Roasted Lemony Green Beans

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By now, you’re probably looking for really simple recipes that you can add to your holiday table. And if simple, but robust flavors are calling your name, these green beans are for you. This dish is also vegan, so it’s sure to please a variety of diets. Again, we’re using fresh green beans, but the flavor and crunch really can’t be beat.

To make these green beans you will need:

2 pounds fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon lemon zest
juice from ½ a lemon

 Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl toss the beans with the oil, garlic and salt. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet (you may need to two baking sheets) and roast for 15 minutes. Rotate pans in the oven and continue roasting for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and place beans in a large bowl. Add lemon juice, zest and almonds and toss to combine.

Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing With Cranberries

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There’s often a hearty debate regarding the use of stuffing versus dressing. Some believe that if you fill your bird with it, it’s stuffing and if it’s served alongside the bird, it’s dressing. And if you’re anywhere in the south it’s dressing regardless of where you put it. So no matter what you call it, we have a fabulous recipe for you!

Following a gluten-free diet doesn’t have to ruin your Thanksgiving meal plans. Using gluten-free corn bread (which is delicious on its own) means you won’t even miss the gluten-full version this holiday.

1 batch of gluten-free cornbread (we recommend Bob’s Red Mill)
1pound breakfast sausage
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup of celery, cut into ½ inch slices
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup pecans
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
2 teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 package frozen cranberries
¼ cup sugar
3 cups chicken stock

 Prepare cornbread to package directions. Once cool, cut bread into cubes and toast in 325 degree oven, about 20 minutes. Let cool and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

 While the bread is baking, cook sausage in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until nicely browned. Transfer to mixing bowl with bread, but do not stir. In the same skillet, melt the butter and add celery and onions and cook until softened. Add them to the mixing bowl. Add vinegar to the skillet, scraping up the browned bits on the pan and pour into the bowl. In a small bowl toss the cranberries with the sugar and gently fold them into the mixing bowl. Add broth, pecans, herbs, salt and pepper, gently stirring taking care not to mash the cornbread. Transfer to a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the top is browned.

Mashed Potatoes: Tips from the Pros

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What better way to express gratitude this Thanksgiving, than by making the most stellar mashed potatoes ever? We bet you didn’t think there were so many rules when it comes to making mashed potatoes, but it turns out you were mistaken. It’s just potatoes, milk, butter and salt. What could you possibly mess up? While any combination of those ingredients will undoubtedly taste good, it comes down texture. Some people prefer potato skins left on and some prefer silky smooth versus lumpy. Regardless of your preferences, we righting some basic potato wrongs, right here and now.

Mistake #1: You’re chopping your potatoes in uneven chunks, meaning they’ll cook at different rates. This could lead to grainy or crunchy chunks of taters.

Mistake #2: You’re not mashing by hand. We know the appeal of a food processor or blender can take over, but trust us. You want to do this on your own. When potatoes or over-whipped, they can turn into a kind of starchy glue. Unless you’re planning to patch some holes with your potatoes, leave the appliances for another project.

Mistake #3: Your milk and butter are ice cold. Bring your ingredients to room temperature (or slightly warm your milk) to allow them to absorb into the potatoes better. The better absorbed they are, the less likely you are to overmix them.

Mistake #4: You’re drowning your potatoes. Unless you’re making potato soup, ease up on the amount of milk you’re using. If you need to make your potatoes creamier, opt for more butter. Hey, it’s the holidays, right?

Mistake #5: Your leftover taters are dry and flaky. If you are reheating mashed potatoes, it’s ideal to go slowly. Place potatoes in a pan over medium-low heat and stir, adding in a little milk and extra butter as you go. They’ll be as tasty as the first time around.

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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