There are few virtues a man can possess more erotic than culinary skill.
Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses
by Isabel Allende

Starting in November of 2009 Michelle at the Big Black Dog formed a group to bake its way through Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg. I loved Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, so I signed up with the group. Michelle first had us do a couple of warm-up assignments, which were my first attempt at blogging. The first "Official" post was on January 15, 2010, and it was followed by 41 more, on the 1st and 15th of each month. When I signed on I said I would bake the whole book, and like Horton (the elephant) I meant what I said and I said what I meant. I finished baking the book on October 1, 2011. Having completed that challenge, now I am just going to do some stuff, and post about it. As part of that stuff Michelle is posing a new, and different, challenge for us each month.

I am still baking bread, mostly the Five Minutes a Day kind, and if you would like to try the Five Minutes a Day bread method there are some links, with recipes, in the right hand column to get you started. Please give it a try.

But first, a word from my sponsor . . .
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This day be bread and peace my lot.
Alexander Pope

How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?

Julia Child

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven.
Yiddish proverb
(And some are only half baked.)

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.
George Bernard Shaw, via Sharon

Of all smells, bread; of all tastes, salt.
George Herbert

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gobble-y Gobble-y

Well, Thanksgiving has passed, and it is time for stores to start putting out the Christmas stuff and playing Christmas music--oh wait, that started right after Halloween.

We have an old Muppet Christmas show we watch every year (watch out for the icy patch) in which the turkey persuades the Swedish Chef that Big Bird is a turkey.  The show is old enough that Jim Henson is in it, and my bride tears up each year when we watch it.  She has never gotten over his tragic death.

Anyway, more often than not we host Thanksgiving, and I have always found it easier to make two modest sized turkeys than one huge one.  But for years was dissatisfied with the method of cooking the second turkey.  We only had one oven, so one when there, but whither the second?  Cooking on the grill here on the North Coast can be chancy in November.  I used an electric roaster, which cooked the turkey but retained so much moisture that it was more steamed than roasted.

When we redid our kitchen 2 years ago we considered a second oven, but decided that was a pretty steep price for something we would only use one day a year, and we had other places that money could be better spent.

Many people deep fry their turkeys, but some also burn down their houses doing it.  

  Then I heard about an oil-less turkey fryer.  That sounded safer, so I ordered one.  I got the Big Easy Oil-less Infared Turkey Fryer
It was a lot less than a second built-in oven.  And it works great, it uses propane from a tank, like a gas grill.  I don't understand how it works, but it does.

Now I have not had a real deep-fried turkey, and I do not claim that this is really the same, but it cooked my second turkey, 14 pounds, in just about 2 hours, and gave it crispy skin and moist meat.  The only trick is that you really need to watch it.  It can cook faster than you expect.

I would like to be able to show you a photo of my turkey, but with 2 turkeys to carve, and the other stuff to orchestrate, photography just was not in the picture, but this should give you the idea

And the Big Easy is not just for turkeys.  It does a great job on chickens (I usually cook 2 since I am cranking it up) and I have also cooked pork loin and beef in it.  For further inspiration there are online forums where people cook almost anything in their Big Easys. 

So, for you Thanksgiving turkey next year, or maybe for your Solstice turkey this year, the Big Easy might be something you want to consider.


  1. I loved the Thanksgiving dinner picture. I'm sure your inside/outside cooked turkeys looked as good as the bird in the picture. Jennifer soaked our bird in brine for a long while and it baked up very yummy. Thanks for the post.

  2. I can truthfully say that the turkeys on Thanksgiving were delicious!!! Fantastic job!

    Your youngest daughter