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Merry Christmas Part 2 – Wednesday December 19th, 2007

July 26, 2008
For the bird I would suggest a free range fresh bird. These are just so much better than the commercial birds which we grew up on. I know that they are available from Wagner Estate and there you can get strudel and a lot of other goodies. Also keep in mind that organic meat is there too. Sanson has some too and real beef is just soooo nice. It just tastes better.

To me it doesn't have to be organic it just has to be real. I am still in mourning over the closure of Vincent Poultry at the market. I was a 3rd generation buyer of their chicken and am just damn mad they aren't open anymore. But I have John and Linda from Calabria Pizza sourcing me some real chicken and they know where the real food is. Their restaurant is all local food and good so I hope that when I am not afraid to have some pizza and 2 beers (without getting arrested on the way home…don't get me started on this bit of fascism….I have close friends who won't venture out even though the wife doesn't drink…. the fear is that is she has a glass of wine she could get arrested for .05 and still be legal but charged(sorry nor really charged for kinda d.u.i.  and her insurance company is told) I can get a new chicken connection. The reality is that good chicken has always ran around and to be raised in a cage is simply cruel….so is killing it but then hey I'm a carnivore. Running around builds muscle and taste. The meat won't just shrink up and its just better.

The same with turkey, or beef, or buffalo. Why does duck taste so good, or boar. I hate pork but love boar…why??? It runs around and eats berries and not just corn. Corn softens meat but ruins it. It's like we don't have teeth. Get grass fed beef, age it and I bet it just is better. I loved the beef in England, which tends to be grass fed. It is just more real. Oh yes it isn't as tender and hasn't the marbling but as the cattle are not penned up in an environmental hellhole..a feed lot…they gotta be more healthy. I am told our livestock are not steroid and penicillin freaks but hey putting a billion cattle or hogs in close confinement cannot be good. The runoff is horrific and an environmental nightmare. We have just managed to get our human waste cleaned up and now we make cities of hogs to do the same type of pollution. It's called BOD…bacterial oxygen demand and when waste hits the river the microbes grow and eat the waste…well they consume the oxygen and the river or lake dies. That is the fish and plants cannot live as they cannot breath. This doesn't talk about the viral, bacterial or stray antibiotic issues either. Its better to get your meat from a small farm. I try and will try harder but its really tough to do.

This bird will need to be brined. This process involves immersion of the fowl (or pork piece) into a saline solution. As the body has saline in it, the cell walls (which are semipermeable membranes) allow the saline in to puff them up. This is good as this prevents the turkey jerky effect. Now one can use this saline to carry in flavour. I particularly like cinnamon and sugar and cloves and bay. Use sea salt or kosher to avoid iodine (yuckkie) and don't make it too strong. Immerse the bird overnight et voila…c'est bon dindon. Then cook it low and slow…not at thermonuclear level and just let those protein strands unravel. This also prevents the jerky syndrome.

Sweet potatoes are wonderful. Please do not, I repeat do not, boil them. Steam them or roast them. Boiling them makes them moooshy and tasteless. My secret is to mash them with cultured butter (the good stuff and actually the real stuff…like our ancestors made…me mum used to tell me butter churning stories from her youth) and the pour in a liberal amount of Jack Daniels (Single Barrel is my choice or maybe Gentleman Jack…yummy or Maker's Mark..so nice too) then smooth them out with heavy cream. Add salt and pepper and yum yum yum eat'em up!!!

For frozen corn I give no advice nor any microwaveable dreck, but I do just love Pillsbury Crescent Rolls from the tube….very odd I know but when they are on sale I'll just eat a tube or two for dinner.

Now for wine. For turkey I will suggest either a light Pinot Noir (Sprucewood's would be perfect) or a Gewurztraminer.

The Pinot is a wonderful choice and if you have a snobby Yellow Penguin drinker, it will really mess him/her up. A light red wine with subtle taste. Not syrup and sweet and ……….It would complement the bird nicely and besides it ‘s a Christmas colour.

Gewurztraminer has many advantages. If you can say it you look quite urbane. If you like some spice on your turkey it will stand up nice. I would avoid the full blown cajun/cayenne dry rubbed smoked or deep fried variety where only a good beer would suffice but any other would work. The local product is just so good that it's a no brainer. May I suggest CREW, Mastronardi or Pelee Reserve as they are just that good. I think I will serve a Gewurztraminer. A Riesling would be nice too. I am so conflicted.

Now for dessert. Pie??…chocolatty stuff?? ….well go for Ice Wine. I just love the locals more than Niagara's. They are lighter and seem to me have more wine taste. Last year I brought some of Muscedere's and was a hero. Of special note is a second pressing wine. Erie Shore's makes one that they call a winter harvest. Lighter, less sweet and still fine tasting. If the desert it more in the chocolate vein I suggest a Raspberry Ice Wine. The regulars ones are good too, but raspberries and chocolate are yummy yummy yummy

Now if you want to be different and bold, serve a sparkling one at dinner. If so there is only one choice for me and that is Mastronardi's. It I amazing and would grace my table if I was going in that direction.

In your celebration please take a moment or two to think about our brave lads in Afghanistan who are without their families for the holidays. The positive Karma will be good for them and you too…

Well there is my advice and I hope you have a Great Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

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