SUSTAINABLE! ORGANIC! BULLSHIT!
This Thanksgiving, where in the heck do we get a good turkey? And, what in the heck is a good turkey? I mean, Foster Farms is suddenly "Organic”? Well, I call “fowl”!
If you’re like me, you’re probably frustrated by labels in the grocery store that are misleading and meant to market products, rather than give us real information about how the food has been produced. Hello, Jell-o! Hola, Velveeta! Don’t get me started on SPAM. But most of us know these products aren’t great for us by now. It’s the boxed dinners and packaged foods that reel us in with “All Natural”, Certified Organic, Low Fat… I could go on. These are underhanded marketing ploys, and should be avoided. The simplest is to stay away from packaged food. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Stay in the produce and meat sections. This Thanksgiving, make your own cranberry sauce and stuffing from scratch! They’re easy, I’ll give you my recipes below.
Let's Talk Turkey
At Bull&Dragon, we have the luxury of buying directly from farmers whose farms we’ve visited, whose animals we’ve seen being well cared for, and with whom we’ve pulled real f’ing organic beets out of the ground. We know the land management programs of our B&D farmers’ inside and out.
Most professional chefs don’t even have time to do research, so how’s the average person who’s just trying to cook Thanksgiving dinner supposed to know what type and brand of bird to select at the store?
Not All Turkeys Are Alike
I recommend buying a Heritage turkey and here’s why:
They are bred to live outside and peck around, so you can be sure they were humanely treated
Birds that aren’t confined to small cages and packed into barns have much less need for antibiotics. Some may never get them.
Just like when we eat healthier, we’re stronger with less cholesterol and fat etc. the turkeys are also healthier (and tastier) when they’re in their natural environment eating natural nutrient rich forage grown regeneratively
All that walking around and pecking gives them larger drumsticks!
There’s a world of difference between a Heritage turkey and a bird that comes from a factory farm. A turkey raised on a large, conventional, factory farm is pumped full of hormones and antibiotics so it can survive and grow on an unhealthy diet in a horrific environment.
For those of you that live in L.A., you can purchase a Heritage turkey from BN Ranch, Belcampo Meats, Cookbook Market or from Bull&Dragon - as part of our Thanksgiving Feast. For those outside of L.A, you might be surprised at the quality of turkeys that small farmers are raising. There are literally thousands of Heritage turkey farms across the country. I encourage you to Google “Heritage Turkey Farms Near Me”. Then, call the farmers! Get your turkey from the rancher you like best! At the very least, you’ll be supporting a local farmer instead of a large corporation. You’ll also get a turkey that will most likely be the tastiest and juiciest you’ve ever had. And, it will certainly be the highest quality.
What’s On the Horizon In Food Advertising
There’s great news on the horizon for all of us discerning eaters! The Rodale Institute, renown for organic, sustainable, and now regenerative agriculture is creating a new certification, Regenerative Organic Certification, that will provide assurance of a grower's truly organic regenerative practices. Also, instead of this new certification being monitored by the FDA or USDA - two agencies that have proven that their regulations and standards no longer protect human health, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will be the monitoring and issuing agency. I’ll share more about this with you in the near future.
Rock Star Side Dishes
Here’s a little Chef-ly advice to make your Thanksgiving as delicious as possible:
Stay away from packaged food; stick to buying whole, raw veggies for your side dishes.
Cranberry sauce is not that hard to make and it just tastes better when you use real cranberries (see my 5 ingredient recipe below).
Home made stuffing is also pretty easy. While the boxed version may call your name as you walk down the grocery aisle, ignore it! Or maybe stay out of that isel all together. Instead, get a loaf of artisan bread. Heirloom grain and organic wheat varieties are less likely to have been sprayed with glyphosate, which is the reason most people THINK their gluten intolerant. Cut or rip the bread into bite-sized pieceses. Dice a whole onion,a couple cloves of garlic, 2 stalks of celery and a carrot. You can get creative here, I like to render some great homemade bacon and cook in that. You could also melt or even brown ¼ lbs of butter. Then sweat the veggies in which ever fat you decided on, toss in the bread and lightly brown it. At the end I like to throw in fresh herbs like sage, parsley and time. You could also get fancy and throw in some cooked wild rice or walnuts or maybe some dried fruit even. Enjoy and have fun with it!
1 lb fresh cranberries
· ¼ cup of raw organic sugar
· 1 cup filtered water
· Zest from one orange
· One cinnamon stick
Simply place everything in a pot and simmer gently until the cranberries are soft and the water and sugar have reduced to a syrup, about 45 minutes. Chill and serve!
May your Thanksgiving holiday be even better than you imagine!
If you’re still on the fence about what to cook, whether to cook or if you should head over to Aunt Edna’s for boxed stuffing, canned cranberries and her famous lime Jell-O with marshmallows, we’ve got a few more complete Turkey Feasts available. You’ll get a Heritage turkey, 5 awesome side dishes, and pumpkin pie $500. Aunt Edna will love it!
Gratitude To You
Since I’m still practicing daily gratitude, let me just say how grateful I am to all of Bull&Dragon’s farmer-partners. And, how grateful I am to you, for being a part of this pop-up experiment that has turned into one of the best experiences of my life. Nothing makes me happier than seeing someone’s face light up when my food is placed in front of them and they take those first few bites. I look forward to bringing a smile to your face and to seeing you soon at the new Bull&Dragon!
The Dragon’s About To Roar
Check out how to enjoy B&D in December at our new location - and at our magically special events on New Year’s Eve Eve, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and our Thursday Happy Hours coming in January.
With spectacular live music, spot-on tarot card readers and some of the most elevated food in LA, Bull&Dragon is the place to launch your 2018 goal rockets and breathe fire into your vision. You can pre-buy your tickets now.