Monday, October 12, 2009

Thankful for all that's around

I'm not a gardener. If a plant comes up on its own and survives, I'm thrilled. Beyond that, nothing stands much of a chance.

Still, I'm grateful that we have a few remaining clingers-on in what passes for the garden here, especially as I decided to celebrate our thankfulness by staying away from the shops and making do with what we had on hand.

There was one Cornish hen waiting in the freezer for just such an occasion as Thanksgiving, so she became tonight's main dish.

On the weekend we did a fair bit of foraging and came up with some windfall apples and Asian pears. Today I combined a few of those apples with some straggler berries still hanging on to the blackberry bushes out back. There were even two last-gasp raspberries out by the fence. Because they too went into the mix, I think I can get away with calling the resulting dish a fruit compote, one that serves as a nice substitute for the traditional cranberry sauce.

Since we found so many mushrooms yesterday, the stuffing for the little bird was abundant with chanterelles and corals. A red rice casserole baked in the oven at the same time as the bird. It too was full of mushrooms, mainly big chunks of chanterelles.

One stunted squash worked well as first veg; a panful of sauteed lobster mushrooms did an admirable job of backup.

The salad was a bigger challenge, as there were only a few little tomatoes left on the vines outside. I added some onion, a bit of parsley from the garden and sliced up the last of the lettuce (the bits we didn't use in our sandwiches yesterday). The butt of a chunk of blue cheese played a role in making the salad both filling and festive. A few walnuts from the pantry were the holiday topper.

Although I felt less successful with the drink I tried to make from rose hips (we pruned a gigantic bush like crazy today) and the very last quince, the combo turned out to be more than just scent for the kitchen. A drizzle of it over top of the Cornish hen added exactly the right smoky flavour, as well as a bit of colour.

Even the bouquet on the table was part of the day's found bounty. A good day to give thanks.

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