Holiday Turkey and Ham

Turkey and HamI’m posting this recipes mainly to archive these recipes, since we only cook them once or twice a year.

After sufficient trial and error, we have settled upon these approaches for holiday bird and pig.  (And yes, when faced with the question of ‘turkey or ham?’ our family is an ‘all of the above’ family.)  Several years ago, we started cooking our turkey in an electric roaster, out of convenience, but have come to realize it is the absolutely best way to roast the bird.  As for ham, it is very straightforward, and the raisin sauce comes courtesy of my Grandma Mox.


For Turkey

  • Whole turkey, 10 to 12 pounds
  • 1 stick of salted butter, softened
  • 3 Tb. each, chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, and parsley
  • 1 Tb. dried oregano
  • 1/2 Tb. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Tb. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 3 whole sprigs rosemary
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 2 to 3 Tb. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

For Ham

  • 7 to 10 lb. bone-in ham
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tb. honey
  • 1 Tb. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tb. raw organic apple cider

For Raisin Sauce

  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 blackcurrant jelly
  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 orange, zested
  • 2 Tb. dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tb. corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground allspice
  • Dash salt


  1. Assuming that your meats are thawed out and ready to go, preheat electric roaster to its maximum temperature.  Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Stir together butter, chopped herbs, oregano, black pepper, garlic, celery seed, nutmeg, ginger, and paprika.  Set aside.
  3. Place turkey on roasting rack. Stuff turkey with rosemary sprigs, quartered onion, and lemon.  Rub butter mixture underneath skin of turkey.  Coat turkey with olive oil and season liberally.  (Insert remote thermometer into thigh.)
  4. Place turkey inside roaster and cook at maximum temperature for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 300.  Pay attention to your internal temperature readings and adjust heat accordingly.  Thigh meat should be cooked to 180 F – once that temperature is reached, hold at that temp for 20 to 30 minutes.  Most importantly – do not open the lid of the roaster until you are ready to carve.
  5. Place the ham, face-side down, in a large oval roasting pan.  Cover with aluminum foil and roast in oven for about an hour (depending on overall cooking time – you will need to reserve 45 minutes of cooking time at end for the glaze.)
  6. While meats are cooking, prepare glaze and sauce.  For glaze, stir together brown sugar, honey, Dijon mustard, and cider and simmer.
  7. For raisin sauce, mix together all ingredients and simmer until thickened.
  8. Pour glaze all over ham to coat for last 45 minutes.  Recover ham with foil.
  9. Remove turkey and rest for about 15 minutes (or 30…).  Carve and serve!

Vietnamese-style BBQ Chicken

Viet ChickenI keep fiddling around with this basic theme, and I’m not sure if I’ve gotten there yet, but this one is pretty darn good. We love barbeque in general, but it’s also fun to push the boundaries a little.


  • 6 chicken drumsticks
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup beer (amber ale works well)
  • 2 Tb. Sambal
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup honey


  1. Place chicken in a gallon plastic bag. Mix remaining ingredients except ketchup an honey and pour over chicken.  Toss to coat and marinate for at least two hours.
  2. Remove chicken from bag and reserve marinade.  Grill chicken using indirect grilling.
  3. Meanwhile, combine reserved marinade, ketchup, and honey in a small stockpot and simmer.  Reduce to about half, until a sticky consistency is reached.
  4. Brush chicken with sauce and cook until it ‘sets.’ I also like to give it a little burn over direct heat.

Chicken and White Bean Chili

So I’ve been forced to confront the fact that my cholesterol levels are way too high for someone my age (or any age, for that matter). Taking a positivist approach, I’m embracing the challenge of creating some healthful, heart-healthy foods that are also flavorful and filling. Here’s one such attempt:


  • 1 lb. ground chicken breast
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 2 tsp. Goya Adobo seasoning
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tb. chile powder
  • 1-2 tsp. Hershey’s cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 cans white kidney beans
  • 2 large cans petite diced tomatoes

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup beer
  • Braised Chicken in Mushroom-Wine Sauce

    Red Dutch OvenSo we finally ‘retired’ our old Royal Prestige Dutch oven (i.e. it got pretty wrecked, so we threw it out), and since we love our Lodge cast iron skillets so much, we decided to get one of their enamel Dutch ovens.

    So on the day that it came, we didn’t really have any dinner ingredients on hand, so we improvised, as follows:


    • 4 chicken leg quarters
    • Salt and pepper
    • 2 tblsp olive oil
    • 1 1/2 lbs. potatoes, quartered to bite-size chunks
    • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
    • 6 oz. peeled baby carrots
    • 1/2 tsp each of dried thyme, sage, and rosemary
    • 1/2 cup white wine (I used Riesling)
    • 1 can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup


    1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Heat oil in 6.5 qt. cast-iron Dutch oven (preferably red).  Salt and pepper chicken, then brown on both sides.  Remove to plate.
    2. Add in onions, potatoes, and carrots.  Salt and cook for 5 minutes or so.
    3. Whisk together wine and soup and add to Dutch oven.  Stir well, scraping up anything stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Add in herbs and add salt and pepper, as necessary.
    4. Add back in chicken, cover, and place in oven.  Cook for at least one hour, until chicken is fork tender.

    Jerk Chicken and Grilled Pineapple Salsa

    Jerk ChickenI’m posting this one up not necessarily because I’m proud of the recipe – it’s really an adapted recipe from a couple of different ones that I found on the web, not an ‘original.’  I’m posting it mainly so I’ll never lose it – Kristine said that this was her absolute favorite chicken dish that I’ve ever cooked.  In life.  Ever.

    Usually on the weekends, when we’re trying to decide what to cook, we usually just say, ‘something spicy.’  Most of the time, that’s usually something Indian, but I’ve been wanting to branch out into Caribbean and African cuisine.  The pineapple salsa is an original recipe, however.  It’s actually quite essential for balance, since the flavors on the chicken are so bold and savory (serving coconut-milk flavored rice and beans also helps).  So here ’tis:


    For jerk chicken…

    • 3 scallions, chopped
    • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 large shallot, chopped
    • 4 to 5 fresh Scotch bonnet or habanero chile, stemmed and seeded
    • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (two good-sized limes)
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoons salt
    • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
    • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
    • 2 teaspoons black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • Water, as needed
    • 4 chicken leg quarters

    For the salsa…

    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
    • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    • 6 to 8 rings of pineapple (fresh is best, of course!)
    • 2 tsp. chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp. olive oil + extra for basting
    • 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar
    • Salt, pepper to taste


    1. Combine all ingredients for jerk chicken (except chicken) in a blender and pulse until a smooth paste develops.  Add water to thin, as necessary.  Marinade should be a thick liquid – like a semi-melted milkshake.
    2. Reserve a few tablespoons of the marinade to use later as a sauce.  Place chicken in a gallon zip-top back or large Tupperware dish and coat with remaining marinade.  Toss chicken pieces to coat and set aside to marinate in refrigerator – at least for four hours or overnight.  (Tip: Let chicken come up to room temperature for about an hour before cooking.)
    3. To begin salsa, preheat grill to medium-high temperature.  Brush both sides of pineapple rings with oil and dust with chili powder.  Grill for five to eight minutes per side – until pineapple is soft and had dark grill marks.  Remove, allow to cool, and dice.  Mix with remaining ingredients for salsa and set aside.
    4. Increase heat on grill to high.  Remove chicken from marinade and grill for 8 to 10 minutes per side, until nicely browned.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook through (to 180F).  Prepare to fend off curious neighbors.
    5. Remove chicken from grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Mix a little water with reserved marinade to create a dipping sauce for chicken.  Serve chicken with salsa on side – also good with Caribbean rice and beans and cole slaw.

    Beer pairing: Excellent with any sort of very cold light lager or American wheat beer (such as Bell’s Oberon).

    Mediterranean Chicken, Arugula Pasta, and Zesty Chickpeas

    This is another one of those “let’s-see-what-I-can-make-without-going-shopping” dinners.  We usually have skinless frozen chicken breasts in the freezer, cans of diced tomatoes and chickpeas in the cabinet, and, with the garden in full swing, fresh herbs and greens on hand.  And, of course, olive oil and lemons should always be on hand.  And (not to ruin the fun) this recipe is remarkably healthful and relatively low in fat.

    Chicken Ingredients

    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb.)
    • approx. 1/4 cup each of fresh mint, oregano, and basil
    • 1/2 cup of olive oil
    • 2 to 3 cloves garlic
    • salt and pepper
    Arugula Pasta Ingredients
    • 1 lb. fresh whole-wheat linguine
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 8 oz. (or so) of fresh arugula, roughly chopped
    • 1/2 cup of pine nuts, toasted
    • 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese
    • Salt (of course)
    Zesty Chickpeas Ingredients
    • 1 can of organic chickpeas (15 oz)
    • 1 can of organic diced tomatoes (15 oz)
    • ~2 to 3 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped
    • 2 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1 tblsp. tomato paste
    • 1/4 cup dry red wine
    • Salt (of course)
    1. For chicken marinade – blitz herbs, half of the oil, half of the lemon juice, and salt in a food processor.  Place chicken in a shallow dish and cover with marinade.  Add remaining oil and lemon juice, coating chicken well.  Cover and marinate in fridge for two or three hours.
    2. Toast pine nuts and set aside.  Preheat broiler and start water to boil for pasta.  Combine all ingredients for zesty chickpeas and simmer over low heat to reduce liquid and marry flavors, about 20 or 30 minutes.
    3. Remove chicken from marinade and broil, about 5 minutes a side.
    4. Meanwhile, and simultaneously boil pasta and saute the argula in olive oil with a generous dash of salt.
    5. Drain pasta and mix in a large bowl with sauteed arugula and oil,  parmesean cheese, and pine nuts.
    6. Serve chicken on top of pasta, with peas on the side!  Serve with garlic bread.
    Beer pairing: I had Real Ale‘s Lost Gold IPA, but this dish would probably work better with a malty amber ale, biscuity pale ale, or basic lager.

    (Easy) Chicken Tikka Masala

    This is one of our “house” dishes, something that gets made (by request) on the weekends at least once or twice a month.  I hate to admit it, but it’s actually an adaptation of Gordon Ramsay’s recipe!


  • Oil (we use Smart Balance; peanut oil is fine)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 -2 fresh green chiles, chopped and perhaps de-seeded (de-seeding reduces the heat, if you prefer; I usually use serrano, since we have two plants)
  • 1 to 2 tblsp. ginger and garlic paste (or 1 inch piece fresh ginger and 3 garlic cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon lightt brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 15 oz. can chopped tomatoes (we typically use Central Market organics – it does make a difference!)
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 4 -6 tablespoons natural yogurt (this is key – be sure to use whole-fat, Greek-style yogurt if you can find it!)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Directions
    1. Heat 2 tblsp. oil in a wok.  Add chopped onion, salt slightly, and saute for 5 to 10 minutes (until the onion begins to brown a bit).  Add chiles, stir and saute for 1 to 2 minutes.  Add garlic/ginger paste and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
    2. Add spices; stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
    3. Add tomatoes and tomato paste.  Stir well and cook for about 1/2 a beer or 5 minutes, whichever comes first.
    4. Transfer sauce to food processor or blender and blitz until smooth.  Add water if necessary.  (note – you can actually do the recipe ahead of time to this point and assemble the rest when you’re ready to eat).
    5. Wipe out the wok and heat 1 tbsp. of oil.  Season the chicken (sometimes I also sprinkle a little tumeric, for color) and stir-fry the chicken at high heat for 2 to 4 minutes – until all sides are lightly colored.
    6. Add back in sauce and simmer for about 1/2 a beer or 5 minutes.
    7. Just before serving, stir in the yogurt and some of the cilantro (unless Derah is eating it; she hates cilantro).  Serve atop a bed of basmati or jasmine rice and garnish with cilantro (unless you are Derah) and finely diced hot chiles or crushed red chiles (if you are Kyle).
    8. Time allowing, naan bread and cucumber raita are nice to have, too.