Are you avoiding the shopping frenzy, sitting around watching old movies and unbuttoning your pants, wondering why you are still hungry? You can buy a holiday gift on-line that’s locavore-friendly without leaving the pleasure of your couch…..
January 22, The Winter Locavore Cooking Class, 6-10pm
In this class I will share secrets of winter cooking The Locavore Way using easy recipes that feature only the best seasonal ingredients. On the menu: Asian Shrimp Dumplings; Winter Salad with Roasted Shiitake Mushrooms, Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinegar; Beef Ragout; Moscow Borscht; Local Apple Galette, Cranberry-Apple Kuchen; and Dark Chocolate Truffles with Highlawn Farm Cream. Each student will receive a copy of my latest book, The Locavore Way: Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food. $115 per student. In Manhattan at the Institute of Culinary Education on 23rd Street.
Link to sign up!
Chicks rule! Three generations of my family pose after our Thanksgiving meal. From left to right: me, Ellen, my sister; my mom, also called Nonna; Emma, my daughter; Sadie, my niece and Joanna, my sister, who was the hostess. The minority male members of the clan are missing from the shot — my husband, Tommy, who took the picture, and Joanna’s husband, Mark, who had to work.
(From my last book, The Locavore Way:Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food, Storey, 2009)
Try a real turkey this holiday, or anytime at all. Farm fresh turkeys are a different bird entirely from the standard factory farmed frozen turkeys, which are raised as quickly as possible in tight living quarters. They’re raised for their white meat and are often injected with a solution to make them juicier and more flavorful.
Conventionally raised large birds can be moist and tender, but they can also be mushy or off-flavor. Breeds are chosen for commercial reasons only. The producers don’t have the time or food necessary to develop great bird flavor.
Alternatively, farm fresh turkeys bring with them a real story of your regional farm and can have a distinctive flavor as well. They’re more expensive, but they are well worth it. You’ll find two tiers on the expense ladder.
On the less-expensive tier are regional turkeys that are fresh, not frozen. These may or may not be organic, and you should check with your farm about whether they use additives, antibiotics,or growth hormones. I’ve bought and enjoyed plenty of these.
Up the dollar ladder substantially are heritage turkeys, with breeds like Bourbon Reds (see picture) that descended from the first turkeys in America. Heritage breeds (and sometimes conventional breeds) are allowed to roam freely and forage for some or all of their food. They have a deeper flavor and a firmer texture. And no additives, growth hormones,or antibiotics are added.
Note that organic birds, heritage breeds or not, are even more expensive,but some say they are well worth the outlay. Organic growers abide by a specific set of USDA rules. The turkeys have to be free of pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotics, and certain unnatural substances and processing techniques. They also have to be fed only organic feed. Having said that, if Ihave to choose, I generally choose local over organic.
Sadly, like so many, both of my local turkey farms went out of the turkey raising business, but they still buy fresh birds from regional farms. Buying from these farms keeps them alive. I like to buy a big bird, because you can’t beat the leftovers. In fact, we do a big turkey dinner several times a year, in part because I love to play with the leftovers and the flavorful turkey stock made from simmering the carcass. That stock cures any winter cold.
2012 Berkshire Thanksgiving Dinners, Free and Low-Cost
Those of us who can savor Thanksgiving together are lucky.
Learn more about food security for all! Link
Thanks to Judith Lerner of the Berkshire Eagle for these……
Salvation Army (413) 442-0624 www.salvationarmy.org 300 West St., Pittsfield; turkey dinner with all the trimmings made by Captain Scott Peabody, his wife Captain Karen Peabody and people from the church; Sunday, November 18, 4:30 p.m.; free walk-in.
Berkshire Food Project Community Thanksgiving Chef’s Dinner (413) 664-7378 www.berkshirefoodproject.org First Congregational Church, 134 Main St. at Ashland St., North Adams; Valerie Schwartz director, Jared Polens chef; presented by chefs Chris Bonnivier, Greg Roach and others; dinner Monday, November 19, 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. free walk-in; volunteers welcome all afternoon.
Berkshire South Community Center (413) 528-2810 x10 25 Crissey Road, Great Barrington; 5th Annual Community Thanks Supper; Tuesday, November 20; three seatings: 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.; free by reservation but donations are accepted; volunteers welcome call for information.
Christian Center 393 Robbins Ave. at Linden St., Pittsfield; (413) 443-2828; turkey dinner; 12pm to 1pm Thursday, November 22; doors open at 11:30 a.m.; open until 2 p.m.; meals delivered to elderly and shut-ins, hopefully by 12 p.m.; free walk-in; call any day up to Thanksgiving day at 12 p.m. to get a meal delivered.
Berkshire Vegan Network Living Thanksgiving at United Methodist Church of Lenox, 6 Holmes Road at Route 7, Lenox; vegan potluck; Thursday, November 22, 1 p.m.; adults/$7 children 3 to 12/$3; reservations required; call Melissa Campbell (413) 684-0176 email@example.com for reservations; each person is to bring a vegan dish free of all animal products that will serve 10; attach a recipe card with ingredients to each dish; coffee and hot and cold water will be provided; please bring own place settings and utensils. Guest share time after dinner to express why they are thankful. Speakers Aram Polster and Miriam Jones.
Guthrie Center Thanksgiving Dinner (413) 528-1955 4 Van Deusenville Road at Division St., Great Barrington; dinner; Thursday, November 22, 1 p.m.; free by reservation; hosted and catered by Samuel’s Deli and the Guthrie Center; call if you need transportation arrangements; volunteers welcome just show up.
My mom, daughter and me.
A three generation Thanksgiving 5 years ago
Enjoy friends, family and the best of the harvest.
(Recipe links in grey)
Rescue Roasted Turkey with Gravy
About Local and Sustainably Raised Turkeys
Double Cranberry-Orange Sauce
Smashed Potatoes and Celery Root with Chive Butter (leave out the butter cause you’ve got gravy)
Corn (Some farms, like Taft Farms near me, strip corn and freeze it for the winter)
Corn Pudding (This time of year forget the fresh tomato salsa time of year and you can leave out the cheese too.)
Butternut Pie with Gingersnap Crust
Sweet Pumpkin Soup with Apples and Honey
Warm Apple Galette with Garum Masala
Local spinach and brussels sprouts are my two favorite Thanksgiving veggies…..
Butternut Squash Cranberry Squares
Savory Sweet Potato Soup
What kind of a food policy report card does your representative have? Link.
Making fun food with what’s around. Wontons in the freezer, last of cherry tomatoes from Taft farms…..
Potato-Celery Root Ravioli with Parsley Pesto
Recipe Link. Light tasting and a great use for fall foods.
Butternut Squash Pie with Ginger Snap Crust
Link to recipe. One of my favorites this time of year. Forget the soggy pumpkin pie crust. Rather, use easy-to-handle butternut and a crisp ginger snap crust.
Local Food Improvisation
Asian Cherry Tomato Relish (with yummy sauce)
This was a knock out. Amounts are VERY approximate, but I think it’s hard to lose. Should work well atop fish, meat, chicken. Worth a try on with Chinese or buckwheat noodles. but just plunk on top, don’t mix in. I had it with sauteed chicken breasts. Procedure: Cook sliced whites of 4 scallions, 3 T fermented back beans (rinsed), 3 T chopped picked ginger in 1 T oil. Add 3 chopped garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons mirin and 1 tablespoon rice w. vinegar. Simmer a minute. Add 2 qts cherry tomatoes, halved, and greens of 1 scallion, slivered, thinly. Simmer, just until the tomatoes start to get a little soft. Season relish with hot sauce and salt, if needed. Take off heat. Drain off liquid: That’s the relish. Boil liquid until thick: That’s the sauce. Top food with relish. Drizzle with reduced sauce.
My thumb’s up to start.
Alright, I’m off topic. The picture is of me — with peek at my husband, Tommy— relaxing under a waterfall in Grenada. It’s the kind of vacation I’m craving right now, even during this fabulous fall. Probably that’s because I’m still recovering from producing the Harvest Festival for the Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge— 15,000 attendees with a farmers market, plenty of local food and fall fun, all to benefit the Garden’s educational programs. (And thanks to Devi Sharp, who managed the garbage, the festival is getting closer to a zero waste event. Now that’s dumpster diving!)
October 23, Talk about Local Food and the Environment
Come join me in North Andover, MA at Merrimack College in Cascia Hall, 6-8 pm. I’ll be speaking with students and food service staff about The Locavore Way.
October 24, Keep Farming Kick Off
Keep Berkshires Farming initiative in the central Berkshires. 7:00-8:30pm at Pittsfield’s public library – Berkshire Athanaeum auditorium (1 Wendell Ave). Come participate in and listen to this county-wide effort to support local farming.
October 27-27, Communal Table Goes Mushroom Foraging and more….
A weekend-long event. See link for more: Mushroom and Moonshine Redux in Columbia county, New York.
College Grads Digging into Agriculture
With the aging farmer population it’s always great to hear about kids turning to agriculture. Link here.
Local Food Improvisation I enjoyed this week?
Left over whole wheat spaghetti, Asian-style with spinach and tomatoes. Saute up the last of the spinach and cherry tomatoes a touch of oil, garlic and ginger, just until spinach is wilted. Toss over pasta with a splash of soy, mirin, rice wine vinegar, hot sauce and a touch of sesame oil. (Add left over chicken if you have it.) Salt to taste if needed. Eat!
Butternut Cranberry Squares anyone?
I introduced this into school lunches. If you’re going to eat sweet, it might as well be real food right from our farms! Link here.
Sign up now, give as a gift, spread the word…….
Saturday, October 27, Apple Tasting and Cooking
Compare and contrast local seasonal apples.
Make and bring home apple sauce.
Prepare and dine on Apple Galette with Local Ice Cream
A Saturday, Noon-3, $55 including a apple sauce and heavenly dessert.
Location: My house in West Stockbridge at the address below.
Contact me for details and to register. Or send a check with class to:Amy Cotler, 139 West Center Road, West Stockbridge, MA 01266
Links on a late summer day…..
A recipe for cool evenings, using the last of the tomatoes. Ahhhh…Tomato Bread Soup, one of my favorites.
A great recipe, because eggplant and arugula are plentiful, so it’s time to combine them in a tasty sandwich.
Click here for two good food news links!