Tag Archives: organic

The Greennii Blog Updated for Tday-1: Green Your Thanksgiving, Now With Organic Stuffing To Go With The Organic Seven Layer Salad and Organic Pumpkin Pie Recipes

napa at sunset by Nick Dor

Photo by Nick Dor, http://www.ndphoto.com

Oh boy, oh boy! Did I mention in yesterday’s blog that I was excited? While my heart gets little pangs almost hourly at Thanksgivings past in Costa Rica with some of my most favorite people and ones whom I love most in this world, I am grateful to be where I am at this moment and am at times breathless with the beauty that is fall in the Bay Area.

So with one Barbarosa Ranchers turkey thawing in my fridge (it’s for a friend’s family) and the other turkey awaiting its brining party tonight, I am all aflutter with preparations for the big Thanksgiving feast, which mostly includes me getting my recipes in order and passing them on to you!

Laurie’s Stuffing (with real homemade breadcrumbs, of course!)

What:
12oz stale bread crumbs (the bread should be made at least two days prior)
1 C melted organic butter
1 1/2 C chopped celery
1 C chopped onion
1 3/4 C homemade organic chicken stock
1 pound organic, free range sausages of your choice (chicken, lamb, pork
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons ground sage
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

How:
Cook sausage in a separate pan, set aside to cool. Set aside 1/4 cup of broth. Combine bread crumbs with butter and spices. Stir stock in gradually. Crumble sausage and add to mixture. Spoon into 2 1/2 or 3-quart greased casserole dish. Use reserved broth to pour over stuffing to avoid drying while baking. Bake covered 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Remove cover and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer for a crisper top. Makes 12 (1/2 cup) servings.

Miss Carrie’s Seven Layer Salad

(This is the dish at Thanksgiving that makes you feel like at least your sort of eating something healthy and not totally laden with calories. It lies.)

What:
1 head organic butter lettuce (or other type)
1 large organic red onion, finely chopped
2 C organic canned, frozen but thawed or fresh green peas (fresh is my first choice, but hard to find locally produced this time of year)
1/2 C organic or homemade mayonnaise
1/2 C organic sour cream (can substitute plain organic yogurt)
1 C shredded organic cheddar cheese
12oz. organic, free range, grass fed, loved it’s whole life bacon, cooked and crumbled

How:
Choose a pretty, clear glass salad bowl or cake pan – you’ll want to see the layers. Mix the mayo and the sour cream together. Set aside. Layer in the different ingredients in the order listed, with the lettuce on the bottom. You may not need the whole 12oz of bacon, it depends on the size of your serving dish. Serves 8-10.

Photo from Suzanne Enoch's post on http://www.thegoddessblogs.com

Organic Pumpkin Pie (from a pumpkin no less!)
2 cups of pumpkin pulp purée from a sugar or other pumpkin*
1 1/2 cup organic heavy cream or same amount of hemp milk (my choice by far and I drink milk)
1/2 cup packed organic dark brown or raw cane sugar
1/3 cup organic white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 organic, free range, cageless eggs plus the yolk of a third egg
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
1 good crust (see recipe below)

* To make pumpkin purée from a sugar pumpkin: start with a small-medium (about 2 pounds) sugar or other pumpkin, cut out the stem and scrape out the insides, discard (save the seed and see our roasted pumpkin seed recipe). Cut into sections and steam in a saucepan, with a couple inches of water at the bottom, until soft. Scoop out the pulp from the skin. Or you can bake whole or halved in a 350°F oven until fork-tender. Optional – put pulp through a food mill or chinois to make extra smooth. NOTE: I am a lazy cook and I don’t bother with making extra smooth pulp. But, I do bother with real pumpkin. Start it first and it will be done by the time you assemble the rest of the ingredients and it is worth it!

Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix sugars, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Beat the eggs and add to the bowl. Stir in the pumpkin purée. Stir in cream/hemp milk. Whisk all together until well incorporated. Pour into pie shell and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce the temperature to 350°F. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours.

Isophene’s Short Pie Crust

This recipe is from my grandmother who’s middle name was Isophene. I am NOT a pastry baker and I was scared of pie crusts until I was 34 and my mother assured me I could make this crust. I was also living in Costa Rica, pre-made crusts were nowhere to be found and I had 30 coming for Thanksgiving dinner. It turned out to be really easy, fun and is the only pie crust recipe I use!

2 C Flour
½ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Baking Powder
½ C Salad Oil (this is how my grandma wrote it – I use soy, corn or safflower oil, but not olive – it’s flavor is too strong)
¼ C Water

You’ll need a 9” pie tin and you’ll use this as your mixing bowl. Put your dry ingredients in the pie tin and mix well with your hands. Add wet ingredients and mix with your hands – remember back to your mud-pie days. This crust will not look super even, white-ish spots are fine. You want it blended, that’s all. As my mother wrote in giving me the recipe, “This falls apart easily. Don’t worry. It also smuches back together easily.” Once it’s mixed, start smuching it out towards the edges of the pie tin. Leave a little extra at the lip of the tin and using a pinching method make the little scalloped edges. Wa-la!

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Green Your Thanksgiving: Organic Brined Turkey and Organic Thanksgiving Recipes

This recipe is from epicurious with a couple of organic or local modifications by me.

Glaze:

2/3 cup Eden Foods (or other) organic barley malt syrup*
1/4 cup malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar
6 fresh organic sage sprigs
4 fresh organic thyme sprigs
1/2 teaspoon organic ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) organic unsalted butter

Brine, turkey, and aromatics:
4 quarts water
2 cups coarse kosher salt or 1 1/2 cups Morton coarse kosher salt
3 12-ounce bottles organic stout beer (such as Eel River)
1 1/2 cups barley malt syrup
1 14- to 16-pound turkey preferably from Barbarosa Ranchers
2 teaspoons organic ground black pepper
2 peeled organic onions, quartered
2 organic celery stalks, cut into chunks
1 bunch organic fresh sage
1 bunch organic fresh thyme
1 unpeeled head of garlic, cut crosswise in half
3 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups (or more) water

Mixed-Mushroom and Tarragon Gravy:

Special equipment: 2 turkey-size oven bags
Turkey lacing pins
Charcoal chimney (if grilling)
13 x 9 x 2-inch disposable aluminum baking pan (to catch drips; if grilling)

* Ingredient info: Barley malt syrup has a flavor similar to molasses. Look for it at natural foods stores or buy it from edenfoods.com.

Greennii also has these downloadable recipes:

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Green Your Thanksgiving! Buy a truly organic, free range turkey from Barbarosa Ranchers. Here’s why.

1946 American Thanksgiving. Image courtesy http://www.retrorenovation.com

Simply put, Barbarosa Ranchers turkeys are the best. The best for the bird, which in turn means the best for you, taste wise, health wise and conscience wise.

I researched seven turkey farms in Northern California and by far my number one choice for free range, organic turkey in the Bay Area is Barbarosa. They are organic and totally free range, as in they have no pen and they get to roam around in gorgeous grassy fields (see the video to the left here on the blog). The ranch is run by a couple of guys. You can call them up and talk to them about their turkeys, they’ll be straightforward, honest and fun to talk to.

Image courtesy metroactive.com

Reasons to go with a Barbarosa Ranchers turkey:

The number one reason and really, the one that says it all, is because compared to every other farm I researched, Barbarosa does not clip or cut its birds in any way at any time during their entire life. If that’s not enough to convince you, here’re some more reasons:
* Taste – No regular supermarket turkey will taste as good, perhaps not even a Diestel.
* Breed – Barbarosa Ranch raises a standard Bronze Turkey. This breed is not commercially viable and so by buying a turkey from Barbarosa you are helping keep an entire breed of turkeys alive and well.
* Local – This bird was raised as close to your backyard as you’re going to get. (Unless you raise turkeys in your backyard, that is.)
* Humanely Processed – Barbarosa harvests and processes their birds by themselves on their ranch.
* Did I mention taste?
* Family Farm – When you buy from Barbarosa you keep a couple of families in business, and support humane treatment of the food you put in your body. Small farms are a dying breed and each one is worthy of being saved and encouraged. The more success folks like Barbarosa have, the more folks like them there will be.

To buy a Barbarosa Ranchers turkey, you can use their online form at The Forager’s website.

Illustration by Norman Rockwell, courtesy saturdayeveningpost.com

Now, if you’re like me, you’ve grown up hearing about, and probably eating, Diestel turkeys. They too are a family owned ranch, but they are a much larger farm than Barbarosa, and do things more like a large-scale poultry farm.

There’s a video that the Modesto Bee did on Diestel’s ranch and you see the owner walking amongst the turkeys. They have room, but they are still in big pens and they are on bare dirt, and when I watched this video, in comparison to the Barbarosa video, I was convinced that Barbarosa turkeys are treated better. I later read an article by Tara Treasurefield on Metroactive.com where she writes, “Diestel Turkey Ranch in Sonora County, whose turkeys are carried by Whole Foods Markets, follows some of the same practices. Defending beak trimming, owner Tim Diestel says that the beaks grow back, but without the lethal hook at the end. He also says it doesn’t hurt. Santa Rosa animal rights attorney Larry Weiss disagrees, however, and notes that “the California Penal Code specifically exempts animals killed for food from protection under cruelty laws.”
I’m not buying that a four-week old chick doesn’t feel it when you cut it’s beak off.

Here’s a short comparison of Barbarosa turkeys to Diestel turkeys:

BR raises one batch of turkeys per year, numbering less than 200. Diestel raises around 250,000.
BR process on farm with family labor about 200 yards from where the birds were raised. Diestel process in a factory.
BR birds are raised outdoors with access to houses if needed. Diestel raises their birds inside with access to outdoor dirt-floor pens.
BR uses high quality organic feed to supplement pasture. Diestel uses lesser quality organic feed with no pasture component.

Further notes on organic and free range turkeys: Organic is pretty easy with turkeys if you’re buying from a high-end market such as Whole Foods, Andronico’s, Draeger’s or Lunardi’s. But, free range turkeys (as with all other animals) is a different story, with many varying degrees of free-ness. Several farms claim free range, but in fact all that has to, and sometimes does, mean, is that 100 feet of coop has one small window at the end and the turkeys are never let out. This can also mean that the turkeys, while outside some of the time, are penned in and walking around on bare dirt, requiring that they be fed a diet of mass-produced grains and supplements, rather than out in an open field where they can eat bugs and grubs and other yummy turkey things. Not as bad as a Safeway turkey, but not as good as my top two picks for this year.

In all my research, I came across some devastating photos and information. While I know these things, visuals always serve to remind me why I fight for small animal farms where our food is treated with respect and care. Take a look at this comprehensive report from farmsacntuary.org and their short video that’s sure to make you think twice about what you put in your mouth, or that of your children. Here are some more graphic and distressing photos of the process from insemination to death if you want to know what you’re eating when you don’t know exactly where your food comes from.

If you’re no longer interested in turkey for Thanksgiving, here are some good ideas and info to start you on your way.

-Jocelyn Broyles

Organic Pumpkins, an Animal Farm and a Horse-Drawn Train

Photo courtesy thecheapgourmet.com

Along with Victorian gardens, a blacksmith shop, the original homestead and organic vegetables!

And all right on the other side of the bridge in Fremont (or, I suppose if you’re already in the East Bay, that would make it right on your side of the bridge – even better!)

The official name is Ardenwood Historic Farm and we probably all know exactly where this is, but just haven’t stopped in to see all the wonderful treats that await us right there on the corner.

Bring your kids, your parents, your whole family, (just not the dog).

-Jocelyn Broyles

Ahhh, The Family Reunion

Who doesn’t love to hate them? Thirty or forty of your most favorite, or unfavorite, people all gathered in one place so they can argue with the aid of too much sunshine, too many mosquitos, too much beer and not enough places for you to run and hide.

1982 Family Reunion

As you might have guessed, a family reunion lurks in my future. Thankfully, I actually like all of these people (well, most all of them anyway) and foresee having a truly enjoyable day hanging out on the back 40, playing horseshoes, talking with family-who-are-also-friends whom I haven’t seen since we moved back from Costa Rica. All of these things are making me look forward to this upcoming sunny Saturday afternoon, but one thing in particular piqued my interest and made me both encouraged and discouraged about the general tone of the event.

In a mass-email-to-the-whole-family-format, I offered to bring Eco-friendly, compostable or non-disposable plates, cups, utensils, napkins and whatnot for eating and cleaning up. I got a couple of, “Oh, someone is already buying all those supplies at Costco.” responses. I also got a couple of, “That’s great! I vote for the reusable or compostable options.” responses. But then, I actually got ridiculed, lambasted and derided in an unnervingly angry response by one particular family member for deigning to make the offer, and for believing that one little nod towards sustainability would make a difference in the first place.

I say that I was both encouraged and discouraged, which is a bit of an understatement, as I was actually quite angry for most of the day yesterday, but after a lot of thought and consideration, I came around to being almost entirely encouraged by the whole exchange. Encouraged, because I did get some support in the first place, but also encouraged, to my surprise, by the angry email. For to incur such wrath by merely offering to bring compostable products to a summer barbeque means that the Green movement is making some waves and making some folks uncomfortable with the status quo, and when people are uncomfortable and upset about something, it generally means change is on the way. And that, folks, is very encouraging news indeed.

So, for good times and little ridicule, here are some tips on how to be a little more green at your next family event:

1. Encourage folks to carpool to the event location, and choose somewhere that is close to several of the invitees, if at all possible.
2. Encourage everyone to bring their own reusable products: water bottles, utensils, cloth napkins, reusable picnic plates. Or, not quite as good, but better than plastic – supply folks with compostable products including plates, cups, utensils, napkins. And don’t forget the compostable garbage bags to clean up all the trash.
3. Get a consensus (this is the hard part!) about what folks want to drink that isn’t beer or wine or other alcohol and mix up some large batches in those “Gatorade” coolers that have the nifty poor spout and keep drinks cold all day. This will save on individual cans and plastic bottles of juice and soda.
4. Buy your meat from a store or farm that offers ranch grown meat and raises their livestock humanely and without hormones. And while you’re at it, opt for organic veggies and non-processed deserts.
5. There are several organic breweries and wineries out there. Try them! They’re actually not even “not bad for organic”, but taste good and aren’t particularly more expensive.

-Jocelyn Broyles