Thankful for new and old traditions

Thankful for new and old traditions


Having written seven books in the “Country Comfort” cookbook series, Hatherleigh Press, I can’t help but remember the day my writing partner (on the first four books) and I went into the city to meet with our prospective publisher with our massive manuscript about traditions in hand.  We had just one chapter dedicated to recipes.  Once the publisher looked over our material he asked if we would consider writing a series of cookbooks using our stories and healthful recipes... and the rest, as they say, “is history.”  We compiled not only our own recipes, but also those of friends, family, and our favorite restaurants and chefs. 

The second book, called “Country Comfort:  Holidays,” is to this day one of my favorites, as it includes many of our personal family anecdotes and traditions, as well as new and innovative takes on the annual Thanksgiving favorites such as turkey and sweet potatoes Here are two recipes from that book. Enjoy!

Hazelnut-Crusted Turkey Breast

Chef Mario Coiro


  • 1 (3-3 1/2 pound) turkey-breast half with bone
  • 1 tablespoon olive or cooking oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts (filberts)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • Oranges, halved (optional)
  • Kumquats (optional)
  • Fresh bay leaves (optional)

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F.  Remove the skin from the turkey breast. Place the turkey breast on a lightly greased rack in a shallow roasting pan.  In a small bowl, combine the oil, garlic and salt.  Brush the oil mixture over the turkey breast.   Roast for 45 minutes.  

Meanwhile, place hazelnuts in a blender or food processor.  Cover and blend, or process until finely chopped.  Transfer the nuts into a small bowl.  Stir in the coriander, pepper and cinnamon.  Set aside.  

Remove the turkey breast from the oven.  Brush the surface with orange marmalade.  Sprinkle with the nut mixture, pressing gently so the nuts adhere to the turkey breast.  Continue roasting for 45-60 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 170 degrees F.  Remove from the oven.  

Cover and let the turkey breast stand for 15 minutes.  Place it on a serving platter; and slice the turkey.  If desired, garnish with oranges, kumquats and bay leaves. Serves 6-8.

Sweet Potato Latkes with Thyme

Chef Oron Franco


  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 1 bunch of thyme
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • Canola oil for sautéing

Peel and cut one sweet potato into medium-sized pieces. Place them in a pot and cover with water. Bring them to a boil and then simmer until tender. Strip the thyme, and chop up the little leaves. In a bowl, mix the cheese, thyme, egg, salt and pepper until combined. Mash the cooked sweet potatoes to a fine puree, and add to the mix. Using a mandolin, julienne the sweet potatoes and add to the mix. In a large frying pan, heat the canola oil to sauté. Using your hands, make a flat, palm-sized thick patty. Sauté the patties until they are golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels before serving.  


Monica Musetti-Carlin can be reached at or 521-6979 for cooking demos, book talks and sales, and orders for seasonal favorites like applesauce and applesauce cake.