Here’s how it all came out…

Turkey breast chunks and rillettes packed for storage.

From that turkey I ended up making:

1. A brined roasted turkey breast for dinner

2. A jar of confited turkey breast chunks to use in meals

3. Two confited turkey legs

4. Four servings of turkey rillettes packed in glasses and topped with fat

5. Three quarts of turkey stock

Pretty good weekends’ work. I’m tired of doing dishes, but loving all this delicious meat stored up for the next few weeks.

Confited turkey legs wrapped and ready to freeze.

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Of turkey and its many uses

Jared sent me a link to these people confiting turkey earlier this fall, and it’s been in my mind. We haven’t hosted Thanksgiving for awhile, so I don’t get much turkey beyond what I shovel on my plate on Thanksgiving day, so this year I decided to buy one to cook after the holiday. I finally had a free morning (and the kids had their Saturday morning cartoons) so I got busy messing up the kitchen.

I butchered the turkey and am separated it into two groups: the legs/thighs, the wings, and one breast were rubbed with salt, thyme, parsley, sage, smoked paprika, and garlic, and put on a rack in the refrigerator to cure until tomorrow. The remainder – the rest of the carcass, the neck, and one of the breasts went into a brine. I’ll roast the brined breast for dinner tonight, and the rest will soak in the brine overnight.

Turkey parts coated with salt and seasonings, ready to cure overnight.

I just finished designing a cookbook for Lark restaurant (which I’m very excited about – book review coming soon). I think Alicia is going to be relatively irritated as I try to cook from the book… almost everything is complicated, and most certainly a lot of dishes are dirtied. But I hatched a plan based on the Tete de cochon and Pork rillettes recipes from the book: I am going to cook the carcass and neck gently in water and pull off the meat a la the pig’s head, plus pull off the meat from the wings that will be confited (slow-cooked in fat) to make turkey rillettes (shredded meat packed in jars). The legs/thighs and one of the breasts will also be confited and those will be stored in the fridge packed in fat to pull out and use in meals for the next month or so.

At least that’s the plan. I’ll keep you updated on how it turns out.

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Mason Jars or bust

One of the hallmarks of being in the urban farmer jetset is the prolific use of mason jars (I need to start a new blog called “Things Urban Farmers Like”. But I think that might be a little redundant, so I’ll keep it here.) I haven’t done a feature on my sure-to-get-a-comment-wherever-I-take-it travel mug but that may need to come soon.

In the meantime, Alicia discovered on Pintrest that you can use the top of a Morton’s salt container on a wide-mouth jar, just as we were using up a container of iodized goodness. Taking inventory of all the irritating containers in our pantry, I decided it was time to retire the grungy corn meal container we’ve been refilling since our days in California and go with something a little more farm-chic. Plus, pretty much the only thing I use corn meal for is making sure pizza doesn’t stick to the peel, so the new spout will work great for applying a limited amount.



Lemons + herbs for the win

This summer we added two new recipes to our family repertoire. First, on a whim one day while playing tourist down at the Pike Place Market we bought a baby shark for Robbie. Which was actually a trout but he didn’t need to know that. We brought it home, filled the fish with sliced lemons, rosemary, mint, lavender, thyme, and oregano, tied it up, and put it on the grill for a couple minutes a side. Miracle of miracles, the kids devoured it, and then played pretend with the bones for the rest of the afternoon. In the times since, Hannah has been enthusiastic all they way until it came time to actually eat the fish, but Robbie still loves Grilled Baby Shark with Local Herbs and Imported Lemons.


Our other new tradition is lemonade made by mashing up lemon slices with sugar and herbs. One time we tried it with honey and it was pretty tasty that way too. And after the kids go to bed if there are any leftovers, a little (or a lot of) vodka makes for a mighty fine cocktail. Pretty much the same herbs as the last time – rosemary, mint, lavendar, and thyme. I usually skip the oregano for some reason.


We were in Bellingham for a music festival and there was a great hippie/hipster (getting harder and harder to tell the difference) lemonade stand, where you could have mix-ins added to your drink. I had a blueberry-ginger lemonade, and the kids got basil raspberry. The truly hipster part was that it came in a mason jar that you had to bring back to the stand to get your dollar deposit back. All this to say that if you treat your lemonade well, it will show you respect and be delicious. If you make it from a can, you’re on your own, and results may vary.


Invention of the summer

We’ve been trying to keep up with two zucchini plants all summer… zucchini bread galore, catch them before you have a softball bat on your hands, you know the drill. My friends Lark and Dan had served thin-sliced zucchini straight off the bar-b-que and sprinkled with smoked salt at a backyard dinner party last summer, and it was the inspiration for my Zucchini Bacon.

From the grill with love.

First off, let me assure you, it is more baconesque in shape than flavor, though with some smoked paprika and smoked salt, it does get into the salty savory neighborhood. The way to make it is to slice the squash into 1/16″ ribbons on a mandoline, and then just toss them with the above spices plus some olive oil. They take 2 or 3 minutes on the first side, and another minute or so on the other side. Pull them off the grill before they get too crispy, though the thin areas will start to brown nicely.

It wasn’t a huge hit with the kids, but it is nice because it is sliced so thin that most of the moisture evaporates out. The thing I’ve been using them on is sandwiches; it’s a nice additional flavor to a regular turkey or cheese sandwich. So there you have it… more bacon for you.

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