Hot apple cider fills the entire house with a welcoming, spicy aroma. The spices here are a bit more exotic than the usual blend. You can find star anise and Sichuan peppercorns at Asian grocers and many supermarkets. Serve the rum on the side so guests can add as much as they wish, if any at all.
I swooned the first time I made this. What makes it exceptional? It's hearty, deeply flavorful, lapped in a rich, glossy, savory sauce, spiked with red wine—serious wintertime satisfaction in a bowl. It is everything you want from a stew, from the seductive aroma with which it warms the house as it simmers, to its robust, filling substance and big, distinct ("manly," we might have said in pre-feminist days) chunks of potato and other vegetables. Dried shiitakes absorb the ragout; garlic (and no wimpy amount of it, either) is used almost as a vegetable in its own right. And, though it seems impossible that something so stalwart should be low fat, low fat it is.
This is a wonderful dinner party dish, because it takes so little work for such a dramatic effect. It is also delicious cold.
This has been one of our Christmas favorites. Garlic permeates the goose, especially if you stuff it a day ahead and refrigerate the bird until shortly before roasting. The garlic is discarded before serving.
A tricky dish to do in volume, and hence, I tend to forget to make it at the restaurant, but it is easy for the home cook. An obvious friend to bacon and eggs, these lacy cakes are also good with almost any roasted meat or bird. The sweet-salty flavor and crispy texture is irresistible and appeals to those not usually fond of sweet potatoes. These hash browns are also very pretty made with a combination of starchy, yellow sweet potatoes and a little bit of orange yam. (Don't use all yams; by themselves they form a wet, dense mass, not a lacy cake. They don't have enough starch to stick together and form a crust. They do, on the other hand, try to stick to the pan.)
This is a pretty winter antipasto requiring almost no work.
This red wine jelly emphasizes both color and flavor. A grown-up dessert, it is tart and sophisticated due to the inclusion of red wine, nicely rounded out by brandy. The whipped cream is a good counterpoint to the austerity of the jelly.
Adapted from A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider (Artisan, 2001). Copyright 2001, Sally Schneider.
With this stuffing you could skip the turkey. Yes, it's a long list of ingredients, but this is a winner. Our old friend Herman Merkin mastered this mix. He brought it to our first married Thanksgiving. We've been making it ever since.