Locally Grown Holiday Feast

Andrew Grace

Andrew Grace, a lecturer in the University of Alabama department of telecommunication and film and director of Documenting Justice, is a locavore, one who eats foods grown or raised locally. He, his wife and some friends attempted for one year to eat only foods grown or raised in Alabama and documented those efforts by producing a film titled "Eating Alabama."

He shares a few recipes perfect for the holidays using foods grown locally.

Grace shares a few recipes perfect for the holidays using foods grown locally. His recommended sources for Alabama-grown meat include farms such as Bates Turkey in Fort Deposit, Goose Pond Farm in Hartselle, Boutwell Farms, which makes deliveries to Birmingham and Harvest Fresh Meat in Harvest. Specific product names in recipes are also Grace’s suggestions, but other brands from Alabama also may be available.

Sweet Potato Fries

  • 2-4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges or slender sticks
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste

Dress sweet potato sticks with olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Make sure they are sufficiently coated. Add salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Spread evenly on baking sheet, and bake for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees, checking occasionally to make sure they are not burning on edges. It helps to mix them up a bit during cooking.

Christmas Salad

  • Fresh spinach, arugula and carrot top greens
  • Carrots
  • Watermelon or regular radishes
  • Pecans
  • Goat cheese (Try Belle Chevre)
  • Red wine vinaigrette

Combine all ingredients, and toss together. Enjoy with friends and family, and make note of how the salad matches all the Christmas decorations.

Alabama Apple Pie

Crust

  • 2 cups unbleached white flour from Oak View Granary
  • 1/2 cup butter from Wright Dairy whole milk (if substituting, that’s two sticks)
  • 6 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 egg from Bryson Farm in McCalla

Filling

  • 6-8 golden delicious apples from Steele Orchard, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup Hewett's Honey or Reeder's Honey purchased from Red Rain
  • Nutmeg and cinnamon to taste (not from Alabama, but tasty additions)

Making the crust:
Butter a 9-inch pie dish. Put flour and butter in a mixing bowl, and mash with a fork until all the butter is chopped to little pieces and mixed in well with the flour. Add in the water. Roll this out on a floured surface with a rolling pin until to your desired thickness. Cut out a circular piece of dough that's bigger by 1 inch than your pie tin/dish, and transfer the dough gently by spatula to the buttered dish.

Making the filling:
Put sliced apples, molasses, honey and spices in a mixing bowl, and stir it around. Voilà! Pour this into the crust, top with strips of leftover dough, and brush with beaten egg.

Bake on 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes. Once the crust is golden brown, it's done.

Fried pie variation
Make the dough and the filling as above. Bake the filling for 30 minutes to cook the apples. Take 5-6 inch circles of dough, add in some filling, and fold over and crimp. Fry them in canola oil or butter, or even better: local Alabama peanut oil.

Find more Alabama-grown recipes at Grace’s blog, Eating Alabama.

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Andrew Grace
Andrew Grace