Cilantro-Mint Chutney

2 cups loosely-packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup loosely-packed fresh mint leaves
1 jalapeno pepper seeded
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
3 to 4 cloves garlic peeled
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 – 2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pureé until smooth. Taste for seasonings and add more salt if desired.

Matzo Ball Soup

For the soup

1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds)
2 large onions (whole, unpeeled)
4 parsnips
2 stalks celery
6 carrots
6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
6 tablespoons snipped dill, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Put the chicken and enough water to cover by two inches (about 4 quarts) in a large pot and bring the water to a boil. Skim off the froth as it rises to the top.

Add the onions, parsnips, celery, carrots, parsley, 4 tablespoons of the dill, and the salt and pepper. Half-cover and simmer for at least an hour and up to 2 hours, adjusting the seasoning to taste.

Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours or overnight so the liquid solidifies. When the fat rises to the top, skim it off and reserve for the matzo balls.

For the matzo balls

4 large eggs
4 tablespoons schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) or vegetable oil
4 tablespoons chicken stock
1 cup matzo meal
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, dill, or cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Using a spoon, gently mix the eggs, schmaltz, stock, matzo meal, nutmeg, ginger, and parsley, dill, or cilantro in a large bowl. Season with salt and 2 to 3 grinds of pepper. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least an hour or overnight.

To shape and cook the matzo balls, bring a wide, deep pot of lightly salted water to a boil. With wet hands, take some of the mix and mold it into the size and shape of a golf ball. Gently drop it into the boiling water, repeating until all the mix is used. Cover the pan, reducing heat to a lively simmer.

Cook for about 20 minutes for al dente matzo balls, or closer to 45 for lighter matzo balls. To test their readiness, remove one with a slotted spoon and cut in half. The matzo ball should be the same color and texture throughout.

Strain the soup. Set aside the chicken for chicken salad and discard the vegetables.

Just before serving, reheat the soup. Spoon a matzo ball into each bowl, pour soup over each matzo ball, and sprinkle with the remaining snipped dill.

Blender Tomato Soup

1/3 cup olive oil
1 clove ga1/2 cup chopped onion
1 slice white or whole-wheat bread (crusts removed), torn into 1-inch pieces
28 ounces canned, no-salt-added whole peeled tomatoes, plus their juices
1 cup no-salt-added vegetable broth
1 teaspoon seasoning blend, such as Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the oil, garlic, onion, bread pieces, the tomatoes and their juices, the broth and seasoning blend in a blender; begin to blend on low, then gradually increase to high until pureed and smooth.

Pour into a medium saucepan; cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring a few times. Taste, and season with salt and pepper, as needed.

Serve warm.

Meatballs and Sauce

FOR THE MEATBALLS
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for your hands
1 small onion, cut into small dice
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
8 slices white/country bread, preferably crusts removed, torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup whole or low-fat milk
2 pounds ground veal
2 pounds 80/20 ground beef
1 pound ground pork shoulder (butt)
8 ounces finely chopped or ground prosciutto
1 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese, preferably homemade (see related recipe)
6 large eggs
2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 1/2 cups finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 cups “00” flour, for dusting

FOR THE SAUCE
28 ounces canned whole San Marzano tomatoes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
A few fresh basil leaves (optional)

For the meatballs: Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the onion, garlic, dried oregano and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook just until the onion and garlic have softened but not browned; transfer to a very large mixing bowl.

Combine the bread pieces and milk in a medium bowl; let the mixture sit for a few minutes so the milk is completely absorbed.

Add to the large bowl the ground veal, ground beef, ground pork shoulder, prosciutto, pecorino-Romano, ricotta, eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley, kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper and the soaked bread pieces; use your clean hands to blend the mixture until well incorporated.

Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 450 degrees. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the “00” flour in a wide, shallow bowl.

Grease your hands with a little oil. Form the meatball mixture into 65 meatballs of equal size (shell-on walnuts). Coat each one lightly with “00” flour, dividing them between two parchment-paper-lined rimmed baking sheets. Roast on the upper and lower racks for 10 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through, until the meatballs are browned and cooked through. Discard any remaining flour.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: Use a food mill to puree the tomatoes. Discard the seeds; reserve the can juices for another use, if desired.

Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the garlic, dried oregano, crushed red pepper flakes and dried oregano. Cook just until the garlic starts to brown, then stir in the tomato puree. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, then taste, and season lightly with kosher or sea salt and cracked black pepper. Stir in 6 to 8 basil leaves, if desired. Turn off the heat. Transfer 30 of the meatballs to the saucepan, turning them until coated. Cool and reserve the remaining meatballs for another use.

Steak au Poivre

4 (6- to 8-ounce; 170 to 225g) boneless medallion steaks, such as filet mignon
Kosher salt
1 ounce (30g) whole black peppercorns, plus more as needed, divided
3 tablespoons (45ml) vegetable oil
1 tablespoon (15g) unsalted butter
2 thyme sprigs
1 medium clove garlic
1/2 large shallot (about 1 1/2 ounces; 40g), minced
2 tablespoons (30ml) brandy or cognac
3/4 cup (175ml) homemade chicken stock or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup (175ml) heavy cream or 6 tablespoons (90ml) crème fraîche (see note)
1 teaspoon (5ml) Dijon mustard

Season steaks all over with kosher salt. Set on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and allow to air-dry, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, crack peppercorns into rough halves and quarters. You can use a pepper mill set to its coarsest setting (though not all pepper mills will crack coarsely enough); a mortar and pestle (though some peppercorns will jump out as you try to crush them); or, perhaps best, a large mallet, meat pounder, or skillet to crush them (wrap the peppercorns in a clean kitchen towel first to contain them).

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Spread cracked peppercorns on a plate or in another shallow dish and firmly press one side of each steak into the pepper to encrust it in an even layer. Set each steak aside, peppercorn side up. Reserve any remaining cracked peppercorns. (Exactly how much pepper adheres will depend on the dimensions of the steaks. You should have some pepper remaining, but if not, you can crack more to completely coat one side of each steak.)

In a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add steaks, peppercorn side down, and cook until peppercorns are well toasted, about 3 minutes. Carefully turn steaks, trying not to break the peppercorn crust. Add butter, thyme, and garlic and cook, basting steaks with a spoon, until steaks are well seared on the second side. Remove from heat.

Transfer steaks to a rimmed baking sheet. Using an instant-read thermometer, check the internal temperature of the steaks; if they’ve reached 125°F (52°C), they’re ready to be served medium-rare. If they haven’t reached their final doneness temperature (which will depend heavily on the dimensions of the steaks), transfer to oven and continue cooking until the correct internal temperature is reached. Either way, allow steaks to rest for 5 minutes once the final doneness temperature is reached.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from skillet and discard garlic and thyme. Add shallot and any reserved cracked peppercorns, return to medium heat, and cook, stirring, until shallot is tender, about 2 minutes.

Add brandy or cognac. (To prevent an unexpected flare-up if working over gas, you can turn off the burner, add the alcohol, then reignite the burner.) Cook until raw alcohol smell has burned off and brandy has almost completely evaporated.

Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer, stirring and scraping up any browned bits. Whisk in cream or crème fraîche, then simmer, stirring often, until sauce has reduced enough to glaze a spoon. Whisk in mustard. Season with salt.

Arrange steaks on plates and pour sauce on top. Serve with French fries, mashed potatoes, or other sides of your liking.

Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian Spiced Butter)

1 pound of unsalted butter
1 small onion, minced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
2 inches of ginger, peeled and sliced thin
2 3-inch sticks of cinnamon, or 1 teaspoon ground
8 crushed cardamom pods, or 1/2 teaspoon ground
1 teaspoon of fenugreek, whole or ground
1 teaspoon of coriander, whole or ground
2 cloves, or 1/8 teaspoon ground
2 bay leaves

In a saucepan, slowly melt the butter on low heat. Meanwhile, toast the spices. If grinding, toast beforehand.

Add all the spices to the butter, and reduce the heat to a bare simmer. Keep an eye on the pot every few minutes to make sure it’s not boiling as the water evaporates. The milk solids will rise to the surface of the pot as the water cooks out.

Let the butter simmer, with just a few bubbles popping through, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Like a good stock, longer cooking is better, but it needs to be gentle so the milk solids don’t burn. If they do, the niter kibbeh will be irreparably bitter.

When the solids have turned a pleasant brown and plenty of time has past, line a mesh strainer with a cheesecloth or paper towel and place it over a small storage container. Strain the butter well, making sure there are no milk solids or spices in the final product. Your niter kibbeh will last for months in the refrigerator. The larger a batch you make, the less butter you’ll lose to straining.

Chinese Sweet Soy Sauce

2 cups soy sauce
3/4 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
1/2 cup (115 grams) rock sugar (or granulated sugar)
1 big thumb ginger, coarsely chopped
6 green onions
3 bay leaves
1 star anise pod
1 small cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 cloves
1 Cao Guo (or black cardamon)

Add soy sauce into a small sauce pan. Heat over medium high heat until boiling.
Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir and cook until the sugar completely dissolves and the liquid starts to simmer again.

Turn to medium low heat. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about two-thirds of the original volume, and the soy sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Check on the pan every 15 minutes. It could take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than one hour, depending on the heat and the pan you use. Remove the pan from the stove.

Line a sieve over an airtight glass container or a jar and pour in the soy sauce. Discard all the solid ingredients.

Let the soy sauce cool completely. It is ready to use. Or you can store it covered in the fridge for a year.

Nut and Herb Breading (for chicken, fish, or pork)

2 chicken cutlets
4 eggs
4 cups raw, unsalted nuts of your choice
1/2 cup finely chopped herbs of your choice
1/4 – 1/2 cup cooking oil of your choice
1 avocado, sliced
Salt & pepper to taste
Directions:

Finely grind nuts in food processor, but don’t grind them so long that they turn into paste. Combine the ground nuts with the chopped herbs. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Lightly beat raw eggs in large bowl. Dip chicken cutlets in the egg wash and coat both sides with the nut mixture.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Place chicken in skillet and cook until browned on both sides and cooked through, about five minutes a side.

Top with avocado slices before serving.

If you’re increasing this recipe and cooking several batches of cutlets, change the oil halfway through so it doesn’t become dark and have a burnt flavor.

Variations:

This recipe can be adapted with a variety of spices, herbs and nuts and can also be used with pork cutlets or other meats.

Egg Drop Soup

1 1/2 cups of bone broth or stock
1 large egg
fish sauce (optional, but I always use it to boost umami)
salt
1 scallion, thinly sliced (optional)
cilantro leaves (optional)
hot chili peppers, thinly sliced (optional)

In a small saucepan, bring your bone broth to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Flavor it with fish sauce and/or salt to taste. Remember: it’s only as savory as you make it.

Crack the egg in a small bowl and season with a few additional drops of fish sauce and a pinch of salt. Whisk well with a fork.

Remove the bone broth from the heat and stir the soup with a heat-proof spatula as you slowly pour in the whisked egg. The egg should cook on contact with the hot liquid even though you’ve removed the saucepan from the heat. The eggs should be soft and wispy rather than overcooked and chunky (ick!).

Transfer the soup to a bowl. (I won’t tell anyone if you use the same bowl that you whisked your egg in.) The soup tastes delicious as-is, but you can fancy it up with your favorite add-ins. My favorite garnishes include sliced spicy peppers (like red jalapeños!), minced scallions, and cilantro leaves.

Pressure Cooker Carnitas

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast
2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt, more to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoons crushed dried oregano leaves, preferably Mexican
1 medium orange (I like using Cara Cara)
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 dried bay leaf
1 tablespoon ghee, avocado oil, lard, or favorite high temperature cooking fat (optional)
1 small white onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
1 head butter lettuce, leaves removed, washed and spun dry (Siete’s grain-free tortillas are awesome as well.)
2 Hass avocados, peeled and sliced
1-2 radishes, thinly sliced
2 jalapeño peppers, sliced (optional)
1 cup salsa
3 limes, quartered
Instructions

Grab your boneless pork shoulder roast (a.k.a. Boston butt) and cut it into 2-inch cubes.

Plop the pork in a large bowl and sprinkle on the salt, cumin, red pepper flakes, and oregano. Toss well to coat. Then, transfer the seasoned pork to the Instant Pot insert.

Use a vegetable peeler to peel wide strips of zest off the orange. Stay close to the surface, making sure you don’t peel into the white pith, ’cause that stuff is bitter. Add the strips of orange zest to the Instant Pot, along with the garlic, quartered yellow onion, and bay leaf.

Cut the bald orange in half and juice it. Pour the juice into the Instant Pot insert and stir to distribute.

Place the insert into the Instant Pot and lock the lid. Make sure the valve on the lid is pointed at the “Sealing” position. Press the “Manual” button and cook on high pressure for 35 minutes. (Stovetop pressure cooker users should cook under high pressure for 30 minutes.) Then, let the pressure release naturally (about 20 minutes).

If the pressure hasn’t completely released after 20 minutes and you’re hungry, manually vent the pressure by turning the release valve on the lid. Open the lid and discard the garlic, onion, and bay leaf. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. You can shred and serve the pork as-is, or store it in the fridge (with all the liquid/fat) for up to 4 days (or in the freezer for up to 3 months).

If you prefer crispy carnitas, heat up a large cast iron skillet over medium heat with a tablespoon of your favorite cooking fat.

Grab the pork out of the fridge and dig out the pieces of carnitas. Shred the meat up with your fingers.

Once the pan is hot, add the pork and fry, stirring occasionally, until it reaches your desired crispness.

While the pork is getting crispy, combine the diced white onion and cilantro in a bowl. Also, wash some butter lettuce leaves, slice up the avocados, radishes, and jalapeños. Grab your favorite salsa, and cut up some lime wedges.

Last but not least, grab your plate and assemble your own delicious tacos!

Pressure Cooker Ground Beef Chili

1 tablespoon avocado oil, ghee, or cooking fat of choice
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
Kosher salt to taste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 garlic cloves,minced
2 pounds ground beef (85% lean, 15% fat)
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup chicken broth or bone broth
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (optional)

Toppings:
Sliced avocado
Slivered scallions
Finely diced white onions + minced cilantro
Unsweetened coconut yogurt
Lime wedges

Press the sauté button on the and wait for the metal insert to heat up. Once the insert is hot, add 1 tablespoon of fat and swirl it around.

As soon as the oil is shimmering, add the onions and bell peppers with a sprinkle of salt.

Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened.

Stir in the tomato paste and minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add in the ground beef along with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Brown the meat and break it up with a spatula.

When most of the ground beef is no longer pink (5 to 7 minutes), stir in the chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cayenne pepper (optional).

Combine well to distribute the fragrant spices.

Toss in the drained diced tomatoes, broth, and fish sauce.

Stir everything well, making sure the liquid reaches the bottom of the insert.

Lock the lid and cook under high pressure for 15 minutes. (In other words, press the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” button and set the time for 15 minutes under high pressure.)

When the chili is finished cooking, release the pressure manually if you’re itching to eat it right away. Otherwise, you can let the pressure come down naturally and chow down when you’re ready.

Sprinkle on some extra salt and stir in the apple cider vinegar, if desired. Taste again to see if you need to punch up the flavors.

Ladle up the chili and serve with your favorite toppings, like sliced avocado, white onion, and cilantro!

Bulletproof Coffee

2 1/2 heaping tablespoons ground Bulletproof Coffee Beans
1 teaspoon – 2 tablespoons Brain Octane Oil
1-2 tablespoons grass-fed, unsalted butter or grass-fed ghee.
Directions:

Make your coffee. Brew 1 cup (8-12 ounces) of coffee using filtered water with 2 1/2 heaping tablespoons of freshly ground Bulletproof Coffee Beans. Use a French Press for ease of use and to preserve beneficial coffee oils that paper filters keep out.

Add Brain Octane Oil. Add 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons of Brain Octane Oil (start slow with this stuff – it’s powerful!)

Add grass-fed butter or ghee. Add 1-2 tablespoons of grass-fed, unsalted butter or grass-fed ghee. Make sure your butter is unsalted. Salty coffee is gross.

Blend. Mix it all in a blender for 20-30 seconds until it looks like a creamy latte. There will be a good amount of foam on top.

Matzo Balls

4 large eggs
1/4 cup schmaltz (rendered chicken fat), coconut oil or vegetable oil (kosher for Passover)
1/4 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 cup matzo meal
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, dill or cilantro
1 teaspoon salt, more for cooking
Black pepper

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, schmaltz, stock, matzo meal, nutmeg, ginger and parsley. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Gently mix with a whisk or spoon. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 3 hours or overnight.

To shape and cook the matzo balls, fill a wide, deep pan with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. With wet hands, take some of the mix and mold it into the size and shape of a Ping-Pong ball. Gently drop it into the boiling water, repeating until all the mix is used.

Cover the pan, reduce heat to a lively simmer and cook matzo balls about 30 to 40 minutes for al dente, longer for light. If desired, the cooked matzo balls can be transferred to chicken or vegetable soup and served immediately.

Alternatively, they may be placed on a baking sheet and frozen, then transferred to a freezer bag and kept frozen until a few hours before serving; reheat in chicken or vegetable soup or broth.

Basic Crepes

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk (10 fluid ounces; 280ml)
1 cup flour (5 ounces; 140g)
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil (1/2 ounce; 15ml), plus more for cooking
Pinch kosher salt
1 tablespoon (8g) sugar, if making sweet crepes
1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, chervil, or chives (optional; for savory crepes)

For the Batter: Combine eggs, milk, flour, melted butter or oil, salt, and sugar (if using) in a blender. Start blender on low speed and increase to high. Blend until smooth, about 10 seconds. Add herbs (if using) and pulse to combine. (Alternatively, you can combine the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk vigorously until smooth.)

To Cook: Heat a 10-inch nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron or carbon steel skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Lightly grease with oil or butter, using a paper towel to wipe out the excess.

Hold the pan’s handle in one hand and pour in 3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60ml) batter, swirling and tilting pan immediately to spread batter in a thin, even layer over bottom of pan.

Let cook until top looks dry, about 20 seconds. Using a thin metal or nylon spatula, lift one edge of crepe. Grab that edge with the fingers of both hands and flip crepe. Cook on second side for 10 seconds, then transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining batter. Fill crepes as desired (such as with butter, sugar, and lemon juice; with butter and jam; with ham, cheese, and eggs; or with spinach and feta) and serve. Crepes can also be made ahead and stored, unfilled and wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a nonstick pan to serve.

Classic Pizzelles

3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) melted butter

Beat the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla until well combined.

Stir in the flour and baking powder, mixing until smooth.

Add the melted butter, again mixing until smooth; the batter will be thick and soft.

Heat your pizzelle iron. Grease it as directed in the manufacturer’s instructions. As the iron heats, the batter will stiffen.

Cook the pizzelle according to the instructions that came with your iron. In general, they’ll take between 45 seconds and 2 1/2 minutes to brown.

Remove the pizzelle from the iron, and cool on a rack. If desired, use a pair of scissors to trim any ragged edges.

Dust cooled pizzelle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Roasted Vegetable Basics

Broccoli:

2 large heads of broccoli, cut into large florets with some stalk attached
5 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450°. Toss broccoli and oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and browned, 25–35 minutes.

Brussels Sprouts:

3 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved, quartered if large
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450°. Toss brussels sprouts, oil, salt, and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and browned, 35–45 minutes.

Butternut Squash:

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1½-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450°. Toss squash and oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and browned, 35–45 minutes.

Carrots:
3 pounds carrots, peeled, cut into 3-inch pieces, halved lengthwised, quartered if large
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450°. Toss carrots, oil, salt, and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and browned, 35–45 minutes.

Cauliflower:

2 medium heads of cauliflower, cut into large florets with some stalk attached
5 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450°. Toss cauliflower and oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and browned, 25–35 minutes.

Sweet Potatoes:

3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1½-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Add appropriate combinations of following flavorings (choose 1 from each category, or maybe two finishes):

Aromatics
Ginger (grated): 1 Tbsp.
Garlic: 2-4 cloves grated or whole-roasted then smashed
Shallots: 2-4 shallots quartered
Onion: small, quartered
Leek: white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

Oils (use amountsin recipes)
Olive, vegetable, chicken fat, bacon fat, coconut

Herbs
Thyme, sage, rosemary, bay
1-2 tsp. chopped
1-2 bay leaves

Spices
Warming spices (cinnamon, allspice, cloves): 1/4 to 1/2 tsp.
Chile flake: 1/2 to 1 tsp.
Chili powder, paprika, and curry: 1-3 tsp.

Finishes (These go on after the veg is out of the oven.)
Oil drizzle (olive, pumpkin, walnut): 1-2 Tbsp.
Crunchy (toasted bread crumbs, seeds, fried onions or shallots) 1/4 – 1/2 cup
Spicy drizzle (tabasco, sriracha, sambal)
Sweets (dark brown sugar, maple, honey): 2-4 tsp
Meats (bacon, chorizo, sausage): 1/4 – 1/2 pound
Soy and fish sauce: 1-2 tsp.
Fresh herbs (tarragon, chives, parsley, mint, cilantro): 1/4 cup
Sour (citrus, malt vinegar, cider vinegar, wine vinegar, sherry vinegar): drizzle

Red Chile Hot Sauce

20 red Fresno chiles, seeds removed
8 red habanero chiles, seeds removed
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 cup white distilled vinegar

Pulse Fresno and habanero chiles, garlic, and 2 Tbsp. salt in a food processor until very finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl; cover and let sit at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours (this will both develop the chile flavor and soften the flesh, resulting in a smooth flavorful sauce when puréed).

Purée chile mixture and vinegar in a blender until smooth. Season with salt.

Do Ahead: Sauce can be made 2 months ahead. Cover and chill.

Cheesy Grits

1 1/2 cups grits (not instant)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
6 ounces sharp white Cheddar, shredded
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Hot pepper sauce

Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Gradually whisk in grits and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until grits are tender and resemble a porridge, 15–20 minutes. Stir in butter and cheese until melted. Season with salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce.

Basque Mixture

1/4 cup Armagnac
2 tablespoons orange flower water
2 tablespoons anisette
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 strip of lemon or orange zest, 1 inch long by 1/4 inche wide

Mix in a clean jar and keep in a cool cupboard or refrigerator.

Variation:

3 ounces orange flower water
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 tablespoon Armagnac
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon anise extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract