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Bacon-Wrapped Turkey

Once up on a time, there was a split turkey breast (i.e. half a turkey breast with the bones and skin included). And there were people who were afraid of the dreaded dry turkey.

These same people, however, had not planned ahead to brine the turkey breast. And so they hatched a plan to wrap it in bacon. This was, however, one of the last things we cooked in a day of cooking tasty things, so your protagonist was the one with energy left to tackle the physics of getting the bacon to stay around the turkey without the use of butchers’ twine.

Bacon-Wrapped Turkey

First, make sure you have thoroughly thawed a pound of bacon.

You can just assemble the on top of your roasting pan or on some surface that is easily moved and cleaned. Lay out slightly less than half of the pound of bacon to roughly the width of the breast.

Put the turkey on top of the bacon.

Decide whether or not you want to play with the seasonings. The woman who brought the meat would probably have gone with a lemon/citrus/salt/thingy seasoning schema. I was thinking along the lines of barbecue sauce only with a much more subtle flavor and no sauce, no not much like barbecue sauce at all, really. So I made a paste with:

  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • pinch dried (and crumbled) rosemary
  • pinch dried (and then crumbed) thyme
  • 3 black peppercorns (ground in mortal & pestle)
  • 5 white peppercorns (ground in mortal & pestle)
  • 2 black cardamom seeds (not pods!) (ground in mortal & pestle)
  • pinch fennel seeds (ground in mortal & pestle)
  • 2/3 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp brown mustard
  • 1 Tbsp orange marmalade

And I rubbed this paste over and under the skin.

Now, lay most of the rest of the bacon over the width of the top side of the turkey. As you fold the top bacon over the side, tuck up the bottom strips of bacon and secure each one with a toothpick (they didn’t burn much even though we didn’t bother with soaking them, but they were the thicker round tooled ones you get at an asian grocery, instead of the flimsy flat ones you get at a regular grocery). If you have just a little bacon left to use up, you can drape it lengthwise over the top, but that’s not necessary.

And then I sprinkled the top of the bacon with garlic salt for extra deliciousness.

Cook as you would a turkey breast.

Green Tomato Salsa, Beef Rib Roast, Quesadillas

I’m leaving on a trip in a few days, so I am trying to make sure I eat everything perishable in the house.

First thing up – getting rid of the last of the green tomatoes that I picked when the garden season was ended by frost.

I split them in half, lay them on a baking sheet cut side down, and roasted them while I was also roasting a butternut squash. I wasn’t too sure what to do with them (because I knew I didn’t want to fry them), but I figured I could probably do anything to them I would do with tomatillos.

Green Tomato Salsa

Remove the peels from the roasted green tomato halves, and dice the tomatoes. Put the tomatoes and all of their juices into a container (but go ahead and compost the skins). I was using 1 very large one, 2 medium, and two very small. But juggle that around in your head and fix up the proportions to whatever you have – I certainly wasn’t being scientific.

To the diced tomatoes, I added roasted garlic pods. I just finished off a head, but I’ll say it was 1/3 of a head of garlic. Take the time to break up the garlic with a fork so that it will incorporate smoothly.

I added half a serrano pepper, seeded and minced.

1 tspn white balsamic vinegar, and then the juice of half a lime (squeeze a little, stir, taste, and then repeat until it tastes right).

Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, a tiny bit of cinnamon and a decent amount (maybe 2/3 tsp) of oregano.

And it wasn’t quite perfect, so I looked in my spices and pulled out my newly acquired (but not on purpose) Penzey’s Turkish Seasoning – which includes salt, cumin, garlic, half-sharp paprika, black pepper, Turkish oregano, sumac, and cilantro.

It was tasting pretty good, but then I let it sit for a couple hours, and now it tastes amazing. This is the first preparation where I have liked green tomatoes.


A couple weeks ago, the grocery store had a sale on rib roast. Now usually I am cheap with meat and I’ll only buy meats that are under $2/pound without bones. But for some reason, rib roasts catch my eye when they occasionally go on sale at under $5/pound.

So there I was with my $25 piece of meat, and I was busy that weekend and I became rather worried that I was going to have t go bad before I had a chance to cook it.

Then I had a half day of work the Monday after the weekend to go shopping with my mother (because there was no way I was willing to brave a mall between Thanksgiving and Christmas any time other than 9am on a Monday morning). I came home and brilliantly thought to pop in the roast before I left for work at 5pm so that it’d be ready when I came home. (and that way, I wouldn’t have to start cooking the thing at 9:30pm).

Beef Rib Roast

Slice a few garlic cloves in half lengthwise. Plunge the knife into a meaty area, and then stuff garlic into the slit.

Now use the knife to lift a section of the fatty layer on top apart from the meat, and then feed a sprig of rosemary into the resulting tunnel (so the fat will rend, get flavored by the rosemary, and then season the meat).

I dusted the top of the layer of fat with garlic powder and some salt.

Then I put the roast into a very slow oven (250F) for about 45 minutes/pound.

(And don’t forget to save the ribs as you eat the meat away for stock-making later)



I use quesadillas as a way to go through small quantities of leftovers. So an ounce and a half of cheddar cheese, 2 ounces of the beef rib roast meat, the green tomato salsa, half a seeded serrano pepper, and some lettuce, made a pretty delicious couple of quesadillas.

Walnut Hill Restaurant School

I live a block from a Restaurant School, and they have community classes on the side of their formal chef training. I’ve taken a couple classes on wine there that taught me quite a bit more than I expected (though I didn’t know much to start).

So the Winter/Spring catalog of community classes came in the mail. Here’s a list of what interests me in case you are interested in joining me, too –

  • Knife Skills – Wednesday, April 22, 2009 – 7:00-9:30pm – $65
  • Indian Cassis – Tuesday, February 17, 2009 – 7:00-9:30pm – $65
  • Spanish Tapas – Wednesday, February 25, 2009 – 7:00-9:30pm – $65
  • Thai Cooking – Wednesday, May 13, 2009 – 7:00-9:30pm – $65
  • Bread & Pizza Workshop – Sunday, May 17, 2009 – 11:00am-4:00pm – $125
  • Croissants & Brioche – Sunday, March 8 and 15, 2009 – 11:00am-4:00pm – $125
  • Vegan Baking Class – Monday, March 2, 2009 – 7:00pm-9:30pm – $60
  • 5 Wine Challenge Dinners – 7:00pm – $45 each, $150 for all
    • Wednesday, January 21, 2009 – California vs Australia
    • Wednesday, February 18, 2009 – France vs U.S.
    • Wednesday, March 25, 2009 – Germany vs Alsace
    • Wednesday, April 22, 2009 – Spain vs Italy

pre-vacation food list

So I didn’t look through my fridge for a proper food list, but I need to make sure I have no perishables by Dec. 24th.

What I think I have
3 plums
2 oranges
several green tomatoes
10 apples
2 potatoes
1 lemon
3 limes
bunch of scallions
pint of fresh cranberries
kale (possibly getting too old)
most of a smallish head of napa cabbage
2 carrots
1 mini romanesco
3 butternut squash (only 1 is in danger of not lasting until January)
roasted onions
syrup from poaching quinces
hot peppers
various dried fruits (cranberries, dates, figs)
roasted garlic

last of the tomatoes from my mother’s garden, cooked down into sauce
orange juice
vegetable stock

Beef leftovers that might be too old
<1 pint perky beef leftovers 4 slices turkey bacon deli meat ends (pastrami?) sliced thick Dairy
qt 2% milk
1/2 pt light cream
6oz cheddar cheese
last of the prima donna

Meals I can make from that
Tuesday, December 16
2pm lunch @ Mad Mex
Cabbage, Apple, and Walnut salad – uses napa cabbage, walnuts, cider vinegar, 1/2 lemon, 2 tablespoons creme fraiche or heavy cream (I have a small container of plain yogurt), 2 apples, and maybe some of the prima donna. Maybe add cranberries…

Also, split the squash in half and roast it.

Wednesday, December 17
ETA: Go to grocery store: salad, pork loin on sale

Put most of the roast onions in with the butternut squash goody for soup. With a couple apples.

*also roast green tomato and make salsa

Reserve some to make quesadillas with the beef leftovers, cheddar cheese, and kale. And hot peppers.

prep Thursday’s breakfast

Thursday, December 18
breakfast – meusli – shred 1/2 and apple into it
Dinner – Vegetarian Hoagie from Fuh Wah
Supper – ice cream topped with heated up quince syrup, maybe also apple slices & peanut butter

prep more meusli for tomorrow!

Friday, December 19
breakfast – meusli – shred 1/2 apple
dinner – pack food for D&D? Buy lettuce for a backup salad? My lettuce is on sale, but that’d be a challenge to get through before I left. If backup salad, you can put romanesco & a carrot in it.

Saturday, December 20
make scallion cream cheese – eat a bagel for breakfast
going to Baltimore

Sunday, December 21
supper – butternut squash soup

Monday, December 22
breakfast – cold cereal & milk
Hash – 1 Potato & the rest of the beef leftovers – freeze directly into lunches
cook the rest of the turkey bacon – put in a salad with sliced onion, cheddar, and tomato. Soup on the side.

Tuesday, December 23
breakfast – bagel & cream cheese
Dinner: Mashed potato (finish off the milk, if possible)
Apple & prima donna & almond salad

Wednesday, December 24
flight leaves at 6:55 – full vacation day from work.
breakfast – bagel (finish off the cream cheese)
lunch – soup (freeze any not yet finished)
pack a dinner to eat in the airport – dry salad + any cheese still left over & container of balsamic vinegar

Why I am eating samosas for breakfast – Meusli

My breakfast is sitting in my refrigerator. At home.

But let me tell you about my new-found joyous quick breakfast. Okay, so fine – I was introduced to it back in early summer by [redacted], but it took me a while to believe it was good in more than just a novelty way.


(but not that crazy healthy-looking stuff they’d offer for breakfast in Switzerland if you were really lucky and they were offering more than brick-like rolls.)

put 1/4c oatmeal (the real stuff that takes half an hour to cook) into a container.

optional: Add some dried fruit – I like using cranberries, figs, and/or dates… probably I’d like a whole bunch of other stuff, too, but that’s what’s in my pantry.

Add 1/4c orange juice. And since I was doing this from memory, I add my dairy product now. But on later checking, [redacted] adds her dairy the next morning. Your choice. 1/4 c dairy product (I have been using 2% milk, but just about anything is good here: skim milk, whole milk, light cream, heavy cream, nonfat yogurt, full fat greek yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream – or no dairy and just more fruit juice).

optional: Add a sprinkling of cinnamon or nutmeg or some such spice.

Close up the container and chuck it in the fridge overnight.

Next morning, toss in some nuts. Maybe toasted nuts. One kind of nut or several… or no nuts.

Also, shred half an apple into the container (or, you know, into another container and then dump it into your meusli) – just wash the apple, cut it in half, and shred it coarsely – skin on and using the core as the place to rest your fingers. I suppose you could also shred carrots or some other excitingly healthy thing. But you stir it all up and then you can carry it to work, and there’s enough juice and all that the apple doesn’t get brown.

Eat and enjoy – you’ll find that all the fruit makes it plenty sweet, and it has protein from the nuts and dairy. And it requires no special storage (assuming you have non-leaking containers).

But… it does require remembering to bring it with you.

Good thing one of my coworkers was kind enough to bring in food to share with the department this morning.