Butternut Squash and Green Curry Soup

4 tablespoons coconut oil or neutral-tasting oil
3 medium shallots, diced
1 (2-inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lemongrass stalk, cut into 3-inch pieces
Kosher salt
2 medium butternut squashes (about 4 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into about 3/4-inch cubes
2 (13 1/2-ounce) cans coconut milk
6 to 8 tablespoons Thai green curry paste, or to taste
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 to 4 cups water or chicken stock, preferably homemade

Miang kham topping to garnish (see related recipe)

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Melt oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add shallots, ginger, lemongrass and a generous pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are tender and just starting to brown, about 18 minutes.

Add squash, coconut milk, curry paste, 3 tablespoons fish sauce and 3 cups water or stock. Increase heat to high. When liquid comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook the soup covered until squash is tender, about 25 minutes.

Remove soup from heat. Remove lemongrass stalks from pot. Use a hand blender to purée soup. Alternatively, transfer soup in batches to a blender or food processor and purée. Taste and adjust for salt and curry paste. Add water or stock to thin soup to the desired consistency.

Serve soup hot with garnishes.

Miang Kham Topping

3/4 cup raw peanuts
3/4 cup unsweetened raw coconut flakes
2 tablespoons fish sauce
8 small dried red chiles, such as Japones or chiles de árbol, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon neutral-tasting or melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon minced lemongrass
1 teaspoon sugar
10 lime leaves, thinly sliced (optional)
Handful of Thai or Italian basil leaves
2 to 3 limes, quartered

In a medium mixing bowl, toss together peanuts, coconut flakes, fish sauce, chiles, 1 tablespoon oil, the minced lemongrass, the sugar and the lime leaves, if using.

Spread mixture out onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes after the first 10 minutes. Remove from oven when coconut is deep golden brown, and pour mixture immediately into a bowl to prevent overcooking. Stir to combine.

Thinly slice the basil leaves and arrange on a small plate or platter, along with lime wedges and peanut mixture. Use as a topping for soups (see butternut squash soup recipe) or other Thai dishes.

One-Bowl Skyr Cheesecake

8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup (133 grams) plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
2 cups (16 ounces/453 grams) plain low-fat skyr (Icelandic yogurt), at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with foil and place it on a large, rimmed baking sheet.

In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer (or in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat the cream cheese on medium speed until very smooth, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer, add 2/3 cup of the sugar and beat, starting on medium-low speed and increasing to medium-high until incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then add the skyr, vanilla and lemon zest and beat on medium until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl between additions, and beat until well combined.

Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 15 minutes, then, keeping the cake in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees and bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour 5 minutes, or until the cake is just set but still jiggles a little in the middle. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour. Then, keeping the cake in the pan, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

When ready to serve, in a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar and the lemon juice. Run a butter knife around the edge of the pan before unmolding. Serve each slice of cheesecake topped with a mound of the strawberries.

Almond Cake With Cardamom and Pistachio

1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus additional for pan
7 large eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon almond extract
4 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon/420 grams almond flour (see tip)
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 to 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
3 to 4 tablespoons finely chopped pistachio nuts, for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9-inch round or square pan and set aside. Using a stand mixer, whisk egg whites until stiff but not dry, and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar, and whisk to blend. Whisk in almond extract and oil. Add almond flour and cardamom. Gently stir a third of the whites into the batter, then gently fold in the rest until just incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and finish cooling on a rack.

To decorate, dust with confectioners’ sugar and chopped pistachios.

Tip
If you want to grind your own almond flour, start with 3 cups nuts. Using a large food processor, pulse almonds until very finely ground, stirring once or twice to prevent them from turning into a paste.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Pistachio Pesto

FOR THE CAULIFLOWER:
1 head cauliflower, preferably orange (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 small yellow onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick lengthwise
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of black pepper

FOR THE PESTO:
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro and flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup raw shelled pistachios
1 garlic clove, sliced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of black pepper

Make the cauliflower: Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat oven to 400 degrees. Trim the cauliflower, making sure the stem is cut flush with the head so it sits flat. Heat a 10-inch cast-iron or other heavy ovenproof skillet on the stove over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil, the onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until translucent and turning golden on the edges, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup water and remove from the heat.

Rub the cauliflower with the remaining tablespoon oil then with the pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Clear the center of the skillet and place the cauliflower in it. Cover the pan tightly with foil and place in the center of the oven. Bake until a paring knife meets no resistance when inserted into the cauliflower, 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the pesto: Reserve a bit of lemon zest for garnish. Place the rest in a food processor, along with the herbs, oil, pistachios, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse until well combined.

Turn oven to 450 degrees on the regular setting or, if you have a convection option, 425 degrees. Uncover the cauliflower and baste with some of the pan juices. Cook, basting occasionally and adding 1/4 cup of water to the pan if it threatens to dry out, until nicely browned, 20 to 30 minutes more. Spoon the pesto over top, sprinkle with reserved lemon zest and more herbs, and serve.

Pressure Cooker Sambar

FIRST COOKING CYCLE FOR SAMBAR
1/2 cup Toor Dal
2.5 cups Water
1 cup Canned Tomatoes
1 Onion roughly chopped
1.5 tablespoons Sugar Or Other Sweetener Equivalent or jaggery
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon Turmeric
.5-1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 tablespoon Sambhar powder

SECOND COOKING CYCLE FOR SAMBAR
1 tablespoon Tamarind Concentrate
2 cups Water
1/2 cup Frozen Pearl Onions
1/2 cup green beans cut 2 inches long
Other vegetables of choice (see note)

FOR TADKA
2 teaspoon Ghee or oil for vegan option
1 teaspoon Black Mustard Seeds
2 whole Dried Red Chilis
4-5 curry leaves

GARNISH
2 tablespoons Cilantro finely chopped

FIRST COOKING CYCLE

Add dal, water, tomatoes, chopped onion, sugar, salt, turmeric, cayenne and sambhar spice blend to the inner liner of your Instant Pot.

Cook for 10 minutes at high pressure. Allow the pot to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes, and then release all remaining pressure.

Using an immersion blender, blend together the dal and vegetables. You are doing this to create a flavorful mix and to keep the dal from settling to the bottom in what will be a relatively thin broth.

SECOND COOKING CYCLE:
To the blended dal mixture, add 2 cups water, the tamarind concentrate, and the frozen vegetables.

Cook for 2 minutes at high pressure and then immediately release all remaining pressure.

On the stovetop in a small pan (preferably a tadka ladle), heat 1 tablespoon of ghee. When it is hot, add mustard seeds, the whole red chilies, and the curry leaves. Stand back and allow the mustard seeds to splutter about 30 seconds.
Pour this hot, flavored ghee onto the sambhar, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

Notes: You can use other vegetables such as diced pumpkin, chopped eggplant, or whole okra as well

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Chicken Breasts

4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons minced fresh chives

Place chicken breasts between two sheets of parchment or plastic wrap. Using a mallet or rolling pin, pound each to an even thickness of 1/2 inch. Do not make them any thinner or they could dry out.

In a small bowl, combine sugar, coriander, salt, mustard powder and cayenne. Place chicken breasts in a bowl and rub well with spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.

Remove chicken from fridge while you heat the grill.

Light the grill, building a hot fire, or heat your gas grill to high. Once grill is fully heated, brush breasts lightly with olive oil and place chicken on the grill. Cook until undersides are browned and chicken is about halfway cooked, 3 to 5 minutes.

Flip breasts and grill until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes more.
Transfer chicken to a platter.

In a small bowl, whisk together mustard and chives. Whisk in 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Serve chicken with mustard for dipping.

Miso-Glazed Fish (or Tofu)

1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup sake
3 tablespoons white or yellow miso paste
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
4 salmon, trout, Arctic char, mahi mahi or black cod fillets

Combine the mirin and sake in the smallest saucepan you have and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 20 seconds, taking care not to boil off much of the liquid, then turn the heat to low and stir in the miso and the sugar. Whisk over medium heat without letting the mixture boil until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sesame oil. Allow to cool. Transfer to a wide glass or stainless steel bowl or baking dish.

Pat the fish fillets dry and brush or rub on both sides with the marinade, then place them in the baking dish and turn them over a few times in the marinade remaining in the dish. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for 2 to 3 hours, or for up to a day.

Light the broiler or prepare a grill. Line a sheet pan with foil and oil the foil. Tap each fillet against the sides of the bowl or dish so excess marinade will slide off. Place skin side up on the baking sheet if broiling.

Place the fish skin side down on the grill, or skin side up under the broiler, about 6 inches from the heat. Broil or grill for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until the surface browns and blackens in spots. If necessary (this will depend on the thickness of the fillets) finish in a 400-degree oven, for about 5 minutes, until the fish is opaque and can be pulled apart easily with a fork.

Tips
For a vegetarian version of this dish, substitute tofu, sliced about 2/3 inch thick, for the fish.
Advance preparation: You can prepare the fish 12 hours before cooking.

Extra Creamy Scrambled Eggs

2 teaspoons potato starch, tapioca starch or cornstarch
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
4 eggs (see Note)
Pinch of kosher salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together starch with 1 1/2 tablespoons water until no lumps remain. Add half the butter cubes to starch mixture. Add eggs and salt, and whisk, breaking up any cubes of butter that have stuck together, until the eggs are frothy and homogenous. (There will still be solid chunks of butter in the eggs.)

Set your serving plate near the stovetop. Heat 1 tablespoon water in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, swirling gently until the water evaporates, leaving behind only a few small droplets. Immediately add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and swirl vigorously until the butter is mostly melted and foamy but not brown, about 10 seconds.

Immediately add the egg mixture and cook, pushing and folding the eggs with a spatula, until they are slightly less cooked than you’d like them, about 1 to 2 minutes, depending on doneness. More vigorous stirring will result in finer, softer curds, while more leisurely stirring will result in larger, fluffier curds. Immediately transfer to the serving plate, and serve.

Tip:
If cooking fewer eggs or more, adjust pan size accordingly, and note that cooking time in Step 3 can vary significantly, needing as little as 15 to 30 seconds for 2 eggs, or as long as 3 to 4 minutes for 8 eggs.

Shrimp Etouffee

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon hot sauce, or to taste
1 dried bay leaf
2 teaspoons store-bought or homemade Creole seasoning (see Tip)
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 scallion, green parts chopped
White rice, for serving

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery and bell pepper, and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 more minute.

Sprinkle the flour over the ingredients and stir constantly until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, and stir and cook for 1 more minute.

Pour in the stock and 3/4 cup water. Cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the hot sauce, bay leaf, Creole seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, and cook until the mixture starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the shrimp and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the shrimp is cooked through and opaque, about 5 minutes, turning each piece halfway through. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle the scallions on top. Serve warm over rice.

Tip:
To make your own Creole seasoning, combine 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon chile powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less, if desired), 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl and stir together. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Sheet Pan Sausage with Pineapple and Ginger

2 cups pineapple chunks, in 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger (from 1 1/2-inch piece)
4 teaspoons finely grated lime zest (from 1 to 2 limes)
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced into half-moons
1 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage
1/2 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped

FOR THE GINGER-LIME VINAIGRETTE:
1 tablespoon lime juice, plus more to taste
1 small garlic clove, finely grated or minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated or minced
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Heat oven to 450 degrees and, if you like, line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, toss together pineapple, sugar, oil, ginger, lime zest, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, allspice and cayenne until well combined.
Stir in three-quarters of the onions. (Reserve remaining onions for serving.)

Spread pineapple mixture onto the sheet pan in one layer. Nestle sausages among the pineapple mixture. Roast until fruit is caramelized and sausages are browned and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Halfway through baking, flip the sausages and toss the pineapple mixture.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine lime juice, garlic, ginger and a big pinch each of salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in oil. Taste and season with more salt and lime juice if you’d like.

Pull the pan out of the oven, drizzle vinaigrette over sausages and pineapple, and toss gently to combine. Garnish with reserved onion and cilantro, and serve.

Sheet Pan Roasted Fish with Sweet Peppers

1 small bunch lemon thyme or regular thyme
1 1/2 pounds hake fillets
Fine sea salt and black pepper
3 large bell peppers, preferably 1 red, 1 orange and 1 yellow, thinly sliced
4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/4 cup pitted, sliced black or green olives, or a combination
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar, plus more to taste
1 garlic clove, grated
1 cup loosely packed Italian parsley leaves, chopped

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Pull 1 tablespoon thyme leaves off the bunch and finely chop.

Season fish all over with a large pinch or two of salt and pepper and rub with chopped thyme leaves. Let rest at room temperature while you prepare peppers.

Spread peppers on a rimmed sheet pan, and toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the black pepper to taste. Top peppers with the remaining thyme sprigs. Roast, tossing occasionally, until peppers are softened and golden at the edges, 15 to 20 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Push peppers to the edges of the pan, clearing a space in the center. Lay fish out on that empty space and drizzle with oil. Scatter olives over the top of fish and peppers. Roast until fish turns opaque and is just cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make a vinaigrette by combining vinegar, garlic and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, then whisk in parsley. Taste and add more salt or vinegar, or both, if needed. Serve fish and peppers drizzled with vinaigrette.

Stir Fried Sprouts

SAUCE
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 teaspoons black vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sugar or honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

STIR FRY
1 tablespoon vegetable or coconut oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
2-3 fresh bird’s eye chilis, finely chopped (sweet pepper can be substituted for a less spicy dish)
3 scallions, chopped
1/2 pound fresh mung bean sprouts

Combine the ingredients for the sauce. Stir and set aside.

Heat a wok over high heat, then add oil. Stir in garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant; be careful not to let it burn. Add mung beans then most of the scallions and fresh chili, reserving a small amount of each for garnish.

Stir fry the sprouts until they start to become slightly limp, then add sauce while tossing everything together. Plate, top with scallions and fresh chili pepper, and serve.

Note: you can add to this for a more substantial meal. Eggs, shrimp, and rice noodles are all excellent additions.

Fire Cider

4 cups horseradish root, grated
2 cups ginger root, grated
4 ounces turmeric root, peeled and finely diced
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 orange, thinly sliced with peel
1 lemon, thinly sliced with peel
16 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 habanero peppers
1/2 cup parsley sprigs
4 rosemary sprigs
2 thyme sprigs
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
4 cinnamon sticks
2 quarts raw apple cider vinegar (at least 5% acidity)
1/2 cup raw honey (or more, to taste)
4 one quart jars with lids
parchment paper

Wash and peel horseradish, ginger, and turmeric. Separately grate the horseradish and ginger roots by hand or in a food processor. Finely chop the turmeric and peeled garlic cloves. Roughly chop the onion. Thinly slice orange and lemon. Halve the Habanero peppers and remove seeds.

As you prepare the ingredients, layer equal portions into 4 one-quart jars along with sprigs of parsley, rosemary, and thyme/mint. Pour the raw apple cider vinegar in over the contents, allowing it to settle in through the crevices. Add more until all the contents are entirely submerged. (This may require more than the 2 quarts listed above.)

Place 2 layers of parchment paper over the rim of the jar, then screw the lid tightly in place. Store the mixture in a dark, cool place and allow it to marry and infuse for 4 weeks, shaking once daily. After 2 weeks, open jars and replace parchment paper. Reseal and continue to age and marinate the mixture.

After 4 weeks, pour the contents into a muslin- or cheesecloth-lined colander positioned over a stable pot. Let it drain for 30 minutes, then gather the corners of cloth and twist and squeeze until all liquid is released. When fully strained, add honey to taste and pour into sterilized bottles or jars. May store in darkened area or refrigerator up to a year. Shake well before using.

Note: fans of the popular herbal folk remedy usually drink 1-2 tablespoons of fire cider daily, but it can also stand-in as a spicy alternative for regular vinegar in salad dressings and sauces.