Out-of-the-Ordinary Rigatoni with Spicy Tomato Sauce

This recipe is a perennial favorite of students. Back in the 1990s it appeared on a winter cover of Bon Appétit and then later in my book, American Favorites. This dish has plenty going for it—you can make it ahead, it’s and all-in-one main course, and it’s inexpensive.

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Fresh Orange Slices in Spiced Red Wine With Vanilla Ice Cream

I created this dessert as the finale for a delectable Indian feast prepared by a good friend of ours from the sub-continent. The cool, refreshing taste of citrus made a fine counter point to the spicy dishes of the evening. Since then, I’ve served these oranges as a light dessert after a spread of tapas and as the sweet conclusion to a winter chili supper. Continue reading

Ann’s Warm Dates Stuffed with Blue Cheese Plus Smoked Salmon and Grapefruit Toasts

Warm Dates Stuffed with Blue Cheese and Almonds are chic appetizers created by my neighbor and talented cook, Ann Ryan-Small. These savory treats were a huge hit when Ann served them one cold winter day at our monthly book club meeting. The saltiness of the cheese and the sweetness of the dates make an irresistible combination. Continue reading

Warm Mulled Cider with Butter, Brown Sugar, and Spices

This is a newer version of a recipe that appeared in Betty Rosbottom’s Cooking School Cookbook. This fragrant brew takes only minutes to prepare and is assembled by simmering fresh cider with melted butter, brown sugar, and spices. Dark rum and sliced apples and oranges round out the flavorings.
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Dark Chocolate Cashew Brownies

A fellow food writer recently asked me to name several items that are always on my holiday grocery list. Butter was at the top, followed by eggnog, beef tenderloin, and cranberries. Somehow I forgot to mention chocolate, nuts, Medjool dates, and champagne, other favorites that make frequent appearances in my grocery cart.This is the season of celebrations, so why not a few indulgences!?

Dark Chocolate Cashew Brownies are definitely a guilt-free pleasure: rich, decadent, and
addictive, these confections are made with a pound of semisweet chocolate, plenty of butter, and a touch of crème fraiche (France’s brilliant answer to sour cream). Oh, and did I mention that roasted cashews are stirred into the batter as well? Continue reading

Apricot, Bacon and Blue Cheese Toasts

Okay, if you’re like me, appetizers are the last thing on your mind when planning a Thanksgiving menu. After all, there’s the big bird in the oven, the dressing to tend to, plus all those sides and desserts.

But those little nibbles we offer with glasses of wine do set the tone for the parade of dishes to come. My golden rule: appetizers served on Turkey Day should be simple to make, tasty, and not too filling. Apricot, Bacon, and Blue Cheese Toasts deliver with panache. Continue reading

Wendy’s Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Bars

Some of you may recognize this recipe from last year, but since it was popular and more unusual than a traditional pumpkin pie, I’ve included it here. Wendy Kersker, who has tested recipes for many of my books, sent me the recipe. She says that these delectable bars have replaced pumpkin pie at her holiday table.
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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Cream

This beautiful orange-hued soup with its sweet and slightly tart accents would be great to serve for Thanksgiving. Offer it as a starter served in shallow bowls at the table or in mugs for sipping standing up. It’s also a perfect potage to have on hand for post-Thanksgiving meals. Try it with a turkey sandwich or with a green salad garnished with nuts and dried cranberries.
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