Our Pandemic Thanksgiving

Roasted Turkey Legs

Given that we’re sheltering in place during this pandemic and relying on friends and Whole Foods home delivery for our groceries, Thanksgiving proved problematical this year. We had hoped to order the makings for our feast from the Whole Foods “Holiday Desk,” only to discover that they would not deliver. Amazon was supposed to offer a limited-time offer for the holiday, but that fizzled out as well. Read more

Dry-Brined and Glazed Roast Turkey

Spiced & Brined Roast Turkey

We do indeed have much to be thankful for: our health, our family, our friends, . . . The list could go on and on; but at its end, for at least this year, there would be our best roast turkey ever. Without exaggeration, this year’s bird was beautifully bronzed, with tender juicy white meat; perfectly cooked dark; and had the crispiest skin. All this, in about 1.5 hours for a 14.5-pound bird.

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Turkey-Spinach Meatballs


If you had asked me a year ago what I thought of turkey meatballs, I probably would have said “Are you kidding?” But last night, I remembered we had about a pound and a half of ground turkey in the fridge and I didn’t want it to go to waste.

I have a pretty good collection of cookbooks, but none of them had a recipe for ground turkey other than the turkey meatloaf I made for brunch on Sunday. So, I searched the Internet and among a plethora of suggestions, one stood out: Turkey-Spinach Meatballs.

Now as an Italian-American growing up in Brooklyn, I’m no stranger to meatballs. My aunt would make them often for Sunday dinner and, on occasion, would sneak one, freshly fried and with a drizzle of sauce, to me before I had to go to mass. When I told her I couldn’t eat it before receiving communion, she’d say “It’s so little and so good, God won’t mind.”

Indeed they were good, and it’s her recipe that I often follow when I prepare them. But I had to get rid of the turkey.

The recipe I found was on the Bon Appétit website and it also included a recipe for a marinara sauce that was also quite different from my own. But as long as I was going for the meatballs, I thought I’d make the sauce as well. Here’s a link to the site: Turkey-Spinach Meatballs


I have to admit that these were some of the best meatballs I have ever had. What surprised me about even more about how good they were is that rather than being fried, they were broiled. Soft and succulent, napped in a slightly spicy rich tomato sauce, they’re a perfect weeknight meal served either with pasta or, as we did, with good Italian bread.

My only deviations from the recipe were that I used slightly less oil than called for in the sauce and used crushed rather than whole tomatoes. I also used 87% fat turkey for the meatballs and may have broiled them a bit longer than specified.

Wine Pairing: Chianti Classico

Sunday Brunch


Never before have I ever held a brunch. But there’s a first time for everything, even at 65, and so on Sunday, we had our first one.

The menu was simple and, for the most part, all the dishes were prepared ahead of time.

Appetizers included humus, a selection of olives, savory crackers, nuts, crudités, etc.

Our first course was a 12-egg frittata with peppers, onion, basil, and Parmigiano-Reggiano, served at room temperature


The second course was a turkey meatloaf wrapped in pancetta and was accompanied by peas. The recipe came from Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network website. Here’s a link to the recipe I used.

In lieu of the sun dried tomatoes that were called for, I substituted raisins remaining true to my Neapolitan-Sicilian heritage. I also added a generous pinch of ground cumin to the seasonings.


Prosecco was the wine of choice for both the appetizers and the frittata. We served a Rosso Piceno, a Sangiovese form Italy’s Marche region with the meat.

Dessert was a store-bought nut tart and brownies.

Good company and conversation made the brunch a success, but for entertaining, I think I’ll stick with dinners.