Thanksgiving 2015

We had the honor and pleasure of cooking Thanksgiving again this year for a really great family.

I bought a local turkey as I did last year from Long Shadow Farm in Berthoud, CO. Unlike last year when I arrived at the farm to find a woman seated at a desk in the garage near a large refrigerator distributing chilled birds to anyone who had pre-ordered, this year I walked into a slaughtering/de-feathering/cleaning of turkeys small-scale processing line that I was not expecting at all. Our bird hadn’t even been chilled as she had been slaughtered just a few hours prior to pickup. Talk about having a real understanding of where our food comes from! I have that image seared into my memory… and will spare you the few photos I took.

We’re very fortunate to purchase such a quality turkey, so it’s extra important to me to serve it with all made from scratch accompaniments and sides.

I made the caramelized onion gravy base on Tuesday night. I’ve been making this gravy for more than ten years now, and each year I think it tastes better than the last. The butter and onions cooked low and slow for six hours. Six. Hours.

caramelized onion gravy

I started with a full pot and snapped a photo every couple of hours…

caramelized onion gravycaramelized onion gravy

 

 

 

 

 

 

…until I couldn’t resist spooning it into my mouth.

caramelized onion gravy

Wednesday I made my pumpkin pie, but failed to snap a photo. I also made a cranberry sauce with roasted shallots and mandarin zest.

Cranberry Sauce

Thursday, Chef and I cooked the rest of the meal on site in their Boulder home. The beautiful bird went into the 325 degree oven after being rubbed with butter and herbs. She amazingly and somewhat surprisingly appeared done after just under two hours. That was a fast cooker!

Longshadow Farm TurkeyRoasted Longshadow Farm Turkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I put together a wild rice stuffing while Sean made a sweet potato and chevre gratin, which has now become a Thanksgiving tradition for this family.

sweet potato chevre gratinSweet Potato Chevre Gratin

The ingredients in this dish are simply sinful- The health benefits of sweet potatoes are far outnumbered by the cheese and heavy cream combo. But, that’s what makes it so GOOD too!

While the gratin baked, Sean worked on maple glazed carrots in a cast iron skillet.

maple glazed carrots

Next, he assembled green beans in shallot butter topped with fried shallots.

green beans with fried shallots

We added the pan juices to the gravy base, carved the bird,

caramelized onion gravyRoasted Local Turkey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And set up a small buffet for them.

Thanksgiving 2015

We can’t wait until next year!

 

Local Turkey makes for a Bolder Thanksgiving

We LOVE sourcing local ingredients, and are so excited to have reserved a turkey with Long Shadow Farm in Berthoud, CO. We had one last year and it was phenomenal! Serving a fresh bird that had never been frozen was an absolute highlight to the gorgeous meal Sean and I prepared for some clients and their family. We can’t wait to do it again!

There’s a very limited supply of birds, so reserve one now.

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill, Burlington, VT

I always enjoy a good meal on my trips to Burlington, and this trip was no different. Sean and I were staying at Homeplace Bed & Breakfast, and had a great discussion with Mariot the owner over breakfast. Mariot was explaining to us that up in Vermont local food is incredibly local. Restaurants source cheeses, meats, eggs, and vegetables often from within a few miles’ radius. Local doesn’t just mean local to the state or region. A cheese plate in Burlington, for example, is likely very different from a cheese plate in Brattleboro or Montpelier, Mariot explained. Before finishing breakfast I had already decided I needed some local cheese that afternoon.

We met one of Sean’s sisters for lunch in downtown Burlington and decided to eat al fresco on a gorgeously sunny September afternoon at The Farmhouse Tap & Grill. As soon as I flipped  their menu over, I was reminded of the morning’s conversation with Mariot:

Their menu highlights nineteen different local farms, the towns where you’ll find the farms, and what they provide the restaurant. It then mentions twelve local cheese makers. We just don’t see too much of this in Colorado…

As I was on a northeast cider tasting tour, I tried some cider on tap. Sean was all about local beer. I didn’t write down which ones we tried, so these will go unnamed.

The first thing I look for on menus at restaurants like this is pickles. Of course they had house made pickles!

Roasted beets and goat cheese, both locally sourced, were also on the top of my list for lunch.

The cheese plate was also fun. Sean picked a few from the menu to custom build a plate with some apple butter and jam.

Everyone was SO patient while I snapped photos, and then food was quickly devoured. Next came our actual lunch. Sean had the Farmhouse Veggie Burger with Cabot cheddar, house made kimchi, and pickled jalapeños with fries.

His sister Angela had their Misty Knoll Free Range Turkey Burger with Vermont farmstead Tilsit cheese, cranberry mostarda, arugula, charred onions, and fries.

And I went for the Farmhouse Veggie Sandwich with house made hummus, Landaff Creamery “Landaff” cheese, Jericho Settler’s Farm carrots, dill pickles, local sprouts, grilled zucchini, herbed yogurt, on Red Hen Bread. I, as usual, went with a side salad to complement my veggie sandwich rather than fries. I’m just no fun!

We had a great lunch on their beautiful patio, and I’d definitely go back.

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill

160 Bank Street, Burlington, VT 05401

802.859.0888

 

 

Fennel Pollen Turkey Burgers

The turkey burger. It’s become my spur-of-the-moment, don’t have dinner plans and don’t have 2 hours to cook, go-to guy. I’ve added all kinds of cheeses, herbs, spices, jalapeños… lots of stuff, and they usually come out great. But, I might have my new favorite here.
The secret ingredient? Fennel Pollen. All of you sausage lovers out there probably appreciate the flavor of fennel seeds. But have you tried fennel pollen? It is the pollen that comes from the tiny yellow flowers on the fennel plant and, according to the label, is sometimes called the “spice of the angels.” I must agree with that statement. And you’re probably asking yourself, “Where can I find this spice of the angels?” Well, Savory Spice Shop, of course. Where else would I get my secret ingredients?
Here’s how I made my new favorite burgers-
  • 1.5 pounds ground turkey thigh
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • a pinch of fennel pollen
  • ground black pepper
My least favorite part is mixing it with my hands and making the patties. I’ll admit it. But, I made 8 patties, grilled them for approximately 7 minutes on each side, and topped them with some Tillamook white cheddar cheese.
Left over ciabatta bread served as my bun, and homemade olive oil pickles from last summer’s crop added the perfect crunch to my spring-time, fennel pollen burger. Come to think of it, these will be great for grillin’ over Memorial weekend, and will pair well with my Honey Pepper Rascal Beer Cocktail.
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