Maple Pecan Caramel Corn

3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed or sunflower
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1 cup toasted pecans (see Tip)
1/2 cup maple syrup
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Heat oven to 300 degrees, and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet.

In a large pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil and 3 popcorn kernels over medium-high with lid on top. When kernels pop, add remaining kernels to pot, lower heat to medium-low, and crack the lid open a sliver, facing away from you, to release steam. (Alternatively, you could cover the pot with a mesh deep-frying screen, or an upside-down colander or strainer.) Cook, shaking the pot occasionally, until the popping stops.

Transfer popcorn to a heatproof bowl, discarding any unpopped kernels. Add nuts to bowl.

In a medium pot, bring maple syrup, butter and brown sugar to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until butter and sugar have melted (the mixture should be foamy). Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 240 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from heat, and stir in salt, vanilla and baking soda. (Mixture may bubble up.)

Immediately pour hot syrup over popcorn mixture, and use a spatula to mix it well. Scrape popcorn onto prepared baking sheet in one layer. Bake, rotating the pan after 15 minutes, for 25 to 35 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when you can remove a piece of the popcorn, and after letting it cool for about a minute, it’s crisp when you bite into it. Taste and sprinkle lightly with more salt if you like. Let cool before serving.

Tip: To toast pecans, spread them in one layer on a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees until they darken slightly at the edges and look golden inside if you break one in half, 8 to 13 minutes. Stir the nuts once or twice as they bake for even cooking.

Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Chili-Lemon Vinaigrette

2 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes or small (1- to 1 1/2-inch) Yukon Gold potatoes
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
3 rosemary sprigs
Kosher salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small jalapeño or Fresno chili, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Heat the oven to 500°F with a rack in the middle position. In a large pot over high, bring 2 quarts water to boil. Add the potatoes, garlic, rosemary and 1 cup salt, then cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until a skewer inserted into the largest potato meets no resistance, 18 to 22 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon transfer the potatoes to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet; place the garlic in a small bowl; remove and discard the rosemary. Let the potatoes cool for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, using a fork, mash the garlic to a paste, then stir in the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of oil, followed by the chilies; set aside.

After the potatoes have cooled slightly carefully remove the rack from the baking sheet. Wipe away any moisture on the baking sheet and place the potatoes in an even layer directly on the sheet. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup or ramekin, press down on each potato so it is slightly flattened and splits open but remains intact. Brush the tops of the potatoes with the remaining 4 tablespoons oil.

Roast the potatoes without moving them until browned and crisp, 35 to 40 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer to a serving platter, then sprinkle with the parsley and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Grilled Flank Steak with Worcestershire Butter

FOR THE STEAK:
1 1/2 pounds flank steak
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves, finely grated or mashed to a paste
1 jalapeño, minced
2 tablespoons minced chives, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar or dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
3 ripe plum tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
Handful of torn fresh basil, plus more for serving

FOR THE WORCESTERSHIRE BUTTER:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced chives
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, grated or mashed to a paste
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Season steak all over with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. In a bowl or resealable bag, combine thyme, garlic, jalapeño, chives, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and lemon juice. Add meat and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Prepare the Worcestershire butter: In a bowl, mash together the butter, thyme, chives, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

Spoon the butter onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap, form into a log and wrap well. Chill for at least 2 hours before using.

Light the grill or heat the broiler, arranging the rack about 4 inches from the heat source. Grill tomatoes, or broil them on a rimmed baking pan, turning them, until charred on all sides, about 2 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board to cool.

Brush off any pieces of marinade clinging to the steak, pat steak dry and coat it lightly with oil. Grill or broil steak until it reaches desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare (125 degrees).

Transfer steak to a cutting board. Slice butter into coins and place them on the steak to melt slightly. Let steak rest for 5 minutes while you prepare the tomatoes.

Roughly chop tomatoes and place in a bowl with scallions, basil, a pinch of salt and pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Toss well, adding more salt or lemon juice, or both, to taste.

Slice the steak thinly, across the grain, and serve with the charred tomato mixture spooned on top. Garnish with more chives and torn basil, if you like.

Lemon Custards with Strawberries

FOR THE CUSTARDS:
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from 1 to 2 lemons)
Pinch of fine sea salt
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)

FOR THE STRAWBERRY TOPPING:
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 to 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Freshly ground black pepper, for serving

In a medium saucepan, combine cream, sugar, lemon zest and salt over medium-high heat. Bring to simmer, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar. Simmer vigorously until mixture thickens slightly, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Let sit until mixture has cooled slightly and a skin forms on top, about 20 minutes.

Stir mixture, then strain through fine-mesh strainer into a measuring cup with a spout; discard zest. Pour mixture evenly into six 6-ounce ramekins or small bowls.

Refrigerate, uncovered, until set, at least 3 hours.

As the custards chill, prepare the strawberry topping: Toss strawberries and sugar in a small mixing bowl. Let fruit macerate at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until the sugar is dissolved.

To serve, top each lemon custard with some strawberry topping and grind black pepper on top.

Overnight Oats

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup dried fruit, cut into small pieces, if needed
1 tablespoon chia, flax, poppy or sesame seeds
1 cup milk or unsweetened dairy alternative, such as almond or oat milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Maple syrup, honey or brown sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped or sliced nuts, toasted, if desired

Mix oats, dried fruit, seeds, milk and salt in a pint jar or 2-cup airtight resealable container. Seal tightly and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or up to 5 days.

Uncover, stir well, and taste. If you prefer more sweetness, stir in some sweetener. Top with the nuts just before eating.

Tip: The soaked oat mixture will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Spicy Corn and Coconut Soup

5 ears yellow or bicolor corn (or 5 cups frozen corn kernels)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced into rings
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 serrano chile (or other chile), minced
2 small red potatoes (6 to 8 ounces total), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or 2 1/2 cups of hot water whisked with 1 1/2 teaspoons jarred bouillon)
1 (15-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon lime juice (from 1/2 lime)
Kosher salt, to season
Torn cilantro leaves, toasted coconut flakes, chopped roasted peanuts, crispy fried shallots, lime wedges and more sliced Serrano chiles, to serve (optional)

Cut the corn kernels off the cobs and transfer to a bowl. Using the back of a butter knife, scrape the cobs so that all of the milky juices collect in the bowl and the cobs look completely dry, like wrung-out sponges. Set aside. (If using frozen kernels, skip this step.)

In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add shallots, garlic, ginger and chile, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add corn kernels and juices to the pot, and sauté until the corn is softer and brighter, about 3 minutes more.

Add potato pieces, and stir to coat, 1 to 2 minutes.

Now, pour in the vegetable broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender all the way through.

Use an immersion blender to roughly purée the soup, so that it’s creamy with some kernels of corn, chunks of potato, and chile flecks remaining. (Alternatively, ladle about half of the soup into a blender, blend until smooth, and return to the pot.) Season with lime juice and salt, and mix to combine. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with toppings of your choice.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Gnocchi

1 pound brussels sprouts
1 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 (18-ounce) package shelf-stable or refrigerated potato gnocchi
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into 6 pieces
1/2 teaspoon honey
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

Trim and halve the brussels sprouts. Using a vegetable peeler, peel thick strips of lemon zest, then coarsely chop. (You should have about 2 teaspoons chopped zest.)

In a large (preferably 12-inch) skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high. Add the brussels sprouts, season with ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper, then arrange the brussels sprouts in an even layer, cut-side down. Scatter the lemon zest over the top and cook, undisturbed, until the brussels sprouts are well browned underneath, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the red-pepper flakes, stir and cook until the brussels sprouts are crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high. Break up any gnocchi that are stuck together, add them to the pan and cook, covered and undisturbed, until golden brown on one side, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the butter and honey, season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper, and cook, stirring, until the butter is golden, nutty smelling and foaming, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the brussels sprouts until warmed through. Serve with grated Parmesan.

Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Butter

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes of any color (about 4 medium), washed
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), at room temperature
1/4 cup well-stirred tahini
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus lime wedges, for serving
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, finely grated or pounded smooth with a pinch of salt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
Flaky sea salt, for serving

Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a medium pot fitted with a steamer basket or footed colander. Place sweet potatoes in the steamer. Cover, reduce heat to medium and steam until potatoes are completely tender, 35 to 40 minutes. (Use a skewer or paring knife to check for doneness; the potatoes should be soft all the way through.)

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk butter, tahini, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic until smooth. It might seem as if the butter and liquids will never fully combine, but they will — just keep stirring! Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and more lime juice as needed.

Set a small pan over medium heat. Toast the sesame seeds, swirling the pan continuously, until seeds are golden. They’ll give off some oil and start to clump together, so if needed, stir with a wooden spoon to keep them moving so that they toast evenly. They’ll turn a nice deep-golden shade just as they dry off a bit, about 4 minutes. Transfer seeds to a small bowl to prevent them from overcooking.

When the sweet potatoes are tender, use tongs to transfer them to a large plate or platter. When they are just cool enough to handle, split potatoes in half lengthwise, and season with flaky salt. Spread tahini butter generously onto the flesh, and top with sesame seeds. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

Ricotta Dumplings with Peas and Asparagus

2 cups whole-milk ricotta
2 large eggs
Kosher salt and black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas
3 cups pea shoots or leaves, thick stems removed
1/4 cup parsley or mint leaves, for serving
Parmesan or pecorino, for serving

Options: This dish is a truly excellent canvas for anything seasonal (asparagus and peas in the spring, cherry tomatoes in the summer, mushrooms in the fall, squash in the winter), so adjust as you like.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Combine ricotta and eggs in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and, using a large wooden or metal spoon, gently mix in the flour, taking care not to overmix (which could result in tough dumplings).

Meanwhile, heat butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks have softened completely and are starting to pick up some color, 5 to 8 minutes.

Add asparagus and peas to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until asparagus is just tender and bright green, 2 to 4 minutes, depending on its thickness. Remove from heat while you cook the dumplings.

When the water is at a nice steady boil, drop the ricotta mixture into the pot by the heaping spoonful. (The dumplings will expand in the water, so make them slightly smaller than you’d like them to end up.) Be careful not to crowd the pot; cook the dumplings in batches if need be.

Once the dumplings rise to the top, let them boil until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. (You can always pull one out and cut it in half to test its doneness; the texture will go from dense and doughy to light and pillowy.)

As the dumplings finish cooking, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the skillet with the peas and asparagus. Once they’re all in there, give everything a quick toss over medium heat just to evenly coat the dumplings in the buttery sauce. Add pea shoots and toss just to wilt slightly.

Transfer to a large serving bowl or platter and top with parsley, cheese and more olive oil, if you like.

Modern Pasta Alla Norma

Kosher salt
10 ounces mezzi rigatoni or rigatoni
1 1/2 pounds eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Black pepper
3 ounces prosciutto, roughly chopped into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced into rings
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 fresno or serrano chile, seeded, if you like, and thinly sliced into rings
1 1/2 pounds Sun Gold, cherry or grape tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes and their juices
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, finely chopped
1 cup roughly chopped fresh herbs, such as basil and mint
Flaky salt, for serving (optional)

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. On a large rimmed sheet pan, toss the eggplant with ¼ cup olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Spread everything evenly in one layer and roast until golden, 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through to ensure even browning.

While the eggplant roasts, make your sauce: In a deep, 12-inch skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to crisp and brown in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from skillet and place on a paper towel-lined plate.

Add the shallot, garlic and chile to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot has softened and the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until they start to burst, pressing the tomatoes gently down with the back of a spatula or wooden spoon to help them along, 5 to 7 minutes. You want some of them to collapse and some to maintain their structure. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices and season with salt and pepper. Simmer while the eggplant finishes roasting, about 15 minutes more. If the sauce appears dry, add ¼ cup pasta water.

While you’re making the sauce, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta.

When the eggplant is done, add it to the tomato sauce and stir to combine. Add the pasta and toss until everything is well coated with sauce, adding more pasta water if needed. Stir in the mozzarella and toss until it begins to melt.

Serve in the skillet or in bowls and top each portion with crispy prosciutto and fresh herbs. Season with flaky salt, if using.

Pasta with Seared Scallops and Cherry Tomatoes

Kosher salt
1 pound linguine fini or other long, thin pasta
1 pound large sea scallops, patted dry
Black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 shallots, thinly sliced into rings
1 1/4 pounds Sun Gold, cherry or grape tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Pinch of red-pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped mixed herbs, such as tarragon, mint, parsley and chives, plus more for serving

Bring a large pot of well-salted water (2 heaping tablespoons kosher salt to about 7 quarts water) to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 1/2 cups pasta cooking water, then drain pasta.

Season the scallops well on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a 12-inch skillet over high until very hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When it shimmers, add the scallops (working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, if necessary) and cook until golden brown and crisp, flipping once, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm while you make the sauce.

Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium. Add the shallots and cook until they begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to burst, 5 to 7 minutes. Add about 1/3 cup reserved pasta water and press the tomatoes gently with the back of a spatula or wooden spoon to get them nice and jammy. Stir in the garlic and red-pepper flakes, if using, and cook, allowing the sauce to simmer, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the pasta, 1 ½ cups herbs and ¼ cup reserved pasta water and toss to coat, adding additional pasta water if needed. Divide the pasta among shallow bowls and top with scallops. Garnish with additional herbs and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.

Crispy Spiced Cauliflower Steaks

1/2 of 1 cinnamon stick, broken up
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 cloves
Large pinch of ground cayenne
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt, plus additional, as needed
1 1/3 cups brown- or white-rice flour (about 7 1/3 ounces)
2/3 cup tapioca flour (about 3 2/3 ounces)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 2 limes)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 large lemon), plus additional lemon wedges, for serving
1 tablespoon grated fresh turmeric (or 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric)
2 small heads cauliflower (about 1 pound each), leaves removed, cut from top to core into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 1/2 to 2 cups coconut oil
1 cup Greek yogurt, for serving (optional)
2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems, for serving (optional)

Line a baking sheet with a wire rack or paper towels, and set aside.

Finely grind cinnamon, coriander, fennel, peppercorns, cumin and cloves in a spice grinder, spice mill or mortar and pestle.Transfer to a bowl, and stir in cayenne and 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk both flours until combined. Whisk in lime and lemon juices, then gradually whisk in enough water until the mixture is the consistency of thin pancake batter (about 1 1/3 cups). There is no gluten in either flour, so don’t worry about overmixing.

Stir in turmeric and the spice mixture. Taste, and adjust salt as needed.

Working with 1 or 2 steaks at a time, push the cauliflower steaks into the batter, turn to coat and allow to marinate for at least 3 minutes.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium high. Add coconut oil to a depth of 1/3-inch, and heat until hot. Carefully drip a few drops of batter into the oil to test that it’s sufficiently hot. The batter should immediately sizzle and expand. Slip the steaks one at a time directly from the batter into the pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan — the steaks should never touch.

Cook until golden brown on the bottom, 8 to 12 minutes, rotating the steaks around the pan after 6 to 8 minutes to ensure even browning. Use a thin metal spatula to carefully flip the steaks. Continue cooking until the second sides are golden-brown and the cores are tender when pierced with a knife, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer steaks to the prepared baking sheet, and allow to drain. Season with salt. Repeat with the remaining steaks and any remaining smaller pieces of cauliflower, adjusting the heat as needed to prevent the steaks from browning too quickly.

Serve hot or reheat in an oven at 400 degrees until hot and crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a shower of chopped cilantro, if desired. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing on top.

Pasta with Cauliflower and Cream

Kosher salt and black pepper
8 ounces rigatoni, ziti or campanelle
6 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup fresh coarse or panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely grated pecorino cheese, plus more for serving
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), outer leaves and stem removed, sliced about 1/2-inch thick (it’s O.K. if it crumbles)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus more for serving
1/2 cup finely chopped chives
Red-pepper flakes (optional)

Variations: cooked bacon, leafy greens

Bring a large pasta pot filled with salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente; drain and reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re evenly toasted and golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add ¼ cup pecorino and toss to coat, letting the cheese melt and clump among the bread crumbs (think granola-like clusters). Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl or plate; set aside.

Wipe out the skillet and heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add shallot and cauliflower and season with salt and plenty of black pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the cauliflower has completely softened and both the cauliflower and shallots are beginning to caramelize and brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

Add heavy cream and 1 tablespoon lemon zest and bring to a simmer, then let the cream reduce and thicken, 2 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and plenty of pepper; if pasta is still cooking, remove from heat and set aside until pasta is ready.

Return the skillet to medium heat and add the pasta to the cauliflower, along with the remaining ¼ cup pecorino and ¾ cup of the pasta water. Cook, tossing to coat the pasta and thicken the sauce until it’s thick and glossy, and almost resembles macaroni and cheese, adding more pasta water by the tablespoon as needed, 4 to 6 minutes.

Remove from heat. Divide pasta among bowls and top with pecorino bread crumbs, chives, more lemon zest, red-pepper flakes (if using) and more cheese if you like.

Cauliflower, Cashew, Coconut Curry With Peas

1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 green chile, roughly chopped (seeded if you prefer less heat)
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons canola oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1 large head cauliflower (about 1 1/4 pounds), broken into bite-size florets
1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
4 ounces unsalted cashews (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 small bunch cilantro, leaves chopped, for serving
1 lemon wedge, for serving
Cooked basmati rice, for serving

Place the ginger, garlic and green chile in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt. Mash until a paste forms and set aside. Alternately, finely chop the ginger, garlic and green chile together, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, then mash into a coarse paste using the flat portion of your chef’s knife.

In a large skillet with a lid, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium. Cook the onions until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the ginger paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste, coriander, cumin, chile powder and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt. Stir in the cauliflower and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the cauliflower is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over medium. Fry the cashews, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Add the peas and garam masala to the cauliflower mixture and cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

Top the curry with the cashews, cilantro and a squeeze of lemon just before serving. Serve with a big steaming bowl of basmati rice.

Cauliflower Adobo

1 large cauliflower (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper, plus more as needed
3 tablespoons canola oil, plus more as needed
1/2 cup rice-wine vinegar
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons raw or light brown sugar
6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
3 bay leaves
1 Thai chile, halved lengthwise, or 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
3 scallions, thinly sliced, for serving

Trim leaves and woody stalk from the cauliflower, then cut through the root into 8 wedges. Season both sides of each wedge with salt and pepper. Reserve any loose cauliflower pieces.

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Place one layer of the wedges in the skillet cut-side down and cook without moving them until well browned on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and continue until all the cauliflower is seared, adding more oil as needed. Return all the cauliflower to the pan with uncooked side facing down.

Add 1/4 cup water, any loose cauliflower pieces, 2 teaspoons black pepper, rice-wine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, bay leaves and Thai chile. Cover and let simmer over medium heat until the cauliflower is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

Uncover, turn the heat to medium-high, and cook, basting the cauliflower occasionally with the sauce, until the cauliflower is tender and the sauce has thickened and reduced to about 3/4 cup, 8 to 10 minutes.

Serve the cauliflower with plenty of sauce and a sprinkle of scallions.

Tip: If you plan to eat rice with the adobo, bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan before you start the recipe. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup long-grain rice, cover, and let simmer on the lowest heat possible for 18 minutes. Proceed with the adobo. Let the rice sit, covered and off the heat, until the adobo is ready. Fluff rice with a fork before serving.

Southern Macaroni and Cheese

Kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 cups whole milk
2 large eggs
4 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar (about 16 ounces)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
2 cups shredded Colby Jack (about 8 ounces)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook according to package directions until a little under al dente, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a colander and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk milk and eggs. Add cooked macaroni, 2 cups extra-sharp Cheddar, melted butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and stir until well combined.

Add half the macaroni mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups Colby Jack evenly on top. Spread the remaining macaroni mixture on top in an even layer. Cover with aluminum foil, transfer to the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven. Carefully remove and discard the aluminum foil. Top the macaroni mixture with the remaining 2 cups Cheddar and ½ cup Colby Jack. Broil on top rack until cheese is browned in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. (The broiled cheese can go from golden to burnt fairly quickly, so keep a close eye on it.)

Remove from oven and let cool until the macaroni and cheese is fully set, 10 to 15 minutes. (The mixture may first appear jiggly, but it will firm up as it cools.) Serve warm.

Notes: Extra-sharp Cheddar adds tartness and a layer of Colby Jack creates a gooey, molten center. If you can’t find a Colby Jack blend, shredded mozzarella or a Mexican-style blend will work in its place.

Sheet Pan Vinegar Chicken with Olive Dressing

1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
6 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups green Castelvetrano olives, crushed and pitted
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 cup parsley, tender leaves and stems, chopped

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with turmeric and 2 tablespoons olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Make sure chicken is skin-side up, then pour vinegar over and around chicken and place in the oven.

Bake chicken, without flipping, until cooked through and deeply browned all over, 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine olives, garlic, parsley, the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Once chicken is cooked, remove baking sheet from the oven and transfer chicken to a large serving platter, leaving behind any of the juices and bits stuck to the pan.

Make sure the baking sheet is on a sturdy surface (the stovetop, a counter), then pour the olive mixture onto the sheet. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, gently scrape up all the bits the chicken left behind, letting the olive mixture mingle with the rendered fat and get increasingly saucy. Pour olive mixture over the chicken, then serve.

Note: Another viral one from the NYTimes

Creamy Chickpea Pasta with Spinach and Rosemary

Kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)
Black pepper
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 (6-ounce) bag baby spinach
12 ounces spaghetti or bucatini
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
Lemon wedges, for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high.

In a wide, deep skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the chickpeas, rosemary and Aleppo pepper, if using. Season generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until chickpeas start to caramelize at their edges and pop, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer about half the chickpeas to a bowl. Reserve for garnish.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the shallots and garlic to the skillet, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the spinach and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the pasta until a couple minutes short of al dente according to package instructions, about 5 minutes. Do not drain the pasta, but using tongs, transfer the pasta directly from the pot to the spinach and cream sauce. Add 1 cup pasta cooking water and the Parmesan, and cook over medium-high, stirring vigorously with the tongs, until the sauce is thickened and the noodles are al dente, about 2 minutes. Add a splash of pasta water to loosen sauce, if needed.

Transfer to bowls, and top with reserved chickpeas, rosemary and black pepper. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges for squeezing on top.

Note: this went viral from the NYTimes

Pasta with Ricotta and Lemon

Kosher salt
1 pound short, ribbed pasta, like gemelli or penne
1 cup whole-milk ricotta (8 ounces)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino (2 ounces), plus more for serving
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest plus 1/4 cup lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
Black pepper
Red-pepper flakes, for serving
1/4 cup thinly sliced or torn basil leaves, for serving
Optional: To make it more filling, peas, asparagus or spinach (add in the last few minutes of the pasta boiling), or fresh arugula or watercress (stir in with the sauce in Step 3)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.

In the same pot, make the sauce: Add the ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest and juice, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and stir until well combined.

Add 1/2 cup pasta water to the sauce and stir until smooth. Add the pasta and continue to stir vigorously until the noodles are well coated. Add more pasta water as needed for a smooth sauce.

Divide the pasta among bowls and top with some of the sauce that’s pooled at the bottom of the pot. Garnish with grated Parmesan, black pepper, red-pepper flakes and basil, if using.

Turmeric-Coconut Rice with Greens (or Vegetables)

2 cups long-grain rice, such as jasmine or basmati
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tablespoon white or black sesame seeds
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 scallion, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more as needed
1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
Pinch of saffron (optional)
Kosher salt
1 medium bunch kale, spinach or Swiss chard (or anything that steams in 10 minutes, such as frozen peas or edamame, green beans, broccoli, grated carrots or sliced fennel)
1 lime

While a meal all on its own, this rice would also be great accompanied by tofu, white fish, chicken thighs or stewed black beans. Prepared as written, this dish has a relatively pure, mild flavor, so if you want more oomph, add more turmeric and saffron and season with plenty of salt and pepper as you cook.