The crispiest baked French fries

I love french fries. I will choose them any chance I get: with an inappropriate amount of ketchup at the dining hall in my college days, with a burger at In ‘n’ Out, at a McDonalds on a road trip, dipped in Dijon mustard and served with steak in Paris. They are my weakness. I can’t say no.

So it had always irritated me that I couldn’t make good, crispy fries in my own kitchen.

This recipe solved my problems. Continue reading “The crispiest baked French fries”

Advertisements

Moroccan-spiced roasted cauliflower and carrot salad with chickpeas and couscous

With about 95 percent accuracy, I can usually judge whether I will like a recipe from the ingredients list.

This was not one of those recipes.

I have been working my way through my most-used cookbook, Salad for Dinner, for years. And for years, I had skipped over this recipe. The ingredients sounded weird together. Would green olives really work with a dressing that was inflected with turmeric and cinnamon? Did cauliflower and carrots really need a starchy bed of couscous? Speaking of: was that really enough couscous for a couscous salad? And what about the chickpeas–where did they fit into this equation?

Continue reading “Moroccan-spiced roasted cauliflower and carrot salad with chickpeas and couscous”

Israeli couscous with preserved lemons, pistachios, and dried fruit

Though I grew up eating a lot of (delicious! Thanks, Mom!) meals that were protein + starch + vegetable, I don’t cook that way very often now. For one, I cook for leftovers, and I often find the texture of reheated meat unappealing. Two, I just so enjoy a heaping grain salad, a warm bowl of soup, or a big mess of curry or stew that a three-part meal never occurs to me. And three: cooking three things for one weeknight meal? Using three separate pots? That I then have to wash? Ugh.

As a result, I feel a bit out of my depth when I have to plan a meal that includes a separate meat, starch, and vegetable. The vegetable bit is okay. The meat, fine–I can do chicken under a brick or roast some lamb. But I find myself hitting a wall on the starch bit. Everything–roast potatoes, rice, and so on–just feels a bit, well, starchy and unexciting, like it’s just there in the name of “balance.”

Enter this couscous recipe. Continue reading “Israeli couscous with preserved lemons, pistachios, and dried fruit”

Ricotta and beet grilled cheese with fennel persimmon salad

So often, winter comfort food is heavy. And look–I am passionate about ragù. But if you’re looking for comfort food that doesn’t weigh you down, try this.

This grilled cheese makes the best use of winter produce–beets, fennel, and persimmons burst with bright flavor that is uncharacteristic at this time of year. Yet, as a grilled cheese, it also ticks the comfort food box.

img_0630 Continue reading “Ricotta and beet grilled cheese with fennel persimmon salad”

Hearty kale salad with apples, cheddar, and almonds

This salad is perfect fall weeknight food. It is autumnal: dark green kale, crisp apples, brown almonds, and sharp, aged cheddar mingle prettily in a big bowl. Yet it is also quick, requiring no heat whatsoever and only a few bits of chopping.

It works well in a nice deep plate as a meal by itself or with bread. In a season where we usually turn to braises and roasts to fill us up, this somehow doesn’t feel like a deprivation. (Perhaps it’s the richness of the cheese and the almonds?) Yet it also shines as a side salad at a big fall dinner. (In fact, I’m not allowed to bring anything else to our Thanksgiving potluck.) Continue reading “Hearty kale salad with apples, cheddar, and almonds”

Artichoke tapenade with rosemary oil

Have you been asked to bring appetizers to Thanksgiving? Want to move beyond a pre-made vegetable-and-dip plate from the grocery store? Feel that hummus, however delicious, isn’t quite special enough? Worried that bringing good cheese for 15 will break the bank?

Here’s the plan: run to the store for canned artichokes, olives, capers, and lemon. Heat some oil and infuse with rosemary. Then whirl everything together in the food processor to make this glorious, earthy, herby artichoke dip. Put in a couple of pretty bowls, bring a few baguettes, and your job is done. Everyone will love you for it.

Continue reading “Artichoke tapenade with rosemary oil”

Butternut squash lasagna with sage, caramelized onions, and tofu ricotta

Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, but for whatever reason—you’re a vegetarian, your guests are vegetarians, you don’t like turkey, or you don’t like weeks of turkey-themed leftovers—want to skip the bird?


Look no further. This lasagna capitalizes on big fall flavors: butternut squash, caramelized onions, and sage. It’s hearty: noodles and squash means enough starch that nobody walks away hungry. It’s beautiful: that burnt orange dotted with green baked sage leaves looks impressive and celebratory. Continue reading “Butternut squash lasagna with sage, caramelized onions, and tofu ricotta”

Farro salad with radicchio, root vegetables, and pomegranate

When I talk to friends (and let’s be honest, acquaintances and strangers) about home cooking, the most common complaint I hear is that it is too time consuming. People get off work already hungry. Unsure of what’s for dinner, they head to the grocery store. They try to rustle up a meal plan in the produce aisle. The lines are long. Once home, they cook, but the recipe is time consuming and creates many dirty dishes, which then need to be washed. Ultimately, they spend more time stressing than they do enjoying cooking and eating. Continue reading “Farro salad with radicchio, root vegetables, and pomegranate”

Acorn squash, Brussels sprouts, and quinoa salad with pomegranate-shallot vinaigrette

As useful as gravlax is for brunch or Japanese noodle soup is for a quick lunch at home, this type of recipe is my bread and butter. It is plant based. It uses seasonal produce. (Those mealy winter grocery store tomatoes aren’t worth your time or mine, but just look at those pomegranate seeds shining like little jewels on top of that salad there.) It keeps well as leftovers. It is easily doubled to provide a full week’s worth of lunches or dinners. Speaking of lunches, it packs and transports well in my four-cup Pyrex. It is hearty but not heavy. Etc.

Continue reading “Acorn squash, Brussels sprouts, and quinoa salad with pomegranate-shallot vinaigrette”