Christmas is almost here! One great way to celebrate is to use local food for your holiday meals. Making recipes using local food both will support your community and mean you have the tastiest meals you can make.
With delicious local ingredients, you can make recipes using local food that let their flavor shine through. Though local food in winter may be harder to find, making that extra effort can be a fun part of your holiday traditions.
The Baltimore Foodshed has put together a list of recipes using local food as the star of your meals. Since so many recipes rely on imported foods, you may need to substitute some ingredients to make the meals more local.
Whether you look for what is available right now at the winter farmers markets, or have a bunch of food put up, you too can offer feasts made with recipes using local food for your family and friends this year!
Appetizer Recipes Using Local Food
The best appetizers are simple to make, and ready to go ahead of time. That way you have time to cook your meal and enjoy your guests. So many appetizers rely on processed ingredients or are difficult to make.
Try these options instead. They may look simple but you can easily upgrade them with fancier ingredients and local food options.
A simple block of cream cheese or goat cheese, covered with a fancy homemade jam can be a treat on crackers or homemade bread. This Raspberry Cream Cheese Dip could be made with any homemade jam you have, whether sweet or spicy. Add some local soft cheese and you have a gourmet appetizer with very little work. Add some nuts like this Goat Cheese and Apricot Jam recipe and you have a winner.
Grape Jelly Meatballs, a popular and easy appetizer to make, can be improved with local ingredients. Switch the jam with a homemade or locally made one. Make your meatballs with local meats, eggs, and breadcrumbs. You could even make your own ketchup for one of the ingredients!
A fresh vegetable platter is always welcome for a light, healthy option. During the winter, there aren’t as many fresh options available. You may find greenhouse grown cucumbers and tomatoes, and you can cut up some carrots. A smarter option would be to make a roasted vegetable platter instead of fresh. Try the Roasted Veggie Crudite Platter or Roasted Vegetable Platter as inspiration. Use the winter vegetables you have to make it amazing.
Deviled Eggs are easy to make ahead and can feature local eggs. There are many different recipes to try, and are very popular.
Growing up, we loved eating sausage cheese balls, made with sausage and bisquick and cheese. Try making this version with local flour, local sausage, and local cheese. They are easy to make ahead of time and so welcome out of the oven!
Making your own No Knead Pizza Dough is dead simple, and can be used to make amazing appetizers. Use it to make Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Flatbread, Grilled Mediterranean Vegetable Flatbread, or Roasted Vegetable Flatbread. Or use those recipes to design your own options!
Main Dish Recipes Using Local Food
When you buy your meat from a local farm, you know you are getting quality meat that will taste great with minimal seasoning. It is easy to have your local meat be the star. If you aren’t used to cooking local meat, you might want to start with some of the following recipes.
If you are keeping your celebration small, a roasted local chicken might be exactly what you want for your family. This Herbed Chicken with Beets and Brussels is great for using both local chicken and local vegetables. Try making this Herbed Roasted Chicken with local chicken or turkey and pairing with local side dishes.
For vegetarians, it’s easy to find great local main dishes. This Thanksgiving Cabbage Recipe sounds both delicious and beautiful. Try making a Winter Squash and Spinach Lasagna with local squash and spinach. You could also make Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with local wheat, local sprouts, and local nuts!
Side Dish Recipes Using Local Food
Winter squashes and pumpkins should be available all winter, whether you store them yourself or buy them locally. They make great soups and side dishes. Try Butternut Squash Soup, Butternut Squash and Apple Puree, or Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Soup.
Finally, roasted root vegetables are delicious, healthy, and can use local ingredients that you can find easily. You can make Roasted Butternut Squash with Cider Vinaigrette, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, or Roasted Winter Vegetables. A few other ideas include Roasted Butternut Squash, Roasted Honey Sweet Potatoes, and Roasted Sweet Potato Pear and Onion Recipe. If you have a root vegetable, there is a recipe out there to try!
Dessert Recipes Using Local Food
Desserts made with local fruits and vegetables mean complex flavors to enjoy with your family and friends. Chocolate is good, but the tart and sweet notes of an apple pie is so much better! Look for recipes for pears, apples, pumpkins, as well as local honey and jams.
Local or homemade jams can offer a gourmet touch to your desserts. This Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Rhubarb Strawberry Jelly could easily be adapted to make any custard with a homemade jam.
These Thumbprint Cookies are made for jam and could be endlessly customizable.
Drink Recipes Using Local Food
Your feast wouldn’t be complete without a special drink to share. It is easy to buy local beer and wine, and you should when you can. You may want something a bit fancier for the holidays.
Try some Jam Cocktails. The possibilities are endless if you have fancy jams on hand. Experiment to see what tastes best. Try pairing fancy jams with sparkling water for a non-alcoholic treat!
Local cider is easy to find in the fall, and delicious to drink fresh. When it is cold and dreary outside, try making some Hot Mulled Cider to share.
Eating local is a delicious way to make your holidays a bit brighter. Even if you can’t manage to make it all local, you will certainly enjoy the extra flavor you will get from what you do buy locally.