Baste a Better Bird

 For so many, the turkey is the anchor of traditional holiday meals. You wouldn’t want to entrust such a big job to a bird that’s been treated unkindly and with hormones and antibiotics, would you? Our Meat Department is proud to bring you the finest turkeys this side of the Mississippi. We have two options for turkeys this year and they’re both wonderful. While we aren’t doing special orders for birds, we’ll have plenty of turkeys from both Diestel Turkey Farm based in Sonora, CA and Joy of Country Farms in Pomeroy, WA.

Diestel raises their turkeys with access to the outdoors and sources the highest quality feed, which is milled directly on their ranch. Founded in 1949, they still use the same “family secrets” today to produce the best tasting birds around. Interested in their family secrets? Keep reading!

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Family Secret #1: Walk the flock everyday. They pay close attention to the health of their birds by spending time with them in the fields.
Family Secret #2: Concentrate on the health of the birds. The free-range environment allows the birds to get plenty of exercise and fresh air and eliminates the need to administer antibiotics.
Family Secret #3: Don’t rush things. They give their turkeys time to develop flavor naturally with a wholesome, 100% vegetarian diet.
Family Secret #4: Never compromise on quality. They don’t take shortcuts and their attention to detail reflects their commitment to bringing you the highest quality turkeys.
To learn more about Diestel click here.

In addition to the turkeys from Diestel, we also have birds from Joy of Country Farms, located just 64 miles from the Co-op.Produced by the Schwindt family, the turkeys from Joy of County are raised with incredibly strict criteria, ensuring that their customers enjoy a healthy and sustainable Thanksgiving meal. They raise heritage bronze turkeys, which take longer to mature and are more expensive to raise, but the taste and quality far exceed commercially raised birds. They are delivered fresh to the store, never frozen, and are treated with respect (meaning no debeaking or wing-clipping).

Keep reading for tips on roasting your best bird yet!

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APPY HOUR: Aubrey’s Holiday 4-Cheese Ball

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Aubrey is infamous around our Co-op for two things: her sassy sense of humor and her holiday cheese balls. People travel from miles around (well, staff flock from their respective departments) to dig into these savory treats she makes every holiday season. And now, Beet Box readers, we’re sharing one of the recipes with you!

One of favorites (she makes 4 different kinds!) is the four-cheese version that is salty and savory and the perfect addition to your holiday entertaining. We serve ours with crispy slices of housemade baguettes, but you could use anything your heart desires- gluten-free crackers, pretzels, your fingers?

To make this cheese ball you will need:

2 cups parmesan, shredded – reserve ¼ cup
4 cups swiss cheese, shredded
5 cups white cheddar, shredded
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup shallots minced – reserve half
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon salt – or to taste
a couple drops of your favorite hot sauce
¼ cup parsley – minced and reserve
Small handful of pecans – finely chopped and reserve

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients until well incorporated. Take reserved items and mix. Form your cheese ball(s). Roll through the reserved mixture and serve.

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Cranberry Ginger Sauce

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While cranberry sauce that holds its shape long after you’ve removed it from the can is whimsical, we know you’re craving something better. So kick that cranberry sauce can to the curb and make our kitchen’s Cranberry Ginger Sauce with Orange. It still has the sweetness and bitterness you want from this Thanksgiving staple, but it’s enhanced with spicy ginger and tart oranges. If you’re looking for an even more souped up version, try adding in a bag of frozen raspberries as well. Spread this on some bread for leftover turkey sandwiches and extend those fuzzy holiday feelings long after your nutty family has left town.

To make this sauce you will need:

2 packages of cranberries, frozen or fresh
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
½ cup brown sugar
2 cups water
2 tablespoons orange zest

 In a medium saucepan over medium-high, simmer the ginger in the orange juice until thickened. Add cranberries, brown sugar, water and orange zest and bring to a boil and cranberries begin to pop. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes until thickened. Allow to cool before serving.

Cheddar Green Bean Casserole

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Ahem. Are you listening? PUT THE CANNED GREEN BEANS DOWN. We know they’re easier to deal with than trimming fresh beans, but the taste and crunch of fresh beans really can’t be beat. You might be used to the traditional green bean casserole using canned beans and soup and those delicious, crunchy French fried onions. But we’re here to contribute to a new tradition on your Thanksgiving table: Cheddar Green Bean Casserole. It has… are you ready for this?… FRESH GREEN BEANS, FRESH MUSHROOMS, FRESH SHALLOTS and REAL CABOT SHARP CHEDDAR CHEESE! Ok, we’ll stop yelling now. We’re just so excited about this new and improved Thanksgiving staple.

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Cabot Creamery is a 1,200+ farm family dairy cooperative with members in New England and upstate NY producing all natural, award-winning cheeses, including the “World’s Best Cheddar”, as well as a tasty variety of flavored cheddars. The extra sharp cheddar used to make the sauce for these beans is tangy, creamy and absolutely delicious. If you never made a cheese sauce before, fear not! We’ll walk you through the steps in the directions.

To make this casserole you will need:

Cooking spray
6 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 shallots, minced
8 ounces Cremini or Button mushrooms, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/3 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup half and half
8 ounces Cabot Sharp Cheddar (or any sharp white cheddar), grated (about 2 cups), divided
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1. Preheat oven to 400 ºF. Coat 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Meanwhile, bring several inches of water to boil in large saucepan fitted with steamer. Add green beans and steam until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Carefully remove steamer from saucepan and put beans in an ice bath to stop beans from cooking further.

3. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil and butter. Add shallots and cook until just starting to brown. Add mushrooms, thyme, salt, pepper, and cook. Stir occasionally until mushrooms have released their juices and liquid has evaporated. Add sherry and cook. Stir occasionally until liquid has evaporated.

4. Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture and stir to coat. Cook flour until light brown. Add broth and milk and bring to simmer, stirring often, until sauce is thickened.

5. Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups of cheddar. Add green beans and stir to combine. Transfer to prepared dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar.

6. In small bowl, stir together breadcrumbs, paprika, and onion powder. Sprinkle over casserole.

7. Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown on top. Let cool slightly before serving.

Pumpkin Walnut Bundt Cakes

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These mini Pumpkin Walnut cakes are almost too cute to eat- almost. We typically try to offer recipes to our readers that don’t require a ton of extra equipment that isn’t multi-purpose, but we couldn’t help ourselves with these cakes. You will need a mini bundt cake pan to make these, but we promise, the wow-factor is worth it! If you aren’t able to get your hands on a mini bundt pan and only have a traditional bundt pan, this recipe is no less delicious. And if you’re serving a hungry crowd, you could double the recipe and make one large pumpkin. We’re sure it would look beautiful on a holiday table!

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To make this recipe you will need:
4 eggs
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 cup safflower oil
2 cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine sugar and oil until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Add pumpkin to wet ingredients mixing until combined. Add dry ingredients in small additions, being careful not overmix. Stir in walnuts. Transfer batter to greased bundt pans and bake for 20-25 minutes for mini pans and 45-50 minutes for large cakes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before assembling and icing.

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To make the icing you will need:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons buttermilk (or half and half)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Spread little on the bottom of one one bundt and stack another one right side up on top of it. Drizzle icing over the top and let drip down the sides. Mix 1/4 cup sugar with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle over the top. Garnish with a cinnamon stick!

DIY Holiday Gift: Homemade Grenadine

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Here’s something you may not already know (and if you did, please excuse our ignorance): real grenadine is made from pomegranates. Not fake cherries! Who knew?! Ok, maybe you did. Now, the grenadine you’re probably used to- the thick, bright red, syrupy stuff that Shirley Temples are made of, is full of ingredients that sound more like a chemistry experiment than a sweet addition to a cocktail. High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Red 40, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Blue 1- not a drop of real fruit in the mix. It’s enough to make Shirley Temple weep.

Real grenadine, made from pomegranate juice, sugar and a splash of orange blossom water is a treat in drinks like a Sea Breeze or a Tequila Sunrise. It’s simmered down until it’s a thicker consistency and the color can’t be beat. It may not last on your shelf for years and years without the preservatives, but odds are it won’t last in your fridge for long because it’s so tasty.

Pomegranates are in season now too, so if you want to make your own juice (which really isn’t that hard), you’ll be able to find a ton of them in our Produce Department.

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To make grenadine you will need:

-2 cups pomegranate juice (from 3-4 large pomegranates) or use bottled juice
-2 cups sugar
-1 teaspoon orange blossom water (available in the Wellness Department)
If you are using fresh pomegranates, slice them in half and press the juice out using a citrus juicer. Strain juice, crushing any unbroken seeds with the back of a spoon. Alternately, you can seed the pomegranate, then blend the seeds in your blender and strain out the juice in fine sieve.  In a medium saucepan heat the pomegranate juice over low heat for several minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the sugar until the mixture is clear and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add the orange blossom water. Stir mixture, making sure all the sugar is dissolved and well incorporated. Allow the mixture to cool and transfer to bottles. The grenadine will keep for one month in the refrigerator.
Makes a lovely homemade holiday gift!

Fresh This Week + A Recipe for Beef Stew!

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Put those packages of chopped veggies to good use with this simple and delicious Beef Stew recipe, from Brennus, our Meat Department Manager.

To make this recipe you will need:
2 pounds sirloin steak (cut into cubes)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 package Simple Organic brown gravy ($1.19 in Aisle 1)
1 package soup veggies (in Produce)
4 cups water
2 tablespoons potato starch (or your thickener of choice)
salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add steak to skillet and brown all sides. Transfer meat to a medium stockpot. Add water and gravy. Let simmer on low for 2 hours. Add veggies to the pot and cook for another 2 hours. Mix potato starch with a little water in a small bowl until smooth. Add to pot in a slow stream while stirring, until the stew has thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Mega Health With MegaFood

Written by Ashley Douglas, Assistant Wellness Manager

I recently had the pleasure of visiting cozy Manchester, New Hampshire to tour the MegaFood vitamin manufacturing facilities.  Boy, what a treat!  Not only did I get a sneak peek of the autumn foliage, but I was immediately impressed with the MegaFood company itself.  Founded in 1973, MegaFood is a whole food, “farm to tablet,” vitamin manufacturer that has created a Slo-Food process focusing on quality Foodstate Nutrients.  Sleepy New Hampshire makes the ideal home for this perfectly slow paced company.  Although they aren’t out to break any speed records, they are out to do it right and as their company’s slogan implies, they’re in the business of “changing lives.”  Using as many United States sourced ingredients as possible, MegaFood prides itself in its relationship with US farmers and growers.  Under the direction of only their second ever CEO, Robert Craven, the company takes a strong stance in the local community as well as the natural foods industry paving the way for Non-GMO efforts and labeling laws.  Sitting across the table from Robert proved to me that MegaFood as a whole really is approachable and committed to making personal connections.

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As a member of a group of only seven natural food retailer employees, I was able to receive a behind-the-scenes-tour of the MegaFood compound, learning about their patented Slo-Food Process and meeting some of the masterminds behind the company.  Walking through the plant, we started in the chemistry lab and learned where MegaFood’s quality control starts at the beginning.  The chemists test for many things including purity, known allergens and toxicity of all of their ingredients.  One of the things I was most impressed with is the amount of quality control MegaFood puts into their product along every step of the way.  They are a “vertically integrated” company, doing most of the work inhouse.  One of the only things MegaFood sends out for testing is pesticide testing- they want to make sure that the hundreds of pesticides they are testing for are up to date on a regular basis, thank you for that MegaFood!  Our group was able to see the process of fresh frozen oranges being cold-milled and thrown into the vat that removes the oxygen, stabilizes the vitamin, adds the enzymes and sends the final product onto the fancy Refractance Window Dryer (RWD).  The RWD is the meat and potatoes of this process- MegaFood is the only multivitamin company to take advantage of such process.  The RWD is a machine that allows for a gentle, low heat process that the vitamins and herbs that MegaFood extracts from whole food go through to get ready to be assembled into tablet form.   Straying from a heated process throughout production allows for the color and taste of the whole foods to come through, it also allows for a very high retention of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in the final product.  After the dryer, the products are sent through a tableting process that takes up to 72 hours to complete before bottling.  MegaFood is using machinery manufactured in Germany in the 1940s to complete this slow process.  They want to make sure that they do it right, rather than in mass quantities.  Just another thing that I was really impressed with, and noticed with my own MegaFood products, is the fact that they put an extra tablet in each of their bottles, just to make sure the never short their customers!  They really do focus on doing things right and going the extra mile for their customers.

Going in, I had a ton of questions, both from customers in the Wellness Department and myself as a MegaFood consumer.  ?  Luckily, on the trip, I was able to get ALL of my questions and more answered through one-on-one conversations with Mr. Craven, the CEO and one of my favorite meets of the trip, MegaFood’s formulator of fifteen years, Stacy Gillespie.  Here are a few questions the Wellness Staff have received and hopefully will be helpful when shopping MegaFood products:

Why doesn’t MegaFood make products in capsule form?  Stacy explained that MegaFood sticks with tablets for two main reasons; A) the coating that MegaFood uses on their tablets is a quarter of the thickness of a capsule, making it easier on the digestive system and B) one tablets contains three capsules worth of FoodState Nutrients. Capsules can be more “fluffy” than a nutrient dense tablet.

Why does there seem to be less in MegaFood products than other vitamin companies?  MegaFood only presents nutrients as found in nature.  They don’t believe in falsifying potencies not naturally found in foods.  They also are going on the theory that you are receiving nutrients from food sources which should make up the difference, so make sure to get your daily dose of that kale!!  A great example that really hit home for me- the United States has the highest consumption of dairy products in the world, but we also have the highest osteoporosis rates, sometimes less is just more.  Choosing quality food and quality ingredients makes less is more make sense.

How does MegaFood support the little guys, like our Moscow Food Co-op?  MegaFood excels at helping the little guys.  They do cater to retailers both big and small, but have some great programs to help out Co-ops and mom ‘n’ pop shops.  MegaFood offers a purchase program for small retailers, the Co-op included, to allow us to provide our customers with competitive prices.  They have also recently offered free shipping and a 24-hour ship window to all small orders.  If a big order comes in at the same time, can you believe that MegaFood ships out the smaller order first??  Perhaps the biggest, most important iniative that MegaFood has created and stands behind is combating “mass slippage.”  Mr. Craven has created an entire movement around mass slippage.  According to Craven, “mass slippage is when natural products slip from our key categories onto mass grocery and retail shelves.” For more information on this movement, visit www.megafood.com/massslippage.

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Just from whom does MegaFood source their food?  MegaFood works with more and more United States based producers each year, with four new suppliers currently in the works.  Two of their biggest are Uncle Matt’s Organic in Clermont, Florida and Stahlbush Island Farm in our own backyard in Corvallis, Oregon.  Uncle Matt’s supplies MegaFood with loads of citrus and Stahlbush provides a variety of foods including spinach and many other quality ingredients.  MegaFood has very high standards when choosing suppliers- Stahlbush Farms was recently chosen as a partner based on not only their quality, but their negative carbon footprint as a very large producer!  Both Uncle Matt’s orange juice and Stahlbush frozen products can be found on the Co-op’s grocery shelves.

What is in store for MegaFood, being such a small and seeming behind the times company in this fast paced industry? Just in the past three years has MegaFood enlisted a qualified team devoted to marketing.  In the next few months, you will see a new website, updated branding, a strong social media presence and readily available information to you as the consumer.  The new website will include a questionnaire to help you chose the best MegaFood products for your needs.  MegaFood is also working on improved training for retail associates as well as wellness trainings and courses for community members sponsored and backed by the esteemed Dr. Weil.  Watch for announcements on these classes, coming soon to our Co-op community!

 

Beet Read: The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry

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Written by Rachel Clark
In the best tradition of cozy, armchair cooking memoir, The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn taps culinary gold. Part diary, part travelogue, part love story—all marinating in the thick, heady fumes of the Cordon Bleu cooking school — this book might send you off to Paris. Or at least off to pour another cup of steaming hot cider as you nestle down under your blanket, all cozied up with this wonderful memoir.
Now that the gardens are put to bed, and the days are shortening, it’s the perfect time for the kind of book that tempts you with dreams. Flinn was a corporate workhouse for many years…she was, that is, until she lost her job. When a new friend asked her, “What do you really want to do with your life?” her answer was almost immediate: “Move to Paris and attend the Cordon Bleu cooking school.” Except she knew almost no French, and she’d hardly cooked in her life. But she allowed the possibility of the dream, inquired into how one applies to the school, and before she knew it, she was slaving under a fierce French chef — “The Gray Chef” she nicknamed him, for his  tempestuous moods — attempting to endure his anger when he shouts her down after tasting her overly sweet sauce: “You’re wasting your time!”
A popular and delightful memoir that some have compared to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love — but more mature, wise, and well-crafted — The Sharper Your Knife is the perfect book to cozy up with this November. Please join us to discuss The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry (Viking Books 2006) by Kathleen Flinn on Sunday, November 30 from 6:00-7:30 pm. Remember to email bookclub@moscowfood.coop for the meeting location and directions and/or to receive email reminders about the Good Food Book Club. The Sharper Your Knife by Kathleen Flinn is available through your local library.  If you are interested in buying the book, check out the area’s local used book stores or visit Book People of Moscow where Book Club members receive a discount. For more information about the Good Food Book Club, check out the Outreach section of the MFC website at www.moscowfood.coop.

Golden Greek Apple Salad

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If you need to hit the pause button on the pumpkin and the peppermint before you overdose, we have the perfect distraction. This salad was developed by our cheesemonger, Dalynne and it has everything you’re looking for in a lettuce-less salad.

The Golden Greek cheese is made by our friends at Ballard Family Dairy and Cheese in Gooding, ID and is a Halloumi cheese.  Halloumi Cheese is traditionally made from a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk, but this local version is made with fresh milk from Jersey cows. It has been made in Cyprus, an island claimed by both Turkey and Greece in the eastern Mediterranean, for hundreds of years. The name “Halloumi” is derived from the Greek word “almi” meaning brine. This refers to the brine, or salt water solution that is used to preserve the cheese. Due to its high melting point, Halloumi is great grilling cheese as it browns without melting. Because of its high salt content, it pairs nicely in salads with sweet candied pecans and crisp apples and is balanced out with a tangy mustard vinaigrette.

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To make this salad you will need:

2  large apples, such as Gala or Honeycrisp, peeled, cored and cut into cubes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ small red onion, sliced thinly
½ pound local Golden Greek Cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup pecans
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped

 In a large bowl, toss the chopped apples in the lemon juice.

Candy the pecans: In a small skillet over medium heat, melt butter and brown sugar, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Lower heat and add pecans. With a rubber spatula, move coat the pecans in the sugar and butter, moving them around the pan. Once they are completely coated and the mixture is bubbling, remove from heat. Let the pecans cool on a place and chop them into smaller pieces.

Grill the cheese: Cut cheese into 1/2 inch cubes. In a small skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Place cheese in skillet and brown on all sides, taking care not to burn them.

Add the cheese, pecans, onions and mint to the apples. Toss with vinaigrette (recipe is below) and serve.

To make the vinaigrette you will need:

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
¼ cup molasses
½ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
½ teaspoon white pepper

 In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients except olive oil. When fully mixed add olive oil in a slow stream and whisk until it thicken.