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!

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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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.

 

The Beet Box is One!

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A year ago we set out on this journey to create a blog for our Co-op. We wanted to share recipes, tips for living a greener life, recommend books and teach you about our local producers- the lifeline of our community. Whether you’ve followed along from the beginning or are just finding us now, thank you! We appreciate the feedback we’ve gotten, we love hearing when you make something from our blog and we hope to continue doing so. Please let us know what things you’d like to see featured here as this project belongs just as much our community as it does our store. And now on to stuff our mouths with (organic) cupcakes…

Here are a few favorites from the past year:

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Clockwise from the top left:
Heirloom Tomato Flatbread
Coconut Flour Pancakes
Meet the Makers: Orchard Farm Soaps
Easy Fridge Pickles

What’s been your favorite post from the Beet Box?

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.