A Turkey Feast for a Returning Nantucket Whaling Captain

There are many stories of Nantucket ship Captains wives waiting for their husbands return from hunting whales.  Some whaling ship Captains were away from their wives and children for as long as five years or more.  The Captains’ wives would spend hours atop their home’s widows walk looking toward the horizon hoping to see the sails of their husband’s ship approaching Nantucket Harbor.  If she was lucky enough to see those sails she would go to her kitchen and prepare a feast for his arrival.

On these 5 + year voyages, the Captain and crew’s diet probably consisted of salt horse (beef) and hard-tack (pork) at one meal, and hard-tack and salt horse at the next.  These “delectable” meals as well as other less appetizing ones were the norm on long sails.

We think the Captain’s wife would prepare a wild turkey dinner to celebrate his return.

Here is a 21st. century recipe for a roasted turkey with some modern twists to please anyone, even a 19th century whaling ship’s Captain returning from a long voyage.

We think that this recipe would meet with the Captain’s approval.

Herb Roasted Turkey with Onion Gravy
Serves 10-12 with leftovers

1 18-20 lb. turkey
6 Tbls. butter at room temperature
2 Tbls. fresh rosemary, chopped, plus 2-4 sprigs
2 Tbls. fresh thyme, chopped, plus 2-4 sprigs
1 tsp. kosher salt (or to taste) plus more for sprinkling
1/4 tsp. pepper (or to taste) plus more for sprinkling
1 onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
4 1/2 cups low salt chicken stock, preferably homemade, divided, as needed

For the turkey gravy:
1 stick butter
4 large onions, sliced thin
1 Tbls. fresh thyme, chopped
1 Tbls. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 1/2 Tbls. flour
3 Tbls. honey
1/2 cup aged balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp. black pepper (or to taste)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix butter, chopped rosemary and thyme, salt & pepper in a bowl.  Remove turkey giblets and neck from cavity, rinse the turkey and pat dry with paper towels.  Place the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan.
Sprinkle small amount of salt & pepper on inside of turkey.  Rub the herb butter all over the turkey.  Place the onions and turkey giblets and neck around the turkey and bake for 1 hour.  Add 1 cup broth, the bay leaf and rosemary and thyme sprigs to the pan.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and continue to bake for approximately 3-4 hours longer (figure 15 minutes per pound) or until a meat thermometer inserted into the turkey thigh registers 180 degrees and 165 degrees for the breast.  While the turkey is baking, baste with some of the remaining broth and pan juices every 30 minutes so that the turkey does not dry out.
Remove the turkey to a large platter and let stand at least 15 minutes.  Garnish the platter with orange slices, cranberries and kale, if desired.

Melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until nice and brown, approximately 30 minutes.  Add rosemary and thyme.  Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Stir in the honey and vinegar and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  The gravy can be made a day ahead and refrigerated; reheat slowly before serving.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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Honey Ginger Glazed Salmon

Two ways to beat the winter blues….try Private Chef Peggy Eagan’s recipe for Honey Ginger Glazed Salmon…or better yet, invite the neighbors and have Private Chef Eagan prepare this delicious entree for you and your friends. (http://www.bistroonthego.com/)

                                         Honey Ginger Glazed Salmon

4 to 6 – 6oz portions of salmon

Ingredients for the marinade:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbs rice vinegar
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tbs grated ginger

 Ingredients for the honey ginger glaze:

1/4 cup honey
1/2  tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp grated ginger
2 tbs rice vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds


In a bowl, combine olive oil sesame oil, vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.  Mix well until combined.  Transfer the marinade to a baking dish or ziplock bag.  Place the salmon in the marinade flesh side down.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a small microwave safe bowl heat the honey in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds.  Mix the sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, vinegar, and sesame seeds into the warm honey.  Set aside.

Preheat the broiler in your oven.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum.  Place a wire rack on top and make sure to rub the rack with oil.  Place the salmon filets on the wire rack flesh side up.  Cook under the broiler for 10-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.  Remove and spoon the honey ginger glaze over the fish.  Serve immediately.

Buen provecho!

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An Asian Food Adventure

Most of us who live here think Cape Cod is the most wonderful place on this earth.  During the months of January, February and March however, the pace really slows down. The down time gives the restaurants and lodgings time to get some work done or to plan for the next season.  Many of us also try to get away for a while so that we can come back refreshed and full of new ideas.
Over the next few weeks, we will share with you food and travel news from around the world – literally from the other side of the world – Asia.  While Asian cuisine is very popular right now, we may be able to share a few things that you have never seen before.  We hope you will enjoy!

Follow our food adventures as Oceania’s Nautica sails the Asian Seas.

Breakfast in Beijng

No bacon and eggs to start your day in Beijing.  You can choose noodles or rice or something similar to oatmeal.  Add your favorite “toppings” for a delicious treat.  We were intrigued by the dish at the furthest right in the top row.  It looked like some sort of a fried insect.  We decided to be brave and try it.  Guess what?  It was a very crunchy pickle – so good that we had a few more.  We had no idea what most of these dishes were but they were all delicious.


How about some honey on your toast?  Nothing like taking it right from the comb to your toast.

Or maybe you’d like China’s impression of fried dough?  Personally I like a hard boiled egg now and then but these were steeped in tea.


No breakfast is complete without some fresh fruit.  Maybe you’ll want to try Dragon Fruit whose interior has a lovely melon taste.