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Greg CabezaLive Well. Eat Well. That’s Chef Greg Cabeza’s philosophy. Greg is a trained artisan chef who perfects many of the recipes created in our Market Kitchens. Enthusiasm for food pours as naturally from Greg’s lips as gravy onto mashed potatoes. He will share this enthusiasm with you here.
ThanksgivingMeal-tall-1It’s Turkey Time again! And that means a home filled with delicious smells and smiles, family and friends gathering together around a beautiful feast, and making memories for years to come. I fondly remember my mother getting up early on Thanksgiving morning to stuff the turkey, rubbing it with butter and herbs, and then slow-roasting and basting it for several hours while fending off my brothers and I as we tried to steal little piece without her noticing. (Although we now highly recommend, for food safety, that the stuffing be prepared outside of the bird, and put inside a cooked turkey right before serving.)

Serving up the best from your Market
My mother is a fantastic cook, and I’m always amazed and grateful when I think back to the holiday meals she lovingly prepared for us. Planning ahead helps create those kinds of moments for your special dinner. That’s where your Market Kitchen shines. Visit us for all of your Thanksgiving needs. Your Market Chefs have all of the traditional sides you and your family love, including Turkey Gravy, Mashed Potatoes with Herb Butter, Maple Bourbon Sweet Potatoes with Pecans, Green Beans with Hazelnuts and Shallots, Bread Puddings, Cranberry Sauce and so many other treats. You just have to see for yourself. From a little help to cooking the whole shebang, we’ve got you covered. We even have oven-ready turkeys rubbed with butter, lemon and sage, ready to roast at your convenience!

Divvy up the tasks among your guests
If you’re cooking the big meal yourself, divide the tasks up among your guests, asking for specific dishes. We have some favorites in my family, such as my wife’s Smoked Trout or Salmon Pate (see recipe below). Her talented mother provides sides or dessert, and her father chooses the cheese and wine. We always enjoy appetizers an hour before dinner. Good food takes time. A rushed cook leads to big mistakes, so take it slow.

Developing new traditions
I like to take charge of the main course, as you might have guessed. Whether it is turkey, ham, prime rib, salmon or game, I always start with recipes I know well. Now is not the time to start experimenting on your family and friends with an obscure French recipe for roasted pigeon, which might or might not translate to your much larger needs. And besides, those pigeons are hard to catch! I love simple recipes for the holidays, that can become traditions in future years, such as a Lemon-Sage Butter for rubbing and basting the turkey. (See my blog post from Thanksgiving of 2012 for recipes and more tips.) Or a generous salt and garlic rub for prime rib. Stick to only one or two new ideas for the entire menu, and you will sail through with flying colors.

Tips for cooking the main meal
A few tips for cooking meats, and just about everything else for that matter: You should have a good meat or kitchen thermometer to achieve the best results and insert the probe into the deepest part of the roast, checking multiple spots repeatedly to avoid overcooking. Remove a large roast/turkey from the oven a few degrees under optimum or desired temperature, and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes. Carryover heat will bring it to the proper temp, and the juices will relax and redistribute throughout the meat.

Ellen’s Smoked Trout or Salmon Pate

½ lb smoked trout or smoked salmon, bones removed, or 4 oz lox salmon
8 oz cream cheese
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 T fresh dill, chopped
1 T capers, drained (optional)
2-3 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper Salt to taste, approx. ½ tsp
1 T chives or green onion, minced

Add salmon or trout to processor and pulse to a coarse paste. Add remaining ingredients, except chives, and combine well. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired, adding more lemon juice or salt as needed. Stir in chives or green onions. Serve with cucumber slices, crackers and bread.

Enjoy the time with your friends, family and everyone else, this season. And as always, eat and live well!
I’m no pastry cook, so when I was recently tasked with making and styling the Caramelized Phyllo Napoleons with White Chocolate Cream for the Savories photo shoot, I was a bit nervous. You see, piping bags seem to spit and sputter in my hands, working with chocolate brings out some choice words, and I happen to also be an expert when it comes to burning butter! You might find that hard to believe, since I can hold my own with a sauté pan or a hunk of meat that needs roasting, but when we start talking about pastry creams or making ganache, I admit I’m out of my element. I love a challenge though, and after some reassurance that this recipe is straightforward, I dove in.

I learned some tricks and tips from Oren Kariri, our Culinary Development Chef who created this recipe. Oren trained in France, specializing in pastries, and he patiently showed me the basics, such as how to properly hold a pastry bag* (hold it like a water balloon, squeezing gently and evenly with your whole hand, not your fingers), telling me to bake the cookies on an aluminum pan instead of a nonstick (they will be more crisp and golden and won’t darken as quickly), and to do some steps a day in advance to take the pressure off when plating the dessert. I recommend to those of you who are a bit pastry challenged like myself to make the Strawberry-Rhubarb Coulis (sauce) a day ahead. It’s very easy to make, is outstanding on many desserts such as pie or ice cream, and will keep well in a sealed container for several days. Oren also pointed out that the White Chocolate Cream can be made a day ahead (don’t whip it until ready to use, and don’t over whip or it will separate) as well as baking the cookies, so there’s really little left to do but pile it high with strawberries when you’re ready to enjoy! He was adamant about using a high quality white chocolate, not chips, for best results. Puff pastry can be substituted for the cookies if desired to really simplify preparation, though you won’t get the pleasing sugary crunch in each bite. After some coaching I gave it a try. I piped and built a Napoleon with him, and it looked and tasted fantastic! And he was right, it was pretty easy! CaramelizedPhylloNapoleons


The day of the shoot came and I was ready. I made a few backup batches of the cream and cookies just in case of disaster. You never know what can happen in just a few minutes to a beautiful dessert under some hot lights. I built a few Napoleons, working quickly, plated the best, put it on the set, got everything just right, and then ‘BOOM’ dropped sauce awkwardly all over the plate. It looked as if it was sitting on a puddle of ketchup (not very appetizing, and definitely not the look I was going for). I had to scramble the fighter jets. I quickly and carefully transferred the ‘hero’ Napoleon, cleaned the plate, added a few drops of sauce, dragged a spoon carefully through it, and set the dessert back in its place. A dusting of sugar and a berry on top finished it off, and ‘pop pop pop,’ we got the shot. After catching my breath, I admired how well this turned out, even after the minor struggles.

I encourage you to have fun with this one! It really is a beautiful spring recipe and if I can do it, so can you. Your friends and family will be totally amazed. Enjoy!

*The White Chocolate Cream can also be dropped in dollops by the spoonful, or put into a sealable plastic bag with a tiny corner cut off and simply piped through that hole.
It’s almost turkey day, and because I get loads of questions about how to cook the perfect turkey this time of year, I put together a cheat sheet/recipe just for you.
Turkey-dinner-web-image

Prep: Remove neck, tail and giblets (save and roast if using for gravy or stuffing).

Basic Brine: This step is crucial when roasting a natural turkey, as it adds moisture and flavor throughout. Other flavorings can be used if desired, such as apple juice, citrus, peppercorns, spices, brown sugar, etc.

1 gal water
½ c evaporated cane juice (sugar)
¾ c sea salt

Combine, dissolve, and use this ratio to cover turkeys (especially breast). Brine overnight in large pot or container under refrigeration (do not brine for longer than 24 hours or turkey will be salty). Drain and rinse well under cold water. Pat dry with paper towels before rubbing with butter and roasting. Tie legs together with kitchen string and tuck wings behind back.

Lemon-Sage Butter (for one 15-20 lb. turkey)
½ c softened butter, room temp
2 T lemon juice, room temp
1 t rubbed sage
1 t salt
½ t black pepper

Combine butter and spices in processor, slowly pouring in lemon juice with processor running. Spread mixture over turkey, especially breast, placing a few tablespoons under the skin on breast. If desired, fill cavity with aromatics, such as crushed garlic, herbs, diced onions, etc. Roast uncovered at 300° for 10 min per pound (approx. 2+ hours), basting multiple times for last 45 min. until internal temp reaches 165°. Cover breast with foil if skin darkens too quickly. Raise oven temp to 375° for last 15-20 min to lightly brown skin, if necessary. Be careful not to overcook. Let rest 10 min before carving.

Let’s talk for a few minutes about each step.

Brining: This helps lean meats, such as poultry or pork, hold moisture and flavor when cooking. We’ve all had dry, tasteless turkey with the only fix being lots of gravy. But if you have ever tasted a brined turkey – juicy, moist and bursting with flavor – you know how critical this step is.

There are many recipes out there for the “perfect” brine, but they all come down to this: salt and sugar in solution. Water works just fine, and brown sugar or raw sugar is preferable to refined white. If you want more interesting flavors, try adding peppercorns, chilies, and citrus to the brine. Or start with apple juice instead of water, adding brown sugar, allspice berries, candied ginger and rosemary if desired. It’s necessary to boil the brine if you go this route, and then chill or add ice and cover the turkey with the liquid.

Make sure you have a container large enough to hold the brine and turkey overnight under refrigeration. I find it best to brine for 16 hours or so. Longer and the turkey absorbs more salt, less and it will not have time for the flavors to penetrate the breast meat. When ready to cook, rinse the turkey well under cold water. This removes excess salt from the skin, and makes for better pan drippings for gravy. *See below for a little side note about gravy.
   
Roasting: I have found after cooking hundreds of turkeys, here, at your Market over the years, that it is best to cook a turkey slowly. While there are differing methods, such as first cooking at very high temps and continually reducing the heat, I find this method difficult and may result in a burnt bird. Cooking at 300° is much more forgiving if you become distracted making mashed potatoes or other delicious dishes for your holiday feast. Generally, a 15 lb turkey takes about 2.5 hours. I prefer to turn the oven temp up for the last 20 minutes or so and brown the skin at that point.

Basting is crucial to getting an evenly browned skin and adding flavor (and fat!) to the delicate breast meat of the turkey. Keep spooning or brushing the pan drippings and/or melted butter over the turkey for the last 45 minutes of cooking for a beautiful finish.

Stuffing should be prepared separately and added to the cooked turkey if desired, before serving. This ensures that everything cooks to a safe temperature.
   
Resting the turkey, as with all roasted meats, allows the meat to relax and the juices to redistribute evenly throughout. After removing from the oven, let rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.

Gravy: I always roast the neck, giblets (not the liver, which is too strongly flavored), and a few bits of vegetables such as onions, carrots and celery, until they begin to darken. Then, add them to a sauce pot with the pan drippings from the roasted turkey (fat skimmed off) and cover with about a quart of water or turkey stock. Throw in a bay leaf, a few peppercorns and bring to a boil, reducing by 1/3. Strain out solids and discard, returning liquid to the pot. Bring back to a boil and whisk in enough roux (equal parts butter and flour combined) to make a thin sauce (it will thicken as it cools, so don’t overdo it). This can be made with a cornstarch slurry, instead, for gluten-free gravy. I’ve made this in small and large batches and have had success every time.

Turkey Gravy
1 T olive oil blend
½ yellow onion, quartered
½ carrot, peeled and chunked
1 celery rib, rough chopped
½ t salt
1 turkey neck
1 set turkey giblets, discard liver
1 turkey backbone (if available)
½ gal water*
3 T turkey base
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
8 black peppercorns

Roast the vegetables, turkey neck, giblets, and back in salt and oil at 350° for 30 min until edges begin to brown. Transfer all to a pot and add remaining ingredients (water, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaf, and turkey base). Bring to a boil and reduce by ¼ to extract and concentrate flavors. Strain out solids and return liquid to pot. Meanwhile, make roux.

Blond Roux
½ c flour
½ c butter

Melt butter in sauce pan and whisk in flour, stirring constantly over med high-heat until bubbly and nutty, fragrant aroma develops (this removes the flour/doughy flavor).  Whisk roux, in thirds, into boiling turkey stock until desired consistency is achieved. Allow a few minutes between additions for roux to activate. When all is added, adjust for desired consistency and flavor; you may need more water to reduce it slightly. Salt to taste. Gravy should be slightly thin while still warm. Reheat gently or roux will separate. 

*Note: pan drippings from roasted turkey are highly recommended if available to supplement the water/turkey base. This can be made in larger quantities.

Yields approx. 1.5 quarts

Best wishes to you
I wish you all happy holidays, and of course, some great food on your table. If you need hints, tips, or tasty additions to your meal, visit with the folks in your Market Kitchen. We love this time of the year and are always glad to help.

mshrmsWe love mushrooms here at your Market, and especially look forward to the return of chanterelles. These prized beauties pop up almost overnight as the first fall rains hit the forests of the Northwest. Unique to these precious golden caps is an earthy, sublime taste of the woods.

Many mushroom hunters closely guard their favorite picking spots, only offering vague, teasing hints to friends with a twinkle in their eye, as if holding the key to a buried treasure. In fact they do, as chanterelles are fickle. Sometimes abundant, though often elusive, they hide in tiny breaks in the underbrush, only showing themselves to those who look for them off the beaten path. They can only be found in the wild and the season is short, so many people scramble for them at the first sign of their return. Our window of opportunity to indulge in one of the finest culinary treats in the world lasts only a few weeks. And they’re available at your Market!

mshstruThe chanterelle uses are many, since they pair well with flavorful fats like olive oil, butter and cheese, and are perfect in pastas and risottos. Delicious and simple to prepare, sauté in butter and a splash of white wine, then serve over local goat cheese on warm artisan bread. Or tuck inside an omelet with Gruyere and fresh herbs for some easy treats. Chanterelles lend a deep, woodsy flavor to pastas, soups, pot pies, rice and savory pastries. This leads me to mention one of our favorite recipes, the much-loved Wild Mushroom Strudel.

In your Market Kitchen, we make these strudels fresh daily in small sizes, which are fantastic alongside roasted turkey or fresh salmon. Taste for yourself why we bring these back every year. And don’t forget to try our Chanterelle Risotto Balls – another favorite time of year.

Take advantage of chanterelles while you can, because the first sign of snow ends the season, making us wait another year for a chance to feast on these wonders of the woods.
Enjoy, and as always, pop in and ask for helpful cooking tips anytime. See you at the Market!

Photo1_OrenHey Foodies! I’ve got some juicy tales to tell, so gather round. I, along with a handful of Kitchen staff from your Market, just returned from Sonora, California, where we took a tour of Diestel Family Turkey Ranch.

With Thanksgiving approaching and turkey on the mind, it seems appropriate to talk about how Diestel began, by growing high-quality turkeys intended for Thanksgiving dinners.

Before long, people started asking for their delicious birds year round. Today, your Market Kitchens carry several varieties, including those available in the deli, such as their artisan line of Smoked, Oven Roasted, and Honey Roasted turkey breasts, as well as the flavored Herbed, BBQ, and Peppered turkey breasts. All are outstanding examples of how a lot of love, passion and hard work can create incredibly delicious results.

Photo3_HeidiDiestelOn our tour, the Diestel family showed us around the ranch, taking us out to “walk the flock,” as they do every day. Tim and Joan Diestel run the farm with their two sons, Jason and Garrett, and daughter Heidi. All showed us great hospitality and were a wealth of knowledge about healthy, sustainable farming practices. We all were inspired by the care shown for the animals and the extraordinary efforts they make to ensure their foods are of the highest quality.

In a nutshell, the Diestel secrets for success are simple: raise healthy birds, don’t rush things, and never compromise quality. I enjoyed walking around and witnessing these values in action. Of course, simply strolling through green pastures with dozens of turkeys strutting alongside of us was a highlight I will never forget, as well.

We sat and enjoyed a fabulous lunch of, what else, fresh turkey sandwiches while sitting under oak trees, listening to the sounds of bees buzzing, chickens clucking and turkeys hilariously gobbling in unison every time the dog barked. What a fantastic way to spend our day, and we are forever thankful for the opportunity.

You can find Diestel lunchmeats in your Market Kitchens. Ask for a sample of the different flavors, and taste for yourself what I already know: that’s some good bird!
Photo5_MOCKitchenCrew

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The Kitchen Blog

  • How to plan ahead for the best Thanksgiving ever
    18.11.13
    It’s Turkey Time again! And that means a home filled with delicious smells and smiles, family and friends gathering together around a beautiful feast, and making memories for years to come. I fondly remember my…
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