Lomo Saltado

1 1/2 pounds sirloin tips, trimmed, cut into 3-inch pieces and sliced against the grain into 1/2-inch strips
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
5 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
3 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
1 large red onion, halved and cut into ½-inch half rings
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño chili, stemmed and sliced into thin rounds
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

In a medium bowl, combine the steak, cumin, 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce. Marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes. Pat the meat dry and transfer to a plate.

In a 12-inch skillet over high, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until smoking. Add half of the meat in a single layer and cook, turning once, until well browned on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil and the remaining meat.

In the same pan over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until just starting to soften, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and remaining soy sauce, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits.

Cook for 1 minute until the sauce thickens slightly. Stir in the garlic and jalapeño and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, the meat and any accumulated juices to the pan. Cook until the meat is just warmed through, 30 seconds. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Tip: Don’t cook the beef without patting it dry. Marinating in soy sauce adds flavor, but also moisture. Drying the beef helps ensure that the slices sear nicely, rather than steam. Also, cook in two batches; crowding the pan inhibits browning.

Sheet Pan Stuffing with Chestnuts and Cramberries

6 tablespoons(3/4 stick) unsalted butter
3 ribs celery, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
7 ounces vacuum-packed shelled, roasted chestnuts, cut or broken into chunks
8 ounces challah bread (half a store-bought loaf), cut into 1-inch cubes and air-dried (see headnote)
One 8-inch square corn bread, cut into 1-inch cubes and dried (see not)
2 teaspoons dried sage, crumbled between your fingers
1 tablespoon dried herbes de Provence
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large Bartlett pear, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks (not peeled)
1-2cupdried cranberries, some coarsely chopped
1-2cuppacked chopped curly parsley
1 3/4 cupsvegetable broth, preferably no-salt-added, or more as needed
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Position racks in the upper and lower parts of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees. Have one or two rimmed baking sheets at hand.

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the butter shimmers, stir in the celery and chestnuts. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the dried cubes of challah and corn bread. Season with the sage, herbes de Provence, paprika and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper, tossing to coat evenly. The mixture should be fragrant.

Transfer to a bowl; add the pear, dried cranberries, parsley and broth, stirring to coat evenly. Add more broth if the mixture seems quite dry. For a moister stuffing, mound all the mixture on a single pan, gently pressing it together. Dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, portioned or cut into small pieces. For a drier stuffing, divide the mixture between two baking sheets, and then dot with the remaining butter.

Roast (upper rack for single pan; upper and lower racks for 2 pans) for about 25 minutes, or until browned and fragrant. If you are using two baking sheets, you may want to rotate the from top to bottom and front to back halfway through.

Transfer to a serving bowl; serve warm, drizzled with some oil.

MAKE AHEAD: Dry out the cubes of challah and corn bread by spreading them on a rimmed baking sheet and leaving them to air-dry for a day or so, or bake in a 250-degree oven for 20 minutes, then turn off the oven and let them cool in there.

Cranberry-Pomegranate Relish

12 ounces fresh cranberries (3 cups)
1/3 cup honey, or to taste
3/4 cup chopped pistachios
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Place cranberries and honey in a food processor. Pulse until chopped (but not too finely), then taste and stir in more honey if needed. At this point, the relish can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before serving. If the liquid separates, give it a stir.

Stir pistachios and pomegranate seeds into cranberry mixture and serve.

Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon and Brown Sugar

3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, pricked with a fork (10 to 12 sweet potatoes)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 to 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons bourbon or orange juice
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Large pinch of ground cloves

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap potatoes in foil, place on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Let rest until cool enough to handle but still warm, then remove the foil and peel off the skins.

Add sweet potatoes to a food processor, along with butter, brown sugar, bourbon or juice, lemon zest, salt, nutmeg, pepper and cloves. Purée until smooth. (Or, for a chunkier texture, mash them by hand.) Taste and add salt, sugar or both if you like. Serve while still warm or reheat before serving.

Tip
This recipe can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat just before serving, either in the microwave or in a pot on the stove over low heat.

Duck Fat Potatoes

3 pounds baby or small potatoes, halved if large
1/4 cup duck (or chicken) fat, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf, torn into pieces
6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

Heat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together the potatoes, duck fat, salt and pepper. Lay thyme sprigs and bay leaves on top.

Roast for 30 minutes, then toss the garlic into the potatoes and reduce oven heat to 350 degrees. Continue to roast until potatoes are fork-tender, another 15 to 25 minutes. Remove thyme and bay leaves and serve, or let cool for up to an hour then reheat, uncovered, at 350 degrees just before serving.

Brioche Chestnut Stuffing

1 (14- to 16-ounce) brioche loaf, torn into 1-inch pieces
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), plus more for the pan
1 large onion, diced
2 large celery ribs, thinly sliced
1/2 cup diced fennel (about 1/2 small fennel bulb)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
5 ounces roasted, peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups turkey or chicken stock
2 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Arrange brioche pieces in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Let them dry out overnight, or place them in a 200-degree oven for an hour or two. (They’ll be ready when they feel stale to the touch but haven’t taken on any color.)

Heat oven to 375 degrees, and butter a shallow, 2-quart casserole or gratin dish.

On a pot on the stove or in the microwave, melt 4 tablespoons butter.

Put bread in the prepared baking dish and toss with melted butter. Bake until golden and toasted, 8 to 10 minutes.

Let cool, then transfer toast to a large bowl. (Don’t wash the baking dish; you’ll use it again for the stuffing.)

In a 12-inch skillet, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in onion, celery, fennel and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until soft and just starting to brown, about 12 minutes.

Stir in thyme and sage, and cook for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and transfer to bowl with brioche. Gently fold in chestnuts and pepper and let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups stock, eggs, parsley and remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

Fold gently into bread mixture, then scrape it all back into prepared baking dish.

Drizzle on remaining 1 cup stock until the mixture is moist but not squishy; you may not need all the stock.

Cover dish with foil and bake until lightly springy, about 25 minutes.

Remove foil and continue to bake until golden brown, another 20 to 30 minutes.

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup fine cornmeal
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (1 tsp. if using fine salt)
4 large eggs
1 cup cooked corn kernels plus enough cream, milk or buttermilk to equal 1 1/2 cups
2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed and diced
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, plus bit more for top before baking
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar

Place diced jalapenos in skillet, then place in a 10-inch top diameter cast iron skillet in cold oven on middle rack.

Preheat oven to 400and leave skillet with jalapenos in oven as it preheats. in pre-heating oven. Check periodically to make sure they aren’t burning and to give them a quick stir. Remove when they are lightly browned and allow to cool. Return skillet immediately to oven.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs in a medium to blend. Whisk in corn/cream mixture and cheddar cheese. ?Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon, just until butter absorbs the sugar. Add the egg mixture and mix until just combined.

Stir in the cooled jalapenos. Mix in the dry ingredients just until barely incorporated.

Remove skillet from oven and lightly coat with nonstick spray.

Spoon batter in to hot pan and quickly top with a bit more grated cheddar cheese.

Bake cornbread until top is golden brown and springs back when gently pressed, 25-28 minutes when baked in a 10-inch skillet (may be longer if your skillet is smaller).

Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Skillet Pear Custard Cake

2-4 ripe Bartlett Pears (red are nice if you can find some)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp salted butter, diced
1 Tbsp icing/confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Cut pears in half and core with a spoon, also removing the woody spine leading up to the stem. (You can cook pears in halves or cut each half in to slices and arrange them in a fan pattern). Toss in lemon juice and set aside.

Grease a skillet (or several smaller skillets), an 11×7-inch baking dish, or several wider/shallow ramekins. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar.

In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla.

Whisk egg milk mixture in to flour mixture until combined.

Arrange pears in prepared baking dishes (I like to put a cored half pear in the centre, if space permits, with sliced pears around the outside OR cut cored half pears in to slices and arrange in fan patterns). Pour batter over-top, filling your shallow baking dish to about 2/3 full or to cover a half pear by about 2/Dot the top with diced butter. Place baking dish on to a baking sheet (just in case!).

Bake in preheated 375 oven until pears are tender and custard is puffed, set and golden, about 45 minutes.

Sprinkle with some icing sugar and place under oven broiler until bubbly and glazed, about 1 minute. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving. Lovely served slightly warmed with a dollop of whipped or ice cream.

Invisible Apple Cake

6 average-sized Golden Delicious apples, peeled
2 eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla or vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
6 1/2 Tbsp milk
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla until very light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).

Melt the butter in saucepan or microwave bowl. Add the milk and stir well to combine. Allow to cool slightly, then add to the egg/sugar mixture. Mix to combine.

Sift together the flour and baking powder, the sprinkle over the egg/sugar mixture. Mix just until combined.

Quarter the peeled apples and remove the core. Use a mandolin to slice each quarter into thin slices. Add the apple sliced to the batter regularly (don’t wait until you’ve done them aland push them below batter, so they don’t brown. Reserve the last handful of apple slices to scatter on top of batter.

Gently stir the apples in the batter to ensure all apples are coated. Pour in to prepared springform pan and scatter the reserved apple slices randomly over-top.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until set. If desired, you can turn on the broiler for a minute to brown up the top of the cake.

Leave in pan to cool, then run knife around edges and remove outer springform pan ring.

Serve slightly warm, at room temperature or cold dusted with icing sugar.

Colicchio’s Dinner Rolls

Dough:
3/4 cup warm milk about 110F
1 tsp instant or dry active yeast
1 tsp Barley malt or 2/3 tsp molasses
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp coarse Kosher salt, or 1 tsp fine table salt *reduce if using salted butter
2 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter softened

Topping:
Melted butter for brushing
Finishing Salt such as Fleur de Sel or Maldon’s

Stir together milk, yeast, and malt syrup in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a kneading hook. Let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add to milk mixture along with softened butter and stir with a wooden spoon or mix with mixer until a dough forms. Knead 5-6 minutes, adding additional flour as needed, to produce a smooth, moist dough.

Remove to a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 – 3 hours. *Trust your eyes here and not the clock. You will want to let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, however long that takes. I find it helpful to rise in an 8-cup glass measuring cup, so it’s easy to see when it has doubled.

Punch down dough and let rise again until doubled again, about 2 hours (or until doubled in size).

Meanwhile, melt a bit of butter and brush on a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

Remove dough to a floured surface and divide into 8-10 equal sized pieces. Form pieces into balls and place into the buttered 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. (4 or 5 rows of two rolls, spaced evenly in the pan).

Cover pan with a clean tea towel and let rise until puffy and about doubled, about 2 hours more.

Preheat oven to 350F. When rolls are risen, brush with melted butter and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.

Remove from oven. Let stand a minute, then remove from pan to a cooling rack.

Brush with more melted butter and sprinkle tops with finishing salt.

Remove from pan and serve warm.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

8 oz dry macaroni (1 2/3 cups measured in a 2 cup glass liquid measure. Note that this measure will only work for macaroni and probably not a larger pasta shape. Weighing is recommended.)

Cheese Sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
7 oz Good aged white crumbly cheddar crumbled
3 oz Another variety orange sharp cheddar or cold-packed cheddar grated or crumbled
1/2 tsp kosher salt little less if using table salt
1/4 tsp regular chili powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Topping:
1/2 oz aged cheddar grated
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder

Add water and a bit of salt to a large pot and place over high heat for the pasta. While it’s heating, prepare the cheese sauce.

For the cheese sauce: In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and continue to whisk and cook for about 2 minutes.

Very slowly add the milk, a little at a time, whisking constantly. Once all the milk has been added, cook, stirring frequently until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. (Don’t rush this step. The mixture will not be thick, but will noticeably thicken after 8-10 minutes of cooking).

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the cheese, salt, chili powder and garlic powder. Stir until the cheese is melted and all the ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes. (If the cheese isn’t melted completely after about 3 minutes, you can put the pan back on low heat and stir until it is melted). Set aside for a minute.

Preheat oven to 350F (175C) with rack in the centre of the oven. Oil or butter an 8-inch square baking dish, an 8-inch cast-iron skillet or individual baking dishes.

When the pasta water is boiling, add the macaroni and cook for 2 minutes less than the package directions indicate. (The noodles will finish cooking in the sauce in the oven). When the pasta is cooked, drain and immediately rinse well with cold water. Make sure your pasta is well drained.

Add the cooked pasta and to the cheese sauce and mix gently, but thoroughly. (It might look like too much sauce or too little pasta, but trust me, it will all be good in the end).

Spoon or ladle the mixture into a prepared baking dish or individual dishes. Sprinkle the top of each with a bit of additional grated sharp cheddar cheese (you don’t need a lot here, as there is plenty in the sauce), then sprinkle with the chipotle chili powder.

Bake in the preheated 350F (175C) oven uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, until the sauce has bubbled up around the edges and the top has a nice golden crust. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Pork and Ricotta Meatball Noodle Soup

Meatballs:
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese grated, plus more for garnish
1 large egg
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp nutmeg grated
1 tsp Kosher salt less if using fine salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 lbs ground pork

Soup:
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
1 3-by-1-by-1 inch piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 3 inches long, 1 inch wide and 1 inch thick
1 cup frozen peas thawed
2 cups baby spinach
For serving
Warm cooked egg noodles
Shaved, crumbled Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Start water boiling in a large pot for egg noodles.

In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta and 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano.

Add the egg, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, salt, pepper and water. Add the pork and stir to combine well. Form into 15-18 approx. two-inch diameter meatballs.

In a large pot (preferably non-stick), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook the bottom until well browned.

Using a spoon, gently flip the meatballs over and brown that side well. Again, using a spoon, flip the meatballs on their sides and brown all sides to seal the meatball well.

Pour in the broth and add the the piece of cheese. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer the broth very gently, stirring once or twice (so the Parmesan doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan), until the meatballs are cooked through and the broth is slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the thawed peas and spinach. Taste, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until the peas are warmed through.

Meanwhile, cook egg noodles in boiling water per the package directions. Drain and keep warm.

Place some warm cooked egg noodles in the bottom of shallow bowls. Spoon the meatballs and broth over the egg noodles. Garnish with additional grated Parmigiano and serve.

Recipe Notes
As the meatballs are quite moist and soft, cooking them in a non-stick pan will make life easier. If you don’t have a larger non-stick pot, you can cook them off in a non-stick skillet, then move them to a larger pot to finish cooking the soup. A non-stick skillet will give you extra room for flipping, as well.

Apple Pandowdy

1 roll puff pastry thawed

Filling:
5-6 large apples cooking/pie apples, peeled and cored
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp water
6 Tbsp white sugar
6 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Topping:
2 Tbsp white or turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 425F.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature to low to keep warm.

Grease an 8-inch round skillet, pan, pie plate (or equivalent sized) pan. Set on a baking sheet and set aside.

Peel and core apples, then thinly slice. Add to prepared baking pan, filling the pan about 2/3-3/4 full.

Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut thawed puff pastry into irregular, 1-inch-ish shapes. Scatter about 1/3 of the pastry pieces randomly over top of apples. Slowly pour the sugar mixture over-top, pouring all around the pan to make sure the filling reaches all parts of the pan. Pour slowly so it drips down into the apples and not over the side.

Place the remaining pastry pieces on top, overlapping, as necessary and leaving a few small open spots (to allow steam to escape). Sprinkle a bit of sugar on to the top of pastry.

Place into preheated oven (on baking sheet to catch overflowing juices!) and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350F and continue baking for an addition 35-40 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and pastry is golden brown and puffy. Let stand a few minutes before serving.

Lovely served with a dusting of icing sugar and a scoop of ice cream.

Maple-Cider Vinegar Roasted Carrots

2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound medium carrots with green tops, scrubbed well, 2 tablespoons of the greens chopped and reserved for garnish
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped roasted cashews

Preheat the oven to 375°.

In a large heatproof skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil over moderately high heat. Add the carrots, salt and pepper and cook until browned all over, turning occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat and add the vinegar and maple syrup. Shake the skillet to coat the carrots.

Transfer to the oven and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, until ?the carrots are just tender but still crisp in the center.

Transfer to a platter, top with the cashews and carrot greens and serve.

Roast Chicken with Black Pepper-Maple Glaze

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
Coarsely ground pepper
2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
Two 3 1/2-pound organic chickens

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the maple syrup and 2 teaspoons of coarsely ground pepper. Remove the glaze from the heat.

On a large heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet, toss the sliced onions with the olive oil. Season the onions with salt and pepper and spread in an even layer. Season the chickens inside and out with salt, then arrange them on top of the onions. Loosely tie the chicken legs together with kitchen string.

Roast the chickens for 45 minutes. Brush the chickens all over with half of the maple glaze and continue roasting them for 1 hour longer. Increase the oven temperature to 425°. Generously brush the chickens with the remaining glaze and roast for 15 minutes longer, or until the cavity juices run clear and the chickens are richly browned.

Transfer the chickens to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Pour the onions and pan juices into a large glass measuring cup and skim the fat from the surface. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the chickens.

Roasted Kabocha with Maple Syrup and Ginger

3 pounds kabocha squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
6 thyme sprigs, plus thyme leaves for garnish
Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 450°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash wedges with the maple syrup, olive oil, ginger, thyme sprigs and salt. Arrange the squash in a single layer and roast for 15 minutes. Flip and roast for 15 minutes longer, until golden and tender. Discard the thyme sprigs. Transfer the squash to a serving platter and garnish with thyme leaves.

The squash can be made up to 6 hours ahead.

Baked Beans with Maple-Glazed Bacon

3 1/2 cups dried yellow eye or cannellini beans, rinsed and picked over, then soaked for 2 hours and drained
Kosher salt
9 thick slices of bacon (10 ounces), 1 slice cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar 1/4 cup dark unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

In a large pot, cover the beans with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 2 hours; add water as needed to keep the beans covered by 2 inches. Season the beans with salt and let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Drain the beans, reserving 4 cups of the cooking liquid. Transfer the beans to a large, deep baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large skillet, cook the bacon strips over moderate heat until the fat has rendered, 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 minutes. Stir in the apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, crushed red pepper, black pepper and 1 1/2 tablespoons of kosher salt and simmer for 1 minute, until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the bacon-onion mixture over the beans and stir in the reserved bean cooking liquid. Cover the beans with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the maple syrup with the red wine vinegar and mustard. Arrange the remaining 8 bacon slices on a rimmed baking sheet, and generously brush them with the maple syrup mixture. Bake the bacon in the same oven as the beans for about 15 minutes, basting 3 times and turning the bacon twice, until richly glazed. Transfer the bacon to a plate.

Carefully pour 1/3 cup of water onto the baking sheet and return it to the oven for about 3 minutes to dissolve the caramelized syrup. Uncover the beans and carefully stir in the syrup. Bake the beans, uncovered, for about 20 minutes longer, until the liquid has reduced by about one-fourth.

Increase the oven temperature to 400°. Top the beans with the glazed bacon and bake until browned, about 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Make Ahead

The beans can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Reheat, covered, in a 350° oven before proceeding.

Maple Baked Sweet Potatoes

4 medium sweet potatoes (3 pounds), peeled and sliced 1-1/2 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup water

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large saucepan, cover the sweet potato slices with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well.

Arrange the sweet potatoes in a large gratin dish. Season with the salt and pepper, then dot with the butter pieces. Drizzle the maple syrup over the sweet potatoes, sprinkle with the water and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the sweet potatoes over and bake for about 25 minutes longer, until they’re tender and lightly browned. If necessary, broil the sweet potatoes for a minute or two before serving.

Maple-Bourbon Banana Pudding Cake

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 overripe banana, mashed
1 large egg
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a deep, 2-quart baking or soufflé dish, melt the butter in the microwave. Whisk in the superfine sugar and banana, mashing until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the egg and milk.

In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt; whisk into the baking dish until combined (the batter will be pretty loose).

In a microwave-safe cup, heat the maple syrup, light brown sugar and 1/2 cup of hot water at high power until hot, 1 minute. Add the bourbon. Drizzle the syrup mixture over the batter; it will seep to the bottom. Do not stir. Scatter the pecans on top.

Set the dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, until the cake is golden. Let cool for 5 minutes, then scoop into bowls and serve with ice cream.

Orange Chili Pork

1 pork tenderloin,trimmed and sliced into thin slices
6-8 baby bok choy or shanghai choy
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced

Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
2 tsp sesame oil
1-2 tsp chili garlic sauce, sambal oelek or siracha (1 tsp. for moderate spice or 2 tsp. for spicy-lovers. Can omit if you don’t want heat)
1 Tbsp cornstarch

Garnish:
Toasted sesame seeds
1-2 green onions, sliced
Small red pepper, thinly sliced

Remove silverskin and trim any fat from pork tenderloin and cut into thin slices. Set aside. (*Tip: to easily remove silver-skin, make a slice into it with a sharp knife and them use a paper towel to pull it off. Repeat until it’s all removed). Remove ends from bok choy and wash. Chop, if desired or leave in whole stalks. Set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in frying pan over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook until no pink remains. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add sauce and bring to a boil. Scatter bok choy over top and continue cooking, tossing, until bok choy is tender, but still a nice, bright green. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, red pepper slices (if usinand sliced green onions.

Serve as is, or over rice.