Ginger Beef with Peppers and Bok Choy

1 lb (450 g) flank steak cut to 1/2-inch thick strips
1/3 cup cornstarch

Marinade
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon ginger, finely grated
1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Sauce
1/3 cup broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable)
3 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cumin powder
1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Beef and stir-fry
1/3 cup peanut oil
3 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 thumb ginger, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
2 baby bok choy, quartered

Beat the egg in a medium-sized bowl. Add the sliced beef, vegetable oil, and salt. Mix well and let marinate for 15 to 20 minutes while preparing the other ingredients.

Combine everything for the sauce in a big bowl and mix well.

When you’re ready to cook, add the cornstarch. Stir to coat the beef, until it forms an uneven coating with a little dry cornstarch left unattached.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet (or a cast iron paover medium-high heat until hot. Add the beef and spread it into a single layer in the skillet. Separate the beef pieces with a pair of tongs or chopsticks.

Cook without touching the beef for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bottom turns golden. Flip to brown the other side, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the beef to a big plate and remove the pan from the stove. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes.

Place the pan back onto the stove and turn to medium heat. You should still have 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan. If not, add more.

Add the green onion, ginger, and garlic. Stir a few times to release the fragrance.
Add the bell pepper and baby bok choy. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

Stir the sauce again to dissolve the cornstarch completely. Pour into the pan. Stir and cook until it thickens a bit.
Add back the beef pieces. Stir to coat the beef with sauce.

Transfer everything to a plate immediately and garnish with roasted sesame seeds, if using.

Serve hot over steamed rice as a main dish.

Pasta with Sausage, Basil and Mustard

1 pound penne, rigatoni or medium shells
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 hot Italian sausages, meat removed from casings and crumbled (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons grainy mustard
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 cup thinly sliced basil

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente; drain.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the sausage meat and brown over moderately high heat, about 5 minutes.

Add the wine and simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Add the cream, mustard and crushed red pepper and simmer for 2 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat, add the pasta and basil and toss to coat. Serve at once.

Calabrian Carbonara with ‘Nduja

6 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
1 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces ‘nduja (see Note)
Kosher salt
Pepper
Dried oregano, for sprinkling

In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks with the whole egg and the 1/2 cup of grated cheese.

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the ‘nduja and cook over moderate heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the fat is rendered, 3 to 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss the hot pasta with the ‘nduja. Add the egg mixture and the reserved pasta cooking water and toss aggressively until the pasta is coated in a creamy sauce, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to shallow bowls or a platter and sprinkle with dried oregano. Serve, passing more cheese at the table.

Oven Fries with Roasted Garlic

3 large Yukon Gold potatoes (1 3/4 pounds), halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
8 unpeeled garlic cloves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1/4 cup parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 425°.

On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes and garlic cloves with the olive oil. Spread the potatoes in an even layer, cut sides down. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the chopped thyme.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned on the bottom and very crisp.

Peel the garlic cloves. Transfer the potatoes and garlic to a platter, sprinkle with the parsley leaves and serve.

Potatoes Spiced with Panch Phoron (Aloo Bhaji)

1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon panch phoron (see Note) or 1/4 teaspoon each of fennel, cumin, fenugreek and mustard seeds
2 dried red chiles
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch matchsticks
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt

In a medium skillet, heat the oil. Add the panch phoron, cover and cook over high heat until the spices crackle, about 20 seconds.

Add the dried chiles and cook, shaking the pan, for 20 seconds longer.

Add the potatoes and cook, stirring, just until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes.

Add the turmeric and season with salt.

Cover tightly and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked through and lightly browned, about 15 minutes longer. Serve immediately.

Tartiflette (Warm Potatoes with Onions, Bacon and Cheese)

4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
Salt
1/4 pound thickly sliced bacon, cut crosswise into strips
2 large onions, finely chopped
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
One chilled 5-ounce whole Reblochon or Pont-l’Évêque cheese, rind removed, cheese halved horizontally

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Salt the water and cook the potatoes until tender, about 12 minutes; drain well.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over low heat, stirring, until crisp, about 7 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 12 minutes. Add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Place the 2 cheese halves on the bottom of a roasting pan and spoon the potatoes and onions on top. Pour the wine into the pan and bake for 12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Using 2 metal spatulas, gently stir the potatoes to coat with melted cheese, sprinkle with pepper and serve at once.

Note: In the French Alps, cooks garnish this hearty side dish, known as tartiflette, with thin slices of the local Reblochon cheese. Any leftovers make a great omelet filling.

Lemon-Salt Roasted Potatoes

2 large sage leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a mini food processor, pulse the sage, rosemary and thyme until finely chopped. Add the lemon zest and pulse to blend. Add the salt and pulse until finely ground. Transfer the herb salt to a small bowl.

In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the oil and butter and season with pepper. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on 2 large rimmed baking sheets and roast for 25 minutes. Season the potatoes generously with the herb salt, toss well and continue baking for 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and golden. Transfer to a bowl and serve hot or warm.

Scalloped Potatoes with Asiago and Sage

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese (about 3 ounces), preferably aged
1 cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh sage leaves
2 1/2 pounds medium Idaho potatoes, peeled and sliced lengthwise 1/8 inch thick

Preheat the oven to 400°. Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan. Add the onions and cook over high heat, stirring, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves, nutmeg, 1 tablespoon coarse salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Add the heavy cream and milk and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, toss the cheese with the bread crumbs, olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon of the sage, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

In a medium bowl, toss the cheese with the bread crumbs, olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon of the sage, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Remove the bay leaves from the onion mixture and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons sage. Put the sliced potatoes in a large bowl, add the onion mixture and toss gently. Spread half of the potatoes and liquid in a 2-quart nonreactive baking dish and sprinkle 2/3 cup of the cheese bread crumbs over the top. Cover with the remaining potatoes and press firmly to pack them down. Spoon the remaining liquid over the potatoes and cover with the remaining bread crumbs.

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour, or until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden; if they brown too quickly, loosely cover the dish with foil.

The potatoes can be baked up to 5 hours ahead; let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in the oven before serving.

Herbed Potato Gratin with Garlic and Manchego

Ingredients

3 heads of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 quart half-and-half
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper
5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
9 ounces aged Manchego cheese, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
5 ounces San Simón or smoked Gouda cheese, shredded (1 cup)

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a 9-inch cake pan, drizzle the garlic with the oil. Cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes, until tender. Let cool, then squeeze out the cloves.

Mash the garlic to a paste and transfer to a saucepan. Add the half-and-half, thyme and rosemary and bring to a boil. Simmer over very low heat until reduced to 3 cups, 20 minutes; season with salt and pepper.

Arrange one-fourth of the potatoes in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with one-fourth of the shredded cheeses and drizzle lightly with the garlic cream. Repeat the layering with the remaining potatoes, cheese and cream. Pour any remaining cream on top and press the top layer of potatoes to submerge it.

Bake the gratin for about 1 1/2 hours, until golden and bubbling. Let cool for 20 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

The gratin can be prepared through Step 3; refrigerate overnight. Return to room temperature before baking.