Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

1 pound orecchiette
4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
3 cups cheddar cheese, grated

In a large pot, bring the orecchiette, milk, salt and pepper to a boil over medium-high heat.

Boil, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and thickened to a sauce-like consistency and the pasta is tender, 14 to 16 minutes. (Note: The pasta takes longer to cook than the package recommends because you’re starting with cold milk rather than boiling water.)

Stir in the butter, cream cheese and cheddar cheese, mixing until they are melted and incorporated. (As you stir, the sauce will become creamier.) Spoon into bowls and serve immediately.

Shish Barak (Lebanese Lamb Dumplings)

Makes about 40

For the filling:

1 pound ground lamb
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon harissa
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Make the filling by mixing and kneading the ground lamb meat with the rest of the filling ingredients. Mix well to amalgamate and leave refrigerated for at least a couple hours and up to overnight.

For the dough and the dressing:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup hot water
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dried mint
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, optional
1 cup thick yogurt (labneh or Fage)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

To make the dough, place the flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the salt, olive oil, and water into the well. Using a fork, beat the flour into the dough, switching to kneading with your hands once the dough thickens. Knead the dough on a smooth surface until the dough is very smooth and elastic. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest about 20 minutes.

To make the dumplings, roll 1/4 of the dough out on a flat surface. Roll out to about 1/16-inch thin, then cut into circles using a ravioli stamp or biscuit cutter.

Place a small ball of lamb filling in the center of the dough and fold into a crescent moon shape pinching hard all around the edge to seal. Pinch together the two tips and place on a lightly-floured sheet tray or flat plate.

To cook: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. In a nearby skillet, melt the butter with the dried mint and Aleppo pepper, if using. When the water boils, fill a large serving bowl with a ladleful of the cooking water to warm the bowl. Swish the water around and dump all but about 1/4 cup. Whisk the yogurt in the water, thinning it out and warming it.

Boil the dumplings in the water; once they float to the top, let them bob for 3 to 4 minutes (check one for doneness), then place them in the warm bowl with the yogurt. Swirl to coat and then drizzle the butter all over and sprinkle the pine nuts on top. Serve and eat immediately.

Chicken and Cabbage Salad with Scallions

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 whole chicken, about 3 lbs, cooked and shredded
1 head cabbage, about 2.5 lbs
1/2 cup neutral oil such as canola or grapeseed
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup sesame seeds
6 scallions, thinly sliced

Cut the cabbage into quarters through the core. Thinly slice it, discarding the core. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Fill bowl with cold water and jostle the cabbage with your hands. Drain into a large colander. Don’t worry about drying the cabbage.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: Whisk together the neutral oil, sesame oil, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, and remaining teaspoon kosher salt. In a large bowl, place the cabbage, pulled meat, almonds, sesame seeds, and scallions. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Serve.

Ricotta Turnovers

1 sheet ready-made puff pastry (about 230 grams or 8 ounces of pastry)
7 ounces (200 grams) ricotta
1/3 cup (65 grams) sugar
1 egg, separated (save the white for brushing the tops)
Grated zest of 1 lemon or orange
1 splash rum (optional)
2 tablespoons (30 grams) candied orange, finely chopped (see note for substitutions)
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Heat oven to 180°C/350°F.

Roll out the puff pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and with a sharp knife divide the dough into 12 even squares.

In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the ricotta, sugar, egg yolk (save the white for later), zest, rum (if using), and candied orange until smooth. Use a fork or a spoon.

Place about 1 heaped tablespoon of the ricotta mixture on the bottom corner of every square (not too close to the edges), then brush the rest of the surface of the pastry with the leftover egg white. Immediately fold over the opposite top corner to create triangles encasing the ricotta filling. Press the edges firmly down with fingers or with the tines of a fork.

Bake 15 minutes or until the pastries are puffed and golden.

Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Dark Hot Cocoa

3 ounces dark chocolate (70% or higher), chopped
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup whole milk
Pinch salt

Place the dark chocolate and cocoa powder in a heat safe bowl or liquid measuring cup. Bring the sweetened condensed milk and milk to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Pour the hot milk mixture over the dark chocolate and let sit for 15 seconds. Whisk the mixture until the chocolate is fully melted and the cocoa is smooth (if you whisk vigorously, the mixture will get frothy—if you mix slowly, it will stay smoother). Season with salt and cayenne, if using. Pour into a mug and drink warm.

White Chocolate Hot Cocoa

3 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Fresh grated nutmeg, to taste (optional) Place the white chocolate in a heat safe bowl or liquid measuring cup. Bring the milk, cream, and nutmeg if using, to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Pour the hot milk over the white chocolate and let sit for 15 seconds. Whisk the mixture until the chocolate is fully melted and the cocoa is smooth (if you whisk vigorously, the mixture will get frothy and if you mix slowly, it will stay smoother). Pour into a mug and drink warm.

Turmeric Tea

1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried turmeric (or a 1/2-inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled and grated)
1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 cardamom pod
1 cinnamon stick
3 black peppercorns
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 cup milk (or nut milk)
1 black tea bag

In a small pan over low heat, add the water, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns and honey. Bring to a simmer, then pour in milk, and add the tea bag. When milk is steaming, use a spoon to taste, and add more honey if you like. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer right into a cup, and drink while hot.