3 Tips for Picking the Perfect Turkey this Thanksgiving

It’s almost Thanksgiving (the real one- sorry American readers!), and here at The Farm we’re dreaming of herby stuffing, buttery potatoes, and – of course – perfectly roasted turkeys. The first step to end up with a beautiful bird on your table is knowing exactly what to look for when you’re picking one out. Read below for our tips on what to look for when selecting your Thanksgiving turkey!

 

1. Size

You generally want one and a half pounds of bone-in turkey per person, but you can go up to two pounds if you want to have leftovers. If you have to feed a lot of people, we’d generally recommend buying two smaller birds rather than one large one; a 20 pound turkey is difficult to cook evenly and is generally much more difficult to work with.  Also, keep in mind your oven size, and the size of your roasting pan. The last thing you want to deal with on Thanksgiving day is a bird that’s too big for your oven to handle!
 

2. Fresh or frozen?

A fresh turkey means you don’t have the luxury of purchasing it far in advance, but in our opinion the pros of a truly fresh turkey almost always outweigh the cons; the flavour if usually better and you’re much more likely to have meat that holds its moisture. If you do buy a frozen turkey, make sure you plan to defrost in your fridge for at least 24 hours before cooking for every five pounds of turkey.
 

3. Natural, Free range, Kosher, Organic, or Heritage

The type of turkey you should pick depends on what matters most to you; are you looking to get a great deal? Do you want a turkey that was humanely raised? Is taste and texture the most important thing? Typically, the cheapest birds will be natural turkeys, and their flavour is usually quite nice. The most expensive option would be a Heritage turkey; this breed of turkey has always been raised on farms and can trace their lineage back to the pilgrims, so in most cases they’ve been humanely raised and processed. The flavour on Heritage turkeys is notably superior- but remember that their lower fat content means they’ll take less time to cook.
 

Bonus Tip: To brine or not to brine?

Brining may sound like a great idea, but while brining will add liquid to your turkey it will also dilute its flavour. Because of an effect called “salting out,” salt will selectively move into the bird, while larger flavourful molecules will be excluded. We recommend selecting a fresh, flavourful turkey breed and skipping the brine!

Still feeling overwhelmed? Give us a call and let our team take all the guesswork out of Thanksgiving dinner this year (and make you look really good in front of your in-laws)!

Five Back to School Lunch Ideas You’ll Want to Make for Yourself

For most parents, tomorrow marks back to school (cue the sound of sirens in the distance) and so rises that daunting, every-present question: what should I pack for lunch?

 

Whether you’re gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, or just looking for something you can feel good about packing in their wonder woman lunch kits, we’ve scanned the internet and found five great recipes you can make at home that are as healthy as they are yummy. Best part? These are adult-friendly and packed with flavour, so feel free to double the recipes and stock up your (limited edition black panther) lunch kit.

 

 

1) Fruit and Yogurt Dip with Baked Cinnamon Chips

A sweet snack you can feel good about, made with homemade corn tortilla chips and topped with a delicious, creamy yogurt dip. Great as a breakfast option too!

 

 

2) Baked Veggie Taquitos

It’s fall which means we are craving all things squash. These veggie-loaded taquitos can be baked ahead of time and then microwaved at school or work with a side of sour cream or salsa, or- for more adventurous taste buds- pico de gallo.

 

3) “Are you Nuts?” Chocolate Power Balls

Dairy and refined-sugar free, these power balls pack a wallop. The perfect blend of sweet and tart, they make a great mid-afternoon snack.

 

 

 

4) Easy and Healthy Pizza Roll ups

Ok, so these may not be the healthiest options on our list, but they are so quick and easy we had to include them. Pro tip? Forgo the frozen dough and make your own using this recipe.

 

5) Greek Chicken Bowls

Light, packed with incredible flavour and perfect served cold or hot, this is one of our favourite lunch go-to’s. Try marinading overnight to up the impact.

 

#HandCraftedMonday Summer Squash Gnocchi

Welcome to #HandcraftedMonday at the Farm! In a world where pre-packaged, pre-made, and pre-chopped are so readily available, we believe in embracing the power of handcrafted -and we want you to believe too! Every Monday, head over to our blog to catch up on the latest recipes, tips, and tricks on how you can make #HandcraftedEverything!

Fall is less then a month away, and with it comes pumpkin-spice everything. While we love a good pumpkin, these last few weeks of summer are yielding some beautiful squashes you can play with that will warm up your palette and let you enjoy the last few week’s of summer’s bounty before pumpkin-mania begins. Check out our recipe for Summer Squash Gnocchi below, and enjoy this hearty and healthy meal!

 

Summer Squash Gnocchi

Gnocchi

1 1/2 Cup Roasted Squash

2 Cups AP Flour

1 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Nutmeg

1 Egg

Cut and clean squash.

Drizzle with olive oil and roast in oven at 350 for 30 min or until fork tender.

Scoop out flesh and mash with potato masher until no lumps remain. Place into mixing bowl. Chill in refrigerator for 30 min too cool.

Add egg and spice to squash pulp and thoroughly combine.

Add a little bit of flour at a time until it is all incorporated. The dough should be barely dry. Refrigerate for an additional 30 minutes.

Dust work table with flour and roll dough into 3/4” wide rolls. Using a pastry cutter, cut the logs into 1” pieces.

Blanch Gnocchi in simmering salted water until they float.

 

Arugula Pesto

1 Cup Arugula

1/4 Cup Basil

1/4 Cup Mint

2 Bulbs Fresh Garlic

1 Cup Olive Oil

1/4 Cup Hazelnuts

Place all ingredients into a food processor and mix on high speed until fully chopped and smooth in texture.

 

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Diced Squash

1/2 Cup Slice Fresh Plums

1/4 Cup Torn Kale leaves

1 Tbsp Diced Red Onion

1 Tbsp Creme Fraiche

Place olive oil into a fry pan set to med. high heat.

Add vegetables and sauté for 4 minutes or until caramelized.

Add blanched gnocchi and continue to sauté until golden brown.

Plate into a bowl and season with flaked salt and fresh ground pepper.

Garnish with a dollop of creme fraiche, a drizzle of herb pesto and enjoy!

Fork + Farm’s 2017 Top 5

January is the time people make New Year’s resolutions; February is when they begin planning how they’re going to make them happen. The Fork + Farm team of world-class chefs is no exception, but while we’ve been busy dreaming up new ways to wow our clients for the new year, we can’t help but look back on some of the highlights from 2017!

1. Okanagan Garden Party 

It was an honour for the F + F team to plan, execute, and cater a very special  birthday for one of our corporate clients. Over a dozen of our staff came together to create this “Okanagan Garden Party” themed event in the Napa of the North, which featured two nights of celebration, creative and interactive food stations, and the incomparable 54/40 playing long into the night- all under two huge tents on the warm, sunny shores of Lake Okanagan. Our team is incredibly proud to have created this celebration of such a community pillar and looks back on this as not only our biggest event yet, but one of our most successful.

2. Avenue Magazine Feature

We make sure we always have our finger on the pulse of the latest and most innovative industry trends, so we were thrilled to be featured in Avenue Magazine as wedding food trend experts. The article showcased some of the newest and most exciting wedding food trends of 2017. Expert Tip? 2018 is going to be all about geo cakes, ice branding (it’s a thing!), seafood charcuterie, gold on everything, and yes folks, it looks like frosé is here to stay!

3. F + F Does New Orlean’s Catersource

At F + F we’re devoted to providing our clients with passionately crafted culinary experiences. We believe an important part of being able to deliver those experiences is having an innovative team that’s always on the cutting edge of new technologies and trends. This past year F + F brought six outstanding members of our team on a week long adventure to New Orleans, Louisiana, to attend Catersource 2017, an educational catering conference which teaches the latest trends and techniques in the industry. We loved being able to bring these new skills back to YYC, so this year our team is set to learn once more from the best in Denver, at The Special Event in New Orleans, and, of course, at Catersource Las Vegas!

4. 18 Offsite Christmas Events in 10 Days!

… And no sleep! Our amazing team pulled off 18 spectacular Christmas events for our clients in just over a week. They dug down deep and pulled the hard hours to make sure all of the events were seamless and beautifully produced. The result was over a dozen beautiful event experiences, hundreds of happy guests, and clients who were blown away by our team’s attention to detail and polished execution. Here’s a note from one happy client:

“Last Thursday was truly spectacular! We have had rave reviews from our clients as well as our management teams on how fabulous the décor, drinks and especially the food were. A big thank you to you, Dennis, and your amazing team for being an integral part of our spectacular event!” – CIBC

5. The F + F Team Is Growing and Growing…

2017 truly was a banner year for F + F – we had an incredibly busy year and broke all our previous records! With that excitement comes a bigger team; we now have three Event Experience Coordinators and seven Chefs, all committed to creating “hand-crafted everything” culinary experiences for Calgary and beyond.

2018, let’s go.

Interested in booking Fork + Farm? Click here!