Archive | October, 2015

Garbage Can Turkey

26 Oct

Our family has a very unique way of cooking turkeys. We cook ours outdoors, in a garbage can. Yes, you read that right. A garbage can! My brother heard about this a number of years ago and we tried it (successfully), and have done it a number of times since then. We had a belated Thanksgiving celebration this past weekend and since what we do is such a fun and unique way of cooking a turkey, I thought I’d share the steps with you here.

What you’ll need:

  • A soft patch of ground that you can drive a stake of wood into – grass or sand works great
  • A wooden stake
  • Sledgehammer, or another method of hammering the stake into the ground
  • One roll of tin foil
  • A turkey of your choosing
  • Butter
  • Your choice of spices and seasonings
  • String
  • One METAL garbage can, cleaned
  • Shovel and metal tongs
  • Two bags of charcoal
  • Lighter
  • X-acto knife or scissors
  • Silicone oven mitts or holders
  • A large tray

First, drive a stake into the ground. Make sure you’ve cut it so that the length is just right. You need to make sure that when the turkey is put onto the stake that there will be room above the turkey, so it won’t touch the top of the garbage can.


Because it takes coals a long time to get hot, now would be a good time to get those started. If your garbage can came with a metal lid, this is a great place to light those up.



Wrap tons of tin foil around the stake, especially on the top, so that there’s a little ball up there. Cover the ground around the stake with tin foil as well so that the drippings don’t end up on the grass/sand/whatever.


Now get your turkey ready. Make sure it’s completely thawed, if you bought a frozen one. Rub it with butter and season to your liking. Grab an extra chunk of butter and put it on top of the ball. Gently place the turkey on the stake. Attach the turkey to the stake with string so that it stays on and doesn’t move easily.


By now your coals should hopefully be white hot. Carefully place the garbage can over the turkey, making sure the turkey doesn’t touch the top or walls of the can. Using the tongs, carefully place coals all around the bottom of the garbage can, making sure that the entire area is covered. Use the shovel to place at least one or two layers of hot coals on top of the garbage can. Place more (unlit) coals on the top and around the bottom of the can.


Now it’s time to wait. General rule of thumb is to let it cook for about 2 hours. We like to grab a few beers or ciders and sit in front of a chiminea fire right nearby and enjoy being outside in the fresh air. Don’t forget to add more coals every now and then. After about an hour, you’ll start to hear it sizzling away inside. Don’t let temptation get the best of you – don’t open everything up until at least 2 hours have passed.

Once you’ve decided that enough is enough, shovel away all the hot coals and ash – a good place for them is back into the lid. Make sure you don’t catch anything nearby on fire!


Now carefully lift off the garbage can, making sure to wear protective gloves or mitts so you don’t burn your hands. Marvel at the gorgeous looking turkey you’ve just cooked!


Carefully use the X-acto knife or scissors to cut the string away a bit, so you can remove the turkey from the stake. Silicone oven mitts or holders are great for this so you don’t get your mitts or gloves dirty. Have a friend or family member stand close by with a tray, ready to hold the turkey when it’s off the stake.

Take the turkey back inside and use a thermometer to check the temperature. If it still needs to cook a bit more, put it in the oven at your normal cooking temperature until the bird is well and truly ready.


We’ve found that cooking turkeys this way is so much more fun, and leaves more time for everyone to socialize, rather than having a few people stuck in the kitchen for hours and hours, slaving over the turkey. The meat is moist and juicy and oh so tasty, and very memorable to cook!

Serve with all your favourite turkey fixings and enjoy!

Feast of Fields 2015

3 Oct

Feast of Fields is probably my favourite food and wine event of the year. I’ve gone for the past four years, three of which have been with my mom. We’ve now made it into an annual event.

This year it was held at UBC Farm on Sept 13th. “The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (CSFS), located at UBC Farm, is a unique research centre that aims to understand and fundamentally transform local and global food systems towards a more sustainable, food secure future. The centre is a living laboratory, committed to finding solutions to both the local and global challenges facing food systems sustainability and translating solutions to improve personal, community, and environmental health.”


My biggest frustration with this location was that there were no transportation options offered from the Fraser Valley. In previous years when the event was held out in the valley, there would be busses available coming from Vancouver. You’d think that they’d provide something going the other way, especially since there are already tons of busses and other public transportation options in the Vancouver area. Having TWO buses within the city and nothing from the other end of the Lower Mainland is a bit ridiculous. I had sent them a few comments/questions about this, and finally about 2-3 weeks before the event they said they’d look into it. Nothing ended up happening, but I really hope in the future that they’ll think about this a bit sooner. It’s always good to provide options so people don’t have to drive after they’ve been drinking all afternoon. Hopefully wherever the event happens next year, there will be buses from both Vancouver and the Valley available.

Now, onto the amazing food!


Duck liver parfait on a spelt cracker with pear pudding and pistachios from Fable


Olive oil poached Kuterra Salmon, pickled Rootdown vegetables, herbed borlotti bean spread, swiss chard aioli served on a rye and chia cracker from Nita Lake Lodge


Farmhouse breakfast, pork fat biscuit, smoked pork shoulder, scrambled eggs from Nicli’s Next Door

This was such a unique item – I loved it!

salmon chard

 Fresh chard rolls, homemade pickles and smoked salmon from Mission Restaurant

This was definitely one of my favourite items of the day. SO flavourful, and salmon is one of my favourite seafood types.


Cured line caught Albacore tuna with preparations of Glorious Organics vegetables from Forage


Braised beef, smoked egg yolk, ramp and pepper pesto, sesame leaf, sesame seed, cilantro from Lips Resto


Compressed apple in juice, ricotta cheese, salt cod chips served with greens to garnish from The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn

vegetable mousse

Savoury hazelnut crisp with vegetable mousse and dill pickle mousse melon, sweet pickled carrot and radish sprouts from Aphrodites Organic Cafe

beef tenderloin

Aged Golden Ears gouda and polenta crips, oregano and nutmeg cured beef tenderloin with UBC Farm ratatouille from Sage at UBC


Bao Chicka Bao Bao – steamed bun stuffed with buttermilk fried Rossdown Farms chicken breast with fish sauce glaze, garlic scape mayo, roasted veg, cilantro and scallions from Bao Down

Another favourite! The portions were HUGE and the flavours were phenomenal. The lineup was enormous for this, but was well worth every minute we waited.


Smoked chicken terrine served with an organic peach mostarda on toasted rosemary lavash from Fairmont Pacific Rim


Earth Apple Farms pickled red beets, red micro, pickled golden, meringue leaves, Okanagan goat cheese foam, Barnston Island nasturtium from Mosaic at Hyatt Regency Vancouver


Seared and chilled sturgeon canape from Pier 73


Gazpacho soup with sundried tomatoes and crispy bacon with a mini bun and tomato jam from Whole Foods Market

salmon and beet

Bourbon cured sockeye salmon, wasabi creme fraiche and beetroot salad in a beet cup from Bin 941

Such a unique and delicious taste combination! And I don’t even like beets!


Wild BC salmon gravlax with UBC Farms sorrel creme fraiche, crisp challah melba and pickled vegetable from Ash Street Bistro


Some of my favourite drinks were:

  • Odd Society Spirits’ Wallflower gin
  • SIP Soda – Coriander Orange
  • Strange Fellows Brewing – Talisman West Coast Pale Ale
  • Backyard Vineyards – 2012 Gossip
  • Blasted Church – 2013 Chardonnay
  • Long Table Distillery – Cucumber Gin
  • Capilano Tea House and Botanical Soda Co. – Rose Lemonade

And lastly, a few views of the farm itself.



apple orchard

I can’t wait for next year!