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Dear Customers,   

                The temperatures have dropped to where a coat is no longer merely a fashion statement.  The maple and oak leaves have either been ground up, sucked up or blown into the neighbor’s yard.  Sadly, the foothills surrounding our little valley have gone from a blaze of colors to just a single one; gray!  As dreary as it can get this time of year what with cloudy skies and the monochromatic landscape, I find myself upbeat and anticipating these next 6 weeks or so.  November and December combined are the last 17% of the year, but they are chock full of reasons to cook, to entertain, to socialize with friends and to decorate our homes – driving the darkness away - at least temporarily.

                Near the middle of next week is Thanksgiving – the largest food consumption day of the year in these United States.  I’d like to go out on a limb and venture a guess that the main course in most households on that day will be a delicious turkey.  Whether you roast it in the oven, cook it on the grill, deep-fry it, smoke it on your Traeger or cook it in a relatively clean garbage can, I’m sure the end result will be delicious!  That is unless you do one of two things; over-cook it or under-cook it!  Either of those problems can be avoided with the use of a dependable meat thermometer.  Turkey should be cooked till the internal temperature of the breasts reaches 160°F and the thighs, 175°F.  Be sure not to place the probe next to a bone, but in the meatiest part to avoid getting false readings.  The best advice I can give you is to cook at 325°F instead of a higher temperature.  You’ll have to figure in the additional time if you’re shooting towards a particular dinner time. Slowly and evenly is definitely the way to a delectable, mouth-watering final product.

                In addition to closely monitoring the temperature, there are other things you can do to ensure a delicious, juicy succulent bird.  Roasting at a “gentler” temperature helps the turkey cook more evenly and allows the butter to brown without scorching.  Applying a mixture of butter and spices underneath and over the skin before cooking makes your turkey even that much more flavorful.  Take 8 tablespoons unsalted, softened butter and add 1 sprig of fresh rosemary plus 1 tablespoon minced.  Add the same amount of fresh thyme along with 5 fresh sage leaves plus 1 tablespoon minced sage.  To this you grate 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, then mix it all together thoroughly.  Using paper towels, pat the turkey dry-inside and out, then gently loosen the skin covering the breasts and leg quarters being careful not to tear it.  Spoon half the butter mixture under the skin and the other half on the outside of the turkey, rubbing it all over. 

                To ensure that you get delicious gravy when you’re done, transfer the bird to a V-rack to keep it up out of the drippings.  In the bottom of the pan beneath the rack place 1 peeled and chopped carrot, 1 chopped celery rib, 2 chopped onions, 4 cups of chicken broth, 1 cup dry white wine, along with a little sage, rosemary and thyme.  Set the oven rack to the lowest position and pop the turkey into the oven.  When finished cooking, strain the solids out of the drippings and allow the liquid to settle for maybe 5 minutes.  Then over a low flame, melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter add 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour constantly stirring for several minutes - add a little salt and pepper to taste.  Gradually whisk in 4 cups of the de-fatted pan juices (you can add water to make up the difference to 32oz) and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for another 5 minutes or until thickened.  All that’s left to do is carve that bird!