Another year has passed on the farm.
Our first grape harvest came in.
We got Stanley, the cutest dog ever,
and sent Casper off to college.
Celia got a job.
All in all, a pretty good year.
In the circle of life, or perhaps it is a roller coaster (?).
I’ve deep-fried the turkey, made a tofu turkey, blue cornmeal stuffing, and proudly served cactus salad at my holiday table. Been there, done that, and now I have returned to tradition.
During he holiday season, tradition binds us with the past and anchors us in the future.
And so the thankful bunch, who yoga, and pilates, who run and who hike, would join the farm in tradition.
I love turkeys, they really are the most spectacular birds.
regal. stately, gorgeous and funny.
but once a year, I’m so sorry spectacular bird, gobble gobble gobble….
Brining turkey, is totally out, because who can deal with the large wat of brine, and a large turkey? brining is so early millennium.
now we pre salt. pre pepper. pre herb.
then we roast our turkey under a veggie blanket, keeping it moist, and preventing the breast from drying out before the legs are cooked through.
3 days in advance, rinse and dry the turkey thoroughly. Season well, inside and out, with salt and pepper. if you wish, squeeze some herb sprigs under the skin.
finely chop some , carrots, onions and celery, oh let’s say 2 cups of veggies or so. lightly saute said vegetable chop in 1 stick of butter for a few minutes, or until slightly translucent.
season with salt and pepper and let cool.
Blot the turkey with paper towels, to ensure it is nice and dry. Lightly spray with olive oil spray, lay a cheese cloth over the breast and place the 2 cups of cooked vegetables directly on top of the breast. This will prevent the breast from cooking too fast. You can apply the cooled veggie blanket up to two days in advance.
In the meanwhile, we will not have to flip our turkey, or cut off the legs cause they aren’t done when the breast is done. Our veggie blanket will do the work for us.
Place your veggie covered turkey in a 450 degree oven for 45 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 until your turkey is done. I don’t know what size turkey you got going on, but you need to remove the veggie blanket, at least 1 hour before the turkey is done, to allow it to brown all over. After removing the veggie blanket, go ahead, baste it, if you are so inclined.
turkey left overs not for you?
then skip the mega bird and just go for the breast.
1 whole turkey breast, butterflied
fresh bread crumbs made from 2 slices stale country bread
1 tablespoon butter and olive oil
2 gloves garlic
1 cup parsley
Season the butterflied turkey breast with salt and pepper. go head, squeeze a little lemon on it to. Melt the butter and olive oil in a skillet and cook the garlic and leek until translucent, stir in the breadcrumbs and season with s+p. Place on top of the butterflied turkey breast, and roll the baby up. Tie. Brown in butter, and into the oven for 30 – 45 minutes or until cooked through. Cool slightly, and slice thick or thin.
I usually do a 60% (sweet potatoes) to 40% (regular russet potatoes? mix, but you can do all sweet potatoes.
The main idea with this dish is
A) add some CHILI, cause we want some HEAT!!
B) blanket your mash in maple syrup and pomegranate.
what is better than that?
6 Sweet potatoes, baked until soft
4 Russet potatoes, cooked until soft, drained, and dried stove top for a few minutes.
MASHED POTATO 101:
you must always dry your potatoes before mashing.
Water in your potatoes, will make your mash taste like trash!
Rice the dried and cooked, russet potatoes and put into a mixing bowl and whip with some butter (let’s say 1 stick of butter per 4 potatoes) and cream (hmm 1/2 cup cream per said 4 potatoes) and season with salt and pepper until yummy. Now if you were gonna make standard mashed potatoes, fold in some roasted garlic and you are good to go. Otherwise, now add your sweet potatoes, some chili (shiracha, tabasco, or smoky habonera sauce) maybe 1 teaspoon, and 3 tablespoons or so of maple syrup. This is totally a make ahead dish.
Goodness gracious maple pomegranate garnish
Make your garnish: in a small bowl add 1/2 cup maple syrup with 1 cup pomegranate seeds and 1/4 cup of chopped parsley. When ready to serve, heat your sweet potatoes and pour your goodness gracious garnish on top.
Cause cranberries are so Christmas. And that’s what we will make in the December classes.
For thanksgiving, however I would still serve cranberries, my favorite is the “raw” cranberry sauce, which is just: toss 1/2 bag of fresh cranberries, with 1/2 meyer lemon chopped (peel and all) and 1/2 juicy orange chopped (peel and all), with 1/2 cup (or more) sugar, whirl in a processor until finely combined. Let sit for at least 1 hour. Can be made up to 7 days in advance.
pomegranate Salsa, is great with grilled chicken or fish.
1 cup of pomegranate seeds
1 small jalapeno chili, or to taste
1/2 shallot finely chopped
something green, cilantro, parsley, chives
squeeze something citrus, lemon or lime
small squeeze of pomegranate molasses (if you got some lying around), optional
dash of good sea salt and pepper
Mix together, join together, be together, be thankful. Think spicy. Think sweet.
Never really had persimmon until we came to the farm. The farm was more of a weed field than a farm, but it did have a few things going for it.
3 large persimmon trees.
1 mega magic lemon tree,
2 serious apricot trees
and about 10,000 lizards.
And so baskets of baskets of fuyu persimmon would ripen each year. I had no idea what to do with them. Eat them like apples, I read online. I am sorry, and I beg to differ, persimmon is no apple.
It does however work beautifully in a salad.
Persimmon sliced thin
bunch of arugula
1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds
handful of caramelized walnuts (recipe available in the recipe link)
Sweet dressing (available in the recipe link)
some good ricotta (ricotta recipe available in recipe link), but yeah yeah, you could do goat cheese, or mozzarella or whatever cheese you fancy
Arugula on the plate, scatter your persimmon around, lay your cheese about, drizzle with dressing and garnish with walnuts and pomegranate seeds.
Because with our spicy maple sweet potatoes, we need a second starch.
Because those textures are the same, so there will not be mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes. If you are thinking of doing that, here is the farm VETO, on said menu.
Choose one of the other, but really, mashed potatoes are so January, so the choices to serve along sweet potatoes are: roasted baby potatoes, couscous, wild rice, or other grain.
While we are on the subject of forbidden foods, let’s talk marshmallows.
There will not be any marshmallow on your sweet potatoes. The only way you will be serving marshmallows in any way or form, during Thanksgiving, is if you made them yourself, which yes, that’s sort of cool, in which case you have my permission. But If you didn’t whip that gelatin, in the corn syrup until it turned into a white fluffy pillow, then the answer is NO. No marshmallows for you. I don’t care if the kids like it.
The holidays are here, so I like to work with the red and green color scheme, really super sorry about those that have the blue and the white as their holiday colors, I don’t really know how to incorporate those colors in my couscous. Summer we did, sweet corn in our saffron couscous, but now we are all about, green beans (could be asparagus) and red bell peppers (could be tomatoes) and crazy for nuts (any), so you choose. I love feta cheese in my couscous too, but only if there is no cheese in the salad.
Couscous, cooked according to package directions either in water or stock
Handful of finely diced green beans
some chopped roasted red pepper
roasted sliced almonds
bit of cooked wild rice (optional)
squeeze of lemon (because….?)
s +p + p (which would be parsley)
1 clove of garlic, grated
Stir me all together. Taste for seasoning. Ok, maybe add splash of balsamic. Pretty. You may stuff me in a mini pumpkin. If you wish.
You may roast me, which would be my first choice.
Roast in in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes in a little oil, garlic, s+p+p, until browned and yummy. splash of balsamic to finish.
2nd choice, if oven space, or time is limited.
Slice me super thin. Quick saute in grated garlic, s+p+p + splash of something acidic, such as lemon, or balsamic. You know, one could toss in some dried cranberries, or pine nuts. But that of course would be soooo christmas.
we are going to be stuffed (as in very full and unable to move).
that’s a given, and i guess that’s why we are thankful, cause if we were hungry come thanksgiving then, hmmm, maybe not so much to be thankful for?
we are going to be stuffed.
no. we will not stuff the turkey.
why call it stuffing then?
because we are gonna put good stuff in it.
I’m going to make two stuffings, cause more is more, when it comes to holiday cooking. you do whatever you want, as long as you don’t stuff your turkey.
Raw turkey and the juices the bird releases during the cooking process, should not drip over your stuffing because the temperature of the stuffing inside the bird will never reach high enough a temperature, to kill any lurking bacteria, and really is best to keep the family safe from food borne illnesses which are really no fun at all.
If you dig that “mad men” look of old school tradition with the turkey coming stuffed the table, then if you must, you may stuff the turkey after it AND the stuffing has been fully cooked separately.
But please, after the meal, remove the stuffing from the gravity of the turkey and chill it separately, again because the temperature inside the stuffed turkey will not be cool enough to prevent bacteria growth.
CORN BREAD STUFFING
Cornbread – go ahead, make yours from scratch. I’m gonna buy mine. if you want to make yours from scratch, make it ahead of time, and throw into the freezer. nothing but craziness is accomplished by doing too much stuff on the same day.
More corn, fresh or frozen
bacon, sliced thin, cooked crispy
apples, chopped, and lightly cooked
bell pepper, optional, chopped and lightly cooked
dried cranberries (I know. it’s not christmas yet)
turkey stock, a splash of
Mix the good stuff ingredients together, breaking up the cornbread into small pieces. Splash with some turkey stock or drippings, season with some s+p, put into a baking dish, and bake until nice and hot and slightly crispy on top. Say what?? How much? It really doesn’t matter.
there is no such thing as too much bacon, too much corn, so you make a sweet amount of those, and let’s say no more than 1 small onion per 6 cornbread muffins. How does that sound?
you could, if you want to, stir in some arugula after its been baked.
just buy a bag of the croton kind of things you see at the market, labeled stuffing mix,
but get it plain, as in unseasoned. maybe you use 3 cups of it.
2 really good chicken sausages, uncooked, casing removed
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
bunch of parsley, splash of stock
Cook your chicken sausage (removed from the casing) in a few tablespoons of oil, until nice and brown, then cook the onion and bell peppers too. Toss this goodness yumminess into your non seasoned over the counter bread stuffing mix. Season with salt and pepper, toss in a bunch of parsley, splash it with some stock, and bake it for 40 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
what about the gravy?
do you need it?
do you want it?
i am not a huge gravy fan, but i usually make it anyway.
Whatever turkey bits and pieces you got that you don’t need.
maybe not the liver.
or the heart,
I’m talking bones and meat.
onion, carrot, celery, garlic,
4 cups turkey stock,
finishing touches: good mushrooms, creme fraiche (or sour cream or heavy cream) pink pepper corns and chives.
I know you love this very detailed recipe.
Brown your turkey bits of bones and meat well. Brown some carrots, onion and garlic too. Cover with *stock and reduce until 1 cup remains. Strain away the veggies. Over high heat, cook some good mushrooms in a little oil or butter until nicely browned. If you must, sprinkle some flour on top of the mushrooms then pour the stock on top. I usually skip the flour, cause i like my gravy THIN, but here I am gonna let you make your own decisions. Then after the stock has been poured in, whisk in some creme fraiche, the pink pepper corns and the chopped chives. Taste, season, ask yourself: does it need a splash of lemon or balsamic?
* stock? on top of stock? yes, give it the double stock, for extra quick flavor.
you can make both stocks, go ahead, im not gonna stop you. Yes, you can stir in drippings too. I am going to make my gravy a few days in advance, and if I remember, sure i will stir in the drippings, but if it’s getting kind of crazy in the last minutes before serving, i know my very thin gravy still taste “sweet” (as in delish), cause i made it when i wasn’t rushing around.
any hard cookie, such as graham cracker or ginger snap
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted or not
Throw me into the cuisnart. Start with the cracker, butter last, then Blend and whirl, and press me into a tart pie, and bake 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
1 can of pumpkin puree
1.5 pack cream cheese
0.5 cup of sugar
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup of flour
dulce the leche, purchase or make your own (google how) or caramel sauce
Whirl me all together, and pour over pre baked crust. As with any cheese cake, it is usually recommended to place in a water bath, I tend to skip this step.
Generally speaking, the gentler you cook your cheese cake, the less unsightly cracking you will be. So I am going to start my cake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, then I am going to go down to 275 for ten minutes, and then I am going to turn off the oven and leave the cake in until it is set when i giggle it. Then let it sit at room temp, and the chill over night.
Slice, drizzle with dulce de leche and garnish with pomegranate seeds.
PS: if you are in a hurry, then just bake that baby at 350 until done, throw in the freezer until cool, slice, garnish and serve.