Bacon for Thanksgiving or I don’t want to make turkey


Bacon Roasted Chicken for Thankgiving?  Why not?

Thanksgiving by Walt Waldo Emerson

For each morning with its light,

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food,

For love and friends,

For everything thy goodness sends.

I like my own Thanksgiving cooking. I always have.
To say I make my favorite pumpkin pie is true.   And I’m not ashamed. 
I make handmade, homemade yeast rolls.  Every year.  With butter.  With white flour.
There are a couple of old vegetable casseroles that get brought out of the recipe attic…still.  One is a Gratinee of Cauliflower from SILVER PALATE OR SILVER PALATE GOOD TIMES; I forget which.  When I’m not home for Thanksgiving, I still have to make it and take it to my friend, Jeanne.  She has to have it for Thanksgiving or sometime around there.  Another is an ancient broccoli casserole from a friend in one of my first jobs out of college.  (Michael Leventhal and National Trust for Historic Preservation, respectively.)   Michael Leventhal, where are you?   Another is a kind of yuck-looking, but great tasting spinach casserole that my son loved forever.  Figure a kid who loved spinach.
My dressing is mostly my mom’s, though I usually make another one that’s trendy (something with Grand Marnier and apricots out of BON APPETIT was one favorite) or something someone requests.  If I have an east-coaster, they’ll tag me for oyster dressing.  Southerners want corn bread whatever.

About my mom’s dressing:

My mom had a big bowl on top of her refrigerator.  For a month or so before Thanksgiving (or whenever she was making turkey), she’d throw ends of breads and hardened edges of cornbread up there.  By that Thursday, she had enough bread to make dressing.  Sausage, celery, onions, an egg or two, salt,  lots of black pepper, sage or poultry seasoning, broth that she cooked up using the neck, the gizzard and a few vegetables.  What that woman couldn’t do with nothing.  There was no recipe.  Recipes were for wimps or for women with money for things like cookbooks and magazines.  A woman with a brain could figure it out.  This went without saying.

This year, I’m traveling to St. Paul to cook with Sue.  I think we’re going to do the quickie dinner I blogged last year called An Intimate Thanksgiving.  You could do it, too.  It’s not instant, but it’s not all day either.  It doesn’t involve difficult gravies, stuffings or pies, but dotes on the essence of a holiday meal:  one good main dish, something on the side to compliment it, a pretty table, and a couple of good bottles of wine. 

Want more stuff?   If you had to, you could buy a pie.  If I were in the Springs, and not baking,  I’d order ahead (not much time) my pie from SMILEY’S  downtown.  Across from Poor Richard’s.  Best breakfast in town, too.  I’d then run down to La Baguette and beg a few rolls.  IF I wanted a bigger meal, but still didn’t feel like cooking.  I’d wine shop at Coaltrain and just throw myself on their mercy, though I’m sold on having three wines at Thanksgiving:  an off-dry Riesling, a great Pinot Noir (Oregon), and a couple of bottles of bubbly of some sort.  Everyone’s happy then, though you probably need soda, beer, iced tea, and juice or milk for the kiddoes if they’re present.

Cranberry Bread from  A CRANBERRY THANKGIVING.  Make extra for breakfast and gifts.  For recipe, click here.

But I thought I’d leave you with a few fresh ideas for another sort of Thankgiving this year–not for a crew (though you could double it), but a scrumptious roasted chicken recipe for four that you could use the rest of your life or every Sunday afternoon.  You’d have sandwiches without buying nitrate and sodium-filled lunchmeat.  (Could she shutup?)   Mashed potatoes with gravy, skinny (quick-cooking) green beans.  A loaf of cranberry bread and some sweet butter.  See above for pie or follow the directions on the can and put the pumpkin pie filling into buttered ramekins (custard dishes to some of you) and bake for a 20-30 minutes til they’re almost not quivery.  Cool somewhat or all the way and serve with whipped cream.  You could do that the night before.  Always refrigerate pumpkin pie or filling; it’s custard–full of milk/cream and eggs.  Here’s how the game plan goes:

First:  The Menu

Starters:  Nuts that must be cracked!  A couple of different cheeses, crackers, grapes.  Something crunchy like goldfish or tiny pretzels.

Mains:  Bacon Roasted Chicken with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
             Cranberry Bread and butter

Dessert:  Purchased pie or pumpkin pie filling baked in custard cups/ramekins

Wine:  Sparklers (Cava from Spain is nice), Riesling and Pinot Noir

                                                      What to do when:

1.  Set table the day before.  Make it nice.  You’re going to enjoy a good long while there.
2. Day before: Check your menu and make sure you have everything you need.  Make a list and go to the store very early.  Make the cranberry bread (see below), wrap it well and store it at room temperature. 

Yes, put out your pretty stuff or just things you like.  Pumpkins, candles… 

3.   2 Hours before Dinner time:   Start the chicken.  (Recipe below) It takes an hour and a half.  While it cooks, make the potatoes and the beans.  They can be covered on the counter and warmed right before you serve dinner.  Make the pumpkin custards if you didn’t do it the night before.  They’ll have to bake in the oven once you’ve turned the temperature down for the second phase of the roasting the chicken.
4.  While chicken roasts:   Uncork the red wine, place on table, and put the white wine and bubbly in the frig.  Make a big pitcher of iced water and put that in the frig.
5.  Put the bread in a basket (covered with plastic if you’re at altitude), the butter in its dish, grab and fill the salt and pepper, and put them all on the table.
6.  Take the chicken out of the oven and let it rest, covered, about 20 minutes.  Make the gravy and warm up the other dishes.  While someone else carves the chicken, get everything else to the table.  You’ll be glad you only had another couple of dishes to serve by this time.  Have someone else fill the water glasses; it’s an easy job and someone has to do it.  Laugh if the gravy doesn’t cooperate.  Do not, I repeat, do not cry.  If it’s lumpy, put it in the blender or food processor, carefully.  If it tastes greasy, you can add more flour (beaten with water), but probably you need to start over.  Ditto for salty unless you just want to make a WHOLE lotta gravy.  If all else fails, pass the butter with the potatoes or drag out a container of sour cream and pretend you didn’t want gravy.  A jar of turkey gravy in the pantry might be a nice safety net.  I have never tasted jarred gravy, but the endcaps full of it in the supermarket let me know it’s very popular.  Heat it up, add some black pepper (I’m sure it needs something) and move on.

Enjoy your lovely meal with friends or family.  Smile often.  Gee, that’s good.  Give thanks…often.

7.  Clear table and serve coffee.  Let someone else do dishes.  Serve pumpkin custard and a little more bubbly. Give thanks you did it.

Bacon Roasted Chicken

1 large roasting chicken
3T olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large orange, peeled and cut into eighths (use the peel for your cranberry bread)
1 large onion, ditto
4-5 strips thick bacon

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Get out your roasting pan.  I like a big, heavy one with a “V” rack.  Pull out all of the innards out of the chicken and do what you will with them.  I save necks and gizzards for stock and cook the liver and heart for the dogs.  Wash the chicken inside and out; pat dry with paper towels.  Salt and pepper the inside cavity very well. (1/2 t each salt and pepper)  Stuff the cavity with the orange and onion segments.  Drizzle the bird with the olive oil and, using your hands, make sure it’s covered on all sides with a good coating of oil.  Dust the skin of the chicken well with salt and pepper.  Lay the bacon strips across the breast of the chicken.  No need to toothpick them or anything.  Place the chicken in the roaster and on the rack.  Grasping each wing individually, turn it backwards and under so that it stays underneath the chicken.  Tie the legs together with kitchen twine.  Tear off a piece of foil that will cover the chicken plus a little extra and “tent” the chicken so it doesn’t kill your oven or catch it on fire.  Place roasting pan in oven and set timer for 30 minutes.   After 30 minutes, lower heat to 350 and roast another hour or so (at altitude) or until breast temperature is 160 F.   (Take foil off for last 15 minutes or so.) You can also tell if the bird’s done by jiggling the legs; if they wiggle really easily, it’s done or close to it.  You can try sticking a serving fork in between the  body of the chicken and the leg/thigh.  If juices run clear, it’s done.  If there’s a lot of red or pink running, give it a while longer.  Let the chicken rest for 20 minutes or so covered on a platter or tray. (Carve after resting.)  In the meantime, make the gravy:


In a skillet, place about 4T drippings and fat from the bottom of the roasting pan.  Salt and pepper it well and bring up the heat to about medium-high. If desired, you can, at this point saute 1/2 c finely chopped onions for a  few minutes until browned and softened. With a fork or whisk, “whisk” in about 3 T flour.  Keep whisking and cook that flour for 2 minutes or so.  Slowly add 1 1/2 cups chicken broth.  Bring to a boil and cook for 3-5 minutes until thickened.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  If too thick, add some more broth or water.  If too thin, whisk a tablespoon of flour into a 1/4 cup of water and drizzle that into the gravy, stirring all the while. Taste again and adjust seasonings.  Add about a tablespoon of brandy, cook for one minute, and serve piping hot.  This is the crux of Ina Garten’s chicken gravy that she uses for turkey when she’s just roasted a breast.  She may have a written recipe for it; I don’t know. (I found it and linked it; it doesn’t read the same as  my memory!)  This is how I remember her talking about it and this is how I make it sometimes.  It works and it’s darned good.  If it just lacks something, try adding a few (careful) drops of hot sauce.  In fact, it’s worth freezing chicken drippings in order to have the fixings for this gravy whenever you want it.

Green Beans or Haricots Verts (thin French beans)

If you like pecans in your beans, toast 1/4 c chopped pecans in a small skillet on low for 10 minutes and set aside.

Fill a 3-4 qt saucepan  2/3 full of salted, peppered water.  Add a slivered large onion.  Bring to a boil over high heat, covered, and add the cleaned and trimmed pound of green beans.  (Haricots verts won’t need trimming.)  Let cook 10-15 minutes until done, but a little crunchy in the middle.  If you’d like them “grandma style,” continue cooking until as soft as you’d like.  Drain and reserve until the chicken is done.  To reheat, place beans and onions back in the saucepan with 2t butter and warm over medium heat until hot and bubbly, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings.  You can add a 1/4 c chopped, roasted pecans if you’d like.  Serve hot.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Fill a 4 qt small stockpot  half  full of well-salted and peppered water.  Place 2 pounds of small, new red potatoes and 4 whole, peeled cloves of garlic in the water.  Bring water and potatoes to a full boil and reduce a bit so water doesn’t boil over.  Boil until tender, about fifteen minutes.  Drain.  Return to pan, add 2/3 c milk, 2T butter, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp freshly-ground pepper, and mash coarsely with a hand-held potato masher.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Cover until chicken is done.  Reheat on low heat, watching carefully, stirring, and adding a little more milk if needed.

Here’s one of my versions w/ chocolate chips, baked in baby loaf pans for 30 minutes or so at 350 F.

Cranberry Bread Notes

I use the recipe from A Cranberry Thanksgiving, by Wendy and Harry Devlin (out of print now) but it’s worth a little talking about changes:

1.  You can leave out the raisins and use just 1 1/2 c cranberries.
2.  You can leave out the raisins and add 1/2 c milk chocolate chips.
3.  Nuts?  Up to you.
4.  Very interesting:  you can leave out the butter entirely and have a fat-free bread (with the exception of the fat with which you grease the pan.)  Make sure you don’t overbake the fat free bread.  I found this out by mistake!!
5.  The recipe calls for 1t orange rind; I triple that to 1tablespoon.

Blessings, my friends, as you do whatever you do for Thankgiving.  We have a couple of friends who never cook, but always go to the movies!

Sing a new song,

Bacon for Breakfast; Bacon for Lunch

My sweet husband adores bacon.  God love him.
I like bacon.  Why not?  It’s great with eggs and it’s an incredible UP when you need a taste boost for the start of a soup, chicken salad, tomato sandwiches, et al.  And, oh, the scent of it.
But I don’t adore it.    I adore chocolate.  I adore Pinot.  (Oregon Pinot Noir)  I am a Pinot girl, in fact. 
At 57, I enjoy being able to say that.  I have a couple of girlfriends who feel the same way.  I have guy friends who certainly feel that way. 
But back to bacon.  I only have to SAY, “Bacon.”  I don’t even have to cook it.  And Dave is entranced.  Hanging around.  If I actually start cooking the stuff, he is in the room and doesn’t leave.  So, there you go.  If you want to attract someone to the nth, fry bacon.  No one ever told you? Ach.

I think this is common.  I posted a note on fb last Friday that I was cooking a pork tenderloin with bacon twisted around it, fixed with toothpicks.  I had more interest in that than anything I’ve cooked in months.  Loved ones, think about making this.  Soon.  Simple?  Pretty much so.  Fragrant?  Ahhhh.  Earthy?  Mmm hmm.  Easy to harmonize?  I thought so.  A couple of Granny Smith apples, a bulb of fennel (go ahead and get one–ask the produce guy) and a big onion.  Some green beans on the side.  A light Pinot; you don’t need a great big heavy one, I don’t think.  Maybe a little bread.  I did some pears poached in port for dessert; you can do what you want.

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Apples, Fennel and Onions

1 pork tenderloin
Kosher salt; freshly-ground pepper
3-4 slices thick bacon

2T olive oil

1 fennel bulb, fronds removed, end cut, sliced into half-moons about 1/3″ thick
2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, sliced
1 large onion sliced

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Salt and pepper well the pork tenderloin and wrap it with the bacon pieces, securing ends with toothpicks.

  Meanwhile, heat a large, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat; add olive oil.  Place bacon-wrapped pork in the center of the pan and surround with the fennel, apples and onion.  Salt and pepper well the vegetables and apples.  When the meat is very-well browned, turn and let brown on the other side.   Stir the vegetables and apples.  When that side is looking crispy, move the pan to the oven to finish cooking.  It may take another 10-15 minutes or so.  Using an instant-read thermometer, remove the skillet from the oven when the meat registers 150F.  (Others will tell you 155; I like it a bit rare; it will continue cooking)  Cover with aluminum foil for about 10 minutes before carving and serving.  Slice meat in 1/2″ p ieces.  Place cut meat at the center of a large platter and surround with fennel, apples and onions.  Serve with green beans or whatever vegetable you like.

Poached Pears in Port  (from FINE COOKING)

In a 4 qt skillet, pour 1 cup port wine.  Add 1 cinnamon stick and a few peels each of lemon rind and orange rind.  Peel four ripe, but firm Barlett or Bosc (or your choice) pears and slice off a tiny bit off one cheek to make a flat side.  Place the pears in the wine mixture and heat over medium-high heat.  Cover and reduce to a simmer, cooking for an hour or so until pears are tender when pierced with a knife.  Eat warm, at room temperature or cold with a little of the thickened port sauce spooned over.  You can add a little heavy cream if you like.


 Did you wonder about an appetizer?  Of course I had one.  And I was testing it out for my Cooking with Music class, which was the very next day!  Here it is: 

This is a Ricotta Pine nut dogoodie that is served with crostini (grilled bread).  I’ll blog it with the cooking class, but if you have to make it soon…..

Mix one cup ricotta with 3-4 T torn fresh mint and season well with kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper.  Lottsa pepper.  Heat over medium heat a small saucepan with  1/2 c honey and 1/4 c pine nuts.  (Amounts negotiable.)  When quite warm and gooey, pour over the cheese mixture and serve with crostini or crackers.  (I heard Tyler Florence talk about this once and committed it to memory.  Yummy.)

Ok, folks…there ya go.  Make it and tell me about it.  I have to know!

Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood, Including Fitness

It’s been a busy week, but the pups have been happy as clams; Dad was home for three days in a row!

Tucky-Bucky letting it all hang out one morning.

Why God gets me up early.
The light on my backyard when the dogs go out for the first time.
First dusting of snow…early in the light.

Why I have dogs: I need tennis balls in the dishwasher, of course.

 Fitness update:  This last week, I skipped the gym all but one time.  Life got crazy.  Did I let it all go, though?  Nope.  I did Denise Austin on the DVD.  I hiked the ‘hood with Gabby.  I lifted weights at home.  I did my stretching routine.  I watched what I ate–mostly.  Or ate what I wanted, but not too much.  Teaching an Italian cooking class could have done me in (and the crostata almost did), but we made the ricotta starter, a roasted vegetable soup, pizza margherita, and a veal stew as well.   Took all afternoon Saturday and the students stayed for dinner to eat and see what wines fit where….  (Another blog.)  But I was sensible and remembered how strong I long to be.  That’s the crux.

Meantime, I’m applying for  new jobs as my job winds down at The Church at Woodmoor.  We are getting ready for Thanksgiving in St. Paul, as well.  Good thing I have a dog sitter; an SUV ran into my old vet/kennel today!  At the same time  THAT was happening, I was driving up to a staff meeting at work in Monument,  where there was a 40-car pile-up on I-25.  I saw zip.  Thank you, God.

You Know You Love Chicken Basil, but Tell Me Why?

You know how you have an addiction to certain Thai restaurants?  (If  you know why, let me know.)  Now I like almost all things Thai foodie, except I can’t handle the tres, tres spicy dishes. “I like them; they don’t like me.” My father-in-law, Gene, says that, and he is so right.  Ever since I came back from summer study at University of St. Thomas,  I’ve been just dying to get into cooking Thai.  For two summers, we lived above a Thai restaurant and I think it began to get into my pores.

I’ve dibbled and I’ve dabbled and I’m now at the point where I’m making it up as I go along.   Perhaps it’s because I eat at Bhan Thai sometimes once a week…usually to get in an all-veggie meal that’s not a salad.   Each dish provokes, “What’s in this?

Here’s my Thai basil with regular basil.  Planted in a pot under a shade tree.  It’ll burn up in the Colorado sun otherwise.

Finally, though, I kept looking at my Thai basil out by the whiskey barrel under the tree….and I knew its days were numbered.  Not that fall is ever REALLY coming (and winter, true winter,  only makes it a couple of times a year in the Springs, despite what others think), but we do get freezes.  And herbs that haven’t been cosseted and lovingly brought in to my dining room south window bite the dust.  Or whatever herbs do.  (Sometimes they resurrect in the spring.)  All told, it was time to get my Chicken Basil on.

So google that and put it in your pan.  There’s a million Chicken Basils.  But most of them are almost all chicken.  I sooo wanted a big bunch of veg in this one.  And the one Thai cookbook I wanted to buy is out of print.  Figure it out yourself, I said.  You’re a cook; you’ve got the stuff.  And here’s what I got.  Do use fresh herbs; if you can’t do all three, don’t make it without at least the basil.  I think that if you have the minty Thai basil, you could consider skipping the other two herbs, but I like it with all three.

And, like everyone else, I’ll tell you to drink a little riesling with this.  I do so like the Oregon ones… Chehalem in particular.  They do a fairly dry one that’s just does my taster good.

Alyce’s Chicken Veg Basil  serves 4

Set the table, pour the water or wine, etc.  Then start to cook.  


First make enough rice for four people:  Bring 2 cups of salted and peppered water and a cup of rice to boil.  Lower heat to simmer, cover, and cook until done.  (About 20 minutes at sea level… a few minutes more at altitude.)  Add 1/4 c chopped cilantro and toss with a fork.  Replace lid to keep warm (up to half an hour) until the chicken and vegetables are done.  (I like medium-grain, cheap rice for this.  It should be sticky.)

Ingredients for stir fry:

2 boneless chicken breasts cut into 1″x1″ pieces
2T fish sauce
1 1/2 T soy sauce
1T water
1 1/2 t sugar*

2 T cooking oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, ditto
1 small zucchini, sliced thinly
1 small yellow squash, sliced thinly
1/2 red sweet pepper, sliced thinly
1/2 yellow sweet pepper, sliced thinly

1 tomato, fresh, cut into quarters and squeezed to get juice and seeds out.  Next, cut into medium dice.
1 jalapeno, minus seeds and membrances, finely minced (for mild, use 1/2 the jalapeno; add more for hot)**
1 c fresh basil or Thai basil left whole, divided
1/4 c cilantro, chopped roughly
1/4 c fresh mint, chopped roughly
Freshly ground black pepper

Have all this stuff ready to go.


1.  In a medium bowl stir together cut-up chicken and the next four ingredients, fish sauce-sugar.  Let sit while you
2.  In a wok or large deep skillet, heat oil over medium high heat and cook sliced onions for about two minutes.  Add sliced garlic, squashes, sweet peppers, tomato and jalapeno.  Let cook another two minutes, stirring often.


3. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken from sauce and add to the pan of vegetables. Add half of the basil, the cilantro and the mint. Season well with black pepper. Cook about 3 minutes until chicken is no longer pink.  Pour sauce into wok/pan and cook another 30 seconds or so, stirring all the while.  Spoon in to serving bowl and top with remaining whole basil leaves. Serve with the hot rice.
*sauce recipe from FOOD AND WINE
**Whole jalapeno, seeded and membranes removed, minced finely for hot.  (Hotter?  Pass crushed red pepper at the table.  You could also use Thai bird chiles, but jalapenos are more accessible here.)

Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood
Still feeling like summer around here….Decks got painted over the last two weeks.

This is what we call “The Doggie Door.”  Still in the 60’s.  Changing tomorrow.

Hasn’t frozen yet.

Are you gonna eat that?

This week, I’m testing pizza and have already made some.  I teach the Italian section of “Cooking with Music” this Saturday and I WILL be up-to-date on my crust by then!  Blog coming, I’ll hope.

This is the first try at a 15″x13″ margherita.  It had its ups and downs  Cool thing about it is it’s baked in a half-sheet pan like anyone has.  You could do it tomorrow!

Fitness update:  Gabby and I hiked the local hills instead of me going to the gym.  Spiritual practice of “putting one foot in front of the other,” as Barbara Brown Taylor says.  Dave and I worked out together on Saturday morning…before going out to breakfast.  Gee.

Here’s The Church at Woodmoor, where I’ve been worshiping and directing the choir lately.  It’s a bit hard to photograph, but you get the idea.  Lots of wood; interesting light.  Loving singers and congregation.    They’ve been very welcoming and I’ll miss them when I’m gone.   I’m in the process of new job applications now.   Today, I had to write my philosophy of music in worship.  Good experience. Not as simple as it sounds.  We’ll see.  Living “Sing a New Song,”  Alyce.

Timpano or BIG NIGHT–Friday, October 29, 2010

Checking out the pan –a washtub timpano pan ordered online

If you read my last post, you’ll know the ‘hood was getting ready to make the timpano.   We had been talking about engaging in a BIG NIGHT  for years.  Somehow (ok, it was me) we never got around to it until next-door-neighbor Sara ordered the pan and got us on the road to very full tummies.  We invited other neighbors and friends and set to work.  By Friday, thanks to Sara, the pan was ready, the sauce was cooking, the sausage was fried up, and the eggs were boiled.  MaryPat and I were in charge of buying wine and making antipasti.  Marylu was doing the dessert.  Others:  eating was their job.  Eating and watching the movie.  And having a BIG NIGHT.

If you’ve never heard of a timpano (Italian for timpani–it’s shaped like a drum) before, it’s an entree for an army that’s cooked up in the movie, “The Big Night,” (1996) starring Tony Shaloub, Stanley Tucci, Isabella Rossellini, Minnie Driver, Marc Anthony, etc.   I do not know if this dish was made up for the movie; it could have been.   The premise of the movie is as follows:  two Italian Brothers (Primo-chef and Secondo-restaurant waiter, manager, host, etc) open a restaurant that just doesn’t seem to be making it.  The red sauce, cheapa– place down the street (owned by a dubiously friendly guy) makes a bundle.  Why not Primo and Secondo?  In order to pay the bank and secure their future, they decide to plan and execute the party to end all parties. (The Big Night)  Louis Prima will come and sing; he’s the fine friend of the dubious red saucer.  Right.  The party will have all kinds of food, but the piece de resistance will be the timpano, a big layered entree (pasta, meat, cheese, eggs) that fills a washtub and is surrounded by a thin, crispy crust much like a pizza crust.  (In the movie, the timpano is actually a primi-or first course.)   Even Primo, great chef that he is, isn’t sure when this mother is done.  Well, of course it gets done; in fact, he makes TWO of them.  One is for Louis Prima.  I won’t spoil the movie for you, but this cult classic will turn your tastebuds and twirl your fancy.   It may even encourage you to plan a “Big Night” for yourselves and your friends like we did.   If you don’t want to make timpano, order pizza and pasta from the local red sauce place (!) and do it anyway.
Here are the pictures, which tell the story better than I can:

First, the sauce. Sauce cooking, cooking, cooking.  Lotssasauce.  Started night before.
Next:  more shopping and then chopping..cheese, meats, boiled eggs.  About 3pm.

Dough:  getting started rolling and taking turns.  It must be 1/16″ thick.  It starts with four c flour, salt, olive oil and water.

Boiled eggs:  16 of them.  One more part ready.

Mise en place–getting  some of the meat together, too while someone else rolls dough.  Meatballs, Genoa salami, Italian sausage.  Lots of chef snacks.  No wine, though.  I drank tea.  The recipe suggest drinking all the way through this process; I thought not.
Getting going on the dough: you can do it if you try eye… rolling dough on floured cloth. Oven preheated.  Pan at side–ready.
Keep rolling; it’s not big enough.  Your turn.  Arms tiring.

The dough… a lot of rolling paying off.  Let it rest.  Let us rest.  It’s about 36″ in diameter and 1/16″ thick.  Will it come off the  (floured) towel or stick?

Chef Mary Pat and the pan that would never be filled?

Bringing the layers to the counter for the mise en place–having everything ready to go before we begin layering into the dough.

The dough.  The pan.  The beauty of it all.  This is really going to happen.  Is it?  We’re still wondering…  There’s only one big problem.  We forgot to grease the pan.  That’s right.  Though I didn’t remember that until I was putting the antipasti platters together.  I didn’t tell Sara til after it was done and I didn’t tell MaryPat until right before we tried to get it out of the pan.  Read on.
Brave, now: layers of pasta and sauce, meats and boiled eggs.  How many layers, how deep?  Talk, talk. Don’t make it too full. Needless to say, a lot of cooks could have spoiled the broth, but we kept at it.  We are still friends.

One person read the recipe; two filled the dough.  Those at home prayed.

It’s full.   It’s full!!!!  Now the dough must be completely sealed. Fold, fold.  Don’t pull. You don’t want holes.  Cut and trim.

And you do this how with the dough?  No double layers allowed. Trim excess.

Into the oven, ready or not.  Happy.  Tired.  How about a nap?  Oh, the antipasti must be fixed.  It’s near 5pm now.  People are coming at 6:30.  In the meantime, Dave is at home grilling and running out of propane.  He ends up grilling the veg on the camp stove.  So much for the big gas Weber we bought for Father’s Day.  You actually have to remember to buy a tank of propane once in a while.  My advice about keeping an extra container have gone unheeded.  Of course, where would you store THAT sucker?  Dave has also run to Marigold for baguette.  Who wants pasta without bread?  I know.
Grilling vegetables for antipasti…gotter done.  Baby bok choy, mushrooms, endive, squash, eggplant, etc.

                 Fennel sauteed with onions and garlic and white wine… to garnish the veg platter…and to eat!!!  Love fennel.

Dressed up for timpano, a friend arrives early to help.


Meat and cheese antipasti-proscuitto, soppressata, mortadella, provolone,  pepperoni-garnished with artichokes, olives, and a sugar pumpkin I’ll later fill with pumpkin soup.

Grilled vegetables with aioli…yum.  Fennel fronds at right edge for garnish.  Dave does the ferrying back and forth to the neighbors’.  Little friend goes along to open doors.
  When we arrive-finally-the timpano has been deemed done and TA DA!!!  It’s out; it’s out.. Look at that. (Is it done?  How do we know?)  But now we wait.  It must cool; it you cut it now it will splat all over.

One more bite of vegetables while we wait.

One more sip of wine…while we wait.  While it cools.  It’s not ready?


It’s looking readier; Dave banged it out of the pan (phew) Salad’s good to go.

Ready for its closeup.  Hope it tastes better than it looks.  It’s awesome, though.  Still waiting….

Look at that thing!  How much longer?

And.. here it is, folks…inside the timpano.  Mike does the initial surgery.

Sara-happy. We did it!  We did it!

Let’s eat.

  But we have to watch the movie, too.   It worked.
Eat a little; watch a little; drink a little.

Depleted antipasti and vino

“I know you ate too much.”

A last glass of wine.

Dessert via Marylu:  each stem a different flavor of gelato.

Movie’s over.  Time to clean up. Ah, gee.

  This was a one-dog kitchen project:  Moss, aka Timpano Dog…kept us company throughout.  Actually, he just was praying we’d drop stuff.  Of course, we did.


Our recipe came from the Tipsy Cook blogpost on the subject:

Note on recipe:  he leaves out the amount of oil for the crust.  It is 3 tablespoons.   Later (I didn’t see this til now), he had re-written the crust recipe, changing it totally and THAT is not on the original post, but in Jan of 2010:

You might want to try the second crust.

While the recipe worked very well and the process is excellently documented, my overall impression was that it could have used more moisture (more sauce/more beaten egg?) and that the layers were too jumbled to be viewed truly as layers.  For example, the salami layer:  I think there were 2 cups? of salami.  Unless you doubled that or tripled that, the salami just melted into the pasta or eggs below.  You needed a fair amount more in a layer for it to TURN OUT like a layer or like the layers in the movie’s timpano.  Just a thought.  Same thing with other meats, but I wouldn’t increase the boiled eggs too much.
You’ll have to read it yourself; I think it’s 15 pages long.  Have fun.  As Julia would say,

“Have the courage of your convictions” when you cook it, but mostly when you turn that thing out of the pan!

Sing a new song; have a big night,