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Friday, November 25, 2005

The BEST Turkey ever !!

Thanksgiving was great, Mom and Dickie came over and we had a ball. We tried a new receipe for our turkey from epicurious.

We used one of our pastured Bourbon Red turkeys and quite frankly if I had any questions about next years price increase, they are gone this is worth it, especially considering how many people you can feed from one 16.75 pound bird.

Remember that pastured birds have 21% less fat, 30 % less saturated fat, 28 % fewer cals, 100 more omega 3's and 50% more vitamin A.

We look forward to my side of the family getting together for that Thanksgiving on Sunday when we will do this again.

I cooked it at 325 for exactly 4 hours and let it set for 30 minutes, I didn't have any light molasses so I used dark, other wise I follow the receipe pretty closely, I did probably put in more sage and thyme since we have that growing in our herb garden.

You have GOT to try this:

From Epicurious

Brining ensures moist, succulent meat, and this recipe from Bruce Aidells, chef and founder of Aidells Sausage Company, could not be easier or more low-tech. The special equipment required? Two 30-gallon plastic bags and one very large (16-quart) bowl that will fit in the fridge. You'll want to get started a day ahead, because the turkey is brined for 18 to 20 hours. Stuffing this turkey is not recommended; the brine remaining in the meat may soak into the stuffing during roasting.
Stock5 cups low-salt chicken broth2 medium carrots, chopped2 large celery stalks, chopped1 onion, halved2 small bay leavesNeck, heart, and gizzard reserved from 18- to 20-pound turkey
Brine and turkey1 18- to 20-pound turkey7 quarts water2 cups coarse salt (about 9 ounces) 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar1 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses2 bunches fresh thyme1 bunch fresh sage2 quarts ice cubes
2 large onions, halved1 head of garlic, halved horizontally3 tablespoons olive oil1 tablespoon ground black pepper1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
4 cups (about) low-salt chicken broth
Gravy1 cup finely chopped onion1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme20 gingersnap cookies, coarsely crumbled (about 1 3/4 cups) 3 to 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce1/4 cup whipping cream (optional)
For stock: Combine broth, carrots, celery, onion, and bay leaves in large saucepan. Add reserved neck, heart, and gizzard. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until stock is reduced to 3 1/4 cups, about 1 hour. Strain turkey stock into medium bowl. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover stock and refrigerate.)
For brine and turkey: Line very large (about 16-quart) bowl with two 30-gallon plastic bags, one inside the other. Rinse turkey inside and out. Place turkey in plastic-lined bowl. Combine 7 quarts water, salt, sugar, molasses, 1 bunch thyme, and 1/2 bunch sage in large bowl or pot. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Mix in ice cubes. Pour brine over turkey in plastic bags. Gather tops of bags together, eliminating air space above brine; seal bags. Refrigerate turkey in brine 18 to 20 hours.
Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 350°F. Remove turkey from brine. Drain very well; discard brine. Pat turkey dry inside and out. Place turkey on small rack set in large roasting pan. Fill main cavity with remaining 1 bunch thyme and 1/2 bunch sage, onions, and garlic. Stir oil, pepper, chopped thyme, and chopped sage in small bowl to form paste; smear all over outside of turkey. Tuck wing tips under; tie legs together loosely to hold shape.
Roast turkey 1 hour, tenting loosely with foil if browning quickly. Turn pan around; roast turkey 30 minutes. Pour 1 cup broth over turkey; re-tent loosely with foil. Roast turkey, basting with 1 cup broth every 30 minutes until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, about 2 hours longer. Transfer turkey to platter. Remove vegetables and herbs from main cavity and discard. Spoon any juices from cavity into roasting pan. Let turkey stand 30 minutes (internal temperature will increase 5 to 10 degrees).
For gravy: Strain pan juices into bowl. Spoon off fat, reserving 2 tablespoons. Heat reserved 2 tablespoons turkey fat in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and thyme. Sauté until onion browns, about 10 minutes. Add turkey stock, gingersnaps, 3 tablespoons cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Add 2 cups degreased pan juices and bring to boil, whisking to dissolve gingersnaps. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until gravy thickens, about 4 minutes. Season gravy to taste with salt and pepper, adding remaining tablespoon vinegar and cream, if desired.
Serve turkey with gravy.Makes 12 to 14 servings.Bon AppétitNovember 2002
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rate this recipe
92% would makethis recipe again
A Cook from Cheshire, CT on 11/23/05
The salt does not make the food salty - it sets up a condition that makes water enter the cells of the turkey, thus making it moist. By cutting back on the salt compared to the amount of water, the correct ratio of salt solution to food will not be correct. Read more about brining. Also, brining works great with chicken and pork. We don't grill either without brining first.
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A Cook from Jacksonville, FL on 11/23/05
I made this turkey last year for Thanksgiving and received raving reviews. I am not a salt person so did not add as much salt as the recipe called for. Also when I made the gravy I forgot to make the stock so made the gravy without it and it still came out great. I usually prefer the side items instead of the turkey but this recipe was so good, I couldn't resist seconds. The gravy is a must, well worth the effort!
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luv4ro from Sandy, UT on 11/22/05
This turkey was amazing! (I don't even like turkey!) We made this last year and everyone raved that it was the best turkey they ever had. This year, my family asked for it again. SO GOOD and gravy is wonderful!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Label Issue

Word count 1,427

November 23, 2005


I have been wanting to do an article for the Mystic River Press for almost a year now on the supermarket labels and how the consumer has no clue as to what they are putting in their mouths and how that food is affecting their health and the health of their grandchildren.

In my last article I spoke of how I was going to start a new diet, one that only requires you to buy LOCAL and IN SEASON. For months now I have been advocating that people develop a relationship with a farmer or a number of farmers, then go to the farm to see exactly how their food is raised or grown and perhaps more importantly how it is processed, then decide what product or products they can best use at their dinner table.

I have given the readers a list of local farms and we will add to that list in 2006. I have also told them they can come to our web site and follow links to local farms, we have given them information on farmers markets, now it’s time to address the labels in the stores.

All the information has been given, it is up to the consumer to make a educated decision as to whether they want to get more healthy or just be lazy and eat status quo. You see eating healthy takes a bit more time and costs a bit more money and God forbid that we should take any time away from our busy schedules just for the sake of our own health and the health of our descendants.

Many people spend hundreds to join a gym, or get plastic surgery, have a botox treatment, join a diet club or a exercise facility, they spend hundreds on running or walking shoes, fancy bikes, exercise equipment and then they refuse to take the time and effort to REALLY eat right.

Your real exercise and your basic road to good health starts here:

These are some links and quotes I have found on the web that will tell the story I need told.

In my opinion eco-label and ask Dr. Sears are the two best sites to get yourself educated.

USDA DRASTICALLY CHEAPENS MEANING OF ORGANIC LABEL National Organic Standards Board Meeting, Chicago, IL, April 28-30, 2004
New Changes: The USDA significantly undermined this standard by applying a blind use approval protocol. That is, an organic farmer can use ANY pesticide formulation before determining whether it contains List 2 or 3 ingredients. The farmer and the certifier must use "due diligence" to find out what is in these formulations but if they cannot ascertain the specific ingredients, then AS LONG AS THEY DON'T KNOW, IT IS APPROVEDFOR USE.

USDA HAS BACKED AWAY FROM CERTIFYING FISH AS ORGANIC FOR NOW--BUT IT CAN STILL BE LABELED ORGANIC (TO NO STANDARD) AND BE FED TO LIVESTOCKUSDA has halted the use of the USDA seal on any fish until it develops standards. In the meantime, any organic label can be used on fish and USDA is proposing to feed nonorganic fishmeal to cows. Allowance of non-organic fish meal (that could contain contaminants such as mercury and PCBs) as well as synthetic preservatives can now be used-- without review by the National Organic Standards Board--as a protein supplement for livestock feed.


New Changes: After this new guidance document, the USDA is expanding the use of antibiotics to individual animals AT ANY TIME DURING ORGANIC PRODUCTION while keeping the 12 month waiting period for organic milk production.

These moves constitute a serious blow to the meaning of the organic label on food for consumers. Barbara Robinson from the USDA was quoted in yesterday's meeting as saying that, "The public has no right to comment on these directives." NOP is a public program paid for by taxpayers who have a right to comment on any additions, interpretations or efforts to undermine the standards.

Food Safety and Inspection ServiceUnited States Department of AgricultureWashington, D.C. 20250-3700

Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside

A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed (a process which does not fundamentally alter the raw product) may be labeled natural.
Is organic food better for me and my family?
USDA makes no claims that organically produced food is safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced food. Organic food differs from conventionally produced food in the way it is grown, handled, and processed.

Angus: All it's cut out to be?
By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY
Geneticists are unlocking the secrets of the grocery story, and what they're finding is surprising.
First it was the fish counter, where researchers recently discovered that as much as 77% of all fish sold as red snapper actually wasn't red snapper.
Now it's the meat counter.
Scientists at a Texas company creating genetic tests for individual cattle breeds tested 560 cuts of beef sold as certified Angus and found that between 8% and 50% of the cuts weren't genetically at least 50% Angus.
The Angus breed is considered particularly tasty because its meat is well marbled with fat. Producers have been capitalizing on the Angus name since the 1970s.
Viagen, of Austin, tested beef purchased in Texas, Nebraska, Kansas and Illinois in 2003 and 2004. Four different Angus-branded beef labels were tested. Using two separate tests, the company looked for more than 50% Angus lineage and less than 25% Brahman, a breed associated with increased toughness.
The four brands varied widely in the percentage of samples that fit the Angus profile: 92%, 83%, 71% and 50%. When Viagen tested a non-Angus-branded beef label as a control, they found that 47% of those samples fit the Angus profile.
The findings aren't surprising, says Davey Griffin, a meat specialist at Texas A&M University, because certified Angus beef programs are actually based on hide color, not genetics.
In fact, of more than 30 Angus beef certification programs verified by USDA, only four require actual genetic confirmation. The rest, mostly older programs, are based on visual identification and require only that the animal's hide be 51% black. That's primarily because in the past hide color was the most reliable indicator of breed.
"They don't have to show or prove any Angus background," Griffin says.
The criteria used for the Certified Angus Beef brand, one of the oldest Angus certifications, are focused on quality issues, says a spokesman for the company that oversees the program. They include marbling, degree of muscling relative to fat, and age rather than genetics, says Brent Eichar of Certified Angus Beef LLC.
"We're a breed-influenced program," Eichar says. "We talk about the Angus influence, but we nowhere make claims of it as a pure breed."

"Natural" is probably the least trustworthy of all the label terms. While the term "natural" sounds appealing, it really says little about the nutritional quality of the food, or even its safety. In reality, "natural" is empty of nutritional meaning. Consumers believe that "natural" means the food is pretty much as Mother Nature grew it, but this is seldom the case. And even then, "natural" is not the same as nutritious, or good for you. The fat marbling in a New York strip steak is "natural," but it's not good for your arteries.
Isn’t it time you started to find local farms where you can get good, clean, humanely raised and hand processed meats and good, clean, fresh, handpicked fruits and veggies and herbs. Start your search now by going to and find the farms that will best fill your table.
Next visit the bookstore on line and purchase a good book on canning, drying and freezing food so that you can enjoy that fresh safe food all winter long.
Putting Food By -- by Janet Greene; Paperback Buy new: $10.85 -- Used & new from: $3.75
Complete Guide to Home Canning and Preserving (Second Revised Edition) -- by U.S. Dept. of Agriculture; Paperback Buy new: $9.95 -- Used & new from: $6.78
Stocking Up : The Third Edition of America's Classic Preserving Guide -- by Carol Hupping; Paperback Buy new: $13.60 -- Used & new from: $4.30

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Work Party

Some folks have been asking me to ask for help in clearing land etc, sooooooooooo I have decided to ask and therefore on Jan 7th we will try to get some people together to haul brush in the south five acre lot.
Our good friend Wade Stoner will be here and we will see who else can come to help us for a few hours.
With enough hands it shouldn't take long.

I DO HATE asking for help.



Picture test

I don't think the picture test worked ???

This worked for me. You're suffering from pilot error? :>)) Sarah

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Fixed it

Thanks Sarah for fixing this, now to try some pictures etc.



Talked with Maurice's yesterday to set up a "cut up" date and have one for Saturday at 2:00PM, with 3 pigs to do it will be a long day.

Still have to fix my trailer, last time we had it in a paddock to catch piglets they ate the wiring...

On Thanksgiving day we have to catch 3 calves as they are being sold and picked up on saturday.

Went to the Mohegian Sun Casino Sat to watch the PBR, those boys are nuts. It was a great time for sure. Jeff got to go on Sunday as he is in the High School media club he got lots of footage and the group got some interviews so they were happy.

The Denison Farmers market plans are coming along well, we have some responses back from our questionaire's that were sent out, we'll make a go/no go decision around Jan 1st.

Plan to work on the south five acre lot in december, the cows have done a wonderful job in there and now it's time to go in and pile things up and finish cutting what is still attached.

Have been thinking about over wintering the cattle in the four acre lot, they will do a great job clearing it and it is the last pasture to really get cleared, then we can concentrate on bringing back the grasses.

Must remember to type in here the mixture that I am feeding the cattle, someone else might like to try it as it seems to be working REAL well for us, many thanks to Nat Joslin for the receipe and idea.



Monday, November 21, 2005


Well a few things need to get ironed out as my posts to the blog appear as coming from Sarah.

The turkey processing went okay but took way too long, nice to have the family together and the food afterwards was great.
We plan on building a whole new processing area for next year to get us out of the mud and make the job easier as we hope to do 100 birds.
So a shelter needs to be built and a raised floor with more hoses for water,(we have 2 now) I had to wait at times for my hose, also we need more sinks (we have two) one for each position, another thing to add would be another burner for the bag shrinking, it took too long to get the water hot the second time. Also we need to come up with something that will hold the bird (like a mini cage) while it is being dunked to shrink the cryovac.
I want to get rid of the chill tank and go to something that uses chilled air, this will reduce our water that ends up in the bags at the end, sometimes it is a bit bloody which looks bad, so we need to work on that.
We use medical clamps for pulling pin feathers and cleaning the cavity, we need a pair for every station.
Finally we need to use hog rings for these bags as the special stapler does not work too good, I think it is due to the extra volume of air which tends to blow the staples off the bag.

Lots to do this winter, will hopefully be able to build 10 more chicken or turkey tractors as we believe pastured turkeys to be the absolute best.