Matt’s Kimchi

2 large heads napa cabbage (3 1/4 pounds each)—halved, cored and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 head bok choy or 2 heads of baby bok choy, cut into 2-inch pieces
2/3 cup kosher salt
10 garlic cloves, halved
1/2 small onion, chopped
One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1/2 pound daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 bunch scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 bunch carrots, cut into matchsticks
3/4 cup gochugaru (Korean coarse red pepper powder)

In each of 2 very large bowls, layer the cabbage and bok choy with the salt. Let stand for 45 minutes. Toss the cabbage well and let stand for 45 minutes longer.

Fill a sink with cold water. Swirl the cabbage and bok choy in it to remove the salt; drain and repeat. Drain well, lightly pat dry with paper towels and transfer to a very large bowl.

In a mini food processor, combine the garlic, onion, ginger and sugar and puree. Add the fish sauce and process until blended.

Add the daikon, scallions, and carrots to the cabbage and bok choy and toss.

Add the garlic mixture and the red pepper powder and toss thoroughly.

Pack the cabbage into three 1-quart jars. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the kimchi and put the caps on loosely.

Let stand at room temperature for 3 days, until the cabbage is tangy and bubbling.

Store in the refrigerator. The kimchi can be refrigerated for up to 6 months.

Pound Cake with Poached Apricots

Cake:
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups superfine sugar
6 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Apricots:

2/3 cup Grand Marnier
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups dried apricots (about 8 oz.)
1 1½-piece peeled ginger, sliced
Lightly sweetened whipped cream (for serving)

Agrodolce Sauce

2 Fresno chiles, thinly sliced
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons golden raisins, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Bring chiles, vinegar, honey, raisins, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until syrupy, 8–10 minutes.

Just before serving, reheat agrodolce, adding a splash of water if needed to loosen.

This stuff would be great with any roasted vegetable—think cipollini onions and eggplant—and makes a seriously good glaze for grilled pork chops or chicken thighs or wings(!!). A schmear on a sandwich, a drizzle over cut fruit, or a dollop on a cheese plate wouldn’t suck, either.

It’s also fun to treat the agrodolce recipe as a basic formula to be riffed upon. Try swapping out the red wine vinegar for another acid like cider or sherry vinegar, or switching honey for another sweetener; we like the complex dark notes that brown sugar or good maple syrup brings to the table. And the golden raisins? Any dried fruit—chopped apricots, tart cherries, currants—is welcome.

Winter Squash Agrodolce

1 2-pound kabocha squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into 1-inch wedges
2 delicata or dumpling squashes, seeds removed, cut into 1-inch wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 Fresno chiles, thinly sliced
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons golden raisins, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 400°. Place kabocha and delicata squash on separate large rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until squashes are golden brown and tender, 30–35 minutes for kabocha and 20–25 minutes for delicata.

Meanwhile, bring chiles, vinegar, honey, raisins, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until syrupy, 8–10 minutes.

Brush half of warm agrodolce over warm squash. Transfer to a platter.
Just before serving, reheat remaining agrodolce, adding a splash of water if needed to loosen. Spoon over squash.

Do Ahead: Dish can be made 3 hours ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

Apple-Fennel Salad with Walnuts

3 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large fennel bulbs, thinly sliced on a mandoline
2 Granny Smith apples, halved and cored, thinly sliced on a mandoline
1/3 cup fennel fronds or roughly chopped parsley leaves
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
2 1/2 ounces Parmesan, shaved with a vegetable peeler (about 2/3 cup)

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in oil, continuously whisking, until dressing is emulsified. Taste and add more lemon juice and/or salt if needed.

In a large bowl, toss the dressing with fennel, apple and celery. Fold in fennel fronds or parsley and walnuts. Top with Parmesan just before serving.

Red Wine Cranberry Sauce

2 (12-ounce) packages fresh cranberries (6 cups)
1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup dry red wine
3 tablespoons honey
4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices fresh gingerroot, smashed
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a medium pot over medium heat, combine the cranberries, sugar, red wine, 1/2 cup water, honey, ginger and salt. Simmer gently until most of the cranberries have popped and the sauce is thick and syrupy, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the black pepper. Chill thoroughly before serving.

Sweet Potato and Gruyere Gratin

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, for pan and foil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
3 cups heavy cream (or half-and-half)
3 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
4 fat cloves garlic, grated or minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 large or 5 medium), peeled
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 2/3 cups/6 1/2 ounces grated Gruyère
1/2 cup grated parmesan

Heat oven to 400 degrees and generously butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or shallow gratin dish. Butter a piece of foil large enough to cover top of pan. Sprinkle Parmesan all over bottom of pan.

In a medium pot, bring cream, sage, rosemary, garlic, nutmeg and a pinch of salt to a simmer. Simmer until reduced by 1/4, about 10 minutes.

In a large, heatproof bowl, whisk eggs just enough to break them up. Slowly pour hot cream into eggs to combine, whisking while pouring, and reserve the mixture.

Meanwhile, using a mandoline or sharp knife, slice the potatoes into 1/8-inch-thick rounds.

Place 1 layer of potatoes in the pan, slightly overlapping as you go, using about a third of the slices. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste, then pour 1/3 of the egg mixture over potatoes. Top with 1/2 cup Gruyère.

Repeat with another layer of potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, pepper and 1/3 egg mixture. Top with 1/2 cup Gruyère.

Top with remaining potatoes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and remaining egg mixture (but not the remaining cheese). Press down to compact the potatoes.

Cover with foil and bake until potatoes are tender, about 40 minutes, then remove foil, sprinkle top with remaining 2/3 cup Gruyère and parmesan and bake until browned and bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, then serve.