Gather the Family for Thanksgiving Dinner

Traditional Turkey Dinner

Whether you’re planning a traditional Thanksgiving feast for 20 people or cooking a Friendsgiving dinner for a few special friends, we have a collection of holiday recipes that is sure to please. You’ll find holiday favorites such as apple and pecan pies (including a recipe for gluten-free pie crust), a helpful reference guide for roasting turkey, stuffing recipes, and lots of recipes for savory side vegetable dishes and condiments. Not enough time to do it all yourself? Many of our farmers and vendors offer a wide selection of unique, exquisite ready-to-go items, if you know where to shop!

Easy Snacks, Appetizers and First Courses
Tired of the old family standby appetizer of chips and dip? Here are a few easy appetizer ideas to consider! Or, make your life easier and pick up a selection of local artisan goat, cow, and sheep cheeses from Nicolau Farms, Schoch Family Farmstead or Garden Variety Cheese for a cheese platter. Marinated olives, fresh persimmon or pomegranate fruit salsas, and many other delectable spreads and gluten-free crackers are available at Pensi Pasta Company. For snacks, you’ll find roasted or flavored nuts at Stackhouse Bros. or Minazzoli Farms. To make your own nut mixes, you’ll find raw pecans, almonds, and walnuts at CE Farms, Rodoni Farm, The Walnut Farm, and Minazzoli Farms.

Turkey — Fresh or Smoked
The best naturally raised, fresh organic turkeys are available at Corralitos Market and Sausage Company! Order early – Dave has fresh turkeys available from 10 – 30 lbs., and his helpful staff will give you cooking guidelines. Dave also offers fully cooked smoked turkeys, available in two sizes (large or small), that can also be shipped anywhere in the US. To place your order, call Corralitos Market at (831) 722.2633. You can also order other smoked specialty products like their famous smoked  and fresh sausages, hams, smoked salmon, spare ribs, and bacon.

Take the guesswork out of cooking the turkey and use our handy turkey roasting guide.

No time to make stock for the gravy? Pick up rich, homemade stock from Old Creek Ranch. On the other hand, if you have time a week or two before the big day, here’s our favorite rich chicken stock to make from scratch. And here’s a tip: buy a few pounds of turkey wings. Place on a baking sheet, baste with some melted butter or olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast at 400 degrees until the skin is crispy, golden brown. Add these parts to chicken stock  — instant “roasted” turkey stock for your dressing or gravy!

Stuffing, Dressing and Breads
You can easily pick up all of the makings for your favorite stuffing or dressing at the market. Start with your favorite bread from Companion Bakeshop or Beckmann’s – francese, ciabatta, and sourdough breads are excellent for stuffing. Get your stock at Old Creek Ranch, if you don’t have any on hand. Mello-Dy Ranch has farm fresh chicken or duck eggs, and you’ll find herbs, nuts, onions and veggies plentiful at the farmers market.

Local journalist, Ann Parker,  contributed her mother’s signature Southern Cornbread Dressing to our recipe collection. Ann said, “I do love this dressing, much more than almost any stuffing I ever had. It’s rich but light, and with a wonderful homemade flavor! My mouth is watering now…”

For those who love traditional bread stuffing, see Traditional Bread Stuffing.

Bread and Rolls
There’s not a more welcoming aroma than the smell of bread baking and what better way to greet your guests?  In our family, it’s a tradition to serve warm, fresh-from-the-oven homemade rolls — even if we have to wait a bit longer for dinner due to lack of oven space! Here’s my favorite tried-and-true dinner roll recipe.

Beckmann’s, Sweet Elena’s Bakery, and Companion Bakery offer a wide selection of fresh baked rolls and bread if you’re not inclined to bake.

Vegetables and Side Dishes
If the standard green bean casserole doesn’t do it for you these days, roasted root vegetables complement roasted turkey very well. Here are a few suggestions from our chefs.

For more side dish ideas, here’s our complete list of sides!

Condiments, Relishes and Gravy
Add pizzazz to the traditional dinner by serving a chutney or relish instead of the ubiquitous cranberry sauce. And, don’t forget the gravy!

Every family seems to have a favorite handed-down, memorable Thanksgiving dessert. For most, pie is the reigning queen of desserts! However, making pies from scratch can be challenging if you’re expecting a house full of guests. You can buy scrumptious pies and tarts with all the homemade goodness from Sweet Elena’s Bakery, Companion Bakeshop and Beckmann’s Old World Bakery. Be sure to stop by their booths at the farmers market and place your order the week before.

If you’re ready to bake pies from scratch, here are a few of our favorites to try! The vegan desserts are big hits with non-vegans, too.

Gather your beloved family and cherished friends around the table, be grateful for the abundance of our local harvest (in spite of the drought!), and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!



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