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.

Super Bowl Recipe Countdown (Day 4)

Photo: Linda Greene Shrimp Veracruz with Rice, Corn & Green Olives

This is fabulously easy to make and so good to eat.  Serve with warm flour tortillas or crispy tortilla chips.

Prepare the components of the salad early in the day, then toss in the shrimp just before serving.  Serve with wedges of lime and hot sauce – green and red. Drink beer or tequila or make a pitcher of pomegranate margaritas.

Easily doubled for a crowd.

2 cups uncooked long-grain brown rice (or basmati rice) 1-3/4 cups fresh corn kernels, cut from the cob (or 10 ounces frozen corn, thawed) 6 scallions, finely chopped 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped 1 cup coarsely chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives 1 pound very large cooked shrimp 16-ounce jar thick and chunky salsa (mild or medium) 1/3 cup olive oil 1 large lime, grated zest and juice 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Put 6 cups water, 2 cups rice, and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook 30 minutes until rice is just tender. Stir in corn, then drain. Transfer rice mixture to large bowl. Refrigerate 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Mix in scallions, bell peppers, and olives. Blend salsa, olive oil, lime zest, 1 tablespoon lime juice, cumin and smoked paprika. Stir half of the dressing into rice mixture. When ready to serve, add shrimp and remaining dressing to rice salad. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8

One-a-day Great Superbowl Recipes (Day 1)

Photo by Hans Gissinger Three-Cheese Pimiento Mac with Parmesan Crumbs

I created this recipe for Bon Appétit magazine and it became the cover photo. It's a comforting, American-styled baked pasta loosely based on a southern favorite – pimiento cheese – whose red bell pepper-cheddar-y taste profile is totally satisfying. The secret ingredient is sweet-and-spicy peppadew peppers. The components can be prepped ahead of time, assembled, and baked 20 minutes before serving. The recipe is easily doubled or tripled for a crowd and perfect for a Superbowl gathering.

1 large red bell pepper, 7 ounces 2 large garlic cloves, peeled 12 peppadew peppers, drained 1 tablespoon peppadew brine 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened ¼ teaspoon ancho chile powder 5 ounces extra-sharp yellow cheddar, in small pieces 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano 4 ounces shredded whole-milk mozzarella 8 ounces gemelli or medium shells ½ cup panko 3 tablespoons slivered fresh basil

Cut the pepper in half and remove seeds. Cut pepper into 1 inch pieces and put in a small saucepan with 1/2 cup water and 1-1/2 cloves garlic. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and cover. Cook 15 minutes until peppers are very soft. Transfer contents (with water) to a food processor. Add the peppadews, brine, 2 tablespoons butter, chile powder and remaining ½ garlic clove. Process until smooth. Add cheddar and ¼ cup parmesan and process until very smooth.

Boil the pasta in salted water until tender, about 11 minutes. Drain under cold water and pat very dry. Toss pasta with the red pepper sauce. Stir in the mozzarella. Add salt to taste. Pack into a large soufflé dish.

Stir together the remaining ¼ cup parmesan and panko. Add the remaining tablespoon butter and, with your fingers, thoroughly moisten the crumbs. Add salt to taste. Sprinkle on pasta and bake 20 minutes until golden. Scatter basil on top. Serves 4

Day 7: A Radically Simple Countdown to Christmas

radicchioIn less than 18 minutes you can have a gorgeous fish dish that is worthy of the season. You might even consider it for your "seven fishes" dinner. The idea of roasting cod at such a high temperature was inspired by Shirley Corriher, scientist, chef, and author of the encyclopedic books, BakeWise and CookWise. I've added her felicitous pairing of buttery macadamia nuts and added my own wilted radicchio caressed with lemon. The combo is also great on sauteed chicken breasts. You might want to serve it with wild rice which I always enjoy during the holidays or fill your kitchen with Mediterranean flavors and make Bay-Smoked Potatoes (recipes below.) 'Tis the season. 500-Degree Cod with Macadamia Butter & Radicchio

4 thick cod fillets, 7 ounces each 1 cup unsalted macadamia nuts, about 3 ounces 1 medium-large head radicchio, about 8 ounces 7 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 lemon 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Season the fish with salt and pepper; place on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 6 to 7 minutes, until just firm. Meanwhile, chop the nuts and julienne the radicchio. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the nuts and cook over high heat, stirring constantly until browned, 2 minutes. Add the radicchio and cook until soft, 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Transfer the fish to 4 warm plates. Spoon the nut mixture on top. Top with grated lemon zest, a little lemon juice, and parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 4 Bay-Smoked Potatoes 1-1/2 pounds very small white new potatoes 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 12 dried California bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and scrub the potatoes; dry well. Do not peel. Toss with the oil and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Distribute the bay leaves in a heavy ovenproof covered saute pan. Arrange the potatoes on top of the bay leaves in a single layer. Cover tightly with foil or a cover. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hours, until the potatoes are soft and wrinkled. Transfer the potatoes and bay leaves to a platter. Drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serves 4 or more

Day 3: Countdown to a Radically Simple Christmas

ham One week to go before Christmas Eve, so it's a good time to start planning your menu. Here is a favorite glazed ham that I make year after year. Served hot on Christmas Eve with mashed rutabagas and caramelized shallots, the morning after I sauté leftover bits with soft-scrambled eggs (delicious with toasted panettone and warm maple syrup). The next day I use the meaty bone to make fragrant lentil soup. Leftovers might also appear in a custardy quiche with sharp cheddar and cumin seed or as an honest ham sandwich, thinly sliced and piled high on rye bread. It's mouthwatering any way you choose. (adapted from Christmas 1-2-3, Stewart,Tabori & Chang).

Glazed Christmas Ham House-filling aromas will trigger mouthwatering anticipation. Its flavors -- salty meat, sharp mustard, sweet crust -- hits your palate like a harmonious chord. Simple cooking techniques keep it moist and succulent.

10-pound smoked ready-to-cook ham, shanks portion 1 cup coarse-grain mustard 1 cup sugar 1-1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon 1 tablespoon garam masala

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place ham in a shallow roasting pan and add 1/4 inch water to pan. Cover ham with foil and bake 2-1/2 hours. Remove ham from the oven and pour off most of the fat. Raise oven temp to 450 degrees. Using a sharp, thin-bladed knife, remove the skin and most of the fat. Score the remaining fat by cutting diagonal slashes in a diamond pattern. Spread the ham thickly with mustard. Stir together sugar, cinnamon, and garam masala and sprinkle the surface of the ham heavily with the mixture. Return to the oven until sugar melts and hardens, about 25 minutes. It will become a bit crackly. Serves 12

Cauliflower Vichyssoise with Chive Flowers

The chive flowers are blooming once again which means it's time to make my one of my favorite warm-weather soups:  Cauliflower Vichyssoise with Chive Flowers (and parsley oil). You may be astounded to know that the beautiful soup in the photo below is made with only six ingredients.  Four for the soup; two for the parsley oil. This soup is classically made from potatoes and leeks, both the chive leaves (straws) are used and the edible flowers pulled apart.  It is a dish of many virtues and healthy as can be. I saw some lovely crimson rhubarb at the market, too.  Look here tomorrow for radically simple ways to prepare it. Have a meaningful Memorial Day.


Cauliflower Vichyssoise with Chive Flowers (adapted from Radically Simple) This more healthful riff on classic vichyssoise is still luxuriously suave.  For a stunning presentation, blanch a bunch of parsley and puree in a blender with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 cup water and salt; add a swirl to each serving to dance on the white velvet background.

2-1/2 pound cauliflower, or 1-3/4 pounds florets 2 large leeks 1 cup light cream 1 bunch chives with chive flowers Break the cauliflower into small pieces and put in a 4-quart pot.  Add 5 cups water (water will not cover the cauliflower) and 2 teaspoons salt.  Chop the white parts of the leeks to get 1-1/2 cups.  Wash well; add to the pot.  Bring to a rapid boil; reduce the heat to medium.  Cover and cook until the vegetables are very soft, about 24 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes.  In 2 batches, puree in a food processor until ultra smooth, adding 1/2 cup cream to each batch.  Transfer to a bowl; add salt and pepper.  Cover; refrigerate until very cold.  Add water or additional cream if too thick.  Garnish with chopped chives and flowers, and optional parsley oil.  Serves 6


The Magic of Three Ingredients

With a touch of irony, I note that simplicity has become trendy. Again. This September's cover story in Food & Wine breathlessly features their best "three-ingredient recipes ever." Real Simple magazine boasted similar stories over the past two years, as did Oprah magazine. I have to smile knowing that my 1996 cookbook Recipes 1-2-3: Fabulous Food Using Only 3 Ingredients launched a quiet revolution that now is being embraced by the food world's upper crust. Not surprisingly in the era of rampant borrowing, there's hardly ever any attribution to the concept's creator, but the nine books in my 1-2-3 series have been nominated for 5 James Beard Awards (with three wins) and one Julia Child/IACP award. Along with a smash hit called The 1-2-3 Collection, (going strong at Apple's iTunes store), these books continue to surface in stores and garner testimonials from devoted 1-2-3 practitioners.

It has been said, "Never trust a simple dish to a simple chef." And it was with that in mind that I devised my daring three-ingredient formula where every ingredient counted except salt, pepper and water.

Like the minimalist movement in art, which reacted to the excesses of abstract expressionism, I wanted to strip away the froufrou that accumulated during the last few decade that came to define "contemporary" or "creative" cooking.

Instead of competing by the number of ingredients they cram into a dish or how high they can pile it on a plate, I longed for the high priests (and priestesses) of culinary wizardry to let the "ingredients speak for themselves" and manipulate them as little as possible.

When Alain Ducasse opened at the Essex House, his press release boasted of cooking "with just a few ingredients and some herbs". Laurent Gras, made headlines at the Waldorf's Peacock Alley by cooking with only two ingredients. Daniel Boulud, said "cooking with three ingredients is the way a chef really wants to and does cook at home." Boston's Lydia Shire once said "some of the world's best dishes have no more than three ingredients."

Today's superstar chefs, when asked about what kind of food they're cooking, give the same trendy answer. "Simple," they say. But as I study menus from hot restaurants around the country, their offerings appear radically complex in both ingredient usage and cooking techniques.

As my three-ingredient philosophy has demonstrated over the years, there's lots of intellectual glue (like using one ingredients several different ways) needed to make simple recipes work. In addition, cooking simply teaches valuable lessons about the way we experience taste. It would be fascinating to get into the "mind" of today's top chefs as they claim to create their own streamlined dishes.

I like many of the recipes put forth by the test kitchen in September's Food & Wine issue. The rules of the game, however, have been altered: Olive oil has been added to the list of "free ingredients." That's a bit like lowering the handicap of a well-seasoned golfer, but the recipes still sound delicious.

I offer you two crowd-pleasing three-ingredient recipes of my own: Lemon-Buttermilk Ice Cream is the perfect dessert for the remaining lazy-hazy days of summer, and Mahogany Short Ribs proved to be one of the Washington Post's favorite recipes. You may want to check out the reservoir of three-ingredient recipes in my books (many still in print: Recipes 1-2-3; Recipes 1-2-3 Menu Cookbook, Entertaining 1-2-3, Healthy 1-2-3, Low Carb 1-2-3; Cooking 1-2-3, Kids Cook 1-2-3, Desserts 1-2-3, Christmas 1-2-3) and you'll understand the magic.

Mahogany Short Ribs (adapted from Recipes 1-2-3) This irreverent merger of foodstuffs results in a tantalizing dish that will amaze and amuse your guests. Prune juice tenderizes marbled ribs of beef, while teriyaki sauce ads a touch of sweetness and salinity. Nice with a bright, young zinfandel. Make sure the ribs are cut in between the bones to make 4 large thick ribs. These are known as "long cut" to differentiate them from "flanken" which is cut across the bone.

3 pounds short ribs, cut into 4 pieces 1 cup teriyaki sauce 1 cup prune juice

Place the ribs in a large bowl. Pour teriyaki and prune juice over ribs. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove the ribs from the marinade. Bring the marinade to a boil in a large pot with 1 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns. Lower the heat, add the meat, and cover the pot. Simmer for 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender. Remove the meat to a platter. Reduce the sauce for 5 minutes over high heat until syrupy. Immediately pour sauce over the ribs. This is also delicious the next day. Remove any congealed fat from the top of the sauce and slowly reheat ribs in the liquid. Serves 4

Lemon Buttermilk Ice Cream (adapted from Recipes 1-2-3) How luxurious only 2 grams of fat can taste. This is fabulous served over fresh strawberries tossed with sugar and spiked with grappa.

2 cups sugar 5 large lemons 1 quart buttermilk

Put the sugar in a large bowl. Grate the zest of 2 or 3 lemons to get 1 tablespoon zest. Cut lemons in half and squeeze 2/3 cup juice. Add zest and juice to the sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Add the buttermilk and a large pinch of salt and stir until completely smooth. Chill well and freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Serves 6 to 8

A Radically Delicious Recipe: Pork Medallions with Couscous, Pistachio-Lemon Vinaigrette

Here is a stunning "restaurant dish" (that's actually a full meal) you can whip up in your own kitchen. While it contains a cornucopia of ingredients, stealth techniques make it radically simple and radically delicious. Use genuine Dijon mustard from France for the best flavor. The pistachios can be ground in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or mini food processor. Pork Medallions with Couscous, Pistachio-Lemon Vinaigrette


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided 2 tablespoons pistachios, finely ground 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar 2 teaspoons maple syrup 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided 1 1/2 cups water 1 cup uncooked couscous 4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick) 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 pint grape tomatoes 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1. Combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, pistachios, and next 5 ingredients (through mustard) in a small bowl. Add 1 teaspoon garlic and 1/8 teaspoon salt, stirring with a whisk.

2. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and couscous. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Rub pork with remaining 1 teaspoon garlic. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove pork from pan; keep warm. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil and tomatoes to pan; cook 5 minutes or until skins blister, shaking pan occasionally. Sprinkle with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir tomatoes and parsley into couscous; divide couscous mixture evenly among 4 plates. Top each serving with 1 pork chop and spoon vinaigrette on top.

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 

Thanksgiving Paella & Cranberry Granita

While most folks use their cold turkey and fixings for retro favorites like turkey Divan, turkey loaf, hash, chowder, or a beloved Kentucky Hot Brown (a hot open-face turkey sandwich smothered with cheese sauce), I opt for more exotic tastes that evoke another time and place, as in my turkey paella! Or if truth be told, sometimes I make an entire Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, which I will be doing this year. Paella later in the week. The depth of flavor in the (almost) traditional version comes from turkey stock, simply made from a picked-over carcass with bay leaves and garlic or you can use broth from a can. Paella, which originated in the Valencia region of Spain, has as its basic ingredients, rice, saffron and olive oil. The rice is cooked in stock then the add-ons are cooked in the rice. Here, they include red pepper, sausage, smoked chorizo, peas -- and Thanksgiving turkey! Paella is generally served in a paellera, a broad, round shallow pan with handles, from which it gets its name. I make mine in a big casserole on top of the stove and then spoon it into a heated paellera for effect.

More leftovers? Leftover vegetables get marinated in a spunky vinaigrette. You will need about 3 pounds of cooked/steamed vegetables to which sweet grape tomatoes are added. If making vegetables from scratch because your Thanksgiving guests ate them all, simply steam a mélange of tiny Brussels sprouts, string beans, thick oval slices of carrots and small broccoli or cauliflower florets.

But the crown jewel on the table set with leftovers is my cranberry granita -- made from a jellied block of cranberry sauce. Refreshing with its citrusy flavors, it is especially dramatic strewn with fresh raspberries or shimmering pomegranate seeds.

Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving.

Marinated Vegetables

If using leftover vegetables, you will need about 3 pounds of cooked/steamed vegetables to which halved grape tomatoes are added.

3 pounds cooked or steamed vegetables (Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, stringbeans) 1 pound grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise 3/4 cup olive oil (not extra-virgin) 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 2 tablespoons water 2 cloves garlic, pushed through a garlic press 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves 1 teaspoon dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco

If using cold leftover vegetables, put them in a large strainer and place the strainer in a large pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and pat dry. If using fresh vegetables, boil or steam them until tender. Drain under cold water and pat dry.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Toss with vegetables. Add salt and pepper. Cover and marinate at least 6 hours or overnight. Let come to room temperature. Adjust seasonings. Serves 6 or more

Cranberry Granita

2 oranges 2 large lemons 3/4 cup sugar 2-1/2 cups water 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 16 ounces jellied cranberry sauce

Grate rind of oranges to get 1 heaping teaspoon zest. Cut oranges in half and squeeze to get ½ cup juice. Grate rind of lemons to get 1 heaping teaspoon zest. Cut lemons in half and squeeze to get ½ cup juice. Put juices and zest in a medium saucepan with sugar, water and vanilla. Cut jellied cranberry sauce into large pieces and put in saucepan.

Bring to a boil, whisking constantly with a wire whisk. Lower heat to medium and continue to cook, about 5 minutes, until cranberry sauce has completely melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and cool.

Transfer mixture to a large shallow metal pan or two metal pie tins. Carefully place in freezer. Stir mixture with a fork, every 30 minutes, breaking up ice crystals. Freeze for 3 hours. Using a spoon, scrape mixture into chilled wine glasses. Serve immediately. Serves 6 or more

Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake, Your Way

So here we are, one day before Thanksgiving, and I urge you to count your blessings and be mindful of the tangibles, and intangibles, in your life for which you are grateful. Someone recently told me they are grateful for this recipe (below)! But if your gratitude has more to do with the people you love and care for, then why not consider making it for them? This one-bowl, crustless cheesecake sets beautifully after a day in the fridge and actually improves with age. The topping can be done your way -- I like to use a medley of pecans, white chocolate chips, and candied ginger, but you can use chopped-up Heath Bars, granola, crushed chocolate wafers, gingersnaps, tiny marshmallows, shredded coconut, dried cherries, or glacéed fruit. And whilst I make it in a 10-inch removable-bottom cake pan, it can also be made in a large square pan and cut into brownie-like pieces (as it's done in the photo. It's from an article I wrote for the fall issue of Real Food magazine.)

Wishing you all a happy and nourishing Thanksgiving Day.

Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake Having the cream cheese at room temperature is key to a smooth and creamy texture.

24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 1/4 cup crème fraiche or sour cream 1/4 cup cornstarch 3 extra-large eggs 15-ounce can pumpkin puree 1-1/2 cups sugar 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract soft butter for greasing pan

Suggested toppings: 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans 1/3 cup white chocolate chips 3 tablespoons candied ginger, finely minced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, crème fraiche, and cornstarch until smooth. Add eggs, pumpkin puree, all but 1 tablespoon sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Heavily butter a 10-inch, removable bottom cake pan. Pour in batter. Bake 30 minutes. Top with pecans, white chocolate chips, and ginger (or toppings of your choice) or the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake 40 minutes longer until firm. Remove from oven and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours before serving.  Serves 12

Nice to sip with bourbon or brandy or Drambuie.  (It's in the back of your liquor cabinet.) Enjoy!

Crazy for Cranberries

I'm crazy for cranberries as I'm sure many of you are. The following recipes, chosen from a repertoire of dozens, are interesting variations on a standard theme but have more verve and vibrancy. One such newfangled version always appears on my Thanksgiving table and I often make enough to give away as gifts in pretty glass jars. But you may be interested to know that a wobbly block of cranberry sauce, straight from the can, takes center stage. I just love the stuff:  I love it's garnet color, its opaque yet translucent sheen, its tart-sweet syzygy, the way it waxes and wanes, and the way it is generally left untouched, slowly becoming unglued as the temperature rises around the table. Poor jellied cranberry sauce. What to do? I turn it into a delicious cranberry granita (!) -- a recipe I'll share with you on "Thanksgiving Leftovers Day" -- a new culinary holiday that takes place on the fourth Saturday of every November. Never heard of it? I just made it up! Anyway, the jellied cylinder, complete with the slightly indented striations from the can itself, is something I look forward to year after year. It's a tradition I would never change.

The first offering below is this year's favorite spin. It is a fresh, sprightly relish that cleanses your palate and adds electricity and color to each of the meal's components. And you can make it today, for it improves with each day that passes -- up to five days in advance -- and it takes only two minutes to prepare. Can you find the time? The second recipe is dark and jammy and reminiscent of a conserve (a thick jam made from two or more fruits.) Its deep color comes from dark-brown sugar and ruby-hued dried cherries which plump right up and add unexpected bursts of sweetness. Candied ginger and fresh lime zest tell the rest of the story.

For more saucy cranberry ideas, you may refer to my posts of 2010 (November 20 and December 1) which features a dynamic chutney and dulcet cranberry-maple syrup, and a simple and sophisticated apple-cranberry sauce. Not bad at all with a holiday bird (or with potato pancakes!)

Today the cranberries, tomorrow the...

Cranberry-Lemon-Apple Relish

12 ounces fresh cranberries 2/3 cup turbinado sugar 2 lemon wedges (skin and all, no pits) ½ large Gala apple, in large chunks 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice Large pinch salt

Pulse in food processor until finely ground. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Makes 2-1/3 cups

Cranberry, Dried Cherry and Ginger Conserve

1-2/3 cups dark brown sugar 24 ounces fresh cranberries ¾ cup dried cherries, about 3 ounces, coarsely chopped 3 tablespoons finely minced candied ginger 1 large lime

In a large saucepan, bring 2-1/2 cups water and sugar to a boil. Add cranberries, dried cherries, 3 tablespoons minced ginger and a pinch of salt. Bring mixture to a rapid boil. Reduce heat to medium-high. Grate zest of lime and add to pot. Cook for 15 minutes,  stirring frequently, until cranberries pop and mixture is thick. Let cool with cover askew.  Transfer to a bowl or jar; cover and refrigerate until cold. If desired, garnish with additional candied ginger or grated lime zest. Serves 8  (makes 5 cups)

Sweet Potato Triptych

Here are three fabulous seasonally-appropriate sweet potato recipes -- all perfect for your Thanksgiving feast. One is made with only three ingredients and is totally fat-free, the other, a gratin, can be made days ahead and simply reheated, and the third is a seductive spin on roasted sweet potatoes, blanketed with a sticky maple "honey" I invented. It is nothing more, and nothing less, than pure maple syrup simmered until sticky-thick, perfumed with cinnamon stick and zested lemon. It can be made early in the day and gently warmed when the potatoes are freshly baked. A cinch to make, the result is a cavalcade of sweet, salty, buttery, citrus flavors. Satisfaction guaranteed whichever you choose.

Sweet Potato, Pear, & Walnut Gratin

This is a lovely merger of flavors and a unique addition to your Thanksgiving table. It is delicious with, or without, the layer of sliced Muenster cheese tucked midway through the layers of sweet potatoes. The spices add a gentle perfume to the cream base which bathes and softens the vegetables. This can be prepared one to two days ahead and reheated: Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then uncover and bake 5 minutes longer.

 3 pounds sweet potatoes 1 large firm ripe pear 3 cups half and half 1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder 1/8-1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder 1 large clove garlic, smashed 6 ounces thinly sliced Muenster cheese 1 cup grated parmesan cheese 1 cup walnut halves 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel potatoes. Slice very thin across the width. Peel pear. Thinly slice lengthwise; removing pits as you go. Put half and half in a medium saucepan with curry, chili powder and garlic. Bring just to a boil; lower heat and simmer 5 minutes. Set aside; remove garlic when ready to use. Put parmesan and walnuts in bowl of food processor; process until finely ground.

In a very large shallow ovenproof casserole (12 cups), arrange half the potatoes in overlapping slices to form a cohesive bottom layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange pears to cover potatoes. Arrange Muenster cheese over pears. Arrange the remaining potatoes in an overlapping pattern to form a cohesive top layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour cream over and around potatoes. Cover top of potatoes with walnut-parmesan mixture. Dot with butter. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes. Serve hot. Serves 8

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Sweet Whipped Butter & Maple "Honey"

8 large sweet potatoes 1-1/2 cups pure maple syrup 1 large cinnamon stick 1 large lemon ½ cup sweet whipped butter ¼ cup freshy minced chives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash potatoes but do not peel them. Pierce them several times with the tines of a fork. Place them directly on the racks in the oven. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Put maple syrup and cinnamon stick in a large saucepan. Bring to a rapid boil, reduce heat to low to maintain simmer and cook until reduced to 1 cup, about 25 minutes. Add grated zest of lemon and 1 tablespoon juice. Remove from heat until ready to serve potatoes. When potatoes are soft, transfer them to a cutting board. Cut them in half lengthwise and place on a platter. Gently heat maple sap. Dollop potatoes with whipped butter and spoon hot sap over potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and chives. Serves 8

Sweet Potato, Ginger & Orange Puree This amazingly simple, bright orange puree tastes rich and fattening but it's fat-free. Add a large pinch of Chinese five-spice powder if you desire -- it's a nice touch.

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

Grate the zest of the oranges. Cut the oranges in half and squeeze to get 2/3 cup juice. Set aside. Scrub the potatoes but do not peel. Place in a large pot with water to cover.  Bring to a boil; lower heat to medium. Cook for 50 minutes or until the potatoes are very soft. Drain well and peel under cold water. Cut the potatoes into large pieces and put in the bowl of a food processor. Using a small knife, peel the ginger and finely chop enough to get 3 tablespoons. Add the ginger, orange zest, and orange juice to processor. Process until very smooth. Add salt to taste. Reheat before serving. Serves 8

Today the Stuffing...

Thanksgiving stuffing, also known as "dressing" (which always perplexed me), is one of my favorite parts of the meal. I grew up with Pepperidge Farm packaged "croutons" mixed with lots of butter and caramelized onions and I loved it when my mother baked it in a casserole and the topping got all brown and crispy. It is one of those childhood taste memories which I cling to, still. But I offer you a slightly more upscale, and definitely more interesting stuffing this year: Cornbread, Bacon & Shiitake Stuffing. It is meant to accompany almost any turkey flavor profile or cooking technique, but has real character of its own. It might seem labor intensive to make your own cornbread, but this recipe is speedy and can be done way ahead of time and frozen, if you wish. I hardly ever freeze anything but please feel free -- especially if it's going to keep the stress level down. In that spirit, I would like to offer the concept of Mindful-Based Stress Reduction and specifically apply it your Thanksgiving preparations. You should make the cornbread at least 1 to 2 days before using as it's best if it's a bit dry to better absorb all the delicious juices. You can use an equal amount (16 ounces) of store-bought cornbread or corn muffins, but the result will be sweeter. The stuffing itself can be made a day ahead and reheated.

Cornbread, Bacon & Shiitake Stuffing

Cornbread 1 cup flour 1 cup yellow cornmeal, fine or medium 1 tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 cup milk 1 extra-large egg, beaten 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Stuffing 4 tablespoons olive oil 3 cups chopped onions 2 cups chopped celery 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped 5 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice 5 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms 2 extra-large eggs, beaten 2 cups chicken stock

To make the cornbread:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir in milk, egg, and butter. Stir well and pour into well-oiled 8-inch square pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until just firm. Let cool.

For the stuffing:  Heat oil in a 6-quart pot. Add onions and celery and cook 15 minutes over high heat, stirring, until softened and golden brown. Add rosemary, bacon, and mushrooms and cook 10 minutes until mushrooms are soft and bacon is cooked. Cut cornbread into 1/2-inch pieces and add to pot. Stir and cook 5 minutes. Whisk together eggs and stock; pour over cornbread mixture and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes and serve. Serves 8

Today the stuffing, tomorrow the sweet potatoes:  Three fab recipes!  Stay tuned.

Thanksgiving Countdown 2011

Over the years I have created dozens and dozens of Thanksgiving recipes for Bon Appetit, cover stories for Real Food, and once concocted a 15-ingredient Thanksgiving dinner feature for Newsday. Yes, 15 ingredients for the entire meal!  One day I'll share that with you. But today I begin a seven-day countdown to America's finest holiday, the one we will all be sharing next week. What a lovely notion. And while today, the 3rd Thursday of November is known around the world as Beaujolais Nouveau day, and next Thursday is Thanksgiving day, it's not a bad idea, at all, to serve the former with the latter.

Thanksgiving is one holiday that begs for you to be at the table -- not in the kitchen -- so some stealth planning and creativity are required. Every dish of my colorful, flavor-packed menu can be done ahead. You'll find some new techniques; a few riffs on Thanksgiving classics -- a sweet potato-and-pear gratin, cornbread-bacon-shiitake stuffing, two-minute cranberry-apple-lemon relish (addictive!), and a creamy pumpkin cheesecake "your way."

If you have not already decided how to cook your bird, I present an idea that is not so much radically simple as it is radically delicious. It may be one of the longer recipes I've ever created, Double Crispy Roast Turkey in Apple Cider Brine with Do-Ahead Apple Cider-Tarragon Gravy, but the ultimate benefit may be that it requires less than 3 hours in the oven! My new technique of one-day brining and one-day "dry aging" in the fridge results in succulent, tender flesh and crackling, crispy turkey skin. It's a cinch to do and requires no basting. Even before your pan juices are ready, an apple cider sauce base is waiting for you, ready to amalgamate into a gorgeous turkey gravy.  And an extra bonus is that the turkey rests on a bed of scallions that delicately flavors the sauce and also prevents the turkey from sticking! Here you go:

15-pound fresh turkey (not brined) 3-1/2 cups fresh apple cider (from the refrigerated case) 1 cup kosher salt 12 cups water 3 large cloves garlic 2 large bunches scallions 1/2 cup chicken broth 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 small bunch fresh tarragon

Wash turkey; remove giblets. In a very large pot, combine 2 cups apple cider, salt and water. Add 2 cloves garlic, pushed through a press. Stir until salt is dissolved. Submerge the turkey, breast side down, in brine. Add water to cover the turkey, if necessary. Cover and refrigerate 16 to 24 hours. Remove from brine and pat very dry. Place turkey on a rack on a platter (to catch drippings) and refrigerate, uncovered, for 24 hours. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Trim scallions and place side by side on a large, shallow roasting pan. Place turkey on scallions. Roast 2-3/4 hours until done, tipping turkey into pan twice while roasting to remove juices. Meanwhile, put 1-1/2 cups apple cider, chicken broth, remaining garlic clove, pushed through a press, and butter in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer 20 to 30 minutes until reduced to 1 cup. Dissolve cornstarch in 3 tablespoons water and whisk into saucepan. Simmer 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon and set aside.

Transfer turkey to large cutting board. Pour pan juices into a large measuring cup; let rest 5 minutes and remove fat from top using a spoon.  Slowly add pan juices, 1/4 cup at a time, to simmering apple cider reduction to achieve a well-balanced gravy, tasting as you go and keeping at a simmer until desired flavor is achieved. Whisking constantly, cook 5 minutes until thickened. Carve turkey and garnish with tarragon. Serve with gravy.  Serves 8

Today the turkey, tomorrow the stuffing.

The Promised Recipe

Here it is: Smoked & Fresh Salmon "en chemise" Fresh salmon enrobed in a layer of smoked salmon and roasted at a high temperature is rich and elegant with a subtle smoky perfume. An instantaneous room-temperature sauce, made from tomatillos, basil, cilantro, and lime, is a striking accompaniment. And like the book it is adapted from, the recipe is Radically Simple

6 thick salmon fillets with skin, 6 ounces each 9 ounces, best-quality, thinly-sliced smoked salmon 16 ounces tomatillos, at room temperature 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves 1/4 cup chopped onion 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice large handful of pea shoots or microgreens to garnish

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Remove any bones from salmon and season with salt and pepper; place on a rimmed baking sheet. Completely enrobe the top and sides of each fillet with a thin layer of smoked salmon, pressing down firmly and tucking ends under the fish. Roast 12 to 14 minutes, until just firm. Do not overcook. Meanwhile, cut the tomatillos into 1-inch pieces. Add to a food processor with the oil, basil, cilantro, onion, lime juice and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. Process until very smooth. Spoon a puddle of sauce onto 6 large plates. Top with the salmon and garnish with pea shoots or microgreens. Serves 6

Serve with a chilled crisp sauvignon blanc. Enjoy!

Summer Pasta with Smoked Salmon & Sweet Corn

Having a spontaneous dinner party this weekend? Here's another 10-minute pasta you can make using super-sweet corn from the farmer's market.  Made with fresh fettuccine that cooks up in minutes, this elegant, hassle-free dish might be just the thing to serve as your first course.  Follow with a side of bluefish resting upon a bed of thinly sliced tomatoes, onions and purple sage.  Just drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and blast it in a very hot oven for 15 minutes.  For dessert? Uber-ripe peaches from the farmer's market bathing in red wine.  And some cookies, of course. Fettuccine with Smoked Salmon, Creme Fraiche & Sweet Corn If you like, you may also add some snippets of fresh basil or cilantro. A must:  Creme fraiche.

8 ounces fresh fettuccine 1 cup sweet yellow corn, freshly cut from the cob 4 ounces best-quality smoked salmon, thinly sliced 8 ounces creme fraiche 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 1/4 cup finely minced fresh chives 1 large lemon

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and corn and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until tender.  Meanwhile, cut the salmon into 1/2-wide strips.  Drain the pasta well; shake dry. Immediately return the pasta to the warm pot.  Add the smoked salmon, creme fraiche, cheese, salt and pepper to taste.  Warm gently for 1 minute over low heat, but do not cook.  Stir in chives.  Transfer pasta to bowls.  Using a microplane, grate lemon zest on top and serve immediately.  Add snippets of basil or cilantro, if desired.  Serves 4

Linguine with Zucchini

Not only is this pasta dish fun to say, but it is delicious and wickedly simple to make. The rest of its title includes the summer words, "lemon zest & basil." Since it is made with fresh pasta (the kind you can buy), it can be made in 10 minutes, as I promised yesterday.  It is a favorite go-to summer supper for us at home -- often preceded by a Salad Caprese (but one where I swap watermelon for the tomatoes, goat cheese for the mozzarella, and cilantro for the basil!). The combination of flavors is divine, and the zucchini gets lightly floured and cooked until golden brown in olive oil. It would be very interesting to end this summer meal with another promised idea from our trip to Italy -- chocolate eggplant!  But I'm looking for my photos and trying to find a good recipe to share. Stay tuned. Linguine with Zucchini, Lemon Zest & Basil  (adapted from Radically Simple) When thin slices of lightly floured zucchini are fried then tossed with bits of crispy basil and showered with fragrant lemon zest (oh, how I long for the lemons of Capri!), you gets lots of complexity for something quite simple.

2 medium zucchini, trimmed 6 tablespoons olive oil 1 large clove garlic, peeled and smashed 1/4 cup Wondra flour 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil 12 ounces fresh linguine 1 large lemon 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Slice the zucchini into thin rounds. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a very large skillet. Add the garlic and discard the garlic when browned. Dust the zucchini with the flour. Add to the skillet and cook over high heat until dark golden and soft, about 6 minutes. Add the basil and cook 1 minute. Cook the pasta in the boiling water 3 minutes, or until tender.  Drain the pasta well and toss with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Spoon the zucchini and pan juices over the pasta.  Grate the zest of the lemon on top and squeeze a little juice over all.  Sprinkle with the cheese. Serves 4