Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Kitchen Gardener Cook



Holiday news from Chesapeake Bay Foundation...When CBF's Oyster and Fisheries Scientist Tommy Leggett got tagged to appear on the Emeril Green show, we were all pretty excited. Emeril brought Tommy and his fresh Chesapeake Bay oysters to the show's kitchen in the Whole Foods store in Fairfax, VA. Now, fresh from Emeril's website, here is the recipe for Emeril's Chesapeake Bay Baked Oyster Dressing, just in time for Thanksgiving. For more tips from Tommy and Emeril, view the video.

CBF's Clagett Farm also got it's own feature on another episode of the show, Bounty of the Harvest. Emeril gave CBF seasonal employee Gail Taylor and Buy Local aficionado Rita Calvert tips for cooking when you have so many vegetables you don't know what to do with them all.

Emeril and Tommy Leggett’s Chesapeake Bay Baked Oyster Dressing

Serves 4 to 6 (about 5 cups)
With assistance from CBF's Tommy Leggett

2 dozen shucked oysters, with their liquor
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped bell peppers
1 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 cup water
4 cups cubed white bread
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Drain the oysters, reserving 1 cup of the liquor. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, and cayenne. Saute‚ for about 5 minutes, or until wilted. Add the bay leaves, garlic, and parsley. Saute‚ for about 1 minute.

In a mixing bowl, combine the bread mixture with the oyster liquor and enough water to moisten.

Add the moistened breadcrumbs to the vegetables in the skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the oysters and the Parmesan cheese. Stir to mix well and remove from the heat.

Oil a 9 X 11-inch baking pan and pour in the mixture. Top with more Parmesan and bake for about 1 hour, or until bubbly and golden brown.

Remove the bay leaves and serve hot.

Maple Roast Turkey & Gravy

Serves 16-18

  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 3/4 cup (6 tablespoons) butter
  • 14 pound turkey
  • 2 cups onions, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

In a saucepan over medium heat; boil the maple syrup and apple cider until reduced to about 1 cup about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lemon zest, 1/2 of the marjoram and 1/2 of the thyme. Add the butter and stir until melted, taste and add salt and pepper as desired.Cover, cool and refrigerate. This can be made the day before.

In the morning, place the oven rack in the lowest third. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Wash and throughly dry the turkey. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Stuff the bird as desired. Using your fingers slide under the turkey skin to loosen the skin from the breast meat. Rub 1/2 cup of the prepared apple and maple butter mix under the skin of the breast. Rub all over the turkey skin with another 1/4 cup of the maple butter mix. Tie the turkey legs together with turkey ties or butcher twine.

Arrange the celery, carrot and onion in the roasting pan around the turkey. Sprinkle the thyme over the vegetables and add 2 cups of the chicken stock to the roasting pan.

Roast the turkey for 30 minutes uncovered. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F and cover the turkey loosely with aluminum foil. Continue to roast until tender, basting regularly with accumulated juices.

If using a thermometer (highly recommended) roast until the thickest part of the thigh, breast and wing reaches 165 degrees F.This will take about 3 to 4 hours for and unstuffed bird or 4 to 5 hours for a stuffed bird. If stuffed check that the internal temperature in the centre of the stuffing reaches 165 degrees F. The juices should run clear. Transfer the turkey to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to rest. Keep the juice in the pan for making gravy.

Make the Gravy:

Pour the pan juices into a measuring cup, allow to settle then spoon and discard the fat that rises to the top. Add enough chicken stock to equal 3 cups. Transfer the liquid (or better use the roasting pan) to a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce heat to medium and mix the remaining maple/apple butter mixture with 3 tablespoons of flour to make a paste in a small bowl. Whisk this mixture into the broth mixture, add the remaining fresh thyme and a bay leaf. Boil stirring constantly until thickened slightly and reduced.

Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Inspired by







Homestead Gardens Food Tour-Bonnie Finlay, events coordinator, cafe and prepared foods coordinator at Homestead Gardens gave me a seasonal tour to point out some of the great eats you'll find for Thanksgiving along with that natural turkey.

Start with some of the Virginia blistered peanuts... irresistible and the "can't eat just 1 or even just 10" category. Next simply grace a platter  with a variety or two of Chapel Creamery's lush cheeses. Sea salt or blue cheese crackers and mango chutney easily finish the snack. Honey or Caramel apples come jauntily packaged for a special dessert treat or there is the set for a signature apple crisp.
On to the table
While talking with a friend (former art teacher, artist and current centerpiece designer), she inspired me by telling that each holiday centerpiece which graces her table has historical significance from her ancestors as well as her husband's. She showed me the antique metal horn, the copper pot and the ceramic glazed pheasant with a story attached for each piece among the centerpiece of flowers, fruit or holiday greens.
Table decor found at Homestead Gardens along with the fresh greens, fruits and embellishments of the season.

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