Cauliflower (or Anything) Curry

1 onion, chopped
3 small plum tomatoes
3 large garlic cloves
One 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 head of cauliflower (1 1/2 pounds), cut into florets
1 long Indian green chile or Thai bird chile, sliced, plus more for serving
Kosher salt
Pepper
Steamed basmati rice, plain yogurt, and lime pickle, for serving

In a food processor, pulse the onion, tomatoes, garlic, and ginger until a paste forms. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion paste, and cook over moderately high heat,
stirring often, until the paste is thickened, about 10 minutes.

Add the garam masala and turmeric, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cauliflower, chile, and 2 cups of water. Season generously with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes. Serve with rice, yogurt, lime pickle, and sliced chiles.

Note: swap in green beans, eggplant, carrots, potatoes or a mix for the cauliflower

Pressure Cooker Khichuri

4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium red onion thinly sliced
3/4 cup red split lentils (masuur dal)
1/2 cup Basmati or kalajeera rice
1 tsp powdered cumin
1 tsp powdered coriander
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp red cayenne pepper powder
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 medium sized Yukon gold potato peeled and cubed
1/2 cup frozen green peas

For tempering
1 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper (optional)
2 whole dried red chillies
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Set the Instant Pot® on Sauté mode and heat the oil for about 1 minute, then add the onion and sauté until they turn golden, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the lentils, rice, cumin, coriander, ginger, cayenne pepper powder, salt, and turmeric. Add the cauliflower, potato, and 4 cups of water and stir well.

Press Cancel to turn off Sauté mode, close the lid, and set the Instant Pot® on Manual Low Pressure mode for 4 minutes.
When cooking time is complete, allow for Natural Pressure Release for 10 to 15 minutes, then use Quick Release for any residual pressure.

Once pressure is released, open pot and stir rice mixture well. Set the Instant Pot® to Sauté mode and stir in the green peas and cook for 1 minute.

To finish, heat the ghee or coconut oil in a small pan, add the cumin seeds, crushed red pepper, if using, and whole dried red chilies and cook until the mixture crackles and is fragrant, being careful not to burn the crushed red pepper. Pour the fragrant mixture over the khichuri and gently stir. Sprinkle on the lime juice and garnish with cilantro before serving.

Coconut Curry with Chickpeas and Pumpkin

3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as sunflower or canola
1 large onion, chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded or not, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 knob ginger (about 1 inch), minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk (do not use light coconut milk)
1 (13.5-ounce) can pumpkin purée
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt, more as needed
3/4 cup chopped cilantro, more for serving
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
Cooked rice or couscous, for serving (optional)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in onion, jalapeño and bay leaf. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden on the edges, about 8 minutes.

Add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in garam masala, cumin and turmeric; cook for an additional 30 seconds.

Stir in chickpeas, coconut milk, pumpkin, ½ cup water and 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to let the flavors meld. (Add more water if it starts to look too thick.) Stir in cilantro and lime juice to taste. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

Serve over rice or couscous if you like, and top with more cilantro and lime wedges on the side.

Heirloom Beans and Cream

2 cups mixed dried heirloom beans, soaked overnight
2 quarts chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
4 sprigs thyme, plus leaves for serving
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
Flaky sea salt
Olive oil (for serving)

Bring beans, stock, and thyme sprigs to a gentle simmer in a medium pot over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, skimming any foam from surface, until beans are tender, 1–1 1/2 hours, depending on types. Discard thyme. Season with kosher salt and pepper, remove from heat, and let sit 30 minutes.

Return to a simmer; stir in cream. Season with more kosher salt and pepper if needed. Serve topped with thyme leaves and sea salt and drizzled with oil.

Do Ahead: Beans can be cooked 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.

Butter Beans with Heirloom Tomatoes

Beans

Handful of oregano sprigs
Handful of thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
8 oz. dried butter beans, rinsed, soaked overnight if possible
1 medium onion, halved
1 large carrot, scrubbed, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Vinaigrette and Assembly

10 oz. cherry tomatoes or 1½ cups chopped heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes
1 garlic clove, smashed
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
? cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt
2 lb. assorted heirloom, beefsteak, and/or cherry tomatoes
Freshly ground black pepper
Handful of basil leaves
Mild red pepper flakes (such as Aleppo-style or Maras)

Beans:

Tie together oregano, thyme, and bay leaves with kitchen twine. Combine beans, onion, carrot, and herbs in a medium pot. Pour in water to cover beans by about 4″ and bring to a very gentle simmer over medium-high heat.

Immediately reduce heat and cook at the barest of simmers, stirring hardly at all, until beans are creamy and tender at the center but not falling apart or mushy, about 1 1/2 hours (this could take longer, depending on the beans). The key is to not agitate, which will help the beans maintain their shape.

Remove pot from heat; season beans aggressively with salt.

Gently stir in oil. Let cool. Drain beans; discard onion, carrot, and herbs.

Do Ahead: Beans can be made 2 days ahead. Keep in liquid; cover and chill.

Vinaigrette and Assembly:

Purée cherry tomatoes in a blender. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in garlic, vinegar, and ? cup oil; season with salt. Let sit 15–20 minutes, then pluck out garlic.

Transfer drained beans to a medium bowl and add vinaigrette; toss gently to coat. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Slice, halve, or quarter heirloom tomatoes and arrange on a platter or divide among individual plates. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Spoon beans along with plenty of vinaigrette over; top with basil and a few pinches of red pepper flakes.

Khichuri

1/2 cup mung dal (skinned and split mung beans)
1/2 cup Basmati rice
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tejpatta (Sold in Indian grocery stores as “Indian bay leaf”)
6 cups water
1 Russet potato, cubed into 1″ pieces
1/2 head of a large cauliflower, cut into small florets
1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated coconut (could substitute with unsweetened dessicated coconut)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Vegetable oil for sauteing
1-2 tablespoons Ghee (could be substituted with butter)
2 tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
1 teaspoon sugar

On medium heat, in a dry wok, add the mung dal and toast until it changes color to a light brown and becomes very aromatic. Keep stirring frequently while you toast the dal – don’t let it burn! Once the dal changes color, add 3 cups of water, add the bay leaves, bring it to a boil, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, add the rice, one teaspoon of Kosher salt and another 3 cups of water, bring to a boil, cover with a lid and cook for another 10 minutes.

While the dal starts boiling, start sauteing your vegetables. In a large skillet, on medium heat, add about 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. When the oil starts shimmering, add the cumin seeds and ginger paste and saute for a few seconds. The ginger is going to splatter like crazy, so be careful! Add the potatoes, cauliflower, turmeric, cayenne and one teaspoon of Kosher salt and saute until the veggies are evenly browned on all sides. This should take about 20 minutes or so.

Once the rice has cooked for 10 minutes, add all the vegetables into the wok, scraping the skillet to get all the spices. Add the tomatoes, mix well, cover with a lid and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Check frequently to make sure that there is enough water in the wok and the khichuri is not getting stuck at the bottom.

Meanwhile, in the same skillet, add another teaspoon of oil and saute the coconut until it gets browned at the edges and becomes very aromatic. Set aside.

After the vegetables have cooked in the wok for 10 minutes, check to see if they are done. At this point, both the rice and dal should be cooked through and about to turn mushy, and the tomatoes should have disintegrated. Add the sauteed coconut, raisins, peas, sugar, zest and juice of the lime. Mix well. I like my khichuri to have the consistency of risotto, so I let it cook with the lid off until the texture is just right. Taste for seasoning. Mix in the ghee just before serving. Enjoy immediately with your favorite vegetable fritters, papads and extra wedges of lime!

Khichuri (Stovetop or Pressure Cooker)

1/2 cup white rice
1/2-cup moong dal (split yellow mung bean)
Half of a small cauliflower, cut into about 10 florets (not so small that they will melt)
2 or 3 small potatoes, peeled and cut in half, or 1 medium potato cut into 4-6 pieces
1/3 cup of frozen peas
1 bay leaf
2 green cardamom
2-3 cloves
1 thin sticks of cinnamon
1 or 2 dry red chili (I often use green chili instead)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon grated ginger
Ghee (clarified butter)
Turmeric and salt as needed

Dry roast the moong dal on medium flame till it starts to brown and you can smell its nutty aroma. (Other khichri recipes use a range of lentils that don’t involve this step.) Stop when about half the beans have become light brown in color, then set aside in a bowl with 2 cups of warm water in it.

Into a pan add a tablespoon of ghee (or mustard oil or vegetable oil) and heat on high or medium till the ghee looks hot.

Throw in the bay leaf. As it starts to brown, lower the flame to medium and add the cardamom pods, clove and cinnamon. Stir with a spoon. Then add the cumin seeds and the chilies. Once the cumin seeds start to sputter, throw in the grated ginger, and stir.

Now add the potato, carrots and cauliflower. Sprinkle some turmeric till veggies turn light yellow. Stir fry for a few minutes.

At this stage, add the dal with the water and salt to taste. Cover the pot and cook till water starts to boil.

Cook for 4 more minutes so that the dal, which takes longer to cook, starts to soften.

At this point, you can transfer everything to a pressure cooker, add the frozen peas, rice and one more cup of water and cook it using the rice setting. (If you’re using a stove top pressure cooker, wait for two whistles before you switch off of the stove.)

Or if not using a pressure cooker, add the rice and two more cups of water to the pot once the dal starts to soften. Cook with a lid on medium or low with occasional stirring to make sure rice and mung beans don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Frozen peas will cook quickly, so add them 5-10 minutes after the rice. Add more water along the way if it starts to look too dry.

Consistency should be like that of a thick porridge, although some people like it drier.

Cook till rice, dal and vegetables look cooked, but not too mushy. Serve with a teaspoon of ghee on top, mango or lime pickle on the side.

This very well with papad or papadum, which are flat, round, tortilla shaped crispy snacks that are usually deep fried or roasted over the fire.

Vegetable and Cashew Curry

6 medium shallots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-inch piece ginger root, peeled and grated (about 1 tablespoon)
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed and thinly sliced
2 medium tomatoes, quartered
8 fingerling potatoes (may substitute very small new potatoes)
4 spicy dried red chile peppers
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup large whole cashews, roasted and unsalted
1 teaspoon black mustard seed (see headnote)
6 to 8 fresh curry leaves (optional; see headnote)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon light or dark brown sugar
14 ounces (1 can) reduced-fat coconut milk
1 lime (optional)

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cashews and shallots; cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the nuts just start to brown.

Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves to taste, if using; cook for a few minutes, until the seeds start to pop and crackle. Add the garlic, ginger, dried chile peppers, red bell pepper and turmeric. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring, until aromatic, then stir in the brown sugar.

Add the tomatoes, potatoes and coconut milk. Once the milk is heated through and is bubbling at the edges, partially cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and reducing the heat as needed if the curry bubbles too vigorously or appears to be burning on the bottom. The shallots and potatoes should be tender. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Remove the chile peppers.

Divide among individual bowls; if you haven’t used curry leaves, cut the lime into quarters and sprinkle each portion with lime juice.

Serve hot, with basmati rice.

Butternut Squash and Fusilli with Hazelnut Oil

One 2-pound butternut squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch pieces ?(6 cups)?
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar?
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil?
1 tablespoon honey?
Kosher salt
Pepper?
3/4 pound whole-wheat fusilli?
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unrefined hazelnut oil?
1 head of Treviso or 1/2 a small head of radicchio, thinly sliced?
1/2 cup packed parsley leaves?
Shaved Pecorino Tuscano or Romano, for serving?

Preheat the oven to 425. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with 1/4 cup of the vinegar, the olive oil and honey and spread evenly on the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for about ?35 minutes, tossing halfway through, until browned and glazed.?

Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain. Toss with 3 tablespoons of the hazelnut oil

In a large bowl, whisk the remaining ?2 tablespoons each of vinegar and hazelnut oil. Stir in the squash, Treviso and parsley, then fold in the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature with shaved pecorino.

The pasta salad can be refrigerated overnight. Stir in the Treviso and parsely before serving.?

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.

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.

Steamed Eggplant with Lao Gan Ma (Lady Sauce)

1 pound Japanese or Chinese eggplant (450g, about 3 eggplants)
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon Chinese dark vinegar
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1-1 1/2 tablespoons Lao Gan Ma chili sauce (or any chili sauce or chili oil of your choice)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 scallion (minced)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Prepare your steamer. If you’re not sure how to set up a steaming apparatus, check our our post on how to set up a steamer, even without special equipment. Turn the heat on low to pre-heat the water in the steamer.

Cut each eggplant crosswise into 3 equal sections, then cut each section into 8-10 bite sized strips.

Fill a large container with about 2 quarts of water and 1/4 cup white vinegar. Soak the eggplant in the vinegar water for 3 minutes. Then remove the eggplant and squeeze as much liquid out as possible. Arrange them on a heat-proof rimmed dish and carefully lower it into the steamer. Cover and turn the heat on high. Steam the eggplant for 8-10 minutes.

Now make the sauce by combining the Chinese dark vinegar, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and chili sauce.
Remove the eggplant from the steamer (no need to pour out the liquid in the dish), and evenly pour the sauce over the eggplant. Top it with the minced garlic and scallions. Try to keep garlic and scallions close together in a couple tight lines to make the next step easier.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a small saucepan until it starts to smoke lightly, and then carefully pour it over the garlic and scallion. Serve hot or cold. If serving as a cold appetizer, you can make this dish in advance.

Tikil Gomen (Ethiopian Cabbage, Carrots, and Potatoes)

1/3 cup coconut oil
2 small to medium onions, thinly sliced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, pureed
1 tbsp fresh ginger, pureed
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper
1 cup water
1 head green cabbage, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped

In a very large pan, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and cook for around 4 minutes. Add in the carrot and cook for an additional 4 minutes. Add in the potatoes, and cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Add in the garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt, and pepper, and stir for 1 minute. Add in the water and cook, stirring, for 3-5 minutes. Add in the cabbage and jalapeño and stir for 2-3 minutes to coat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the veggies are soft. Season, to taste, with more salt.

Yemisir Wot (Ethiopian Berbere Lentils)

1/2 cup coconut oil
2 small to medium yellow onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pureed
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and pureed
1/2 cup berbere spice
1 cup dried red lentils, washed
3 cups water
kosher salt, to taste

In a large dutch oven, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add in the onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes.

Add in the garlic, ginger, and berbere, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add in the lentils and cook for 1 minute more. Add in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 30-45 minutes until thick and the the lentils have broken down a bit. Season, to taste, with salt.

Yelik Akicha (Ethiopian Yellow Peas with Turmeric)

1 cup dried yellow split peas
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 small to medium yellow onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pureed
1 and 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, pureed
2 tsp turmeric
3 cups water
1 tsp salt

Rinse the split peas and put them in a small saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes, and then turn off the heat and allow the peas to sit in the water until ready to use.

In a large dutch oven, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add in the onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Add in the garlic, ginger, and turmeric, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant.

Drain the split peas and add them to the pot. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for around 45 minutes until thick and the split peas are tender. Season, to taste, with salt.

Macaroni Gratin

3 quarts whole milk
4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 pound ridged penne pasta
2 trays of ice cubes
1 cup freshly grated imported Gruyère cheese (3 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons minced chives

In a large saucepan, combine the milk and garlic. Warm the milk over high heat until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic. Measure out 1 cup of milk and reserve; set aside the rest.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, without browning, for 1 minute. Remove the saucepan from the heat and gradually whisk in the reserved 1 cup of milk, stirring constantly, until the sauce is completely smooth. Season with a large pinch of salt and generous gratings of white pepper and nutmeg. Return the pan to low heat and cook the sauce, whisking constantly, until it’s thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, let cool slightly and stir in the heavy cream. Season with salt.

Four-Cheese Spaghetti Bake

1 1/2 pounds spaghetti
1/2 pound imported Fontina, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
1/2 pound mozzarella, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
1/2 pound Gruyère, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
1/4 pound Gorgonzola dolce, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well and spread the spaghetti on a baking sheet; let cool.

In a large bowl, toss the Fontina with the mozzarella and Gruyère. Spread one third of the spaghetti in the prepared baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle 1/3 of the mixed cheeses and half of the Gorgonzola over the spaghetti and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with another layer of spaghetti, mixed cheeses, Gorgonzola and salt and pepper. Top with the remaining spaghetti and mixed cheeses.

Sambalado (Sambal Balado – Indonesian Chili Sauce)

While typical sambal is usually served as a condiment on the side, Balado is usually cooked with other food to make Sambal Terong Balado (Eggplant Balado), Telur Balado (Egg Balado), Ayam Balado (Chicken Balado), Udang Balado (Shrimp Balado), Squid Balado (Cumi Balado), Dendeng Balado (usually made with Beef), Kentang Balado (Potato Balado), etc. You get the idea! Pretty much anything!

Ingredients to grind:
100 gr shallots or purple onion
200 gr large red chili or use premade garlic sambal chili
2 cloves garlic

Other ingredients:
1 large tomato
1 Tbsp cooking oil
3 kaffir lime leaves optional
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp sugar

Place shallots, chili (if using fresh chili), and garlic in a food processor and finely chopped them

Preheat a skillet with cooking oil. Add the ingredients you chopped above (if using premade garlic sambal chili, don’t add just yet) and stir fry until fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Add the premade garlic sambal chili (if not using fresh chili) and stir fry for another minute.

Add tomato pieces and kaffir lime leaves (if using). Continue to cook until the tomatoes are wilted and softened. Squeeze in lime juice and sugar. Stir to mix. If you are preparing a balado dish, this is the point you add them in and toss with the balado sauce, otherwise, remove from the heat and serve as a condiment to your meal.

TO MAKE A BALADO DISH: If you are preparing a balado dish, this is the point you add your other cooked ingredient in and toss with the balado sauce, otherwise, remove from the heat and serve as a condiment to your meal.

Storage:

REFRIGERATOR: Sambal can be stored in an air-tight glass jar for up to one week in the refrigerator.

FREEZER: For longer storage, portion the sambal into smaller portion and freeze them. They can be kept frozen for up to 3 months.

Khua Mee (Lao Dry-Fried Rice Noodles)

For the Omelet:

4 large eggs
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 tablespoons canola oil

For the Noodles:
1 1/2 pounds dried medium-wide rice noodles
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sliced shallots
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons Golden Mountain brand seasoning sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon MSG (optional)
2 cups mung bean sprouts
1 1/2 cups scallions, in 1-inch pieces

For Garnish

Sliced omelet
2 tablespoons fried shallots
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, stems included
1 cup mung bean sprouts
Prik phong (ground toasted chile) or Sriracha

Make the omelet: Crack the eggs into a small mixing bowl and add the fish sauce. Beat with a fork, as if making scrambled eggs. Add the oil to an 8-inch sauté pan over medium heat. When it’s warm, pour in the egg mixture and tilt the pan to ensure the egg covers the bottom. Continue to cook over gentle heat for about 3 minutes—you’ll notice the top of the omelet firming up. (If it starts to color, it means the pan is too hot; remove the pan from the heat.)

Once the top is firm, flip and cook over low heat for another minute. Slide the omelet out of the pan and onto a plate to cool. Slice into ¼-inch slivers and reserve for garnishing.

Make the noodles: Start by soaking the noodles in cold water according to the package directions—when done, they should be opaque white and firm yet flexible. Transfer to a colander and drain well.

Meanwhile, add the oil and sugar to a saucepan with a wide diameter and mix well; set over medium-high heat. As the oil gets hot, the sugar will caramelize. Cook until the caramel turns a deep amber. Once it has reached the desired color, turn off the heat, carefully add the shallots and garlic, and give it a stir with a spoon to sweat the aromatics—at this point, your kitchen should smell very good.

Sweat the aromatics for 1 minute, deglaze with the water and stir well. Add the seasonings (oyster sauce, seasoning sauce, fish sauce, sweet soy sauce, black pepper and MSG, if using) and mix well.

Return the saucepan to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the drained noodles and cook, stirring constantly with a pair of tongs. Move the noodles as if tossing a salad—they’ll wilt and slowly soak up the sauce. When the noodles have absorbed all the sauce and the pan is dry, with no residual sauce remaining, turn off the heat and fold in the bean sprouts and scallions, again like tossing a salad.

Transfer to a large serving bowl or platter. Scatter the top with the omelet slices, fried shallots and chopped cilantro, with a side of extra mung bean sprouts. Serve with prik phong or Sriracha.