Food and Fireworks

tumblr_mp43muLq3t1rsdtszo1_1280While these sparkling recipes are designed for July 4th fireworks, they are perfect for entertaining all summer long. Three cheers for the red, white, and blue! Hope you have a festive holiday weekend.  

WATERMELON, FETA & SLIVERED BASIL SALAD This is the essence of summer entertaining. It is a marriage of sweet and salty delights. Nice to mix red and yellow watermelon if you can find it.

- 6 thin slices of ripe watermelon, plus 3 cups of cubed watermelon, chilled - 8 ounces feta cheese - 1 cup slivered basil - 24 oil-cured black olives - ¼ cup olive oil

On a large platter, place overlapping slices of watermelon and scatter cubed watermelon on top. Crumble cheese and scatter on top.  Scatter basil on cheese and garnish with olives. Drizzle a little olive oil over fruit and cheese. Add a grinding of black pepper. SERVES 6.


tumblr_mp3yc4OIpy1rsdtszo1_1280SUN-DRIED TOMATO-BEEF SLIDERS with PESTO

These will surely become a family favorite – whether big or small. If making large burgers, they are sublime cooked on an outdoor grill.

- 1 pound ground beef (chuck or sirloin) - 7-ounce jar sun-dried tomato in oil - 1 cup finely diced yellow onion - 1 tablespoon olive oil - 12 little dinner rolls, split and toasted - ½ cup prepared pesto - 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt - Handful of mesclun or baby arugula

Drain oil from the sun-dried tomatoes and set aside. Finely dice enough tomatoes to get ½ cup. Cut remaining tomatoes into slivers and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat reserved oil. Add onions and cook over medium-high heat until onions are soft and golden, about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine beef, diced sundried tomatoes, cooked onion with all the pan juices, ½ teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add ¼ cup ice water and mix well. Form into 12 small patties. Heat oil in large skillet and cook burgers on each side for several minutes until desired doneness. Stir together pesto and yogurt. Place the burgers on the buns and top with pesto mixture. Garnish with a few leaves of mesclun or arugula, and the remaining slivered sun-dried tomatoes. MAKES 12 SLIDERS.


tumblr_mp2it2CMwI1rsdtszo1_1280BOMBAY TURKEY SLIDERS with HURRY-CURRY SAUCE

These are a cinch to put together and both the sauce and the sliders can be prepped early in the day.


- ½ cup light mayonnaise - ⅔ cup plain yogurt - 4 teaspoons curry powder - 2 tablespoons ketchup - 1 small clove garlic, finely minced


- 1¼ pounds ground turkey - 2 teaspoons curry powder - 1 teaspoons ground cumin - Large pinch chipotle chili powder - 3 tablespoons finely minced scallions - 4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro or basil - 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger - 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise - 1 tablespoon olive oil - 12 little dinner rolls, split and toasted - 12 thin slices Kirby cucumber - 12 thin slices plum tomato

Stir together ingredients for sauce. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Put turkey in a large bowl. Add the curry, cumin, chili powder, scallions, cilantro or basil, ginger and mayonnaise, plus 1 teaspoon salt. Mix until blended. Form into 12 small (2 ounce) burgers. Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook burgers over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, turn over and cook 2 minutes longer. Place the burgers on the buns and slather with curry sauce. Top with a slice of cucumber and tomato. MAKES 12 SLIDERS.


tumblr_mp4dvrL0St1rsdtszo1_1280RED, WHITE AND BLUEBERRY SHORTCAKES

This luxurious dessert is worthy of fireworks. Wonderful if you can get tiny ripe strawberries from your local farmer’s market. The light touch of lemon zest in the biscuits and thin layer of lemon curd makes these truly memorable. Garnish with edible flowers.


- 1½ cups flour - ½ teaspoon salt - 2 teaspoons baking powder - ½ teaspoon baking soda - 2 tablespoons sugar - 4 tablespoons unsalted butter - Grated rind of 1 lemon - ⅔ cup buttermilk


- 1½ cups heavy cream - 3 tablespoons confectioners sugar - 1 teaspoon vanilla - ½ cup lemon curd - 3 cups fresh berries: raspberries, tiny strawberries, blueberries - Edible flowers for garnishing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and 1 tablespoon sugar. Cut butter into small pieces and incorporate into flour mixture. Add lemon zest and buttermilk and mix lightly. Turn dough out onto floured board. Roll out to 1-inch thickness. Cut out 3-inch round and place on ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake 16 to 18 minutes until golden. Let cool.

Whip heavy cream with confectioners sugar and vanilla until very thick.

Cut biscuits in half. Spread lemon curd on bottom half of each biscuit. Spoon whipped on top and add fruit. Top with biscuit “hat” and add more berries and whipped cream. Garnish with edible flowers. SERVES 6.

Day 8: A Radically Simple Countdown to Christmas

12-23-2013 07;29;06AM2Okay, this is my holiday gift to you. From the 325 recipes included in Radically Simple: Brilliant Flavors with Breathtaking Ease, this succulent pork dish has become the most famous. I know people who now make it once a week. It would be great on your holiday table whether you are creating a buffet (in which I would slice the pork very thin for easy serving) or whether you are plating the food in the kitchen. It sports the bright red and green colors of the holiday with a celebratory air. The dish is a riff on an Italian classic dish in which pork is cooked in milk flavored with juniper. My version is much simpler but equally divine. You can augment the sauce by adding some dry white wine in addition to the gin. It's lovely with a platter of sautéed broccoli rabe and a mound of buttery cauliflower & potato puree. I prepare the dish in a paella pan but you can use a very large ovenproof skillet. It's so easy to prepare that you can make two pork loins at the same time and serve 12! Happy Holidays! Pork Loin in Cream with Tomatoes, Sage & Gin 12 large fresh sage leaves 4 large garlic cloves 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1-1/2 teaspoons dried Greek oregano 2-1/2 pound center-cut pork loin, tied and lightly scored 1 pint grape tomatoes 1/2 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup gin, or more to taste

Process 6 sage leaves, the garlic, oil, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a mini processor to a fine paste. Rub all over the pork. Cover; let sit at room temperature 30 minutes or refrigerate up to 4 hours. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat a very large ovenproof skillet until very hot. Brown the pork on all sides, 5 minutes. Scatter the tomatoes around the pork; cook 1 minute. Pour 1/4 cup cream over the pork. Roast 40 minutes. Add the 6 remaining sage leaves, the remaining 1/4 cup cream, and the gin. Roast 15 to 20 minutes longer, until tender.  Transfer the pork to a cutting board. Place the pan on the stovetop and boil the sauce, adding more gin (some dry white wine), salt and pepper, until slightly reduced, 1 minute. Slice the pork and serve with the sauce.  Serves 6

Day 5: Radically Simple Countdown to Christmas

12-20-2013 02;50;42PMThis is one of the simplest, most festive dishes I know. It can be prepped and cooked in less than one hour yet looks like you've been fussing all day. This turkey roast is nothing more than a boned breast half, flattened slightly, so that it can be filled, rolled and tied. Prosciutto, fresh sage, and prunes perfume the dish and feel like Christmas to me. Be sure to serve it with a bowl of my (now famous) sweet potato puree whirled with fresh ginger and orange. A grand cru Beaujolais would be just the thing to drink. Rolled-and-Tied Turkey Roast with Prosciutto, Prunes & Sage 2-1/2 pound turkey roast (boned half-breast, skin on) 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto 10 large pitted prunes 1/4 cup pine nuts 12 large fresh sage leaves 12 medium-large shallots, peeled 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup chicken broth 1/2 cup dry white wine 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Using a mallet, flatten the turkey (skin side down) to 1-inch thickness. Cover evenly with overlapping slices of prosciutto. Arrange the prunes in a tight row down the center. Top with pine nuts and make a row of 6 sage leaves on top. Roll up tightly. Season with salt and pepper. Tie with string at 1-inch intervals and tuck 6 sage leaves under the string. Place the turkey and shallots in a small roasting pan. Drizzle with the oil. Roast 45 minutes until cooked through but still moist. Transfer the turkey and shallots to a board and tent with foil. Pour the broth and wine into the pan. Place on the stovetop and boil, scraping up browned bits, until syrupy, 3 minutes. Strain into a saucepan. Whisk in the butter and cook 1 minute.  Remove string from the turkey, thickly slice. Serve with the shallots and pan sauce. Serves 6

Sweet Potato Puree with Fresh Ginger & Orange This is fat-free but tastes very rich all the same. For a bit more intrigue, spice it up with a pinch of ground cumin, ground coriander, ground cardamom -- or all three.

4 large sweet potatoes, about 3 pounds 2 juice oranges 3-inch piece fresh ginger

Scrub the potatoes but do not peel. Place in a large pot with water to cover. Bring to a rapid boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook 50 minutes or until very soft. Meanwhile, grate the zest of the oranges to get 1 teaspoon. Squeeze the orange to get 2/3 cup juice. Drain the potatoes and peel when cool enough to handle. Cut into large chunks and place in bowl of food processor.  Mince the ginger to get 1/4 cup. Add to the processor with the orange zest and juice. Process until very smooth. Transfer to a saucepan and reheat, stirring. Season with salt and pepper.  Serves 6

A Radically Simple Countdown to Christmas: Day 4

prime-rib-roast-beefHere's a wonderful, upscale recipe that is lovely for Christmas Day or New Year's Eve. The editors at Gourmet magazine once said this simple roast was one of the best they had ever tasted. It is "cured" in the same way that fresh salmon is for gravlax, literally buried in a mixture of coarse salt, sugar, fresh dill and cracked black pepper.  It is radically simple to prepare and radically delicious served with a silky potato puree and roasted winter vegetables. Open a bottle of full-bodied red burgundy or syrah.  The next day: Serve the world's best roast beef sandwiches topped with a horseradish sauce made from crème fraîche, white horseradish, and a splash of sherry. 1/4 cup kosher salt 3 tablespoons sugar 1-1/2 teaspoons coarsely cracked black pepper 3-1/2-pound boneless rib roast, rolled and tied 1 cup finely chopped fresh dill

Stir together the salt, sugar, and pepper in a small bowl; rub all over the beef. Put the dill over the salt mixture. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Make a small hole in the bottom of the plastic so that any accumulated liquid can drain. Place in a small roasting pan and weigh down with a baking sheet topped with a few large heavy cans.  Refrigerate 24 hours, pouring off liquid from time to time. Unwrap the beef; let sit at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Scrape the coating off the beef and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a roasting pan. Roast in the middle of the oven 1-1/4 hours, until an instant-read thermometer registers 130 degrees for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil; let rest 15 minutes. Carve as desired. Serves 8

Day 2: Lamb Shanks Provençal with Cabernet & Rosemary

lambLamb shanks are a fabulous way to feed your guests during the holidays. You can prepare the recipe one to two days in advance allowing the flavors, and textures, to deepen. Just yesterday, a colleague told me she made this recipe, tossed the lusty leftover sauce with basmati rice, and ate it in bed while reading the rest of the cookbook. She then decided to make her entire New Year's Day menu from Radically Simple. (Last year she used the wonderful Jerusalem cookbook.)  I like to serve this with creamy polenta (and open a bottle of Barolo) or with a rich potato gratin layered with Gruyere (and raid our cellar for an old Côtes du Rhône.)  For the Christmas table I poach tiny kumquats in simple syrup until they collapse: They make a festive accompaniment and taste amazing with the lamb. Lamb Shanks Provençal with Cabernet & Rosemary This is nice and easy for a complicated-sounding dish. I simplify the process by quickly searing the seasoned shanks under the broiler. The lusty flavors come from dried porcini mushrooms and herbes de Provence. At the last minute, I dust the hot dish with freshly grated orange zest -- the aroma is wonderful.

6 tablespoons olive oil 6 large lamb shanks, 12 to 14 ounces each 2-1/2 cups chopped leeks, white and green parts 6 large cloves garlic, finely chopped 2-1/2 cup Cabernet sauvignon 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes with puree 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms 1-1/2 tablespoons herbes de Provence 1 pound slender carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch batons 1 tablespoon arrowroot

Preheat the broiler. Rub the lamb with 3 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a broiler pan; brown several minutes on each side. Wash leeks and pat dry. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoon oil in an 8-quart Dutch oven. Add the leeks and garlic; cook over high heat until softened, 5 minutes. Add the shanks, wine, tomatoes, mushrooms, and herbes de Provence. Stir to coat. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer 1 hour. Add the carrots, cover, and cook 30 minutes.  Uncover and simmer 15 minutes, until the lamb is tender. Spoon off the fat. Dissolve the arrowroot in 1 tablespoon water and stir into the sauce. Season to taste and simmer several minutes until the sauce thickens. Serves 6

One Year Later: 100,000 Meals

Photo Credit: Laura Landau Come volunteer with us!  Everyone is welcome.  CBE Feeds (at Congregation Beth Elohim, Garfield and 8th Avenue) in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Monday thru Friday, every week, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. For more info:

Like most chefs, I'm used to feeding people in good times.

But one year ago, I began a pop-up emergency operation in the second floor kitchen of a synagogue in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and as of today, along with hundreds of volunteers, have prepared and delivered our 100,000th meal to victims of Hurricane Sandy.

At midnight after the storm, Andy Bachman, a social-activist Rabbi, fired off an email to his congregation: He was looking for a way to feed several hundred people at a nearby Armory for a few days. These poor souls had been uprooted from the city's nursing homes. Some were old, some were sick, and others in desperate need of a warm meal. I woke my husband and said...we need to do something. Credit card in hand, we raided our local Key Food and bought everything we could carry.

When we arrived at the shul, a platoon of volunteers was waiting. Within several hours, together we made 600 sandwiches. The next day, 1,000.

Everyone wanted to do something. We had few pots, pans or utensils but we managed. I asked everyone I knew for a dozen hard-boiled eggs and a loaf of bread. This simple request demonstrated the amazing power of community. Within 24 hours we were peeling thousands of eggs for sandwiches. Without everyone's involvement, we would not have been able to reach our goals those first few days.

Cooking was one thing, but how to get the food to those in need? Many people had little fuel in their cars and gas stations were shuttered. More volunteers became the beneficent commanders who located drivers and dispatched them to the most vulnerable areas. They ensured that our promise was delivered from that day forward.

The next day Rabbi Bachman made another request. In addition to 2500 sandwiches, he told us he wanted to prepare 500 hot meals. My husband ran home to get his cleaver and we bought and hacked up 150 chickens from Costco. We made mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables and sent out cookies (and fruit when we could find it.) The next day, we did it again....and again...and again. We made sandwiches and cooked up whatever raw ingredients were donated to us. The chapel was filled with potatoes, onions and fresh green beans and canned vegetables. The upstairs ballroom, where meals were assembled, resembled an outsized army mess test. We cooked for 3000 hungry people that first Sunday after the storm.

We operated this way for months -- feeding people without homes, without kitchens, without power, people who lived near markets that had no food.

That's when it struck me: I realized that I never knew anyone who was truly, chronically, hungry. After all, at the age of 23, as first chef to New York Mayor Ed Koch, I knew more about catering political parties than hunger on the streets. Later, as consulting chef to the Rainbow Room and Windows on the World, I fed happier people in happier times, that is, until another tragedy took hold. But Sandy brought to my door the reality that people very close to my community grapple with hunger every day. Our kitchen, affectionately known as CBE Feeds, was able to lift some of that worry. Yes, with food and sandwiches -- but also with spiritual nourishment -- we showed up day after day, provided hope and connection, and proved that we cared.

The kitchen has become its own sacred space. Volunteers arrive from everywhere -- from Staten Island, Riverdale, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and from all over Manhattan, church groups from Ohio, students from Harvard Divinity School. During the Christmas holidays there were people from California and Washington State, from Israel and France.

In the beginning, Anne Hathaway heard about our efforts and came to lend support. And so did Natan Sharansky who'd heard how we'd helped the Russian communities in Brighton and Manhattan Beach.

Today we feed those-in-need in the Gravesend housing projects, hungry students at the Red Hook Initiative, abused women and their children at the Sea and Salt Mission, volunteer construction workers rebuilding homes in Coney Island, and displaced folks at Chips.

My main job is not to make sandwiches, but to honor everyone who walks through the kitchen door. We ask their names and are eager to hear their stories. One woman who touched my heart had lost her Far Rockaway home yet came every day to cook for those who were less fortunate. She felt lucky; she had a friend in Park Slope to spend time with. We didn't see her for awhile, her name was Alice, but then she came to the kitchen several more times. "We missed you," we all said. Do you have a home, now? No, she replied, but I still want to help. That was months ago. Miraculously, Alice appeared at the kitchen today. One year later, still no home, but still eager to make a chicken salad sandwich.

For those of you who pitched in after the Storm, you know that this work is its own reward. Some 2,800 volunteers have walked through our kitchen doors, and with amazing grace put on a hair net and gloves and, one year later, continue to prepare food for others, with little more than a thank you and a cup of coffee. The need is still great, so join us -- you might meet Alice.

Asparagus: Two Radically Delicious Recipes

It is impossible not to marvel at the bountiful bunches of asparagus at the farmer's market this week. In fact, they even look appealing at our supermarket. Here are two simple preparations:  Chilled Asparagus Tonnato with "Confetti" -- perfect for a first course or side dish, and my rather unusual Truffled Asparagus Soup with Pineapple Reduction. The soup is asparagus to the second power, made from boiled stalks and garnished with roasted tips. But the real surprise is a syrupy reduction of pineapple juice. It all makes a compelling flavor match that is among my favorites. Note:  If you boil the asparagus "peelings" in salted water until just tender and shock in cold water, you will have a tangle of something that looks a lot like fettuccine. Sometimes I toss it with freshly cooked pasta or use as a garnish for a salad or cold dish. Chilled Asparagus Tonnato with "Confetti" The inspiration for this dish comes from vitello tonnato -- the Italian preparation of cold sliced veal covered with a creamy tuna sauce and sprinkled with capers.  Here the tuna sauce is fashioned from oil-packed canned tuna, slices of lemon, garlic and olive oil, and pureed until it has the texture of thick heavy cream.

1-1/2 pounds medium asparagus, trimmed 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 5-ounce can oil-packed Italian tuna 1 large garlic clove 1 large lemon handful of mesclun or edible flowers, torn into tiny "confetti" pieces 2 tablespoons large brined capers, drained

Bring a large skillet of salted water to a boil; fill a bowl with ice water. Place the asparagus in the boiling water. Cook until crisp-tender, 6 minutes. Drain immediately and plunge into the ice water; let sit 3 minutes. Drain, pat dry, and divide the asparagus among 4 plates. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Combine the tuna and its oil, the garlic, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 thin lemon slices with rind (without seeds) in a food processor or blender.  Process until very smooth, adding enough water and lemon juice so that the texture is thick and creamy.  Add salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the asparagus and sprinkle with the "confetti" and capers.  Serves 4

Truffled Asparagus Soup with Pineapple Reduction Although there are several steps, this is a radically simple means toward a complex flavor profile.

1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice 2-1/2 pound medium asparagus, peeled 1 tablespoon olive oil 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced 1-1/2 teaspoons white truffle oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put the juice in a small skillet and boil over high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup. Set aside. Discard the bottom inch or two from each asparagus spear. Cut off the tips and place in a pie pan; toss with the olive oil. Roast 8 minutes, until just tender. Cut the asparagus stalks into 2-inch pieces. Place in a 4-quart pot with the butter and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and cover. Cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Process, adding as much cooking liquid as needed to make a smooth, thick puree. Add the truffle oil and salt and pepper and reheat. Ladle into bowls and top with the roasted asparagus tips. Drizzle with the pineapple reduction. Serves 4 to 6

What My Readers are Cooking!

During the last few weeks, random readers of my cookbooks have been sharing what they've been cooking. That's always fun to hear about. Sometimes my recipes are being followed exactly as they are; other times there are embellishments or substitutions being made. And just last night one fan remembered something about a dish made with frozen peas and then asked me to email her the recipe while she was on vacation. I did.

The selections, offered below, come from a variety of sources,  Little MealsRadically Simple, Eat Fresh Food, and my new eBook: the 1-2-3 Collection.

Mod Cod:  Crumbed Cod with Frozen Peas (from Radically Simple) Yep, you can use frozen peas straight from the freezer; just slam the package on the counter a few times to break them up. They provide moisture as the thick pieces of cod, topped with garlicky breadcrumbs, are roasted at a high temperature. The peas also get roasted and take on a comforting starchy texture.

10-package frozen peas 4 scallions 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup panko 1 large garlic clove 4 thick cod fillets, about 7 ounces each

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Put the frozen peas in a large bowl. Slice the scallions thinly on the bias and add to peas along with the thyme, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and salt and pepper. Spread on a small rimmed baking sheet.  Mix the panko with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the garlic, pushed through a press, and salt. Season the fish with salt and pepper. To each piece add a thick cover of panko and press down firmly. Place the fish atop the peas.  Roast for 12 minutes until the crumbs are golden and the fish is just firm. Serve the fish on the peas. Drizzle with additional oil and scatter thyme leaves on top, if desired. Serves 4

Pearl Barley & Tuna Nicoise (from Little Meals) Salad Nicoise is famous from Antwerp to Argentina, but no one serves it my way, tossed with barley and a Caesar-like dressing. Barley absorbs the dressing and helps to marry all the flavors. I like it with a basket of warm soft dinner rolls and a bottle of chilled Bandol rose wine from Provence.

1 cup pearl barley 13-oz. can white tuna in water 8 ounces green beans, blanched and cut into 1-inch pieces 1/2 small red onion, sliced thin 1 large tomato, cut into thin wedges 1/3 cup black nicoise olives 2 hard-cooked eggs, quartered 1/3 cup olive oil 2 heaping tablespoons freshly-grated Parmigiano Reggiano 4 anchovies, finely minced 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus thyme sprigs 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 cloves garlic, pushed through a press 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard wedges of lemon

Rinse barley then cook in 4 cups salted boiling water for 45 minutes. Drain well and transfer to large bowl. Drain tuna and mix with barley. Add green beans, red onion, tomato, olives, and eggs. Toss gently. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, parmesan cheese, anchovies, thyme leaves, lemon juice, garlic, pushed through a press, and mustard. Whisk until emulsified and pour over barley mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill and serve with lemon wedges and sprigs of thyme. Serves 4

Swiss Chard with Lemony Tahina & Cashews (from Radically Simple) This is great way to serve chard (in rainbow colors), collards or kale. It contains a wealth of antioxidants, too.   Note:  A reader made this with kale and loved it.

1/2 cup tahina grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons 1 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled 2 pounds Swiss chard or kale 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 cups finely chopped onions 1/2 cup roasted cashews, broken in pieces

Put the tahina in a food processor. Add the lemon zest and 1/4 cup juice along with the garlic. Process, adding 1/3 to 1/2 cup cold water, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Wash the greens and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.  Heat the oil in a very large nonstick skillet. Add the onions and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, 3 minutes.  Add the greens with some water clinging to them), cook over high heat 5 minutes. Add salt, cover, and cook the greens until tender but still bright green, 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a platter and drizzle with the tahina sauce and sprinkle with the cashews. Serves 4

 Chicken Thighs with Smoked Paprika & Rosemary (From the 1-2-3 Collection)

This is among my family’s favorite emergency meals. It was inspired by my best friend, cooking maestro, Arthur Schwartz. Great on a bed of garlicky mashed potatoes and a tangle of broccoli rabe.

8 large gone-in chicken thighs, with skin 5 teaspoons smoked paprika 16 large sprigs fresh rosemary

Preheat the oven the 450 degrees. Make 2 deep slits across the width of each thigh. Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Mix paprika with ½ teaspoon salt.  Sprinkle the paprika salt into the slits and then lay a long rosemary sprig in each slit. Arrange the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast on the top oven rack (important step!) for 40 to 45 minutes, until firm and cooked through but still juicy. Serves 4

Maple Vinaigrette (from Eat Fresh Food) This is one great dressing that everyone loves. Real maple syrup is a must. We love it with an endive salad, tossed with mesclun, walnuts and dried cranberries. To turn it into a main course, we add strips of thinly sliced turkey.

2 tablespoons real maple syrup 5 tablespoons olive oil 3 tablespoons rice vinegar 2 teaspoons strong Dijon mustard 1 small garlic clove

Put all ingredients in a small jar and put the lid on tightly. Shake vigorously until emulsified. Or whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 1/2 cup

Why not try them all this week!   Enjoy!

Tastes of the Week

Nov. 21 through Nov. 28th Sometime last week, when I was very, very hungry, I walked through the food market at Grand Central Station. There lay a bag of the biggest, puffy, onion-topped rolls that made made my mouth water. I regretted not buying them and so returned the next day. Purchased at Zaro's, these small breads are called "onion pockets" but are really more like little loaves of challah topped with bits of caramelized onion. A bargain at $5.99, my family enjoyed them all week long in myriad ways--not least of which was simply toasted, smeared with sweet butter and topped with soppressata.  Strong coffee. Heaven.

It's not my husband's cup of tea to go out for Thanksgiving dinner but we did anyway! We four (with son and daughter) went to the bustling Commerce, located, not unexpectedly, on Commerce Street in the West Village, one of the prettiest blocks in the city. Fabulous food -- roasted sweet potato tortelloni with hazelnuts, pomegranate & beurre noisette, devilled eggs, a wonderful bread basket, delicious moist turkey with all the trimmings, an order of very spicy artisanal spaghetti with 'Nduja sausage, garlic & parsley, and for me as a starter, a "Ragu of odd things: oxtail, trotters and tripe with hand-rolled orecchiette." Not that there was any room left in our bellies, but a mile-high coconut layer cake had to be one of the best cakes I've ever eaten. It was a lovely afternoon.

A solemn, but beautiful morning, at Ground Zero -- the memorial site at the World Trade Center. It was majestic in its intention, and gripping in its magnitude. Do go. It's a sacred place. But hours of walking, on such a balmy day, can make one hungry. We strolled to Stone Street in the Financial district -- cut off from traffic, it is a cobbled path between aged buildings of a more human scale. It felt a bit like being in London, or Naples; especially the latter as we delved into a really top-notch thin crusted pepperoni pizza at Adrienne's. Sitting outside on November 27th!, sipping red wine, was my idea of nice.

I made my first pecan pie to finish the weekend and my daughter made cranberry sauce -- the jellied block kind that makes me smile. Who knew you could make that?! It seems that the recipe has been on the back of the bag forever: All you need is a strainer, a wooden spoon and a strong arm to push those cranberries through the wire mesh. I also made a large turkey, stuffing, roasted butternut squash, string's important to have leftovers, no?

And I want to share a comment from a reader of Real Food magazine about my sweet potato, pear and walnut gratin. You don't have to wait for next year to make it. It would be lovely with roast pork or duck. Enjoy!

Dear Ms. Gold, I just had to tell you that yesterday I made your Sweet Potato, Pear, and Walnut Gratin recipe that appeared in the Fall 2011 edition of Real Food. It was the star of our Thanksgiving dinner, far outshining everything else on the table, and the kitchen is still redolent with the aroma of that magical concoction of cream, chipotle chile and curry! (Thank you so much for this inventive dish, and many others over the years.) -- KJ from Minneapolis 

Wow, Thanks!

Okay, so once in a while I look at my Amazon reviews.  To date there are 45 reviews for Radically Simple with an average just short of five stars.  And honestly, I don't know more than three of the people who wrote the reviews.  But just this morning (and it's still very early), I gazed upon a review written by someone I want to know!  Written on May 20, 2011, and titled, "Great Weeknight Cookbook," it goes as follows: "I am a grad student, wife, new mom, and teacher so my days are pretty packed but cooking dinner is very important to me.  This cookbook gets five stars because it has so many delicious recipes that can be easily prepared on busy weeknights.  The cookbook also gets five stars because I am a foodie and want to prepare meals that taste complex and are different from the standard fare.  The Poulet au Creme Fraiche in particular was super delicious.  I have made many chicken recipes that call for some variation of cream and mustard, but never had I made chicken that came out so moist and with the skin so crisp and wonderful.  There are a few recipes that call for spice mixtures such as ras el hanout and za'atar and I think these recipes are what some reviewers are complaining about when they say some ingredients are hard to find.  But in reality they are easy to make oneself with spices that normally can be found in a supermarket, buy on-line, or if you live somewhere big enough for a spice shop or international store just buy in person.  I live in a very small town and these spices are always in my pantry.  UPDATE:  I just made the Perciatelli with French Breakfast Radishes, Bacon and Greens.  This was soooooo good, this recipe alone makes the book 5 stars and a must have." 

With many thanks to AnthroWA, she's some busy lady, for taking the time to write a review, and for taking the time to "cook the book."   I haven't made the chicken for awhile so guess what I'm cooking tonight?  And tomorrow?  (Answer: Perciatelli). Poulet au Creme Fraiche (adapted from Radically Simple) Super succulent!  My favorite accompaniments are steamed basmati rice to sop up the juices and a simple salad of watercress and orange dressed with walnut oil.

1 cup creme fraiche 1/4 cup strong French Dijon mustard 1 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish 1 large garlic clove 3-1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces

Stir together the creme fraiche and mustard in a large bowl.  Add the thyme, garlic pushed through a press, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Add the chicken and mix well.  Set aside at room temperature for 2 hours or up to 6 hours in the refrigerator.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Transfer the chicken, with some of the marinade still clinging, to a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast for 45 minutes, until golden and cooked through.  Serve sprinkled with thyme.  Serves 4

Radically Simple Now Available

Radically Simple is now available online and in bookstores. To celebrate, here are a few recipes from the book. Be sure to sign up to receive my blog posts via email for other fun posts and announcements! BEET SOUP WITH LEMON CRÈME FRAÎCHE The color of rubies, this soup dazzles. It can be made in 60 seconds and eaten right away if the ingredients are well-chilled. If not, pop the soup in the freezer until ice cold.

2 (14-ounce) cans small whole beets 1⁄3 cup olive oil 1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar 1 large garlic clove 1⁄2 cup crème fraîche 1 large lemon

Put the beets and liquid in a food processor; begin to process. Add 3⁄4 cup water, the oil, vinegar, and garlic. Process until very smooth. Stir in salt and pepper. Top each serving with the crème fraîche and grate lots of lemon zest on top.



Even though people lament that “chicken has no taste,” I have on occasion been inclined to leave it alone and cook it stark naked (the bird, that is). No salt, even. The result is something that tastes surprisingly like, well . . . chicken; golden and moist. Only at the end, after carving, do I simply add salt and pepper to the pan juices, or give it a keen sheen of water-enriched garlic-chive butter, whisk until frothy. A small roasting pan, just large enough to hold the chicken is key: I use a small paella pan, but a metal-handled skillet will do.

4-pound roasting chicken

Preheat the oven to 475°F. Wash the chicken; discard the giblets. Dry well. Place breast side down in a small roasting pan. Roast for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken over and baste. Roast for 40 minutes longer, until cooked through. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with salt. Let rest for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to the pan juices and boil 2 minutes. Carve the chicken and serve with pan juices or butter sauce.



4 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh chives 1 small garlic clove, very finely minced

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the chives, garlic, 3 tablespoons water, and salt. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Pour over chicken.


Like the legendary little black dress, this dessert is something I can’t live without, a mousse-y rich cake with a soft, oozing center (provided you don’t overbake it). And like the L.B.D., you can accessorize it in myriad ways: with fresh raspberries placed side by side and glazed with melted currant jelly; with sweetened crème fraîche and fresh orange segments; or with my “crème anglaise” (below) or a scoop of Lemon-Buttermilk Ice Cream (page 330).

10 1⁄2 tablespoons unsalted butter 5 extra-large eggs 16 ounces top-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, espresso powder, or orange zest

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment. Butter the sides of the pan with 1⁄2 tablespoon of the butter. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt until tripled in volume, about 8 minutes. Melt the chocolate and the remaining 10 tablespoons butter slowly over low heat in a heavy medium saucepan; stir until smooth. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture with a flexible rubber spatula until completely incorporated. Add the vanilla. Pour into the pan.

Bake 18 minutes: The center will be quite soft. Cool 30 minutes.



3 cups commercial eggnog

Bring the eggnog just to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until reduced to 1 1⁄2 cups, about 40 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until cold.

(MAKES 1 1⁄2 CUPS)