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.

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.

 

Chai Spice Mix

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While “chai” actually means tea, we’re used to a blend of spices, often brewed with milk, referred to as masala chai.  Some of the chai mixes you find in the grocery store can be loaded with extra sugar and ingredients you can’t pronounce, but making your own spice blend and sweetening it with honey, agave or maple syrup is easy! You can omit any of the flavors you don’t prefer, but here are our recommendations for a familiar blend of spices:

The flavor most prominent in chai is green cardamom. Still in their pods, the flavor is smoky and spicy. We also recommend fennel seed, whole cloves, fresh ginger or ginger powder if that’s what’s available to you, whole coriander, peppercorns, star anise and whole cinnamon sticks. Our bulk section has all of these items available and it’s a much less expensive way to buy spices than from the  baking aisle.

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To brew your own masala chai at home you will need:

3/4 cup water
2-4 whole green cardamom pods, smashed
1-2 thin slices fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon powdered
1 1-inch cinnamon stick
1 piece star anise
4-5 peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
4-5 whole cloves
3/4 cup milk (or milk alternative)
1 1/2 teaspoons loose black tea leaves

In a small saucepan, combine everything except the milk and tea. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for a few minutes until the mixture is fragrant. Add the milk and tea leaves, and simmer for another minute then turn off the heat and let steep for 2 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve and discard the tea and spices. Add honey, maple syrup or agave to taste.

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Cup For Cup Gluten-Flour Mix

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If your experience with gluten-free treats has left little to be desired, we hear you! Spongy, crumbly, chalky. These words are often used to describe the texture of treats made without gluten. Our bakery has worked really hard to perfect their gluten-free flour mix and they’re sharing the recipe with you! This recipe uses weights to measure the perfect amounts of each ingredients, since baking is so scientific and since gluten-free flours are much pricier, we want you to get it right! Once all of the ingredients are mixed well, you can substitute this mix, cup-for-cup, with your tried and true recipes. It would also make a really nice holiday gift for anyone who is getting into gluten-free baking.

To make the flour mix you will need:
1.584 pounds white rice flour
.748 pounds tapioca starch
.704 brown rice flour
.528 pounds nonfat dry milk
.176 potato starch
.088 xanthan gum

Makes 5.1 pounds of flour mix.

Let’s Toast: Vegan Pumpkin Spice Creamer

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If you’re not part of the pumpkin spice craze yet, then gather ’round. This vegan coffee creamer recipe is sure to make you a follower. Unlike other commercial coffee creamers, this one is made with almond milk, maple syrup, real pumpkin (imagine that!) and variety of fall-friendly spices. Whip up a batch and keep it  in the fridge all winter long. You can even make your own pumpkin puree from scratch with our recipe here. Feel free to adjust the sweetness and spice levels to your own tastes, but this is the version we found to be the most flavorful.

2 cups unsweetened almond milk
3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons maple syrup (the real stuff)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla

Put all the ingredients in a pan over medium heat and whisk until incorporated. Let cool slightly and pour into a jar. Before adding to coffee give it a good shake!

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How To: Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree

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Pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup, pumpkin scones… is your head spinning yet? Now that it’s October, it’s officially pumpkin season! If you have a list of seasonal recipes you’re just dying to dive into, why not try your hand at making your own pumpkin puree. The canned stuff is fine, but the flavor from freshly roasted and pureed pumpkin is out of this world. And it’s so easy to make. BONUS: We have a ton of local squash and pumpkins from Mendenhall Farm right here in Moscow.

Now, let’s be clear- not all pumpkins are created equal. While you can roast and puree any old pumpkin, you want to make sure that for cooking and baking you use sugar pumpkins. They’re smaller and have a sweeter and more flavorful flesh. To make your own pumpkin puree you will need:
2 pie pumpkins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice pumpkins in half and scoop out the seeds. Save them for later if you like roasted pumpkin seeds! Place pumpkins skin side down on a baking sheet and place in oven for about 45 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool. Scoop flesh out of skin and blend in a food processor until smooth. You can preserve pumpkin puree by processing a water bath or refrigerate for up 3 days or freeze for up to six months.

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Cold Relief Tea

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The leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter and the sniffles are imminent. This steamy drink is full of goodies that’ll help knock those cold symptoms out- pow! It’s made with fresh ginger, fresh lemon juice, cayenne pepper and honey. Ginger is antiviral, anti-inflammatory and aids in digestion. Lemon is a great source of vitamin C, is antiseptic and is a great source of calcium. Honey is antibacterial, antioxidant and antiviral. And cayenne pepper is anti-inflammatory and aids in nutrient absorption.

To make this tea, boil 1 cup of water, 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger, 1 tablespoon honey, the juice from a half a lemon and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper in a small pot over high heat. Bring to boil and heat for five minutes. Strain mixture through a fine sieve and drink while piping hot. Put on your comfiest socks and jammies and get to healing!

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APPY HOUR: Burrata + Plum Salad with Arugula

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Burrata- Italian for “you’ll never want to eat anything else again in your life.” Ok, not exactly. It actually means “buttery” and one taste of this souped up mozzarella cheese and you’ll be changed forever. Burrata, made from either buffalo or cow’s milk is an outer shell of fresh mozzarella cheese, filled with a mixture of cream and more mozzarella cheese. The result is a rich, creamy cheese that balances nicely with something sweet, like honey, or in this case plums and something peppery, like arugula.

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Plums, often under-utilized in salads, make the perfect addition to this recipe. This time of year, they’re nice and sweet with great texture and juiciness. We’ve also added a salty prosciutto, which can be omitted if you’re wanting to create a vegetarian dish.

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To assemble this salad place a bed of arugula down first. Remove pits from plums and slice, scattering plums on top of the greens. Tear proscuitto into small pieces and also place on greens. Place two balls of burrata on top, cutting open, so the creamy inside spills onto the rest of the salad. For extra sweetness, drizzle honey on top of the burrata.