A few (edible) reasons to love the delightful, delicious Purim holiday

There are so many wonderful reasons to love Purim. I love the costumes, especially last year’s, when my son Gideon and his best friend Eli dressed as a floozy and a nun. I love the reading of the Megillah accompanied by alcohol consumption. I love the Purim feast, and I love exchanging the goodies that are mishloach manot. Traditionally, these gifts should be “ready-to-eat” foods, like desserts, fruits and, in some cultures, cured meats. We keep it simple, with some of Gideon’s trail mix and hamantaschen.

The Purim seudah (meal) is an indulgent, fun dinner that traditionally calls for turkey and garbanzo beans. Turkey — tarnigol hodu, or Indian chicken — represents the king Ahasuerus, who was considered stupid, like a turkey. The garbanzo beans remind us of the vegetarian diet that Queen Esther adopted in order to ensure her observance of kashrut.

Port Glazed Turkey Breast | Serves 8 to 10

1 fresh turkey breast, about 6 lbs.
2 onions, peeled and

cut in half
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 carrots, cut into 4 pieces each
1 cup Port
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup honey
2 Tbs. soy sauce
fine sea salt
black pepper
Place the turkey, breast-skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Place the onions, garlic and carrots around the turkey. Combine the Port, stock, water, honey and soy sauce, and spoon the mixture over the turkey. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast the turkey in a preheated 400-degree oven for about 1 1/2 hours, until it tests done (145 degrees), basting it every 30 minutes. Replace the basting liquid with water or stock when necessary.
Remove the turkey from the pan and allow to cool for 15 minutes before carving. Discard the vegetables, remove fat from the pan juices and pour the pan juices into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to 1 cup of liquid. Slice the turkey, arrange on a platter, and serve with the sauce.

Garbanzo Bean Soup | Serves 6 to 8

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. saffron threads
4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
3 cups chopped tomatoes
1 lb. peeled winter squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large potato, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tsp. ground coriander seed
2 tsp. ground cumin seed
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
4 Tbs. chopped cilantro
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the saffron threads and stir 1 minute. Add the vegetable stock, tomatoes, squash, potato, coriander seed and cumin seed, and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.
Stir in garbanzo beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Gideon’s Excellent Trail Mix | Makes about 8 cups

2 cups minipretzels
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup yellow raisins
1 cup banana chips
1 cup roasted, salted almonds
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chocolate chips
Mix together all ingredients. If giving as a gift, scoop some into a decorative cellophane bag and tie with ribbon.