Winter Vegetable Stew

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
1/2 onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 bulb fennel, chopped
1 bunch kale, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 leeks, chopped
1 large carrot, diced small
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small napa cabbage, sliced thin
2 to 3 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Cassoulet beans with some broth

In a large pot, heat the olive over medium heat until shimmering, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, fennel, kale, leeks, and carrot. Salt lightly and stir. Allow them to cook for about 10 minutes until they’re soft but not quite done. Add the cabbage and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add water to barely cover the mixture, about 5 or 6 cups, depending on the pot you’re using and the state of the vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to a gentle simmer over medium to medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until vegetables are cooked through.

Add the beans and adjust the salt. Add a generous amount of pepper and bring back to a simmer.

Ladle into large bowls and drizzle each serving with extra-virgin olive oil.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
2 cups (10 ounces) diced onion, 1 large
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
4 cups (16 ounces) cauliflower florets, 1 medium
2 cups (16 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk, warmed
1/2 cup dark beer, such as Guinness
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (8 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese

In a 5-quart stock pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt, stir and cook until the onion turns slightly golden, about 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower, stir everything together to coat with the oil, cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the liquid is just simmering. Cover the pot and cook until the cauliflower is fork-tender, 7 to 10 minutes.

While the cauliflower cooks, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter until foaming. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and whisk until smooth, forming a roux. Reduce the heat and continue to whisk until the roux turns golden brown, about 7 minutes. Add the warmed milk in a stream, whisking until thick and smooth. Add the beer, whisking until smooth, and bring to a simmer, warming just until the bubbles have dispersed, 2 to 3 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape the beer sauce into the soup and stir until smooth. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, the thyme, Worcestershire, mustard, black pepper and cheese. Stir and heat until a silky cheese soup surrounds the cauliflower, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve hot.

Pork Chops and Cabbage with Mustard Cream Sauce

4 thin center-cut boneless pork chops (about 1 pound total)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup finely diced onion (about 1/2 large onion) is
4 cups rough chopped green cabbage (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Pat the pork chops dry and season with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chops and cook until browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Turn the chops and cook until browned on the other side, about 3 minutes. (If the chops are browning too quickly, lower the heat.) Transfer the chops to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Add the onion to the skillet and stir, cooking until the onion is softened and nearly translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cabbage and cook until the cabbage is tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the butter, if using, and toss to coat the cabbage. (If the chops are lean, butter will enhance the flavor.) Transfer the cabbage mixture to a serving platter and cover to keep warm.

Lower the heat to medium. Add the cream and mustard to the skillet and stir until the mustard is fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and white pepper; stir to combine

Add the chops back to the skillet. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes, basting the chops with the sauce.

Place the chops on top of the cabbage on the serving platter. Drizzle the chops and cabbage with the remaining sauce, garnish with the parsley and serve.

Steamed Mussels With ‘Nduja

For the Mussels:
1 tablespoon (15ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 large shallots (3 ounces; 85g), thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves (10g), thinly sliced
Kosher salt
2 ounces (1/4 cup; 60g) ‘nduja (see note)
1 cup (240ml) dry white wine
2 pounds (900g) mussels, scrubbed and debearded (see note)
1/4 cup (15g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice and 1 teaspoon (2g) finely grated zest from one lemon

For Serving:
1 loaf rustic sourdough bread, thickly sliced, drizzled with olive oil, and broiled until heavily toasted

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallots and garlic, season lightly with salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not brown, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add ‘nduja and, using a wooden spoon, break it into pieces and stir vigorously to combine with shallots and garlic. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until fat from ‘nduja separates and shallots and garlic are stained red and fully coated with ‘nduja, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Add wine, increase heat to high and bring to a boil.

Add mussels, stir, cover, and cook, shaking pan constantly and peeking every 30 seconds to stir. Cook just until all the mussels are open, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and using tongs, quickly transfer mussels to a warmed heatproof serving bowl. Cover mussels with saucepan lid to keep warm. Add parsley, lemon juice, and zest to saucepan and stir to combine. Taste the liquid, and adjust seasoning with salt if needed.

For Serving: Remove lid from the serving bowl, and pour contents of saucepan over mussels. Serve immediately, passing toasted bread at the table along with a large empty bowl for collecting spent mussel shells.

Pressure Cooker Polenta

Polenta
1 cup (173 grams) coarse polenta
4 1/2 cups cups (1,023 grams) water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Bonuses (optional)

1/2 to 1 cups grated or crumbled cheese (such as sharp cheddar, Parmesan, pecorino, Gouda, blue), for stirring in and sprinkling on top.

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, for stirring in and sprinkling on top, or another ground spice to taste
Fresh herbs (such as minced chives, thyme leaves, finely chopped sage, or roughly chopped parsley), for stirring in and/or sprinkling on top.

Cucumber Salad with Mustard Oil

1/2 cup (2 oz; 60g) raw hazelnuts or peanuts, skinned
2 English cucumbers (25 oz; 700g)
2 tablespoons (30ml) mustard oil
2 tablespoons (30ml) lime juice, from 1 lime
2 teaspoons (1/8 oz; 4g) red pepper flakes
Kosher salt

In a small dry saucepan, toast hazelnuts over medium-high heat, until they just start to brown and become fragrant, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately transfer to mortar and crush with pestle to form coarse powder. (Alternatively, use a spice grinder.)

Trim and discard ends of cucumbers. Cut each cucumber in half lengthwise and then into thin slices. Place sliced cucumbers in a medium mixing bowl.

Using a whisk or fork, thoroughly mix mustard oil and lime juice in small bowl and pour over cucumbers. Add toasted hazelnuts and pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately.

Creamy White Beans With ‘Nduja, Kale, and Gremolata Breadcrumbs

For the Beans:
2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
3 large shallots (4 1/2 ounces; 125g), thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves (10g), thinly sliced
Kosher salt
4 ounces (1/2 cup; 113g) ‘nduja (see note)
3 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium white beans (cannellini or Great Northern), drained and rinsed
1 quart (950ml) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
1 bunch (8 ounces; 225g) lacinato kale, tough stems removed, leaves cut into 1-inch pieces (see note)
1 tablespoon (15ml) fresh lemon juice (from one lemon; zest finely grated and set aside before juicing fruit)
For the Gremolata Breadcrumbs: (optional)
2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (1 1/4 ounces; 35g) panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup (15g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Finely grated zest from one lemon

For the Beans: In large, straight-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallots and garlic, season lightly with salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not brown, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add ‘nduja and, using a wooden spoon, break it into pieces and stir vigorously to combine with shallots and garlic. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until fat from ‘nduja separates, and shallots and garlic are stained red and fully coated with ‘nduja, 3 to 5 minutes longer.

Add beans. Use wooden spoon to crush roughly 1/4 of the beans against sides and bottom of the pan. Stir until beans are fully incorporated and coated in ‘nduja-shallot mixture.

Add chicken stock, season lightly with salt, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened to a creamy, stew-like consistency, with some beans just poking out on the surface, about 15 minutes.

Add kale, and stir to incorporate and very lightly wilt the greens, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and season to taste with salt.

For the Gremolata Breadcrumbs: While the beans simmer, combine oil and breadcrumbs in medium skillet, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until toasted and golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add parsley and lemon zest, season lightly with salt, stir to combine, and continue to cook until parsley begins to sizzle and mixture is very fragrant of citrus, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer breadcrumb mixture to small bowl and set aside until you are ready to serve.

For Serving: Divide beans between individual serving bowls and sprinkle with gremolata breadcrumbs. Serve immediately, passing more breadcrumbs at the table.

Gobi Manchurian

750 grams cauliflower cut to medium size florets
Oil for frying
90 grams corn flour
3 tbsp plain flour
1/4 tsp black pepper
Pinch of salt
150 mls water

for the sauce:
3 tbsp vegetable oil
5 spring onions thinly sliced (save the greens for garnish)
1 tbsp garlic chopped
1 tbsp ginger chopped
3 tbsp chilli garlic sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
Salt to taste
150 mls water
chopped green chillies (optional)

In a mixing bowl add the corn flour, plain flour, black pepper and salt. Add the water a little at a time making sure to stir well to rid of any lumps. Add the florets to the batter and mix well.

Heat oil for deep frying over a medium heat. Add the cauliflower in batches and fry for 5-6 minutes. Make sure to heat is not too high as you want the cauliflower to cook all the way through.

Fry as they go crispy and light brown and drain of kitchen paper. Keep warm while you make the sauce.

For the gravy heat the oil in a wok or kadhai over a medium heat. Add the white part of the spring onion and fry for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a further 2 minutes.

Add the chilli garlic sauce, soy and ketchup, stir over a low heat for 1 minute. Now add the vinegar, sugar and black pepper. Season to taste.

Add the water and simmer for 2 minutes as the gravy thickens. Add the fried cauliflower florets and stir well coating them in the sauce. Warm through for a minute and turn the heat off and rest for a few minutes as the cauliflower soaks all the gravy flavour. Serve warm with egg fried rice or noodles.

Vegetable Jalfrezi

1.5 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium red onion, chopped
3 stalks green onion, chopped
1 green chili, sliced
2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
1 large tomato, sliced
1 large carrot, cut into rounds
1/4 cup green peas
3/4 cup paneer cubes, 120 grams
3/4 cup water, 6 oz
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/3 cup tomato puree, store bought, canned
1 medium green pepper, sliced
1 inch ginger , cut into julienne
cilantro, to garnish

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and let then sizzle. The add the onions, green chili and saute them for 2 to 3 minutes until softened.

Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for 1 minute. Then add the sliced tomato, carrot, peas and paneer. Add water (you might need only 1/2 cup of water while making this on stove-top).

Also add turmeric, cardamom, chili powder, garam masala, ketchup, vinegar, sugar, salt and tomato puree.

Stir and cover the pan with a lid. Let the veggies cook for 5 to 6 minutes.

Then add the green peppers and ginger julienne. Cover and simmer for 3 more minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Cauliflower, Grape, and Cheddar Salad

1 large head cauliflower broken into bite sized florets
6 tablespoons sunflower or other light oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and roughly crushed
2/3 cup seedless red grapes, halved
3 oz aged Cheddar cheese, coarsely crumbled
2/3 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 425.

Toss the cauliflower florets with half of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

To make the dressing, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons oil with the vinegar, mustard, honey and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the raisins and let them marinade for at least 10 minutes.

Just before serving, transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and add the hazelnuts, grapes, Cheddar and parsley. Pour the raisins and dressing over the top, toss together, transfer to a large platter, and serve.

Lemon Crepe Pudding

Ingredients

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup store-bought lemon curd
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
24 (10-inch) store-bought crêpes
1 medium Meyer lemon, very thinly sliced and seeded
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat cream cheese, lemon curd, and 1/8 teaspoon salt with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Grease a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with butter. Arrange 1 crêpe on a work surface. Using a small offset spatula, spread 1 1/2 tablespoons cream cheese mixture evenly over crêpe, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold crêpe in half, and then fold in half again. Place folded crêpe in prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining crêpes and remaining cream cheese mixture, overlapping folded crêpes in baking dish. Bake in preheated oven until crêpes are heated through and edges are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low. Add lemon slices, sprinkle with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lemon peel is softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in maple syrup, and remove from heat. Spoon lemon sauce over casserole. Dust with powdered sugar, and serve.

Classic Panna Cotta

2 (1/4-oz.) envelope unflavored gelatin (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons cold water
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean pod, split
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
5 tablespoons apricot jam, peach preserves, or orange marmalade, warmed

Sprinkle gelatin over 3 tablespoons cold water, and let stand 5 minutes to dissolve, stirring once. Meanwhile, heat milk and sugar in a small saucepan over medium. Cook, whisking often, until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot, about 5 minutes (do not boil). Remove from heat; whisk in gelatin mixture until fully dissolved. Let cool slightly, whisking occasionally, about 10 minutes. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean pod into gelatin mixture; discard pod. Gently whisk in buttermilk and salt.

Divide mixture evenly among 8 (12-ounce) straight-sided glasses (about 1/2 cup each). Cover and chill until set, at least 8 hours or up to overnight. Serve in glasses or invert onto serving plates. Spoon about 2 teaspoons jam or marmalade on each serving.

Classic Cauliflower Cheese

1 medium to large cauliflower
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Cheese Sauce:
4 Tbsp butter salted or unsalted
3-4 Tbsp all purpose flour *see Notes
1 cup milk at least 2% b.f.
1 cup whipping cream 35% b.f. ** see Notes
2 cups aged cheddar cheese grated, well packed
Pinch nutmeg grated or powdered
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425F.

Prepare and roast the cauliflower: Remove the stem leaves and core from the cauliflower and break off the florets into large chunks. (Not sure how to cut the cauliflower? Try my easy method details in the Cook’s Noes above). If you like, you can cut away most of the stalks and just use the florets or use it stalks and all. Cut the florets into bite-sized pieces, but not too small.

Place the cauliflower in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter onto a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until tender (test with a knife) and golden in spots. Remove from the oven, set aside and REDUCE THE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 400F.
Prepare the cheese sauce: Measure out your milk and cream in a 2-cup measuring cup and set aside. Grate your cheese and have ready.

In a large saucepan (you’ll be adding the cauliflower to it later, so make sure it’s big enough), melt the butter oven medium heat.

Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes, or as long as you feel you can without letting it scorch.

Reduce the heat under the pan to medium-low. Pour in a small amount of the cream/milk and whisk until a smooth paste forms.

Add the remaining milk a bit at a time and whisk until smooth, until all the milk has been added. Cook sauce over medium-low heat and whisking regularly, until the sauce noticeably thickens.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the grated cheese. Let stand without stirring for about 2 minutes, then stir together. The cheese should have all melted in to the sauce. If by chance it hasn’t, you can return the pot to the burner over low heat to finish the melting.

Add the nutmeg and stir in. Taste the sauce and add salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed.

Add the roasted cauliflower to the pot with the cheese sauce and stir to completely coat the cauliflower. Spoon the cauliflower cheese mixture into a baking dish large enough to hold it all. Place the baking dish onto a baking sheet (to catch any bubble overs).

Place into the preheated 400F and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly and deep golden on top. Let stand a few minutes before serving, to allow the sauce to set up a bit.

Notes: If using heavy cream, you should be good with 3 Tbsp of flour. If using a lighter cream, whole milk or you’re using cream, but want a thicker sauce, go with the 4 Tbsp of flour.
** Heavy whipping cream will produce the best results, but if you prefer, you could use a lighter cream, such as table cream (18% b.f) or half and half cream (10% b.f.)

Roast the cauliflower just until tender with just a few golden spots. Test it with a knife to be sure it’s tender, then remove. You don’t want to roast all of the moisture out of it.

Add the milk/cream mixture in small increments (a scant 1/4 cup-ish at a time), to ensure a smooth sauce.

Be sure to properly season your dish, starting with seasoning the cauliflower before roasting and ending with tasting and seasoning the cheese sauce at the end of cooking it on the stove-top, to really bring out the flavours.

Turning off the heat under your pot (or removing it from the burner if you have an electric stovetop) immediately after adding the cheese helps to ensure a smooth and creamy sauce, as the cheese is allowed to melt slowly from the residual heat in the sauce.

Fish-Fragrant Eggplant

1 pound 5 ounces (600g) eggplants (1–2 large)
Salt
Cooking oil, for deep-frying
1 1/2 tablespoons Sichuan chile bean paste
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
10 tablespoons (150ml) hot stock or water
4 teaspoons superfine sugar
1 teaspoon Chinese light soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon potato starch, mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water
1 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar
6 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens

Cut the eggplants into batons about 3/4 inch (2cm) thick and 2 3/4 inches (7cm) long. Sprinkle with salt, mix well and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Rinse the eggplant, drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Heat the deep-frying oil to around 390°F (200°C) (hot enough to sizzle vigorously around a test piece of eggplant). Add the eggplant, in two or three batches, and deep-fry for about 3 minutes, until tender and a little golden. Drain well on paper towels and set aside.

Carefully pour off all but 3 tablespoons oil from the wok and return to medium heat. Add the chile bean paste and stir-fry until the oil is red and fragrant: take care not to burn the paste (move the wok away from the burner if you think it might be overheating). Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry until they smell delicious.

Tip in the stock or water, sugar and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then add the eggplant, nudging the batons gently into the sauce so they do not break apart. Simmer for a minute or so to allow the eggplant to absorb the flavors.

Give the potato starch mixture a stir and add it gradually, in about three stages, adding just enough to thicken the sauce to a luxurious gravy (you probably won’t need it all). Tip in the vinegar and all but 1 tablespoon of the scallion greens, then stir for a few seconds to fuse the flavors.

Turn out onto a serving dish, scatter over the remaining scallion greens and serve.

Mujaddara (Lebanese Lentils and Rice)

4 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
4 bay leaves
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and drained
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup peanut oil
2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
Plain whole-milk yogurt, to serve

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, combine 5 cups water, the garlic, bay, cumin, allspice, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then stir in the lentils and reduce to medium. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat to maintain a simmer, until the lentils are softened but still quite firm at the center, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the rice and return to a simmer. Cover, reduce to medium-low and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the lentils and rice are tender, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onions and cook, stirring only occasionally at the start then more frequently once browning begins at the edges of the pan, until the onions are deeply caramelized and crisped, 10 to 15 minutes; adjust the heat if the onions brown too quickly. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a paper towel–lined plate and spread evenly. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and set aside; the onions will crisp as they cool.

When the lentils and rice are tender, remove the pot from the heat. Uncover and lay a kitchen towel across the pan, then replace the lid and let stand for 10 minutes.h

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients
For the Fajita Marinade:
1/2 cup (120ml) soy sauce
1/2 cup (120ml) fresh lime juice, from 6 to 8 limes
1/2 cup (120ml) canola or other neutral oil
1/4 cup (55g) packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder (see note)
3 medium cloves garlic, finely minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 pounds (900g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
For the Fajitas:
1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1 large yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1 large green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1 white or yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch slices
12 to 16 fresh flour or corn tortillas, hot (see note)
1 recipe guacamole, for serving, if desired
1 recipe pico de gallo, for serving, if desired
Sour cream, shredded cheese, and salsa, for serving, if desired

For the Fajita Marinade: Combine soy sauce, lime juice, oil, brown sugar, cumin, black pepper, chili powder, and garlic in medium bowl and whisk to combine. Transfer 1/2 cup (120ml) marinade to a separate vessel and set aside.

2.
For the Chicken: Place chicken in a gallon-sized zipper-lock bag and add remaining marinade. Seal bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. Massage bag until meat is fully coated in marinade. Lay flat in refrigerator, turning every couple of hours, for at least 3 and up to 10 hours.

3.
For the Fajitas: When ready to cook, preheat broiler and position over rack to highest position. If you have a baking steel or stone, set it on the top rack and allow to preheat. If using a baking steel/stone, set a rimmed baking sheet on it to preheat as well; otherwise leave baking sheet at room temperature.

Remove chicken from marinade and blot dry with paper towels. Arrange chicken in an even layer on rimmed baking sheet. Broil, without flipping, until chicken is well browned on top side, about 5 minutes. Broiler strength and oven designs vary greatly, so cooking times will vary as well; keep a close watch. If your broiler heats unevenly, you may need to move the sheet tray around for more even browning. Flip chicken and broil until second side is also browned, about 4 minutes longer (chicken cooked with the help of a baking steel/stone will already have browned on the bottom, so you can flip it and continue cooking to ensure it’s fully cooked through). Remove from oven and transfer chicken to a platter to rest.

Switch oven from broil mode to 450°F (230°C). Add red, yellow, and green bell peppers as well as onions to baking sheet. Pour reserved 1/2 cup of marinade all over and toss until evenly coated; using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits on the baking sheet. Arrange peppers and onion in an even layer that covers the baking sheet from edge to edge, then cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and browned in spots, about 25 minutes (if your oven heats from the top, you will want to cook the vegetables on a middle rack to avoid excessive scorching and burning). If you’re using a baking steel/stone, you can cook the vegetables on it, but keep a closer eye since they run the risk of scorching on the bottom; if this begins to happen, move the sheet pan to another rack.

Slice chicken into thin strips, then add back to sheet pan with any juices. Return to oven to warm through.

Serve immediately with hot tortillas, guacamole, pico de gallo, and other condiments, as desired.

Sheet Pan Spiced Cauliflower and Tofu with Ginger-Yogurt Sauce

1 large head cauliflower
5 tablespoons (75ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
1 3/4 teaspoons store-bought ras el hanout, divided (see note)
Kosher salt
2 (12-ounce; 340g) packs extra-firm tofu
2 cups (475ml) full-fat Greek yogurt
One (3-inch) piece fresh ginger (about 2 ounces; 55g), peeled and finely grated or minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 red onion (8 ounces; 225g), sliced about 1/8 inch-thick and soaked for at least 10 minutes in ice water
3 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves and cilantro sprigs (about one-half bunch cilantro and one bunch mint)
One preserved lemon, seeds removed and flesh and peel finely diced (optional; see note)
Dried ground sumac, for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 475°F (245°C) with a clean rimmed baking sheet set on the middle rack. While the oven heats, cut the cauliflower into 1-inch florets. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with 3 tablespoons (45ml) olive oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons ras el hanout; season with salt.

Add cauliflower to heated baking sheet, carefully spreading it in a single even layer; set bowl aside. Return baking sheet to oven and roast cauliflower until it is just tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

While cauliflower is cooking, bring a kettle of water to a boil. Drain tofu and cut it into 1- by 3/4-inch planks. Place tofu pieces in a colander in the sink and pour the boiling water all over them.

Transfer tofu to work surface lined with paper towels. Arrange tofu pieces in an even layer, then lay more paper towels on top and press down to absorb excess water. Add tofu to the same mixing bowl used for cauliflower and toss with remaining 2 tablespoons (30ml) olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon ras el hanout. Season with salt.

When cauliflower is cooked, transfer to platter to cool; wipe baking sheet to ensure any stray bits of cauliflower are removed. Arrange tofu on now-empty baking sheet in a single even layer, then roast, flipping once halfway through, until crispy on both sides, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, stir together yogurt and ginger. Season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

In a separate medium bowl, drain red onion, making sure to remove any stray pieces of ice. Sprinkle all over with salt, and using your fingers, rub salt into the onion slices. Let stand for at least 10 minutes.

To serve, dollop a generous amount of ginger yogurt onto each serving plate or bowl. Mound the cauliflower and tofu on top. Drizzle with fresh olive oil and scatter preserved lemon on top, if using. Drain onions of any accumulated liquid, then toss with cilantro sprigs and mint. Mound herb salad on top of cauliflower and tofu, and sprinkle with sumac, if using. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes: Ras el hanout is a complex mix of spices hailing from North Africa. While recipes vary, it typically blends warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and cardamom with paprika, black pepper, and turmeric; some versions also include floral notes from dried rosebuds. You can buy it online and at well-stocked supermarket spice aisles, or make an easy substitute by mixing 3/4 teaspoons sweet or hot paprika with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and cardamom.

The cauliflower and tofu are best roasted shortly before serving. You can make the ginger yogurt up to 1 day in advance

Crispy Tofu with Maple-Soy Glaze

1 12-oz. block firm tofu
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2-inch piece ginger, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
Kimchi, toasted sesame seeds, hijiki, daikon, sliced scallions, and steamed rice (for serving; optional)

Drain tofu, then sandwich between several layers of kitchen towels to remove excess liquid. Cut into 9 cubes.

Whisk soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, and ginger in a small bowl.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. When oil is rippling across the surface, carefully add tofu so it doesn’t splash. Cook, undisturbed, until very crisp and dark brown underneath, 3–4 minutes. Carefully turn and repeat on opposite side. Holding tofu back with a spatula or slotted spoon, pour out oil into a small bowl. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add soy sauce mixture. Cook, reducing heat to medium so it doesn’t over-reduce or burn and basting tofu occasionally, until glaze is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 4 minutes.

Divide tofu among plates. Drizzle with glaze, then top with scallions. Serve with rice alongside.

Steak and Bok Choy Stir-fry (Chow Steak Kow)

For the steak and marinade:
1 pound beef ribeye or sirloin steak (cut into 1-inch cubes)
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided)
1/8 teaspoon baking soda (optional tenderizer, depending on the quality of your steak)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

For the steak sauce:
5 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch (mixed into a slurry with 1 tablespoon water)

For the bok choy base:
12 ounces fresh bok choy (cut and thoroughly washed)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3-4 slices fresh ginger (smashed)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon MSG (optional)

When you prepare the steak cubes, leave some of the fat on the steak. This adds key flavor to the dish. Transfer the cubes to a medium bowl, and add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss until the steak is well-coated. Set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

In a small bowl, combine the water, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper, and sesame oil. Set aside.

Make sure your bok choy is thoroughly cleaned. We always triple wash our bok choy. Not doing a thorough job risks sand ruining your vegetables.

Heat wok over high heat. Spread 1 tablespoon vegetable oil around the perimeter of the wok, and immediately add your smashed ginger slices. After 5 to 10 seconds, add the chopped garlic and bok choy.

Quickly stir-fry the bok choy (so the garlic doesn’t burn), until it begins to wilt. You can also cover the bok choy for 30 seconds if your wok burner is not producing enough heat.
After the bok choy is cooked and wilted (about 60 seconds or so), add the salt, sugar and MSG (if using). Mix thoroughly, transfer to a warm serving plate, and set aside. MSG is totally optional, but it really brings out the flavor of stir-fried vegetables.

Work quickly through these next steps, because your stir-fried bok choy is waiting to be topped with your delicious steak! Carefully rinse your wok with warm water, drain, and wipe off any excess moisture. Place the wok back over the burner set to high heat. Spread 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil around the perimeter of the wok.

Once the wok begins to smoke, add the steak in a single layer, fat-side down for any pieces with visible fat.

Sear for 30 seconds or until brown. Use your wok spatula to toss everything together to ensure even cooking and browning, but resist the temptation to stir too much. High heat is essential to ensure you have a good sear and maximum flavor. I like to sear the steak until cooked medium / medium rare, which is why this steak stir fry recipe calls for large 1-inch chunks of steak.

Once done to your liking, turn off the heat, and scoop the steak over the bok choy to rest. (If any liquid has pooled on the bok choy plate, pour the excess off before adding the beef.)

You’ll need at least 1-2 tablespoons of the residual oil in the wok. Pour off any excess and discard. This is pure beef flavor that will make your sauce taste that much better. Turn the wok back up to medium-high heat. Pour the prepared steak sauce into the wok, using it to deglaze the wok. If you want more sauce, you can add some additional water—bonus if you use the water from the bok choy plate, which has a nice ginger and garlic flavor.

When the sauce is simmering, stir up the cornstarch slurry and drizzle it into the sauce, letting it thicken until it coats a spoon. Simmer for an additional 20 seconds to ensure the cornstarch is cooked. Turn the heat off, pour the sauce over your steak, and serve with rice.

Swedish Almond Cake

FOR THE CAKE:
½ cup plus 6 tablespoons/200 grams unsalted butter, melted and lukewarm, plus more unmelted butter for greasing the pan
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons/240 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups/250 grams granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup/160 milliliters whole milk, lukewarm
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

FOR THE TOPPING:
7 tablespoons/100 grams unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
3/4 cup/75 grams sliced almonds
1/2 cup/100 grams granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons whole milk

Make the cake: Center a rack in the oven, and heat it to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan (using solid, unmelted butter), and dust the interior with flour; tap out the excess. Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Working with a mixer (use a paddle attachment, if you have one), beat the sugar and eggs together on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

Reduce the speed to medium, and gradually add the melted butter, followed by the milk and vanilla. (I like to pour the ingredients down the side of the bowl as the mixer is working.) Mix until the batter is smooth; it will have a lovely sheen.

Decrease the speed to low, and gradually add the dry ingredients. When the flour mixture is almost fully incorporated, finish blending by stirring with a spatula.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Slide the cake into the oven, and set your timer for 30 minutes.

As soon as the timer dings, start the topping (leaving the cake in the oven): In a medium saucepan, mix together all the topping ingredients. Place over medium-high heat and, stirring constantly, cook until you see a couple of bubbles around the edges. Lower the heat to medium, and cook, stirring nonstop, for 3 minutes. The mixture will thicken a little, and your spatula will leave tracks as you stir. Remove the pan from the heat.

Immediately take the cake out of the oven (leaving the oven on), and carefully pour the topping over the cake, nudging it gently with a spatula to cover the cake completely.

Return the cake to the oven, and bake for an additional 15 minutes (total baking time is about 50 minutes) or until the topping, which will bubble and seethe, is a beautiful golden brown and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Transfer the baking sheet to a rack, and cool for 5 minutes.

Carefully work a table knife between the side of the pan and the cake, gently pushing the cake away from the side (it’s a delicate job because the sticky topping isn’t yet set). Remove the sides of the pan, and let the cake come to room temperature on the base. When you’re ready to serve, lift the cake off the springform base and onto a platter.