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Monthly Archives: November 2013

Turkey Lurkey

My mostly local Thanksgiving meal. Done tonight for just the two of us.

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Pretty traditional this year. Roasted turkey. Green bean casserole. Mashed potatoes. Sausage dressing.

Every element of the meal had local ties.

Let’s start with our turkey. An eleven pound Maple Lawn Farm fresh “hen”.

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Brined for sixteen hours in advance. I found a basic apple cider, salt, brown sugar, orange peel, bay leave, garlic, rosemary and water brine.

Roasted at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, and 90 minutes at 350 degrees. Trickling Springs butter under the skin. Grapeseed oil rubbed over the top, and a poultry mix sprinkled everywhere.

Really moist turkey this year. The right amount of time in the brine, and it wasn’t overcooked. I have a crock pot full of bones, skin and the innards, with a couple gallons of water, which will cook all night to make stock.

Side dishes this year. My take on classics, but revved up a bit.

Mashed potatoes included goat cheese, butter and milk. These were CSA potatoes, a mix of Yukon Gold and white potatoes.

I made a green bean casserole using Breezy Willow’s beans. Blanched them first, then put them in a casserole with some organic condensed cream of mushroom soup I got at Roots. Half of the container became the base for the gravy. The onion on top the beans was a CSA yellow onion that I roasted yesterday until it was crispy. It added flavor without all that breading and greasiness the canned onions have.

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The dressing was simple. Bread cubes mixed with turkey stock (I started the stock early today, using only the innards and water, celery, carrots and scallions. Cooked up about 4 ounces of Boarman’s homemade country sausage and mixed it in. A little sage, salt and pepper. Baked alongside the green beans.

Complementing the meal, a Finger Lakes Pinot Noir. 2007 Konstantin Frank.

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Really a soft wine. Glad we opened it. It is just starting to fade a bit.

All in all, just enough food. I didn’t go overboard on anything other than making just a bit too many potatoes.

As for leftovers, I have two cups of shredded turkey to make a soup. One leg to use for a lunch salad next week. One complete breast for a salad or dinner. A couple of thighs for another dinner.

Keeping it local. Supporting small businesses. I may not have shopped today, but I did pretty well.

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Small Business Saturday

For those of us who avoided Black Friday, and spent time doing things around the house, instead of standing in line at the mall, we have tomorrow to participate in the “Small Business Saturday” campaign.

For me, most of our time is spent in small businesses. Not just tomorrow, but most days we try and spend more of our money supporting local retailers, services, farms, and restaurants.

Where could you go tomorrow in and near Howard County that you might not have thought as a source of goods or services?

Christmas trees. Available at Gorman Farm on Gorman Rd. TLV Tree Farm on Triadelphia Rd. Greenway Farms on Rte. 144.

Meats for the holidays. Clark’s Farm. Copper Penny Farm. Maple Lawn Farm. Breezy Willow Farm. TLV Tree Farm. England Acres. Boarman’s Market. Wagner’s meats. Treuth Butcher.

Breads, cakes, cookies and more. How about Atwater’s in Catonsville. The Breadery in Oella. Great Harvest in Columbia. Bonaparte in Savage.

Shop Main St for gifts. Not just Main St. in Ellicott City, but in Sykesville, Mt. Airy, Laurel, Savage (The Mill), Catonsville, and in New Market.

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Or the new Turf Valley Towne Square.

Support family owned restaurants instead of the chains. Buy gift certificates to them for your family gifts.

Think outside the (big) box (stores)! How about Mother Nature’s, or Crunch Daddy popcorn?

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Or Maryland wine?

At Clark’s farm, check out the toy selection, of items made in the USA.

There are probably many more ideas, for Christmas shopping selections.

Keep our local businesses solvent this season.

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Giving Thanks …

… after another holiday with our family.

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Thanksgiving has to be one of my favorite holidays. Even more so than Christmas.

We always spend the day with relatives. For our entire 35 Thanksgivings since we met.

This year a smaller gathering, as my nephew and his wife weren’t able to fly up to join us.

We give thanks for family, freedom and commitment. The type of commitment that those who serve us make when they choose what they do.

The sort of commitment that the armed forces, the police, fire departments, hospitals, and utilities/infrastructure companies make.

We thank these dedicated people working on holidays. I know there was much discussion all over the news, and the web, about stores opening on Thanksgiving.

In my world, I can’t imagine choosing time at Target or Walmart over time with family and friends.

But then, I don’t do Black Friday either.

I will just hang around waiting for Small Business Saturday. To get my Christmas greens, my small holiday gifts for family, and whatever else we may need.

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Keeping it in our local family, in places like TLV, Breezy Willow, Kendall, Clark’s, Maple Lawn Farm, Big Cork Vineyards.

Buying Christmas gifts at the Conservancy crafts fair next weekend, the 7th.

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Like Green Bridge Pottery. MD Beekeepers. Local artists.

Just giving thanks for living in such a wonderful small community.

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The Thanksgiving Basket

In CSA terms.

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We got an email Monday, letting us know what might be there. So we could plan. The final tally wasn’t far off.

We got:
Butternut Squash
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Beauregard Sweet Potatoes
Turnips
Green Cabbage
Red Leaf Lettuce
Arugula
Lacinato Kale Hearts
Celeriac

All of us got those. The boxes also had three items that may have varied from box to box.

In my box:
White Cauliflower
Parsnips
Rutabaga

I swapped the rutabaga and parsnips.

Partially because there was a bag of arugula in the swap box, and I dearly love arugula. And, I wanted more leeks to make a cauliflower leek soup. There were leeks in the swap box too.

The swap box is a wonderful thing. Want to double up on something? Or, not feeling the love for an item. Swap it.

Today, though, I was really enjoying the large amount of greens. We are eating salads with lunch and dinner, so we go through quite a bit of greens. I just finished the last of the Love Dove Farms arugula, and had one head of salanova lettuce from last week left.

I really like the looks of the red leaf lettuce.

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Besides these fresh veggies for the holidays, I got my weekly loaf of bread. This week it was a classic French boule.

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Before heading over to Columbia and the CSA site, I stopped in Boarman’s to get my Maple Lawn turkey, and my order of sausage and oysters.

This will be a serious cooking weekend.

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Making an Oysters Rockefeller Casserole, and sausage dressing with my turkey. Friday night, our personal Thanksgiving dinner. You know, that dinner made with what you want to cook.

Happy Turkey Day!

Thanksgiving Eve Eve

The calm before (and during) the storm. The ice and snow and rain and sleet and whatever storm.

Pretty dismal today, and the same for tomorrow. But, tomorrow, I have lots to do.

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Pick up the turkey at Boarman’s. The Maple Lawn turkey, along with sausage for dressing, and oysters for stew.

My menu for our meal (Friday night) is oyster stew, salad, turkey, dressing, green beans and a whipped potato/turnip dish.

After getting the turkey, it is off to pick up the CSA box.

We got an anticipatory email, telling us what we might get, but with all the weird weather, we may have lots of substitutions.

Tonight we enjoyed a hearty crockpot soup.

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This is my take on the vegetable soup (With smoked shank) that inspires crab soup.

How did I make it?

1 smoked shank from Boarman’s
1 package frozen green beans from last summer
1 pint stock from the freezer
1 jalapeno
1 baby bok choy shredded
3 large scallions
1 pint frozen tomatoes
1 can Navy beans
salt, pepper to taste
1 pint water

20 hours on low in the crockpot. This was one intensely flavored soup. Served tonight with the last of the rye bread from the CSA.

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Soup, on a cold rainy evening, before the frantic Thanksgiving cooking.

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The Baking Bug

It never fails around the holidays. I want to fire up the oven and start baking. Today it was cookies.

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But not Christmas cookies, just yet. These were molasses cookies, the kind my husband likes. The kind that make you think more about fall and harvest and Thanksgiving.

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These were trial cookies. To decide what to take to the crafts fair at the Conservancy, where we put cookies out as a treat.

But, they were a surprise present easily baked while my husband ran errands. Like finding brining bags for my Maple Lawn turkey. I forgot to buy them.

When he returned this afternoon, the cooling cookies were making the kitchen smell wonderful.

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Bon Appetit chewy molasses cookies.

I didn’t have dark brown sugar, nor cardamom. Used light brown sugar. Slightly increased the other spices and added a 1/4 teaspoon of allspice.

Mine came out a little lighter due to the substitution of sugar. Still, they were chewy and really great as dessert tonight.

There are lots more cookies to bake in the next few weeks. Maybe, I will find a good recipe and join the Oakland Mills cookie swap. My only problem with that cookie swap. Coming home with six dozen cookies (tempting, but not good for keeping us on track with cutting back on sweets).

Here’s to getting into the holiday spirit.

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Thanksgiving Wine Throwdown

MD versus VA. In the battle to be chosen for Thanksgiving dinner this year.

Mostly, in past years, we have relied on Linden for Thanksgiving wine. Either the Vidal Reisling or the Rose.

This year, there is a new kid in town.

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Big Cork. With two wines in the running. Traminette and Vidal. Although I think the Traminette is the best turkey wine.

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Being a locavore, and a locapour, I love using products from not far away to make for celebrations.

Like taking Stone House rolls to my brother’s, and also making Maple Lawn turkey at our house, so we can savor the holiday an extra day.

This year, I think MD wins the competition, and Traminette will go with us to Annapolis.

But, for our turkey, later this weekend, I may pull out one of those lovely Ankida Ridge Pinot Noirs, another good “turkey” wine.

As for Linden, they will be paired with lots of dinners in the next few weeks. They never go out of favor at our place.

For Thanksgiving, if you can’t find the Traminette, look for Elk Run’s Gewurztraminer. It is available in many local stores.

Put MD on the table for your Thanksgiving feast.

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