I woke up early today and sipped my coffee as the sun rose.

I thought of all I was thankful for:

  • My children;
  • My husband;
  • The big boy home from college;
  • God.

And tradition.

Thanksgiving (as my preschoolers and family can tell you) is my favorite holiday. I love the pace of the day. The pause as we reflect on our blessings.

Over our 20-plus-year marriage, my husband and I have carved out traditions for this day. Some — like appetizers and champagne at noon; Psalm 100 and the Jewish blessing of the wine before dinner — are welcome. Others — like my insistence on a dress code — well, some whining occurs.

The food rarely changes. We might add oysters to the dressing or try a new appetizer. Add a side (like my youngest’s mac and cheese) or swap carrots for green beans. But the trinity of turkey, potatoes and pie never varies.

It’s a day that begins with quiet, moves into controlled chaos as the meal approaches, then wends its way back to leisure.

And thankfulness.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Tomato Rolls

I’ve made the same turkey for 11 years; my cranberry relish for longer. But the Thanksgiving rolls vary from year to year. Today, we’ll enjoy these yeasty, herbaceous tomato rolls, courtesy of a long-ago issue of Bon Appetit. A heavy-duty stand mixer makes the work effortless but even if you have to knead these by hand, they come together easily.

  • 1 envelope yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice
  • 6 tablespoons oil from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes (or olive oil, if you prefer)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes

 Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water, then add 1/4 teaspoon of the sugar to the mixture. Whisk and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Combine the remaining sugar, the tomato juice, oil, eggs and salt in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer. Mix well, then add 1 cup of flour. Mix on high speed for 2 minutes.

Add the yeast mixture, the basil and the sun-dried tomatoes to the bowl. Stir.

Using a dough hook, add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing on medium-low speed. When all the flour is incorporated, continue mixing for 5 minutes.

Grease a large bowl and turn the dough into it. (The dough is sticky, so oil your hands before working with it.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for an hour.

Liberally sprinkle your counter with flour. Sprinkle the dough in the bowl with flour, then turn it out onto your counter. Lightly knead until it’s smooth, adding up to 1/2 cup of flour.

Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. Divide the dough into 12 pieces, shape the pieces into balls, and place them in the muffin tins. Cover the muffin pan with a clean towel and let the rolls rise for 20 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and serve hot or at room temperature.