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Archive for November, 2010

Franklin hosts Holiday Lights Winter Wonderful this Season

Friday, November 26th, 2010

FRANKLIN, NC – Kick off the holiday season this Friday November 26th in downtown Franklin. Their annual tree lighting festival is a great time for the whole family. Come out for this post-Thanksgiving outing to downtown Franklin, this historic district just minutes from Asheville.  Free cider, cookies, and music as Franklin lights their Christmas tree.

Then on December 3rd Franklin’s holiday festival gets underway with their Winter Wonderful event, a one night event from 5 to 9pm. The event is free for the public, and provides entertainment for everyone including music from the Rye Holler Boys, carriage rides, hot cider and refreshments and  an ice-sculpture slide. Visit http://www.franklinnc.com/ for event details.

Volunteer with Hands-On Asheville this Holiday Season

Friday, November 26th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – Hands-On Asheville, a local program of United Way Way and Buncombe County that provides services to non-profits organizations throughout the area is looking for volunteers this holiday season! Last year they connected over 2900 individuals to over 667 non-profits in the area.

Between now and Christmas, Hands-On Asheville is excited to bring many different volunteer opportunities for people in the area. Whether you’re interested in making cookies for families, knitting for a cause, serving a meal, or wrapping present, Hands-On Asheville can help you make a difference this year. Visti http://www.handsonasheville.org for additional details about their opportunities this year and to sign up.

Asheville Grown Business Alliance Encourages People to Shop Locally on Black Friday

Friday, November 26th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – Black Friday has arrived this year, and many people love to get out the day after Thanksgiving to get a jump on their Christmas shopping. This year, consider shopping local. The Asheville Grown Business Alliance, a coalition of local business, is encouraging people to do their shopping locally this year.

The coalition consists of independenet stores in Asheville that are behind the “Love Asheville — Buy Local” movement. They are supported by many local business such as Asheville Wines, Bouchon, Rosetta’s Kitchen, Asheville Brewing, Mela, Fiore’s, Asheville downtown, and other local businesses. Check out http://ashevillegrown.wordpress.com/ for more information on shopping locally this holiday season!

Mobilia Warehouse Sale December 4th Benefits ‘Arts 2 People’

Friday, November 26th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – Mobilia, an Asheville-based store providing contemporary furniture and design products is having a warehouse sale December 4th from 10AM-5pm. Come out for a fun and unique shopping experience  that will benefit  Arts 2 People,  a local  non-profit promoting cultural and artistic opportunities, and Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance. Mobilia will be selling off furniture, artwork, architectural salvage, and different unique odds and ends sure to inspire interiors designers, decorators, or just people looking for new home furnishing and gift ideas. 10% of all items sold will benefit Arts 2 People and Terpsicorp. Visit www.mobilianc.com

Western North Carolina Nature Center Open Thanksgiving Weekend

Friday, November 26th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – The Western North Carolina Nature Center will be open to guests Thanksgiving weekend beginning 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 26.

“The day after Thanksgiving is a great time to visit the Nature Center” says Chris Gentile, the center’s director, “friends and family are visiting Asheville and are looking for something fun to do and to walk off that big meal from the day before!”  Gentile says that the day after Thanksgiving is usually a very well attended day at other zoos and aquariums throughout the Southeast.  The Center will be open during regular hours 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The Western North Carolina Nature Center features over 250 animals native to the Southern Appalachians including red wolves, otters, birds of prey, black bears, and reptiles.  The Nature Center is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and welcomes over 100,000 visitors annually.

For more information, contact Chris Gentile, Director of the Western North Carolina Nature Center, at 828-298-5600 or visit  http://www.ashevillenc.gov/departments/ParksRCA/default.aspx?id=13314.

Turkey Hotline Numbers for Those Who Need to ‘Talk Turkey’

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC –

Buncombe County Cooperative Extension: 255-5522

  • Hours:
    • Weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (closed holidays)

Need some emergency help with your turkey?Turkey Talk Line: 1-800-BUTTERBALL (288-8372)

  • Hours:
    • November 1 – 21 Weekdays & Weekends from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
    • November 22 – 24 from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • November 25 (Thanksgiving Day) 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • November 26 – December 23 Weekdays & Weekends from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • December 24 & 25 (Christmas Eve & Christmas Day) 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Online Assistance: www.butterball.com

USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline: 1-888-674-6854

  • Hours:
    • Food safety specialists available from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on weekdays year round.
    • November 25 (Thanksgiving Day) 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Online Assistance: www.fsis.usda.gov (general food safety, preparation and handling of meat and poultry

A-B Tech Decorates Historic Homes With a Modern Twist for the Holidays

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community will usher in the holidays with its first Lighting of the Green Dec. 4-22, featuring historic homes on campus decorated with conventional lighting as well as energy-efficient lighting provided by the College’s Global Institute for Sustainability Technologies (GIST).

GIST, with a sponsorship from Progress Energy, purchased solar and outside light-emitting diode (LED) lighting to be incorporated into the decorating to create a festive atmosphere at the College.

Jon Snover, director of GIST, saw the Lighting of the Green as a teachable moment. “Since we deal with sustainability issues, with energy efficiency being the issue here, we wanted to show people how LED lighting and solar technology use less power over traditional lighting and can translate into cash savings,” he said.

According to Snover, LED Christmas lights, on average, use 90 percent less energy than traditional lights, have an average bulb life of 50,000 hours and burn cooler for a low fire hazard. “We want consumers to know if you spend a little more in new technology, you will save money in energy costs during the lifetime of the product,” he said.

Community members are invited to ride through campus and view the lights from 6 to 9 p.m. nightly. Two historic homes – Fernihurst, an 1870s mansion once the center of social activity for the township of Victoria, and the Smith-McDowell House, the oldest brick residence in Buncombe County – will be open to the public from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 7 and 14 for free tours, light refreshments and entertainment.

“We are delighted to invite everyone to come to our homes for the holidays,” A-B Tech President Hank Dunn said. “This is our way of saying thank you for the extraordinary support A-B Tech receives from the community.”

Turkey Tips for a Tasty Thanksgiving

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – As Thanksgiving approaches, cooking the traditional turkey dinner gives rise to anxieties and questions. What kind of turkey should I buy? Should I buy a frozen turkey or a fresh one? How do I store my turkey? A few simple steps will not only ease your holiday fears, but will ensure a delicious and a safe meal for you, your family, and your friends.

Fresh Turkeys:

  • Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.
  • Buy your turkey only 1 to 2 days before you plan to cook it.
  • Keep it stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook it. Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak.
  • Do not buy fresh pre-stuffed turkeys. If not handled properly, any harmful bacteria that may be in the stuffing can multiply very quickly.

Frozen Turkeys:

  • Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.
  • Keep frozen until you’re ready to thaw it.
  • Turkeys can be kept frozen in the freezer indefinitely; however, cook within 1 year for best quality.
  • See “Thawing Your Turkey” for thawing instructions.

Frozen Pre-Stuffed Turkeys:

  • USDA recommends only buying frozen pre-stuffed turkeys that display the USDA or State mark of inspection on the packaging. These turkeys are safe because they have been processed under controlled conditions.
  • DO NOT THAW before cooking. Cook from the frozen state. Follow package directions for proper handling and cooking.
  • Allow 1¼ pounds of turkey per person.

Thawing Your Turkey:

There are three ways to thaw your turkey safely; in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave oven.

In the Refrigerator (40 °F or below)
Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds
4 to 12 pounds 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds 3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds 5 to 6 days

Keep the turkey in its original wrapper. Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak. A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. If necessary, a turkey that has been properly thawed in the refrigerator may be refrozen.

In Cold Water
Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound
4 to 12 pounds 2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pounds 6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pounds 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pounds 10 to 12 hours

Wrap your turkey securely; making sure the water is not able to leak through the wrapping. Submerge your wrapped turkey in cold tap water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed. Do not refreeze.

In the Microwave Oven:

  • Check your owner’s manual for the size turkey that will fit in your microwave oven, the minutes per pound, and power level to use for thawing.
  • Remove all outside wrapping.
  • Place on a microwave-safe dish to catch any juices that may leak.
  • Cook your turkey immediately. Do not refreeze or refrigerate your turkey after thawing in the microwave oven.

REMINDER: Remove the giblets from the turkey cavities after thawing. Cook separately.

Roasting Your Turkey:

  • Set your oven temperature no lower than 325 °F.
  • Place your turkey or turkey breast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
  • For optimum safety, stuffing a turkey is not recommended. For more even cooking, it is recommended you cook your stuffing outside the bird in a casserole. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the stuffing. The stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.
  • If you choose to stuff your turkey, the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time; however, keep wet and dry ingredients separate. Chill all of the wet ingredients (butter/margarine, cooked celery and onions, broth, etc.). Mix wet and dry ingredients just before filling the turkey cavities. Fill the cavities loosely. Cook the turkey immediately. Use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.
  • A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook turkey to higher temperatures.
  • If your turkey has a “pop-up” temperature indicator, it is recommended that you also check the internal temperature of the turkey in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast with a food thermometer. The minimum internal temperature should reach 165 °F for safety.
  • For quality, let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving to allow juices to set. The turkey will carve more easily.
  • Remove all stuffing from the turkey cavities.

Timetables for Turkey Roasting:
(325 °F oven temperature)

Use the timetables below to determine how long to cook your turkey. These times are approximate. Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey and stuffing.

Unstuffed
4 to 8 pounds (breast) 1½ to 3¼ hours
8 to 12 pounds 2¾ to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3¾ hours
14 to 18 pounds 3¾ to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4½ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4½ to 5 hours
Stuffed
4 to 6 pounds (breast) Not usually applicable
6 to 8 pounds (breast) 2½ to 3½ hours
8 to 12 pounds 3 to 3½ hours
12 to 14 pounds 3½ to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 4 to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4¾ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4¾ to 5¼ hours

It is safe to cook a turkey from the frozen state. The cooking time will take at least 50 percent longer than recommended for a fully thawed turkey. Remember to remove the giblet packages during the cooking time. Do not smoke, grill, deep fat fry, or microwave a frozen turkey. Remove carefully with tongs or a fork.

Optional Cooking Hints:

  • Tuck wing tips under the shoulders of the bird for more even cooking. This is referred to as “akimbo.”
  • Add ½ cup of water to the bottom of the pan.
  • If your roasting pan does not have a lid, you may place a tent of heavy-duty aluminum foil over the turkey for the first 1 to 1 ½ hours. This allows for maximum heat circulation, keeps the turkey moist, and reduces oven splatter. To prevent overbrowning, foil may also be placed over the turkey after it reaches the desired color.
  • If using an oven-proof food thermometer, place it in the turkey at the start of the cooking cycle. It will allow you to check the internal temperature of the turkey while it is cooking. For turkey breasts, place thermometer in the thickest part. For whole turkeys, place in the thickest part of the inner thigh. Once the thigh has reached 165 °F, check the wing and the thickest part of the breast to ensure the turkey has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F throughout the product.
  • If using an oven cooking bag, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on the package.

REMEMBER! Always wash hands, utensils, the sink, and anything else that comes in contact with raw turkey and its juices with soap and water.

Storing Your Leftovers:

  • Discard any turkey, stuffing, and gravy left out at room temperature longer than 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F.
  • Divide leftovers into smaller portions. Refrigerate or freeze in covered shallow containers for quicker cooling.
  • Use refrigerated turkey and stuffing within 3 to 4 days. Use gravy within 1 to 2 days.
  • If freezing leftovers, use within 2 to 6 months for best quality.

Reheating Your Turkey:

Cooked turkey may be eaten cold or reheated.

In the Oven:

  • Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 °F.
  • Reheat turkey to an internal temperature of 165 °F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.
  • To keep the turkey moist, add a little broth or water and cover.

In the Microwave Oven:

  • Cover your food and rotate it for even heating. Allow standing time.
  • Check the internal temperature of your food with a food thermometer to make sure it reaches 165 °F.
  • Consult your microwave oven owner’s manual for recommended times and power levels.

Find answers to some of your turkey questions by watching “On the Home Front: Holiday Turkey Tips.”

Still have questions?  Call Buncombe County Cooperative Extension at 255-5522.

Buncombe County Offices Closed for Thanksgiving

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – All Buncombe County Government Offices will be closed Thursday, November 25 and Friday, November 26 for Thanksgiving.

Buncombe County Public Libraries will be closed November 25 through November 28.

Household Hazard Waste and Electronics Recycling at the Landfill will be cancelled for Friday, November 26. The Landfill and Transfer Station will be open on their regular schedule.

AB Tech Culinary Team Wins State Title

Friday, November 19th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – A-B Tech’s Student Culinary Team won the American Culinary Federation North Carolina State Team competition Nov. 13 at the College’s Asheville campus.

Team members will advance to the ACF Southeast regional competition in Atlanta Feb. 19-21, to vie for a chance to attend nationals in July in Dallas.

“This is a very dedicated, hard-working team. They had a short period of time to prepare for this competition,” said team coach and Culinary Instructor Charles deVries. “They put in two practice sessions a week since September and the results show. We are very proud of their accomplishment and the level at which they performed. We look forward to the challenges ahead.” Chef Fred Snyder also serves as coach for the team.

The team prepared a clarified tomato broth with seared sea bass, mixed greens with a grilled radicchio roquefort pear tart, Poulet Saute a la Catalane, and an Almond cake with pomegranate gelee and lemon sauce. The four-course meal must be prepared in one and a half hours, then judges score teams on taste, presentation, timeliness, and accuracy.

Danny Schwalje serves as team captain while each member prepares a course. Members are Jonathon Zetterholm (appetizer), Stephen Hertz (salad), Tracy Williams (entrée), and Sidney Ann Caton (dessert).