Thanksgiving Family Camp is one of Camp Stevens’s most beloved traditions. An epic Thursday-Sunday weekend, there’s a giant meal (of course), a football game, day-long hikes, and a slew of other fall activities.
Since the staff works all weekend, last year we started our own tradition: Sometime the week before actual Thanksgiving, we celebrate our own, giving us a chance to celebrate, eat, and enjoy the company of our little (okay, not so little: This year we had 25.) family here at Camp Stevens. And celebrate (eat), eat, and enjoy (eat) we did.
Both Ben and John shot and prepared wild turkey, and the rest of us (except our chefs who certainly earned the respite) contributed side dishes and desserts, some from our families, some from the internet, and some just improvised.
Here are a few recipes shared among our “family”:
Cranberry-Orange Relish (Contributed by Vicki, a family recipe)
- 12 oz cranberries
- 1 c. sugar
- 6 Tablespoons orange juice
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
- 1.5 teaspoons grated orange peel
- 6 tablespoons blanched silvered almonds—toasted
Combine all ingredients except almonds in saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until done—cranberries pop in about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off foam. Stir in almonds. Serve chilled. Serves 12.
Pineapple Goo (Contributed by Kathy, a recipe from her Great Grandmother)
- 9 slices of dry bread torn into small pieces
- 2- 20 oz. cans of crushed pineapple
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 cup melted butter
Mix everything together and spread in a baking pan. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
Balsamic Brussel Sprouts (Contributed by Coreen)
Lightly steam the brussel sprouts until they have begun to soften. Cut the sprouts in half, and then saute with olive oil and freshly chopped garlic until the sprouts are crisp and slightly browned. (Be careful not to overcook!) Finish by drizzling with a hint of balsamic vinegar.
Wild Mushroom Soup (Contributed by Delaney)
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 3/4 cup dry sherry
- 4 tbs unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms, brushed clean and sliced (crimini or baby portobello)
- 6 cups white stock or chicken stock
- 2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche
Rinse the dried mushrooms well under running water and soak in sherry for 1 hour. Drain, reserving sherry. Rinse mushrooms – feel through and get rid of any hard pieces – to remove any remaining sand. Pass the sherry through a fine strainer and reserve. Leave mushrooms whole or coarsely chop, as desired. Melt butter in an 8-quart soup pot. Add flour, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add onions, fresh mushrooms and porcini. Add stock and reserved sherry and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Lower heat, cover partially, and simmer 1 hour or until the wild mushrooms are tender. Immersion blend soup to desired consistency. Add creme fraiche, and season to taste. Serves 8.
Sweet Potato Delight (Contributed by Jeff)
- 3 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1/3 cup butter
Mix all ingredients together, except topping, and pour into a buttered casserole dish. Mix topping ingredients together and sprinkle over casserole.
Bread Stuffing (Contributed by Ashley, a family recipe, long ago adapted from Betty Crocker)
- 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup butter
- 7 cups soft bread cubes
- 3 cups finely chopped apples (with skin is fine)
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cook and stir onion and celery in butter until onion is tender. Stir in half of the bread cubes. Turn bread, onion and celery mixture into a deep bowl, add remaining ingredients, and toss well. Bake in a 13×9 inch pan, covered, for 45 minutes. Serves 8.
After eating all of the above, and about 15 other sides, it might be time for some exercise. Might we suggest an arm-wrestling tournament?