Food for Cold Christmas Nights

The time of year I break my no-food-coloring rule

I'm in denial.

Despite making three batches of Christmas cookies, attending one cookie/gift exchange, wrapping many gifts, and clogging one post office parcel drop in full view of a long line of customers, I still catch myself thinking it's only November. Because who, really, has had time to think about Christmas?

The family was just going over the five-person calendar, trying to figure out when we could have our traditional "Christmas nights," where a Christmas movie is watched, cocoa imbibed, and cookies consumed. Between swim meets, work, babysitting jobs, and choir rehearsals, we only came up with three, between now and Christmas Eve. Bummer.

The benefits of a book club cookie exchane

It's all just too stressful. And since I can't fix anyone's schedule or do anyone's shopping or wrapping or mailing, I can only suggest comfort food.

Got any turkey left? Or cooked chicken, even? Give this dish a try. Comfort food at its finest, filling courtesy of Penny M. and biscuit topping courtesy of cookbook author Deborah Madison.

Ye olde turkey pot pie filling

Turkey Pot Pie
1/4 c butter (half a stick)
6 Tbsp flour
1 c milk
2 c chicken broth
3 c cooked chicken or turkey, cut up
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp summer savory
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 carrots, diced
2 c green peas, thawed
some leftover cooked broccoli or other favorite veggie

Preheat oven to 375F. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat; blend in flour. Add milk and broth, stirring until thickened. Add chicken and seasonings. Cover and simmer 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool to room temperature. Mix in vegetables. Spoon into ungreased casserole.

1 c flour
1 c whole-wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6-8 Tbsp butter, cut in small pieces
1 c milk

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until it makes a coarse meal. Add milk and stir until everything is dampened, then knead dough together with hands. Drop by large spoonfuls over the filling. Bake until crust is golden, about 35 minutes.

Threw some cheddar in the biscuits

I'm happy to report everyone ate this, although the boy picked out the broccoli and peas, leaving a turkey-carrot pot pie. Whatev.

So comfort yourself. Briefly. We've only got nine days till Christmas.

Barbecue Turkey Pizza

By now you might be getting to the dregs of your turkey leftovers. My mother-in-law roasted a twenty-pounder and sent us home with the carcass, from which I pried off six cups of meat before simmering it into a gallon of broth and two more cups of meat. That night (broth-making night), we enjoyed Turkey Tortilla Soup, which I shared with you here.

[Thanks for the pic, Lauren Groveman, since I neglected to take one of mine]

The next evening we enjoyed Turkey Enchiladas, which I included in that same post. But we have added another meal to the leftover-turkey repertoire, a variation on that popular BBQ Chicken Pizza that places like CPK serve. Here's my homemade version.

Barbecue Turkey Pizza (makes two medium pizzas)

dough for two pizza crusts (see bread machine recipe below)

1 cup homemade BBQ sauce (here's a recipe to try)
1 generous cup chopped, cooked turkey meat
1/4 sweet onion, sliced thinly
2 generous cups shredded mozzarella
cilantro for sprinkling, optional

Roll out the first pizza crust to desired thickness. Top with all but cilantro and bake at 425F about ten minutes. Sprinkle on cilantro before serving. Repeat with second pizza crust.

Two pizzas and a salad will serve five, with a few slices left over for lunch the following day! And a note on making your own barbecue sauce: feel free to reduce the sugar called for by at least 1/3. You won't even notice a difference.

Now, I'm one of those rare Americans who actually uses her bread machine on a regular basis. Not to make bread, mind you, but to make dough. Pizza dough, dough for rolls, dough for cinnamon rolls. I know storebought dough is cheap, but you know how I feel about additives and plastic packaging... Besides, when I make dough at home, I can always substitute some whole wheat flour for the white and pretend I'm making health food. So haul out your bread machine and give this pizza dough recipe a try. You can always freeze half of the dough ball, if you only want to make one pizza at a time.

Bread-Machine Pizza Dough (adapted from The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook)
1-1/3 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
2-1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

Throw it all in and set your cycle for dough or pizza dough. When the machine beeps, it's ready to use!

The family has voted on ham for Christmas, but since I'm down to my last two cups of turkey meat, I may have to roast another bird on the side sometime in January..!

Waste Not, Want Not

My kids will tell you I hate wasting food. We are not one of those families that throws away $1,365-2,275 worth of food per year. Why should we, when limp celery can be thrown in soup, or twice-eaten baked beans can be added to taco filling? Yes, my Empty-the-Fridge Tortilla Soup might draw some groans, but it takes care of the 1/2 cup of leftover pork roast, 1/2 cup of burned crock-pot beef, and 1/2 cup of Thai Peanut Pork that no one was going to eat.

So you can understand how happy I am to see Saturday Market vendor The Brewmaster's Bakery. You know--the guys next to the cherries and apricots, who put out little dog biscuits for your furry friends.

Fresh from the Brewmaster

The Brewmaster's Bakery makes its products from "spent grain," the grains left over after brewers have used them to make beer. These might include barley, wheat, corn, rice, rye, or oats. What a great idea! For centuries, most brewers would give the spent grain to farmers for feed, but, as we know, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the one who might eat the goose.

The granolas

All those spent grains have been "turned into goodies" like granola and cookies by our friends, and the granolas have been given exciting names. If you have trouble waking up in the morning, maybe it's because you could use a bowl of "Your Spicy Mistress" granola, which the website describes thus:

pecans and dried ginger with accents of black pepper and a bite of cayenne pepper. This is especially perfect for the beer lover in your life. The granola starts off mildly sweet and then hits you with a nice kick to the caboose which only makes you drink more beer. You’ll tell people it’s because you’re a manly man that can handle your spicy mistress, but we all know it’s to kill her sting.

Yowza! Or maybe you prefer "Check Out My Coconuts" flavor,

sweetened shredded coconut and milk chocolate added to our base granola will give you that island feel that makes you want to feel up some coconuts! 

Have no fear, however. There are a few items you can order without blushing, or that you could give as a gift without getting slapped across the face. I saw one woman buying "hop salt," which she said she was going to sprinkle on grilled steak.

Hop o' my tongue

This product is described as "sea salt infused with local amarillo hops." I have no idea what amarillo hops are, but I'm betting they're worlds tastier than armadillo hops.

Reduce, reuse, recycle! As anyone who's tried to reduce food intake can tell you, it's not a viable long-term strategy. But "reuse" and "recycle" are, and The Brewmaster's Bakery is on the leading edge.

Ya never know what will turn up at the Market (besides the freshest, most seasonal produce and awesome pastured meats, I mean). Enjoy, and have a great week.

The Best Leftover-Turkey Soup Ever

I had one last bag of cooked turkey in the freezer (2-3 cups) and more than a gallon of turkey broth, and this was the result. (If you already used up your turkey, you can also make this with leftover pork roast, or bookmark this recipe for the next time you have leftover meat. I've made it with leftover pork and storebought broth, and it was still luscious.)

Curried Turkey Soup

Honestly, I'd been craving this soup since the last time I'd made it, and it was worth the wait. Plus, it's super easy. Along with the turkey and broth, you'll find...

There *is* a little chopping involved

Some dimly-lit seasoning
And some of my precious remaining BFM apples and potatoes...

A little sauteing...

A little addition of thickener...

And a dumping in of the rest...

You stir in a little milk or cream at the end, and you're done! Delicious. I do have one child who doesn't like potatoes (I know, right?) and had to eat his way around them, but everyone else had seconds and thirds.

Curried Turkey Soup (adapted from a Penzey's catalogue recipe)
1-2 lbs cooked turkey, cubed or shredded
2 quarts stock
1 Tbsp vegetable oil or bacon fat
1 medium onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1-1/2 tsp curry powder
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp honey
1 large apple, peeled and chopped
1 lb potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
1 tsp dried parsley (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
1-2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 cup whole milk

Heat the stock in a soup pot over med-low. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. When hot, saute onion, celery, carrot, and thyme for about five minutes, until onions are translucent and tender. Stir in curry powder, flour and honey, and cook another 3-5, reducing heat if necessary. Add the chopped apple and stir to coat. Gradually stir in the warmed stock, a ladleful at a time until smooth and thickened. (You won't need all the stock--maybe two cups.) Then pour the thickened stock back into the soup pot. Add the potatoes, turkey, parsley, salt, and pepper, and simmer 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Remove from heat and add corn. Slowly stir in milk. Serve! (Can be reheated over Low.)

I promise I'll share some food gift ideas next week, but I really, really had to share this with you. Thank heavens my husband's family also does turkey for Christmas, because I want more of this soup!

Blast From Leftovers Past

It's been nearly a week since Thanksgiving--do you still have leftovers in your fridge?

We sure do. The inventory: cranberry sauce, stuffing, turkey, and mashed potatoes. Then there's the turkey carcass my mother-in-law bequeathed me, which I already turned into two gallons of broth.

The carnage [pic credit: whatscookingamerica.net]

Therefore, it's time for the annual what-to-do-with-the-leftovers post, in which I link to oldie-but-goodie suggestions from posts past.

First off, the turkey. We've already made these recipes for Turkey Tortilla Soup and Turkey Enchiladas this week. Then there are the Fancy Turkey Sandwiches that have gone into lunchboxes. With my last few cups of meat I'm thinking of this Turkey-Wild Rice Casserole adapted from my Betty Crocker's Best Christmas cookbook:

And this would be Betty's pic of it

Turkey-Rice Casserole (cuz the kids hate wild rice)
3 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1-1/2 cups turkey or chicken broth
2-1/4 cups milk
8 ozs mushrooms (I mince these in food processor to disguise)
1 2-oz jar diced pimientos, drained
3 cups chopped, cooked turkey
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 13x9 dish.

Melt butter in big pot over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in broth and milk, then heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Mix in cooked rice and remaining ingredients and transfer to baking dish.

Bake uncovered 40-45 minutes, or until center is hot.

Variations: add leftover french-fried onions, frozen peas, or bell pepper.

Then we have the cranberries and mashed potatoes. Check out these suggestions from a few years ago. That post also included the link for this Stuffing Frittata, which I was looking for just yesterday.

Hey! Robin Miller's kitchen looks exactly like mine, and I look like Robin Miller!

And finally, supposing your roasted an enormous butternut squash for Thanksgiving, and only used half the pulp for that candied-topping recipe, so you still had roasted squash puree in the freezer. May I recommend this recipe, which I adapted from a Deborah Madison one in an old magazine?

Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque
About 2 cups roasted butternut squash
1 Tbsp butter
1 peeled, chopped apple (I used a Collins Honeycrisp)
1-1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
2 cups water
1 cup apple cider (I used Martin Family)
4 cups turkey broth
2-1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 cup whole milk or cream

Melt butter in large pot over medium-high. Add apple and onion and saute 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add squash, water, cider, broth, and spices. Bring to a boil; partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes.

Blend in blender in batches, or use an immersion blender to make it smooth. Add milk or cream and reheat on low until thoroughly heated.

Mind you, this soup is luscious. I paired it with a chard frittata, but it'd go great with that Stuffing Frittata above. The kids wouldn't touch it, naturally, but that just meant more for me!

In Spring, a Young Man's Fancy Turns to Leftover Ham

 As I write this, the thermometer registers 72F outside and we have officially turned off the furnace until October. Never mind if, after this balmy warm spell, the temperature plunges back into the 40s and 50s--it's officially spring. Like most Pacific Northwesterners, I've learned the stubbornness of pretending our weather follows the calendar.

Spring finds us surrounded by flowering rhododendrons and pink and white trees, and the daffodils have given way to the tulips. In the front yard, the lilacs burst in their brief bloom. (And why, with all the amazing GMOs running around, has no one yet invented a lilac that blooms continuously, or at least twice in one year? I would trade all the GMO soybeans, corn, canola, and cotton in the world for one good GMO lilac.)

Anywho, around our house we've celebrated the spring-Easter-rainbow connection with ham in all forms:
1. Easter dinner ham, with all the fixings.
2. Ham and bean soup.
3. Ham and pasta casserole.
4. Ham and egg quiche.

Tonight the ham reappears as ham itself, but this time accompanied by a vintage curried rice recipe given to me twenty years ago and some creamed chard.

Kathy's Mom's Curried Rice
(4 servings)
2 cups cooked white or brown rice (I do half and half)
2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
2 Tbsp toasted slivered almonds (I'm using raw, sliced almonds)
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
fresh mint leaves

1. Cook rice.
2. Melt butter in heavy skillet. Add onion and saute until tender.
3. Add rice, almonds, raisins, and seasoning (leave out the mint), and blend.
4. Serve garnished with mint or parsley.

As for the creamed chard, I removed the stems and chopped it up:

Then I'll braise it in butter with some sliced garlic. When it's all wilted, I'll pour in 1/2 cup cream or so, and simmer until the cream thickens. That's it. Yum.

I did say farewell to lingering winter this week, however, by reading a book about the maple syrup industry. And I do mean "industry."

I was hoping for more of a microhistory of maple syrup, rather than this close following of how the industry works today, but this was interesting nonetheless. In short, things have changed since that sugaring-off scene in Little House in the Big Woods, although at one point everyone still enjoys drizzling hot syrup over snow like Mary and Laura did. It still mystifies me why the stuff is so danged expensive, since they've managed to ramp up production so.  

A couple tidbits:

  • Vermont produces 40% of the maple syrup crop in the US. (Total US crop in 2010 was 20 million pounds, or about 1.8 million gallons.)
  • Climate change threatens to end production in southerly areas within the next 50 years.
  • The Canadian dept of ag created a flavor wheel for maple syrup that would delight the snobbiest foodie, identifying notes of "marshmallow, dark brown sugar, brown coffee bean..., roasted dandelion root, coconut, mango, or baking apple. Or even hay."
  • Brand-name pancake syrups used to contain 15% maple syrup. Then it went down to 2%. Nowadays they use corn syrup and artificial flavor, a derivative of the fenugreek plant.

And, did I mention, maple syrup goes great with leftover ham?
Happy Spring, all. Enjoy the sunshine.

The Leftover File

Hope your Thanksgiving was tasty, warm, and filled with friends and family, recharging your gratitude tanks. The holiday recaps I've heard range from "we ate so much that we weren't hungry all the next day," to "I'm proud that I managed to fill my plate, stay away from seconds, and didn't feel ill afterward," to--at the other end of the spectrum--"our family usually goes for a walk around Lake Washington while the turkey is roasting." Goes for a walk? It crossed my mind, the thought of exercising, as I lay on the floor watching football afterward, but that's as far as that went. Instead I only roused enough energy to put on the sweatpants I was smart enough to pack for just such an occasion.

Sadly, we've eaten up the leftovers, but if you still have mashed potatoes lingering in the fridge, give Deborah Madison's mashed potato cakes recipe a try, from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I served these up with her applesauce (made from leftover market Jonagolds that didn't fit in the pie) and sour cream. Yum.

Mashed Potato Cakes
2-1/2 cups mashed potatoes
1 cup dried bread crumbs (I just ground up a bread heel in the food processor)
clarified butter or olive oil for frying

Shape the potatoes into 12 round or oval cakes about 3/4" thick. Coat them with bread crumbs and set on wax paper. Film a heavy skillet with some of the butter and set over medium heat. When HOT, add the cakes and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Flip and fry on the second side.

She also suggests serving them with sauteed onions, which I'll have to try next Thanksgiving!

Besides lying around in my food-induced coma, I managed to get through one book off my UrbanFarmJunkie to-read list, for which I posted this review on Goodreads.

The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan. (3.3 of 5 stars.) McMillan goes "under cover" as a migrant worker, a Wal-Mart stocker, and an Applebee's "expediter" to understand where our American food system goes wrong. (I say "under cover" in quotes because I can't imagine--given that she's white and small in stature with soft hands--anyone in the California fields was fooled by her story that she just wanted to work hard and not think about things or talk to people.)

What she discovers will not be too earth-shattering for people who read about our food system. Field workers are under-paid by the piece, which then gets converted to minimum wage, resulting in ludicrous pay statements that say they only worked a couple hours that day. McMillan claims that, in the price of your average supermarket apple, the cost of growing/harvesting it amounts to 16% of its price, with marketing infrastructure making up the remaining 84%. Thus, if wages to workers were increased by 40%, the resulting increase to the average American family's annual produce bill would be about $16. Count me in! I look forward to chats with my local farmers market farmers next spring about how they would divvy up their costs. Given that their produce prices are comparable or only slightly lower than supermarkets, does that mean more of the money makes its way to the farmer and workers?

The Wal-Mart produce section wasn't such a shocker, though I didn't realize 1 in 4 American produce dollars gets spent there. Things get wasted, things get "crisped", things don't have a lot of flavor. The pay is lousy, full-time employment is hard to come by, overtime is avoided. Uh-huh. Interesting that, when Wal-Mart has a lot of competition in the food department, their prices are lower. If there's just them, or them and another store, they're not that much cheaper. Also, because of their ginormous deals, they're your go-to folks for shelf-stable, processed, fake foods.

Applebee's was another case of overwork and underpay, not to mention Olive-Garden-style nuked and reheated pre-prepped food. The discussion of how the assembly-line model moved from manufacturing to food service was interesting. I had no idea it began around the turn of the century (the 20th, that is).

Because she worked at survival wages for a couple months in each situation, McMillan's heart is with bringing decent food and wages to every class in America, not just the middle-class and beyond, happy with their organic produce and farmers markets. The rise of urban gardening in Detroit and the new availability of fresh produce in food deserts are two hopeful trends, as is the modification of the food-stamp program to require fresh fruits and vegetables. As she points out, the underpaid have both less time to spend on home cooking and less money for great ingredients, but, at least among the migrant workers, there was still plenty of cooking and shared food happening. Maybe such a return to community division of labor would make better eating possible for more of the population.

If this subject interests you, you might also enjoy CHANGE COMES TO DINNER by Katherine Gustafson (discussion of hopeful signs in how Americans are relating to food and getting fed).

Next up I had a foodie-type memoir, but I abandoned it fairly early on, biased perhaps by the recent New York Times article on how memoirists need to make sure they have something that needs saying. As I read about the author's unloved childhood and pot-smoking college ventures, I had the tired feeling this story was all too common, and I didn't feel like slogging through to where the risotto saved her. Never fear, however! My UFJ to-read list remains six books long, and growing...

Lucky Thirteen Meals

Your run-of-the-mill Butterball breeder

 I'm on a mission. For the third Thanksgiving in a row, I bought a turkey from Skagit River Ranch. No matter that we would be spending the holiday with my in-laws, and that Christmas, too, was spoken for, protein-wise. I parked that fifteen-pound baby in the freezer and hunkered down for the major turkey-eating occasions to pass.

Now I've got to tell you, a humanely-raised local turkey, which grew up roaming organic pastures and supplementing its organic grain diet with delicacies like flaxseed and sea kelp, is no cheap date. Mine set me back $91, roughly double the price of a conventionally-raised gobbler as pictured above. (The photo is from an ABC news report on "turkey abuse" at a NC turkey "facility.") However, in my general addiction to Thrift, I've challenged myself to stretch that turkey into thirteen meals. Why thirteen? Because it makes the math come out even ($7 of meat and/or broth per meal for 4-5 people).

Meal #1: Fancy Turkey Sandwiches. When I used to work in the South of Market district of San Francisco, there was one deli that roasted a turkey every single day, slicing it up into the juiciest, most luscious sandwiches. My mouth still waters, thinking about it. When I planned Fancy Turkey Sandwiches, I had both them and Gilbert's on Main's yummy turkey bagel sandwich in mind. Ingredients: fancy artisan bread, cream cheese, homemade cranberry sauce, lettuce, and thin slices of cucumber. Two of my kids added cheddar.

Meal #2: Fancy Turkey Sandwiches.

Meal #3: Turkey Tortilla Soup. The very day I roasted the turkey, I stripped it of most meat, freezing the meat in packs of two cups each. Then I plunged the carcass in the stock pot with carrots, onion, and water and let it simmer most of the day. When that was done, I strained the broth and froze that in baggies of two cups each, leaving out enough for the first pot of soup.

Meal #4 Fancy Turkey Sandwiches. (I grant you, these were snow day lunches, every day after the first appearance of FTSes.)

Meal #5: Turkey a la King. Two cups of meat; chopped up, steamed vegetables; creamy sauce made with turkey broth, and egg noodles.

Meal #6: FTSes.

Meal #7: Turkey enchiladas. Mix the standard two cups of shredded meat with shredded cheese and salsa and roll 1/2 cup up in each 8" tortilla. Add a strip of cream cheese, if you like extra creamy. Pour enchilada sauce over, sprinkle with cheese and bake till it's how you like it. (I like the cheese not just melted, but browned on top. Maybe 30 minutes covered and 15 uncovered?)

Meal #8: Southern greens with Turkey leg. This one goes in the slow cooker along with some broth and a chipotle in adobo.

And that's how far I've gotten (apart from having just made myself an FTS on a leftover bagel I found in the freezer). I still have the frozen meat, broth, and enough wing and leg and neck bones to do another batch of broth. Thirteen meals shouldn't be a problem!

If you still have leftover turkey hiding out and a favorite recipe idea, please share. I've got pot pies and turkey-wild-rice casserole up my sleeve, but after that I may have to repeat. I think it's safe to say, however, that local/organic can still be thrifty if you put your mind to it. Next year I might need one turkey for the holidays and one for another thirteen-meal marathon!

Refrigerator, We Have a Problem

Namely, I've blown through all my Thanksgiving leftovers.

The first night it was Turkey Tortilla Soup.

The second night it was Turkey Enchiladas.

This morning I used up the last three cups of stuffing in a frittata recipe that I featured in last year's post-Thanksgiving post. That leaves only about two cups of mashed potatoes which will soon find their way into soup, bread, or be fried in little cakes.

If you're still fortunate enough to have some leftovers, check out these easy recipes.

Turkey Tortilla Soup
1 c. chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 c. shredded turkey
1 c. corn (optional)
1/4 c. wine
Pinch of crushed red peppers
1 t cumin
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t chili powder
2 (14.25-ozs cans) chicken broth or equivalent
1 can diced tomatoes OR 1 lg can tomato sauce or 1 jar salsa

Saute onions and garlic in Tbsp olive oil in a soup pot. Add everything else. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Serve topped with shredded cheese, sour cream and crushed tortilla chips. 4-5 servings.

Turkey Enchiladas
1 c. sour cream
sprinkle of cilantro to taste
1.5 t cumin
2 c diced cooked turkey
2 c shredded cheddar, separated into 1 c for filling and 1 c for topping.
1/2 jar salsa

6 8-inch flour tortillas
6 ozs cream cheese, cut into long slices
can enchilada sauce

Combine filling ingredients. Divide into equal portions. Fill each tortilla, laying a strip of cream cheese on top. Line the enchiladas up in an 8x8 pan and pour enchilada sauce over. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes until cheese browns.

My other food-related problem is that the Bellevue Farmers Market season has ended (alas). I continue to buy my meats, poultry and eggs through the Skagit River Ranch Bellevue Buyers Club (delivered monthly to a centralized Bellevue location), but if I want local produce and specialty foods, I'll have to venture to another farmers market. It just so happens that a college student in Santa Barbara has developed a helpful tool to locate farmers markets for those times when we are out and about.

The program, called "Find the Data," allows you to enter "Bellevue" under the Location (state, city, or zip) field. Choose Bellevue, Washington, hit Enter, and a list of local markets pops up. Although clicking on a market name will not give you the hours and start and end dates, if any, there is a link to that market's particular website. It's a work in progress, and a helpful start!

During the Market off-season I'll be keeping up with the weekly posts on food, nutrition, foodie book reviews, and more, so check back often.

Real Foodies Eat Leftovers

Hope your snowy Thanksgiving was a good one! It was touch-and-go in the UrbanFarmJunkie kitchen, since I never know where to stick the dinged meat thermometer. I kept wondering and wondering why the 15.7-lb. bird stalled out at 140F and was even starting to reassure my guests that, hey, even if it was undercooked, the Skagit River Ranch turkey came from such a great clean farm and processing unit that I bet we still wouldn't get sick--but then I ripped the thermometer out and jammed it in another place where the sun didn't shine, and darn if the silly thing didn't top out at 190F in seconds flat. Sigh. Thankfully it was still delicious and I hadn't managed to reduce it to sawdust.

Although you might have managed to polish off or freeze any leftovers from the feast, I thought you might be interested in a couple ideas I've made use of. After Turkey Tortilla Soup and Turkey a la King, my seven-year-old did a little whining, but we are plowing ahead. One day I hope to be crowned Leftover Queen.

Newsweek ran an article on the great food divide in our country, where those with the $$$ eat well/local/sustainable/organic/you-name-it and those without the $$$ eat at McDonald's. There's some room in the middle, in my opinion. For folks like me, who try to buy and eat good food, but who also try to stretch each dollar. Depending on your source of info, Americans throw away 25-40% of their food. Moldy cheese, limp celery, greens-gone-juicy... Don't let this be the fate of your turkey day delicacies!

Leftover Cranberry Sauce

  • Spoon over brie and serve on crackers
  • Bake it into your favorite quick bread--Deborah Madison suggests using 1 cup of sauce to replace 2 c raw cranberries and 1/2 c sugar. Makes it nice and moist and not so tart.
  • Add it to a grilled cheese sandwich
  • Add some olive oil, salt, pepper, and a dash of vinegar to make dressing for a spinach salad.

Leftover Stuffing

  • Check out this Stuffing Frittata from the Food Network. I just made it and brought it to a brunch. The stuffing works like the bread stratas that have to soak overnight--only there's no soaking necessary!
  • My stuffing was made from leftovers in the first place: bread heels that I save in the freezer, hamburger buns, etc. The good news: a little freezer burn doesn't hurt, and neither does a little whole-wheat bread.

Leftover Mashed Potatoes

  • Use them to thicken soups
  • Fry them in cakes and serve them as you would potato pancakes. You may need to stiffen your potatoes with some egg and bread crumbs if they won't hold together.

Leftover Green Bean Casserole

  • Drop it at my house

Many happy returns to you all.