Saturday, December 7, 2013

Some tips on how to cook your holiday heritage turkey.

From the country...
There certainly are a lot of opinions on how to cook that holiday bird.  Brining vs. not brining, larding vs. rubbing w/ fat, trussing vs not trussing, to stuff or not to stuff. Rest assured though, you can get good results with any of these techniques, if applied correctly.

Brining
A little difficult to do at home especially with large birds but if this is attempted, it is much better to err on the side of not enough brine time than too much brine time.  In the end, in my opinion, you want the bird to, almost, taste like it was not brined so that the natural flavours of the turkey will come through and not be disguised by herb/salt/citrus.  Just an ever so slight hint herb/salt/citrus is the ideal. - and, in particular, the salt aspect of the brine is more important to how it changes the cell structures than achieving a marinated-tasting bird (whereas the salt actually makes individual cells more elastic, enabling a juicer bird in the end, and being more forgiving if overcooked). A very important tip is to rinse, pat dry, and let the turkey rest, uncovered in the fridge, for 24 hours after brining. Click here for a low tech brining recipe
Larding
Heritage birds have more fat than standard birds but when roasting a whole turkey, it is inevitable that the white meat will cook quicker than the dark meat.  A couple of tricks here:
Soak a cloth in some sort of fat (butter will do nicely, or melted duck/chicken/pork fat) and drape over the breast.  Leave the cloth there for the first 1/3 of cooking, then remove to allow breast skin to crisp up. 
Another good trick is to have some softened butter and rub the breast well with this, under the skin.
Trussing
I like to leave legs untrussed, which allows them to cook a bit quicker.  I like to tie the wings in tight to slow down the cooking of the breasts a wee bit.
Stuffing
I wouldn’t recommend stuffing your bird you’re planning to brine, instead make it on your stove top.  Stuffing in a brined bird can be too salty otherwise.  A real turkey pure-ist would say that you can't get your stuffing up to a proper temp without compromising the breast meat (ie overcooking your bird). 
However, in my opinion, there's nothing more classic than pulling out that perfectly roasted turkey, complete with stuffing in both cavities.  Having that cloth draped over the breasts will help you achieve these good results.
 
What I’m planning to do this year to my heritage holiday bird:
 
  • Take turkey out of bag asap and let rest, uncovered, in fridge for as long as possible (up to a week is just fine, and a day or two will help too)
  • ·      The night before I roast it, I'll rub all over w/ salt and pepper (inside cavity too);  this is a bit of a cheat, giving you somewhat similar results as brining does (a lil' bit anyways)
  • ·      Heat oven to 450
  • ·      Gently lift skin from breast, and rub breast directly w/ softened butter (can be seasoned w/ herb too)
  • ·      Stuff both cavities (and it's better to under-season the stuffing, considering the cavity is rubbed down with salt and pepper already - can always be adjusted afterwards)
  • ·      Tie wings in tight to breast
  • ·      Drape a butter-soaked cheesecloth over the breast
  • ·      Put into your hot oven (450) for 5-10 minutes
  • ·      Reduce oven to 300, and continue roasting for about 20-25 minutes to the pound; remove cloth after 1/3 of cooking time.
  • ·      I don't usually bother with basting; I just don’t see the need!
  • ·      Remove bird when cooked to your liking (I go to 160 F, tested in the thigh); 
  • ·      Let rest 30 minutes before carving, in a warm spot, covered w/ foil tent (or something similar)
  • ·      Remove stuffing, put into a pot/casserole, and bring to temp, gently, on stove top or in oven
  • ·      Make gravy while stuffing is heating, and bird is resting
. We hope that this little bit of cooking advice helps when preparing your holiday bird.
 
Please visit our farm website if you are interested in ordering a bird for the holidays.

Happy Holidays!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Travelling with Toddlers


From the City...
Traveling with two toddlers is sorta like being stuck with your drunk friends at the end of the night.  It is exhausting, embarrassing at the best of times (think all out tantrums lying on the floor of the airport while you check luggage and your child telling everyone that they're "yucky") and I hate to say it, completely challenging and um, sorta un-fun.  Our vacation out west was less vacation and more like dragging our kids across the country to see their dads who were in the middle of a four week tour cross Canada tour. 
Never the less we bucked up and rose to the challenge, as good mama's often do. 
Here's the two little demons at the airport as we leave Toronto for Vancouver.  

Here's when we finally caught up with the Dad's in Whistler before their festival.  I have to admit, Whistler was the highlight of the trip for everyone.  We had a great room with a kitchen so we could cook some real meals, the shows they played were amazing and we even hired a babysitter so the mama's could go out for a bit.

Side note; If anyone has ever wondered about the inside of a band van that's driven across the country before with six smoking, drinking band members; trust me, it's not nearly as glamorous as you may believe. 
Think feet, old coffee cups and the lingering smell of the armpits. 
Ugh.
There are two hours over the course of seven days where these two didn't fight and were tolerable around each other. This is either hour 1 or 2.
Not too shabby. From Whistler back to Vancouver.
Vancouver Aquarium. 
Maddy face in the hotel.  Post bath, Pre nap time.
















Cherries on Granville Island.  
Playing with Daddy at Bear Creek Studio in Seattle. 

So we survived the trip (thanks to wine) and the todd's got to see their papas in the middle of our longest tour yet.  I think I'd consider that a success, a great success.

-amelia

Sunday, July 7, 2013

What it might be like if Dinos where still around...

From the country...



June and July (so far).

From the country...

Ducklings in the sun

Potluck fun

Teacher's pet...end of school year gift
Family at Canada's Wonderland
So while most of the crops are in (I say most because there are still the continuous plantings and the fall plantings that still need to happen) there is still a huge laundry list of jobs that still need to be done. On said list is:

-seeding down the buckwheat for a green manure crop
-constructing a greenhouse to go around the cherry tomatoes and peppers that are already planted.
-staking beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers
-planting the haskap starts (when they come in), lovage, spice bush, sour cherry shrubs
-move turkey poults out of brooder and onto pasture
-construct outdoor hoop houses for ducks and quail.
-working up a new garden for fall plantings
-irrigation
-general farm maintenance and weed, weed weeding...

On a side note my addiction to poultry has hit max capacity. I think an intervention may be in order. That being said I have some of the neatest breeds this year that I am super excited about. Silver Laced Wyandotts, Welsummer's, Basque, Speckled Sussex, and Silkie chickens among the usual ducks, turkeys and quail.

I put in 200 raspberry cane this year and I am happy to say they appear to be doing really well. Also the apple trees look pretty good, the crab apple tree is full and it may be a banner year for the wild apples and grapes....

I have a new culinary love. Her name is mayonnaise. Why has it taken this long for me to discover it? I have made three batches now and 2 have turned out fantastic. The first one went out the window and then I actually read the instructions.... I chock it full of herbs and garlic scapes and then it is ready for anything. I have since made many a Caesar salad and a kick ass chicken salad too.
No really homemade Mayo- where have you been all this time?

Had a family trip to Canada's Wonderland. Mark's family came to the farm and treated us to a trip to this well loved theme park. The kids had a blast.

For me though, I prefer staying on the farm. Not to mention roller coasters freak me out.

I promise to keep in touch better. My sis is out West (Vancouver, Seattle) and if we play our cards right she may just jump in too and tell us about her adventures... right Amy?





Sunday, June 2, 2013

Did you forget about me?!?!?

From the City...
 A fully stocked mom purse.
Nuts, water, bananas, pocky, work (blah), lip balm.
 A pantless jam session with Sofia.
 A stranger's fancy ride.
 A beauty little dream home sandwiched between two boresville houses.
Lime green paint?? Yes please!
 Date night at The County General, big thanks to Simon's mom for that blissful child free evening.
 We are addicted to gelato, this past month we have spent roughly $30 on take home containers full of mint, pistachio, banana, grapefruit, chocolate and vanilla.
 Potty time bribery, we have made zero progress yet the box is empty, hmmm...
If the shoe fits....buy a pair for everyone in your family.

Holy smokes, what a month it has been.  Aside from the shoe shopping and gelato eating; we've been busy.  We're subletting our apartment which always equals mountains of work; cleaning, craigslisting, showings etc.  Nevertheless we've found some cool folks who'll be living in our little homey while we travel and farm and reconnect with family.  It should be a pretty over the top summer.  Simon will be out west for the entire month of July playing festivals and recording their second album at Bear Creek Studio in Seattle. Theo and I plus Robyn (band mama) and her little one (see pic #2) will be flying out and joining them for about a week and half of toddler traveling mania.  

Theo and I'll also be working on the farm which I'm hopeful we'll be a great experience for the this little city kid of mine.  We need to get some dirt and some knee scrapes on that child.   
We'll also be nesting up in Simon's mom's home which she so graciously offered, it will be a nice opportunity to unite the family a little more.

I also really do hope to blog more though, I apologize for this lack lustre attempting at summarizing 2 months of our lives.  We're actively trying to screen less and do the good things more.  
Nevertheless, I do love to offer this insight into our somewhat quirky little life, hopefully you'll stick around and see what our summer has in store.  

Best, 
amelia

Friday, May 31, 2013

Leeks and Lettuce

From the country..




We have been eating a ton of wild leeks around here and have just started in on our spring lettuces. So fresh and crisp- Spring is a great time for local eating! We have had our fill of stinging nettle, asparagus, spring onions, baby greens, rhubarb, and spinach. If you could turn green by eating too many green things we would be the greenest family on the country block!

I love growing lettuce. There are so many different varieties as well as tastes and textures. Pictured above is a beautiful butterhead and a gem romaine/buttercrunch called, Pearl.

We are looking forward some peas and strawberries next!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Hooray For the Wild Things!!

From the country...


No time to chat because spring is in a hurry! The weather has been amazing and my hands are stained a nice shade of brown...
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