let’s talk turkey … leftovers (part 3 of 3) … GIVE AWAY WINNER ANNOUNCED

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

We here at O’Mamas have so much to be thankful for.  Not the least of which is the outpouring of support from you all as we embark on this blog adventure.  So … THANK YOU, for your support and encouragement.

In typical O’Mamas fashion, our Butterfly Princess was thrilled to pick this week’s give away winner … although I’m not sure she liked being nudged from her slumber for the 40 seconds it took us to get it done 🙂

CONGRATULATIONS …

MARIA CONDE!!!

Maria just won a $25 gift card to WHOLE FOODS MARKET!!!! Email us at omamasblog@gmail.com with your contact information so we can get this baby in the mail!

Thanksgiving is HERE … and even though the bird isn’t in the oven yet, we’re already thinking about leftovers.

It’s true.

And we have a LOT of turkey this year (two-18 lb turkeys … which is insane … but I guess we’re hoping for lots of leftovers … in our defense, there’re going to be quite a few people at dinner this year, but probably not enough to warrant 36 lbs of poultry)!

Just a few ideas to consider with all that turkey YOU’ll have in the fridge on Friday:

BREAKFAST:

Turkey Hash with Poached Eggs

  • Chopped turkey
  • Onion
  • Green pepper
  • Leftover mashed potatoes
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs (poached)

Sautee the onion and green pepper until onion is translucent and the pepper is sweating. Add chopped turkey and mashed potatoes. Heat through. Top with poached eggs. (And if you’re feeling adventurous, you might also add some leftover gravy … that might be crazy … I’m just saying.) Hmmmmm.

LUNCH OR SNACK OR DINNER:

Turkey Sandwich

  • Really good crusty sourdough bread
  • Turkey
  • Cranberry relish or sauce (whatever you have)
  • Stuffing
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard

I feel like this is self-explanatory. I don’t need to tell you how to make a sandwich … do I?!?!

Turkey Salad (makes 2 servings)

  • 1 cup Turkey (rough chop)
  • 3 Tbls Mayo (we use a homemade grape seed oil mayo)
  • 1 cup Grapes (halved or quartered … depends on how chunky you want your salad)
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • ¼ cup walnut (chopped)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 cups Spinach or Mixed Greens of your choice (thoroughly washed, divided)
  • 1 Tbls fresh lemon juice

Combine the turkey, grapes, onion and walnut in a medium bowl. Fold in mayonnaise. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the greens with fresh lemon juice.

Top with the turkey mixture.

But I know what you’re wondering. Where’s the soup? And the casserole? And what about the chili? There’s got to be more recipes for leftovers than this.

You’re right. You are. It’s only three ideas. But it’s what we’re going to do with our leftovers. What about you? What are YOU going to do with them? (By the way, if you’ve got a recipe for leftovers that is a can’t miss … email us, and we’ll guest post it!)

Oh … and if you’re looking for some more inspiration … check out these three blogs.  They’ve got some WONDERFUL ideas for Thanksgiving leftovers.

The Pioneer Woman

Nourished Kitchen

This Chick Cooks

let’s talk turkey (part 2 of 3)

Jeanne here.

With some very personal information.

It’s an intimate truth in our house.

It’s about Thanksgiving.

And it’s one of the reasons I feel so darn lucky to have married the Cowboy.

You see …

That one day a year when many a wife and mother stresses about the turkey.

Wet brine?

Dry brine?

No brine?

Fry?

Slow roast?

Fast roast?

In a bag?

Tented?

Bare?

Stuffed?

Not stuffed?

My blood pressure just spiked.

(Inhale … Exhale … Inhale … Exhale … Ahhhhhh.)

Okay.

I’m better.

Really better.

And not just because I have all the answers.

But because my secret about Thanksgiving is that I don’t actually have that stress.  Because for the past four years, I haven’t made the turkey.

Somehow, that job landed in the Cowboy’s lap. (Do you think it’s because I was eating a vegetarian diet when we celebrated our first Thanksgiving?  Probably.)

And the good news …he’s really good at it!

He wet brines.

Last year he used this recipe from The Pioneer Woman.

This year, we’re trying this one which we both heard on The Splendid Table program on NPR with Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

Both brines have brown sugar, apple cider and salt and pepper.  The main difference between the two brines is that LRK’s brine has ancho chiles, cloves, basil and a ton of garlic.  PW’s has oranges, rosemary, bay leaves.  It’s just seems a little more mild.  I’m curious to see how the new recipe changes the experience.  I’m going to see if I can talk the Cowboy into using maple syrup instead of brown sugar … just because it seems silly to use a refined sugar when maple syrup exists in our world.

The thing about brining (wet or dry) … both will get you a juicy and delicious bird.  But the important thing is to do something.  That turkey is in the oven a long long time, and without a little help, that organic, free range bird you spent some serious cash to bring home might whither in the pan.  And that would be sad.

Here’s a great article from the NY Times about the science of brining … if you’re into that sort of thing 🙂

Apparently we fast roast our turkey (which basically means 10 minutes per pound in a 450 degree oven) because  it makes for a very crispy and golden skin).

I don’t remember if he tents.

And I’m going to talk to him about stuffing, because I think he does stuff, but I heard an interview with Alton Brown earlier today during which he talked about how stuffing will taste better if it’s cooked in the bird, but cooking stuffing in the bird dries out the turkey!

So NO STUFFING!

 At least … no stuffing in the bird.

Let’s call it dressing and cook it in it’s own vessel.

Okay … so if I get quizzed, or somehow end up being the one to make the turkey, this is what I would do:

Brine (wet … with maple syrup instead of sugar)

Fast roast (10 minutes per pound in 450 degree oven)

Tent it (for some of the time … pull the tent off for the last 45 minutes) – I just made that up, but it works for chickens and lasagne, right?  I think it would work.

And NO STUFFING!  Try dressing instead.

Q: What are the answers to your quiz?

let’s talk turkey (part 1 of 2 or 3)

A pre-dawn inner monologue by Jeanne …

Thanksgiving is 10 days away.

What ? ! ? !

It is.

And Christmas is in six weeks.

I’m sorry … but …

no …

… that just can’t be.

It is.

What happened to the Fourth of July?!?

It was four and half months ago.

Did I miss Labor Day?!?

I don’t think so.

Oh.  Right.

Halloween was two weeks ago.

There has been a giant butterfly living in our house since then.

And so goes the conversation in my brain this morning just before my eyes popped open and even though Thanksgiving won’t be at the Cottage this year as my in-laws have a much bigger abode, we’re going to do a good bit of the cooking.  So I realized we better get started planning!

We need to confirm the guest list.

Test a few recipes.

Figure out the menu.

But before I get ahead of myself, we need to talk some turkey.

Because at the center of our dinner there’s sure to be a turkey.

You, too?

I thought so.

And I’m assuming that if you’re checking out O’Mamas, you might already have an idea of what the labels mean.  Or maybe you’re new to organic and whole food living.  Maybe you’re just beginning the journey or looking for reasons to start.

Maybe you don’t pay attention to the labels, but are wondering if you should.

Here’s the breakdown:

HERITAGE – “Heritage” refers to the breed of turkeys and is generally known as a “legacy” bird.  They are big on the artisanal food market.  Although only a fraction of the birds sold in the US are heritage birds.  According to Wikipedia, heritage turkeys “have a relatively long lifespan and a much slower growth rate than turkey bred for industrial agriculture, and unlike industrially-bred turkeys, can reproduce without artificial insemination.”  And they can either be “organic” or “free range” or “industrially-bred.”

INDUSTRIALLY-BRED (not usually marked … often marked “natural”) – AKA factory-farmed … infused with chemicals that have no place in our bodies … have been bred to the point of barely resembling the animals from which they are descendants.  They are fed antibiotics to combat the diseases that occur because of their unnatural diets (turkeys are vegetarian … most industrially-bred turkeys are fed meat bi-products), and are given growth hormones so they can be slaughtered before maturity.  They may have extra breast meat … and they may “cook easily” and evenly … they may even be “tasty.”  But I would encourage you to rethink industrially-bred birds.

NATURAL – “natural” means absolutely nothing in the food world.  “Natural flavorings” often include MSG … “natural” juices contain added ascorbic acid and things that have nothing to do with nature.  It’s just a marketing term that companies use to lure you into complacency.  Beware “Natural” anything!!

FREE RANGE – just because a bird is free range, doesn’t mean it has the free range to wander far from it’s pen.  It just means it has access to the outdoors.  If it’s “free range” and “pasture-fed,” it’ll likely taste pretty good.  But if you take issue with the way animals are treated in the farming industry … free range may be better than the alternative, but it’s not really so great.

ORGANIC – an organic turkey can be any breed of turkey, but they are certified by the USDA that they have been raised without use of hormones, pesticides and the like.  The bird will have been fed a vegetarian diet.  Generally speaking, farmers who raise organic food (meat, poultry, veggies, grains, etc.) do so in a way that doesn’t harm the environment.  They don’t add “stuff” to your bird (like water, salt, modified food starch, sodium phosphates or “natural flavorings”) as many industrial farms do.  So as far as making a healthy choice, this seems to be the way to go.  They also tend to be pretty tasty (which has something to do with being pasture-fed).

I know the organic, free-range, pasture-fed variety can be more expensive, but it’s once a year.  And here are a few places you might be able to find more reasonably priced versions of the bird (and there’s still time to order!):

Trader Joe’s – organic brined turkeys for $2.99/lb are available in store.

Von’s – has organic birds for $2.99/lb, also in stores now.

Whole Foods – $3.99/lb for an organic free range bird.  And you can order these online!

D’Artagnan – has organic free range birds that can be ordered online … a bit pricey at $7.50/lb, but a reputable source.

Organic Prairie – another reputable online source, has organic whole young turkeys for about $4.31/lb.

Williams-Sonoma – for about $7.50/lb, you can get an organic free-range turkey from the Willie Bird Farm … plus $15 shipping.

So there you have it … good luck finding the right bird for your family.  We’ll be writing again in the coming days about whether we should wet brine, dry brine, fast cook, slow-roast or fry the bird this year.

How are you cooking YOUR bird this year?

PS – Don’t forget to register for this week’s GIVEAWAY!