Random December Bites

Did you know I make a turkey in a plastic bag?

Don't judge.

When I was in my 20's, a woman named Marie who worked at the salon where I got my hair cut, swore by this method, and I've been doing it ever since.

You can't mess it up and there is no basting, no messy oven, and the turkey cooks in HALF the time.

I swear.

Season and stuff your bird the way you like it (don't forget to remove the bag of giblets).
I stuff mine w/ an orange, a lemon and a big handful of fresh herbs.

Rub either melted butter or olive oil over the skin of the turkey and season w/ kosher salt & pepper...........

Place in a Reynold's oven bag with a little flour.
Cut 6 slits in the top of the bag and place in a roasting pan.

For a 12 lb. turkey, it took 2 hours at 350F. Let the turkey rest a half hour before slicing.

Ok, now that that's out of the way.

My favorite weeknight pasta dish:

I roasted a whole head of cauliflower with a chopped red onion on a baking sheet, my usual way, 400F drizzled w/ olive oil and kosher salt for 20 minutes.

When the vegetables are roasted, add them to a heavy skillet, big enough to hold the pasta.

Add a big handful of golden raisins, 2 tbsp of capers, a big handful of manzanilla olives chopped up (with the pimentos), a dash of red pepper flakes and a nice drizzle of olive oil and leave in the skillet, covered until your pasta is ready.

Boil 8 oz. (half a box of pasta), remembering to reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water.

When the pasta is done, drain and add the pasta to the skillet w/ the reserved water, and mix in with the cauliflower.

Grate some fresh Parmigiano Reggiano on top and serve immediately.
Garnish with fresh parsley if you like.


We had a delicious dinner at UPSTAIRS in Montclair, NJ.

It's a secret sort of place, hard to find with no signage, upstairs from a sushi bar, like a private club.

(How do you like my fancy collage?).

A chic cocktail bar, and an open kitchen produces some of the best charcuterie in NJ.
Pork belly and duck confit that melt in your mouth. We ordered a double portion of the calamari for the table in garlic w/ breadcrumbs and toasted bread to lap up the sauce.
The pork chop w/ house made candied bacon and sweet potato gratin will make you quiver.

Small batch spirits and infused herb drinks make for a fun and boozy night.
Can't wait to go back to this special place.

608 Valley Road
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043

If you are still unsure about what to get your friends for Christmas, look no further.

I recently visited BOOSKERDOO Coffee Roasters at the Jersey Shore in Monmouth Beach, to check out their organic coffee roastery and cafe.
Monmouth Beach was hit very hard by Hurricane Sandy, and Booskerdoo is back in business and there to help the community.

This is the freshest coffee I have ever tasted. I loved the Jersey Diner blend.
They roast it fresh just before mailing it out to you, no sitting around in a package. The smell is intoxicating. You will be hooked.

They have a coffee of the month club, and great gift ideas for the coffee lover in your life.

Goodbye Starbucks.

Check out their website.
Support Local.

Booskerdoo Coffee Roasters
36 Beach Road
Monmouth Beach, NJ 07750

.........and just when you think it's mellowing at the MILITANT COMMUNITY GARDEN, here is the latest email about renewing our plots for the 2013 season.

I can't make this stuff up.

"If we don't receive your check by December 25 for renewal, a certified letter will be sent to you and you will not be able to renew.

Finally, I have a small fence around my plots. 16 feet of one of my fences had been bent at a 90 degree angle two weeks ago. It may have been an accident but appears to be malicious in nature. If anyone knows anything about this, please get back to me.

As a reminder, anyone found to have purposely done damage to, or have taken crops from another plot without permission, will have their plot taken away on an immediate basis. You may also face vandalism or theft charges from the ----- police department."

The dumpster will be taken away some time next week. If you still have cleanup to do, I would suggest doing it this weekend."

Yeah, merry happy.

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Anonymous said…
I thought your favorite pasta dish was cheesy broccoli orzo!
Anonymous said…

Now, that's a blog to end all blogs. A little of everything - all good until we get to the very end.
"Militant" is the word - for sure... who ARE these guys?
Debby in Seattle said…
Yep! The garden plot manager is a "Stuffed Turkey"
Ciao Chow Linda said…
How funny - Stacey, I used to make turkeys in those bags when I was first married. I didn't realize they were still around. Your recommendation surprises me, but I will try it next time. Have to get to "Upstairs" too. You get to so many places - it's hard to choose.
ha ha ha, those people are unreal!! Did you and hen get your check in? Is the skin crispy in the bag, crispy skin is a must!
Goodness gracious, so many new things to read about in your whirlwind life. Coffee place sounds awesome. I've used those bags for roasting a turkey. So much easier than cleaning the oven!
xo, Rosemary
SarahB said…
I love Random Bites! Great little nuggets of your life!
Marie said…
This is why I could not be good community gardener. I'd be the one bending that fence backward.
Anonymous said…
I use the cooking bag for turkey every time I make it. However I have never cut slits in the bag. Yes, the skin is crispy. You get more gravy. A roasting pan with a lid isn't necessary. Clean up is easy. The meat is never dry.
What an interesting and easy way to bake a turkey. Don't tell, but I've never baked a turkey on my own. My dear husband is the turkey expert in our house. I'm keeping this in case he's not able to do his duties one year. He'll be very surprised I know what to do and we won't tell how I managed will we?
Ann from Illinois said…
Always making me laugh. Don't tell the owner that it was ME that bent that damn piece of fencing.
Well Hello there! I am desperate to have the head of your garden "club" over for lunch. It would just round out my circle. Yep.

That cauliflower dish sounds familiar, but without the pasta, but then again, I might be losing my mind or really savoring the red wine I'm having for Sunday lunch.

Re the plastic bag. I've used paper bags. Is this better? Is the breast with herbs you posted last year as good as this??????? I swear by that one.