A Happy Thanksgiving to All

It's been awhile since you've heard recipe news from me. As you know, I've been cooking and supervising hundreds of volunteers to continue feeding those-in-need from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. It is definitely a time to give thanks: For me personally, the thanks come from the opportunity to serve. The food maven himself, Arthur Schwartz, came to help yesterday and will be there in our satellite kitchen at Congregation Beth Elohim today. His tasks included peeling eggs (20 dozen of them!) and sautéing 30 pounds of onions until caramelized. They are for the homemade bread stuffing we will make for our pre-Thanksgiving meals. Our goal is 1500 sandwiches and 250 hot lunches - roast chicken, stuffing, mixed vegetables, cranberry sauce and "dinner" rolls. Fresh apple slices, too. Anne Hathaway and her new husband came to visit us at the shul the other day - they were heartened by the work that was taking place. That said, here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes, for it is a time when simplicity might be most appreciated. I, too, will be preparing a Thanksgiving meal for a dozen or so of our family and friends, and then again on Saturday. And a nice invitation just came our way - a dinner of leftovers on Friday night at a neighbor's home. I adore leftovers more than you can imagine. In addition to the radically simple recipes below, you might enjoy my refreshing cranberry granita - yes, made from a wobbly block of leftover cranberry sauce - complete with its ridges.

Below you'll also find some wine suggestions from my favorite wine gal, Carol Berman (classinaglasswine.com), who says, "the Thanksgiving feast is filled with many flavors, which run from savory to sweet. I look to wines that simply harmonize with them and sway with the music of the meal. These are my Thanksgiving picks for 2012. Look for current vintages, although these all age gracefully and sell for less than $25.00."

Paumanok Vineyards, Riesling, North Fork, Long Island, NY Domaine des Terres Dorées, Beaujolais, L'Ancien, France Montinore Vineyards, Pinot Noir, Oregon Tenuta Pederzana, Lambrusco Grasparossa, Emilia Romagna, Italy

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Juicy Turkey Breast with Sausage, Fennel & Golden Raisins (adapted from Radically Simple)

This really elegant recipe is a cinch to make and looks like an elaborate French "ballontine." Have the butcher bone the breast, leaving the breast halves attached and the skin on. This is a perfect Thanksgiving recipe for six, but often I roast turkey thighs that are marinated in garlic, fresh thyme, rosemary and white wine so that we can all enjoy some dark meat, too. Stunning and simple.

12 scallions, white and green parts separated ¾ pound Italian sweet sausage, removed from casing ½ cup golden raisins 2 tablespoons fennel seed 3-pound boneless whole fresh turkey breast, with skin 2 tablespoon olive oil 2 cups chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the scallion greens in a row on a broiler pan. Mince the white parts of the scallions and combine with the sausage, raisins and 1-1/2 tablespoons of the fennel seeds. Sprinkle the turkey (skin side down) with salt and pepper. Spoon a line of sausage mixture down the center. Starting at one long side, roll up tightly to enclose the filling. Tie with string at 1-inch intervals. Place the turkey on the scallions and brush with the oil. Sprinkle with the remaining fennel seeds and salt. Roast 1-1/2 hours, basting with 1 cup broth, until the stuffing reaches 155 degrees. Transfer turkey to a platter. Place the pan atop the burners. Add remaining broth. Boil, scraping up browned bits, 5 minutes; strain. Remove string from the turkey; thickly slice. Drizzle with the pan sauce. Serves 6

Jane Brody's Brussels Sprouts

Jane Brody, the personal health columnist for the New York Times since 1975, is my neighbor in Park Slope, Brooklyn. She is crazy about Brussels sprouts and gave me her recipe to include in my book, Radically Simple. It is her adaptation of a recipe from the Bear Café in Woodstock, New York. I love how recipes travel around.

½ cup pecan halves 1-1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Toast the pecans in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 2 minutes. Set aside. Add the Brussels sprouts to the boiling water and cook 5 minutes. Drain well; cut each in half through the stem end. Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook over high heat until golden, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and Brussels sprouts and cook until tender and browned in spots, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl. Break the toasted pecans in half and sprinkle over the Brussels sprouts. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4 to 6

Leftover- Cranberry Sauce- Granita

This is one of my favorite inventions! After (or before) Thanksgiving you can transform a can, or two, of jellied cranberry sauce into an amazing granita --- or sorbet. Garnish with fresh raspberries or pomegranate seeds. If you don't have an ice cream maker to make sorbet, you can prepare this as a granita by freezing the mixture and stirring it with a fork until slushy.

Grated zest and juice of 3 large lemons Grated zest and juice of 2 large oranges 2/3 cup sugar ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract 16 ounces jellied cranberry sauce

Combine the lemon zest, ½ cup lemon juice, orange zest, and ½ cup orange juice in a medium saucepan. Add the sugar, vanilla and 2-1/2 cups water; bring to a boil. Spoon the cranberry sauce, in large pieces, into the saucepan. Bring to a boil and whisk until melted and smooth. Cool, and then chill well. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. Serves 8

Tastes of the Week

October 2 through October 9, 2011 The season's new brussels sprouts were evident everywhere in the farmer's market this week and so I ran home to make my favorite recipe using these adorable little cabbages: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Medjool Dates. You will find the recipe below.

In one fell swoop, I had some of the most delicious Italian "comfort" food ever -- cooked by the maestro, Marc Vetri (award-winning chef from Philadelphia) at a cool dinner he gave last week. Not only did the food rock, but so did his music -- he played "sous-guitarist" to the great Phil Roy. The dinner party entitled "Sounds Good/Tastes Good" sure did. Most of the recipes were from Marc's wonderful new book "Rustic Italian Food" -- just out this month and published by Ten Speed Press. We ate:  Tuna-Ricotta Fritters (buy the book just for that recipe!), homemade salumi with artichoke mostarda, rigatoni with chicken livers (I'm still dreaming about it), amazing goat cheese and beet "plin" (a kind of pasta), roasted lamb shoulder, fish poached in olive oil accompanied by a fennel gratin, and an olive oil cake with amaretti semifreddo and chocolate sauce for dessert. As the food filled our stomachs, music filled the room. A wonderful time was had by all.

Great salami from Mario Batali at a 10th grade parents dinner (our kids are in the same class.)

It's unusual to break the fast at a restaurant and nightclub, but there we were on Saturday night at the legendary SOB's on Varick Street (after sun-down of course) and after a day of fasting -- feasting on pao de queso (delicious Brazilian cheese puffs), great guacamole, seafood swimming in a carved-out pineapple, feijoada, coconut cream birthday cake and caipirinhas. Lots of dancing with the birthday girl, Audrey Appleby and friends.

And the last of the holiday matzoh balls in a greatly reduced, and very delicious chicken broth. The last of the round challah, too.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Medjool Dates This recipe is from my newest book, Radically Simple: Brilliant Flavors with Breathtaking Ease. A delicious merge of flavors, it is radically simple to make. Use large, plump, moist Medjool dates. They come from Iran but also from California. You can buy them in Middle Eastern markets.

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed 6 large soft Medjool dates, pitted and diced 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the Brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons of the oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn the sprouts cut side down. Roast for 10 minutes. Add the dates to the pan and toss with the sprouts. Roast 10 minutes longer, until caramelized. Transfer the sprouts to a platter. Toss with the cheese, thyme, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add salt and pepper and drizzle with more oil, if needed. Serves 4

Christmas Ham for Dr. Seuss

In a tiny cookbook called "Christmas 1-2-3" Is a recipe for ham just made for you and me You bake the ham for hours until its juices run and add a smear of mustard to make it much more fun. A slick of sugar-coating makes it taste so fine; its hint of fragrant cinnamon makes it smell divine.

There's magic in the air.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, or not, there's a good chance you feel a bit of electricity -- streets are lined with decorations, families reunite, supermarkets are bustling, champagne is chilling, a scramble for last-minute gifts (including Radically Simple!) and anticipation fills the air.  But you too might be filled with anticipation if you haven't planned your Christmas menu.  Why not try my delicious glazed ham --the world's simplest recipe -- alongside your favorite mashed potatoes (white or sweet orange) and a big bowl of Brussels sprouts with dried cranberries that glow like rubies.  It's radically simple and very delicious.

Glazed Christmas Ham

10-pound smoked ready-to-cook ham, shank portion 1 cup coarse-grain mustard 1 cup cinnamon-sugar*

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place ham on a shallow roasting pan and add 1/5 inch water to pan. Cover ham with foil and bake 15 to 16 minutes per pound for a total of about 2 hours and 40 minutes. (Adjust cooking time if your ham is more or less than 10 pounds.) After 2 hours and 15 minutes, remove ham from oven and increase temperature to 450 degrees. Pour most of fat from pan. Using a sharp, thin knife, remove the rind, except for area around shank bone, and most of the fat. Score the fat by cutting diagonal slashes across the skin to make a diamond pattern. Cover the surface thickly with mustard, then heavily coat with cinnamon-sugar, patting down if necessary. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and return to oven for 25 minutes, until sugar melts and hardens. It will become a bit crackly. Present on a large platter, decorated as desired. Carve and serve while hot. Serves 12

*You can buy cinnamon-sugar or make your own by mixing 1 cup granulated sugar with 1-1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon.

Brussels Sprouts with Sun-Dried Cranberries 1-1/4 pounds Brussels sprouts 1 cup sun-dried cranberries 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Trim the ends of the Brussels sprouts and remove any bruised outer leaves. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add Brussels sprouts and boil 10 minutes. Immediately drain in a colander under cold water. Dry them on paper towels. When ready to sauté, place cranberries in a small bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let sit 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut sprouts in half through the stem end. Melt butter in a very large sauté pan. Add sprouts and cranberries and cook over medium-high heat until sprouts are tender but still green with areas of golden color. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Serves 6