy exterior – Purple Haze, Maroon, etc – add a few in with your orange and yellow selection to enhance this copper & claret color scheme. I purchased my carrots at the Canterbury Farmers Market.
- Remove your carrots from the remaining liquid with a slotted spoon then add 1/4 cup orange juice concentrate and boil the mixture over medium heat until the liquid has reduced, is deep colored and coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the grated zest of one orange then toss the carrots into the syrup, lightly salt them and turn out onto a plate to cool.
- Cut up several apples of your choice into like-sized pieces then toss them in a mixture of the juice of one lemon and 2T. of orange juice concentrate; drain and refrigerate. This keeps them from turning brown and enhances the citrus flavor of the salad. I used Golden Gem apples because I like their copper/russet color and they taste like a cross between pears and apples. I purchased mine at Apple Hill Orchard in east Concord.
- Blue Cheese Buttermilk Cider Dressing:
- With a fork, smash and crumble 6oz. of any blue cheese. I used Brookford Farms raw milk blue cheese.
- Stir in 1/2 cup cultured buttermilk [note: “cultured” is the real deal buttermilk ONLY available through local farm sources or natural food stores. What is sold in the supermarket is not really buttermilk at all. A true cultured buttermilk adds a thickness and nutritional value for your gut and tastes incredible.] I got mine at Brookford Farms.
- Also stir in 1/4 cup apple cider, 1 tsp walnut oil, 3 or so grinds of black pepper and 1/4 tsp salt. My cider came from Apple Hill Orchard in east Concord.
- Use an immersion blender if desired to smooth out the mixture. Chill.
Assembling the salad; Create a bed a of rinsed and chopped kale then layer the beets, carrots and apples in any method you find pleasing. Sprinkle chopped walnuts and a few pomegranate seeds on top to add color and crunch. I scooped out the insides of two apples and used them to hold the dressing. Enjoy! Please feel free to share this recipe. All publication rights of any kind are reserved, however.