Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

All About Sage

By Angela Keyser, Director of Marketing for High Quality Organics

When I ask you what herb reminds you of Thanksgiving, most of you will probably say sage.  This perennial herb, native to the Mediterranean, is indeed quite popular at Thanksgiving. Often added to a stuffing or roasted turkey recipe, sage has a wonderful, slightly sweet and citrusy smell.  Some say it smells camphorous, cleansing or purifying and it can linger for some time – good if you enjoy the smell, not so good if you don’t!

The botanical name for sage is ‘Salvia’ which, in Lattin, means “to heal” or “to save.” The reason sage was named this way is because it’s essential oils contain antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. (Sage is an excellent source of vitamin A, C, E and K  – important antioxidants for health and wellness.)

Sage has been used for centuries not only in cooking but for medicinal purposes for many things including healing the common cold or flu and soothing insect bites.  The Native Americans believe it wards off evil spirits and the Arabs believe it helps with immortality. At one time, the Chinese regarded sage so highly they would trade up to four pounds or sacks of tea (camelia sinensis) for one pound or sack of sage leaves to make tea. (While sage tea isn’t commonly found in most grocery stores, you can find it online.)

The sage plant is quite easy to grow, will weather over the winter and is fairly drought tolerant. So, it’s a great herb to try if you’re new to (or not so good at) gardening.  It’s leaves are soft and blue-greyish in color and the plant can have delicate purple or blue flowers, depending on the variety.

Sage is an extremely versatile herb to use in the kitchen. Here are just a few delicious ways to play with it in your everyday cooking:

Steep in hot water for tea
Infuse in water with blackberries
– Added to ice cubes (fresh only)
Eggs
Flavoring for white bean dishes
Infuse with salt
Rub on poultry, pork or lamb
– Incorporate into sausage
Savory flavor to bread or rolls
Simple syrup for cocktails
Savory flavor for homemade crackers
– Soups and stews
– Vegetables or potatoes

Chef Dawn’s Super Simple Compound Butters

By Chef Dawn Wykoff

Click on the picture to watch our short video on super simple compound butters. Recipes are below.

Click on the picture to watch our short video on super simple compound butters. Recipes are below.

Compound butters – or flavored butters – are an wonderful way to infuse flavor into everyday cooking.  The options or limitless and the butters can be made in less than 5 minutes.  Here are some of my favorite combinations for Thanksgiving.

Asiago Pesto Compound Butter

Use plastic wrap or wax paper to form a log before refrigerating.

Use plastic wrap or wax paper to form a log before refrigerating.

1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature

1 tablespoon of pesto
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of tobacco (optional)
2 tablespoons shredded Asiago cheese
 
Instructions: Mash butter in a medium bowl with fork. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well incorporated.  Place onto a large piece of plastic wrap, roll into a log and tightly wrap. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Use on bread, pasta, flatbread, pizza and more.

Sweet Vanilla Compound Butter

Compound butter log ready for refrigeration.

Compound butter log ready for refrigeration.

1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature

2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon seas salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or apple pie spice
 
Instructions: Mash butter in a medium bowl with fork. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well incorporated.  Place onto a large piece of plastic wrap, roll into a log and tightly wrap. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Use on sweet potatoes, french toast, pancakes, muffins, toast, and more.

Blue Cheese & Walnut Compound Butter

Compound butters are an easy, make-ahead way to add flavor to your Thanksgiving Day meal.

Compound butters are an easy, make-ahead way to add flavor to your Thanksgiving Day meal.

1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature

2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 
Instructions: Mash butter in a medium bowl with fork. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well incorporated.  Place onto a large piece of plastic wrap, roll into a log and tightly wrap. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Use on bread, crackers, mashed potatoes, red meat and more.
 

Have you made compound butter before? If so, share your favorite combinations!

Simple Turkey Brine Recipe

This simple turkey brine recipe will ensure that your turkey is moist and flavorful whether you’re baking, frying or smoking your bird this Thanksgiving!

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To begin you’ll need:

1 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup organic brown sugar

1 tbsp peppercorns

1 tbsp allspice berries

1 tbsp chopped ginger

1 gallon vegetable stock

1 gallon ice water

Add all your ingredients (except ice water) to a medium stock pot over high heat and stir until dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat and add your ice water. Allow the brine to cool and insert your turkey, breast side down for 12 hours. Flip the bird half-way through. The next day, remove your turkey from the brine and rinse off excess brine. Your turkey is now ready to cook. Enjoy!

To view the step-by-step instructions, please visit our YouTube channel

Recipe adapted from: FoodNetwork.com

Gallery

The Faces of Thanksgiving

This gallery contains 6 photos.

It is said that the greatest of virtues is gratitude. At HQO, we believe this to be true and thank each and every one of our customers, employees, partners and family farmers for the blessings they bestow upon us daily. … Continue reading