Thanksgiving Turkey For One

Christmas and Thanksgiving are hard on us single people, but since Costco opened a store just an hour away, I have been able to eat turkey more often because they sell those rolled up roasts made up of just one side of a turkey breast.

I used to make a similar roast myself by boning the turkey and joining the two breasts with string. But then I had all the rest of the turkey to eat, and it was hard (but not impossible) not to waste any.

What's nice about those roasts, too, is that you can have one or two in the freezer, ready for any turkey craving that may show up at other times of the year.

This is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and I wanted to try doing different things with my Costco turkey. As you can see from the picture, I was quite successful!

Eleven meals out of one turkey breast!

First, I removed the netting and scrutinized my roast. Indeed, it was made up of a whole half breast, and nothing else. The little filet had been partially detached, so I cut that off and set it aside.

I created the centre roast by cutting off the wide and narrow ends. I rolled up my little roast and tied it with string after seasoning the inside.

I discarded the skin and fatty bits from the leftover pieces and cut them (minus the filet) into chunks, which I ground with my meat grinder.



I adapted a recipe for Glazed Turkey Roast with Apples and Balsamic Vinegar that I had seen on TV this week, on the Ricardo show on CBC.

The recipe calls for a whole 2.5-lb roast, so I adjusted the quantities.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C)
2. Salt the roast all over, then brown it on all sides in a bit of olive oil in a frying pan
3. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar*, add 1.5 tablespoons of honey and a chopped French shallot (or half a small onion)
4. Roll the roast around in the sauce to coat it all over
5. Add one cup of chicken stock to the pan and roast for approximately one hour and ten minutes, or until 180 F (82 C) internal temperature. Keep checking every 20 minutes, and add small quantities of stock as necessary
6. In a separate frying pan, brown a Cortland apple which has been peeled, cored and sliced, in a spoonful of butter
7. When the roast is done, remove it and cover it loosely with foil for about 15 minutes, while you finish the sauce
8. Reduce the sauce if necessary (or add a bit of water or stock if it's too thick but it should be more of a glaze than a sauce), roll the roast around to glaze it all over, add the apples and mix well. Season to taste.

Absolutely delicious!



I ended up with exactly one pound (450 g) of ground turkey. Today I made them as follows, but of course you can use your own favourite recipe for turkey or chicken meat balls:
  1. The ground turkey;
  2. A panade of good white bread soaked in milk (two slices plus 2/3 cup milk) ;
  3. 1 egg;
  4. 1 small onion, grated;
  5. 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese;
  6. Salt, pepper and poultry seasoning;
  7. 1 teaspoon of powdered gelatin**
Mix thoroughly with the hands and form balls with wet hands. Deposit them on a sheet of parchment paper.

Drop the turkey balls into simmering chicken stock to cover, and simmer gently for 30 to 40 minutes, until the centre is fully cooked.

I plan to use some of the balls in a tomato sauce for pasta that I will make later on in the week. I could also freeze all or some of them.



This is the little filet that I detached at the beginning, and flattened with the side of a cleaver. (I really must get one of those meat pounders!)

Since it has already been frozen, I will cook my escalope tomorrow, probably as veal piccata or maybe a saltimbocca since I have some prosciutto in the fridge and some fresh sage in the garden. The Epicurious recipe calls for the sage on the outside, but I always put it between the prosciutto and the meat, because that's the way they prepare it in my favourite restaurant in Rome. Oh, and by the way do not use dried sage for this!

Instead, you could cut the escalope into fingers, bread them and fry them, and serve them to the kids.



  • 1, 1.2-lb (500 g) roast (4 portions)
  • 3 dozen ping-pong ball-sized meat balls (5 or 6 portions)
  • 1, 4-oz ((113 g) escalope (1 portion or two portions of fingers)
  • Bonus: 2 cups strong turkey stock which will make an excellent soup or sauce base



The nice thing is I was able to prepare all those things at the same time. I mixed the meat balls while the roast was cooking. It took about two hours altogether.



$19.49 for the turkey (3 lbs/1.5 kilos). This breaks down to about $2 per meal. Right inside my budget!

*Instead of -- or in addition to -- the balsamic vinegar, I could have used some of the Pinot Griggio wine that I had with it for lunch, which turned out to be a very fine "marriage".

If you're in the habit of brining your turkey, by all means brine this roast. I didn't, and it was moist enough.

** I copied this trick from my restaurants, where we used to add a few spoonfuls of gelatin to the pâté recipe. The gelatin would turn the extra juice into a tasty jelly.

In this instance, the combination of milk/bread/gelatin plays the role of fat in a dish that is nearly 100% fat-free, so what you get is a juicy result where you might expect something rather dry.


What I Hate About TV Chefs

I would be a lot more relaxed watching cooking shows if only the chefs would smarten up and think of projecting a responsible image in addition to a competent one.

These are some of the things that I hate about TV chefs:

1. No Apron

Can you imagine Julia Child making boeuf bourguignon in her finest silk dress? How about Jacques Pépin making béarnaise sauce in his tuxedo?

Then why the h*** do all these new TV chefs cook in designer clothes?

Take a look at this picture: Rachael Ray is wearing a suit jacket! She often wears this type of jacket in the kitchen. What? Her guest is wearing an apron. Smart guy.

Come on, ladies, a cooking show is not the place to show off your wardrobe, or your waistline, or your bouncy boobs. It's a dirty workplace and your clothes deserve to be protected. Wear an apron!

The other thing that bothers me about this lack of respect for clothes is that so many of the viewers have to get theirs at the thrift shop in these difficult times.

2. No Scraper

I absolutely hate the way they don't scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula. They were taught to do it in cooking school, so when did they decide that wasting food was okay?

Well, it's not okay to waste food, and it's not okay to be so sloppy about cooking.

3. No Compost Bucket

Imagine this: Rachael Ray (or Nigella Lawson, or your favourite TV chef) is preparing a salad. On the counter, off to one side, there is a pretty pottery bucket. The bucket is labelled "Compost". 

At one point, Rachael squeezes a lemon over the salad, then drops the lemon into the bucket. Not in the garbage, in the compost bucket.

She doesn't have to say a word. Everyone knows what compost is. Now they know that Rachael makes compost. Cool!

TV chefs need to remember that they are role models for their audience, and that it's their duty to give the right kind of example.


Photo copyright Rachael Ray Digital LLC


In Search of the Perfect Microwave Egg

An Experiment in Coddled Egg Microwave Cookery 

Egg Coddler
I stopped having coddled eggs for breakfast when the ring on my Royal Worcester porcelain egg coddler broke off.*

Then I moved and now I can't find it, but it looked exactly like this one.

(What is a coddled egg? Imagine if you could inject some butter and other seasonings inside the shell of your egg, then soft-boil it to your exact taste... well, the egg coddler is just a replacement shell, and so to coddle an egg, you place it and your chosen seasonings inside the porcelain coddler, close it tightly, then submerge it in simmering water until it's just the way you like it.  A little miracle! [The ring is so you can grab it.])

I've cooked hard-boiled eggs in the microwave, but, I thought, why not coddled eggs? This morning, I decided to try.

Day 1

Chinese tea bowls make perfect little individual egg coddlers. I added a ruler so you can see how tiny they are -- they hold 1/2 cup when full. (If I were making two eggs, I would use one of my small glass custard cups.)

Put a tiny dab of butter in the bottom of the cup;

Microwave for 10-15 seconds to melt the butter;

Rotate the cup to coat the bottom and sides of the cup with butter (this is important both for the flavour and to keep the egg from sticking to the bowl);

Add the egg and pierce the yolk with the tip of a knife or a fork;

NOTE: this is essential -- otherwise the yolk will explode!

Add seasonings -- any or all of the following:
  • Salt and pepper;
  • Chopped chives or green onion tops;
  • Finely chopped cooked mushrooms, crumbled bacon or finely chopped ham;
  • Anything you would normally add to your eggs.
Add another dab of butter on top -- please don't skip this! It's amazing what this minuscule amount of butter does to the flavour of the egg!

Wrap the bowl in a paper towel (NOT plastic wrap);

Microwave on High-- I tried 45 seconds today;

Eat out of the bowl with a coffee spoon;


Flip over toast.

This is how I did it today, but as you may know, after you take something out of the microwave oven it continues to cook. That's why, in these last two photos, you can see that the yolk is beginning to solidify.

I like my yolks completely liquid, so tomorrow, I will try 40 seconds and a 10-second rest, and see what happens.

NOTE: if you decide to try this, you will have to experiment too, because as you know all microwaves are different, and of course you may like your eggs more or less cooked.


After several tries, I did settle on 40 seconds, and that time seems to work best in the smaller of the two cups, the one on the right. The walls are thicker, which may contribute to the whites setting better.

That's what works best for my taste and my equipment.

You're on your own: do your own tests; just remember that, oddly enough, if you get some water in the bottom of the cup, it's not from under-cooking, but from over-cooking. It's a chemical reaction, apparently.

 * Without some sort of "handle", it's impossible to get the coddler out quickly when the timer goes off (and believe me, I've tried).


Making Seedless Raspberry Jam In Winter

Seedless Raspberry Ja

Photo Credit: See Footnote
Raspberry jam is my absolute favourite, but I don't like the way those little seeds get between the teeth, so I've been straining them out.

During the raspberry season, I use the wild raspberries that grow in my back yard, but in winter, I use frozen raspberries, and this is the recipe that I use.

This jam is as pure as it gets.* I never use pectin – it's expensive and superfluous and jams made with it do not have the same rich fruit taste and texture.

  • A stainless steel pot or saucepan
  • A kitchen scale (This recipe shows the weights, both in ounces and in grams -- next time I make it I will measure the raspberries by volume and I will come back and fill in the square.)
  • A candy thermometer (See other technique, below.)
  • A potato or bean masher
  • A fine strainer and a glass or stainless steel bowl over which it sits well (and safely, jam is hot!)
  • A jam funnel (optional)
  • A small jar

Metric Weight
US Weight
Frozen raspberries 285 grams 10 ounces ?
White sugar 240 grams 8.5 ounces 1 cup

  1. Mash the raspberries if they're thawed; if not, combine them directly with the sugar
  2. Set aside, stirring from time to time, until all the sugar is dissolved
  3. Transfer to stainless steel pot
  4. Place over medium heat and continue to mash the raspberries until there are no whole ones left
  5. Insert the candy thermometer
  6. Boil, stirring from time to time at the beginning, then let the mixture simmer until the thermometer reaches 104 degrees C or 220 F (this is called the Jelly stage and if you don't have a thermometer [highly recommended if you're going to be making your own jams and jellies], follow my friend Goldie's technique: she would keep a small saucer in the freezer, take it out and pour a spoonful of jam on it, then run her finger through the jam. If it wrinkled, the jam was ready.)
  7. Remove from heat, stir well and pour carefully into the strainer, using a silicone spatula to get every bit. This must be done while the jam is still hot, so do be careful.
  8. Now comes the fun! Stir the jam around with a spoon; press on the seeds and keep scraping the bottom of the strainer until nothing will come through any more. (But don't throw those seeds away yet!**)
  9. Transfer quickly to a jar, using a jam funnel if you have one
  10. Cool, put the lid on and refrigerate
YIELD:  1 cup (250 ml)  -- just enough to fill one of those cute Mason-type jelly jars.

NOTE: I prefer to make a small quantity like this, rather than having to worry about sterilizing the jar etc. I buy the frozen raspberries in a big bag, and just take out what I need as I need it. But of course you can double the recipe.

* I found the following ingredients listed on a jar of premium "Pure Seedless Raspberry Jam" at the supermarket:
  • Raspberries
  • Sugar
  • Glucose
  • Pectin
  • Citric Acid
** There's still a lot of raspberry pulp (and sugar) attached to the seeds, and it makes great tea, either by itself or with some tea leaves. If you have a teapot that comes with a strainer basket, that's best; otherwise, use a tea strainer over your cup.  Try it!

 Image: zole4 /