Roasted Beets with Avocado, Citrus, and Hazelnuts

11/2 lb [680 g] red baby beets,
1 to 2 in [2.5 to 5 cm] in diameter
4 Tbsp [60 ml] extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp water
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh orange juice, plus 2 oranges
2 Tbsp hazelnuts
1 ripe avocado, cut in 1/4-in- [6-mm-] thick slices
Flaky sea salt
Best-quality olive oil for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 400°F [200°C].

In a roasting pan, toss the beets with 2 Tbsp of the extra-virgin olive oil and the water and season with kosher salt and pepper. Roast until the beets look caramelized and feel tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 25 minutes. When cool enough to handle, slip the skins off the beets and cut into quarters.

In a medium bowl, toss the beets with the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, the sherry vinegar, and orange juice. Season with kosher salt and pepper and let stand until the beets have absorbed the flavors of the dressing, about 30 minutes.

In a small, dry frying pan over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Lay out on a work surface and let cool. With the bottom of a heavy pan, crush the nuts.

Section one of the oranges by cutting off both ends. Set it on one end, and use a paring knife to cut away the peel and pith in strips, starting at the top and following the curves to the bottom. Then, holding the orange in one hand, carefully insert the blade of the knife between the flesh and the membrane to cut out the sections without any membrane attached. The sections should come out easily. Repeat with the remaining orange, and set aside.

Arrange the beets on a serving platter with the avocado slices, and sprinkle them with sea salt and pepper. Distribute the orange sections throughout the salad and sprinkle with the crushed toasted hazelnuts. Finish with a drizzle of best-quality olive oil. Serve immediately

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

Roasted Beets, Carrots, and Sunchokes with Green Tahini Sauce

1 lb beets, peeled, cut into ½” wedges
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
1 lb carrots, sliced 1/4” thick
1 lb Jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes), unpeeled, sliced ¼” thick
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or hot paprika, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided, plus more to taste
2 cups watercress, large stems trimmed
1/4 cup green tahini sauce (see related)

Optional: To save time, instead of green tahini sauce, thin some tahini with a combination of water and lemon juice. Grate ½ garlic clove, stir in, and season with salt.

Preheat oven to 425°. Toss beets with 1 Tbsp. oil on a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet; arrange in a single layer and season with salt and black pepper. Roast 20 minutes, then turn over wedges and continue to roast until beets are tender and darkened around the edges, about 30 minutes total.

Toss carrots with 1 Tbsp. oil on one half of a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet. Toss Jerusalem artichokes with 1 Tbsp. oil on the other half of the baking sheet. Arrange carrots and Jerusalem artichokes in a single layer, season with salt and black pepper, and roast until vegetables are lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Toss all the warm roasted vegetables together with lemon zest, 1/4 tsp. Aleppo pepper, and 1 tsp. lemon juice. Season with salt, Aleppo pepper, and lemon juice.

Toss watercress with remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. lemon juice; season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve roasted vegetables with dressed watercress and tahini sauce.

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.

Sichuan Chicken in Chili Oil (Kou Shui Ji)

3 tablespoon plain roasted peanuts, finely chopped
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon red chili flakes or dried red chilis, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 a 1/2 cup oil
3 scallions, cut into large sections
4 slices ginger
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 star anise
1 small cinnamon stick
1 1/2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns

For Step 2:
2 chicken leg quarters, deboned with skin still on (try asking your butcher to do this for you)
2 scallions
2 slices ginger

For Step 3:
1 tablespoon sesame paste
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon sugar
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chicken stock

Put chopped peanuts, roasted sesame seeds, red pepper flakes and salt into a medium bowl and set it aside.

Heat your oil in pan over low heat, and add the scallions, ginger, garlic, star anise, cinnamon stick, and Sichuan peppercorns. Allow these aromatics to slowly infuse into the oil, until everything is kind of browned and wrinkly and fragrant. Discard the spices and pour the hot infused oil into the peanut mixture. Give everything a stir and cover the bowl with a plate to seal everything inside. Walk away and don’t come back until everything else is ready!

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil (there should be enough water to submerge the chicken) along with the ginger and scallion. Once it’s boiling, add the chicken (once it’s added the water will probably stop boiling because of the temperature change).

Bring the water to a boil again, and after a minute, cover the pot and immediately turn off the heat. Let it sit on the stove for 20 minutes to slowly poach the chicken.

In the meantime, prepare a small ice bath for chicken. After 20 minutes, take the chicken out of the pot and plunge it in the ice bath and let the chicken cool completely. Slice the chicken and place it on your serving plate.

Mix all of the Step 3 ingredients in a bowl. Now combine the mixture you just made with the peanut mixture you made in Step

Pour as much as you want over the chicken. Use about two thirds and save the rest for a cold noodle lunch the next day (a highly recommended action!).

Vietnamese Grilled Chicken with Vermicelli and Nuoc Cham

5 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla)
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3), cut lengthwise into 12 strips in all
1/2 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
1 teaspoon wine vinegar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon lime juice (from about 2 limes)
2 tablespoons water
1/2 pound vermicelli
1 cup bean sprouts 1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into thin slices
2/3 cup fresh mint, basil, or cilantro leaves, or any combination of the three
1/3 cup chopped peanuts

Heat the broiler or light the grill. In a medium bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, 2 cloves of the garlic, and the oil. Add the chicken, toss, and then thread each strip onto a wooden skewer. Broil or grill the chicken until just done, about 2 minutes per side.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 clove garlic with the red-pepper flakes, vinegar, lime juice, and water. Set this nuoc cham aside.

In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the vermicelli until just done, about 9 minutes. Add the bean sprouts during the last minute of cooking. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain thoroughly.

Put the pasta and bean sprouts on a platter and top with the cucumber, herbs, and chicken skewers. Pour the nuoc cham over all and sprinkle with the peanuts.

Sicilian Chicken in Breadcrumbs

4 medium-sized chicken breasts
Plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
100g seasoned breadcrumbs (fine and dry, or craggy and fresh)
Butter and olive oil, for frying
Peperonata, lemons, marinated aubergines and bread rolls for serving

Open up the chicken breasts, then, using a sharp knife or scissors, cut them into thick strips the size of fat thumbs. Dip the chicken in flour, then the egg, then dredge in the crumbs.

Warm a nut of butter and about 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-low heat. Once the butter is foaming gently, lay the chicken in the pan. Fry for a good few minutes until a golden crust has formed on one side, then turn and cook the other side. Add a bit more butter to the pan if it looks dry.

Serve hot, with peperonata, lemons, marinated aubergines and bread rolls.

Kakadi Chi Koshimbar (Indian Cucumber Peanut Salad)

2 cucumbers peeled
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
2 tablespoons spanish roasted peanuts chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar Optional
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds or sub cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 lemon juiced

Chop up the cucumbers, cilantro, and peanuts into a very fine dice.

Place into a bowl and season with salt and sugar.

In the smallest little heat proof bowl you have, heat the oil until it is hot and shimmering.

Place the mustard and/or cumin seeds and allow them to sputter like popcorn about 30 seconds.

Add in the turmeric and stir quickly.

Pour this hot, flavored oil over the cucumbers and mix well.
Squeeze lemon juice and mix once again and serve.

Black Beans with Mango

2 cups cubed mango, about 3 mangoes, preferably the Ataulfo variety (see Notes)
2 1/2 cups cooked black beans
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 large handful fresh cilantro, stems removed, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a serving bowl, mix the mango and beans.

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with the lime juice and chile powder.

Add the cilantro to the serving bowl and then drizzle the dressing over the salad. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature. This salad can be assembled in advance without cilantro and refrigerated for a day. Add the cilantro (or parsley) just before serving.

German Potato Salad

2 pounds boiling potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
4 strips bacon
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and cut into thin slices, including some of the green
1/2 cup minced celery, including some leaves
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Cut the potatoes in half if they are large, put them in a pot and add enough lightly salted water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, and boil gently, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, until just tender. Drain.

While the potatoes are still warm, peel and slice, or cube them, into a large serving bowl.

In a skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Drain. Pour out all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat. Add scallions and celery, and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Mix with potato pieces.

In the same skillet, mix 1/4 cup of water with cider vinegar, sugar, salt, paprika and dry mustard. Stirring with a whisk, bring to a boil and pour over salad. Crumble bacon over the top, and serve warm.

Braised Corn with Chili, Lime, and Feta

6 ears corn, shucked
Kosher salt
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium-hot green or red chiles, preferably Fresno, minced
1 shallot, minced
21/2 oz [70 g] feta cheese, crumbled
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup [7 g] fresh cilantro leaves

Using a knife, shave the corn kernels off the cobs into a medium bowl and set aside.

Working over a small bowl, scrape the cobs with the back of the knife to extract the milk. Set aside the milk. Cut the scraped cobs into 2-in [5-cm] pieces.

In a 1-gl [3.8-L] saucepan over high heat, combine the cob pieces with cold filtered water to cover and season with salt. Bring to a boil, cover the pan, turn the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the stock becomes cloudy and is deliciously corn scented, 20 to 30 minutes. Strain and discard the cobs. Set aside 1/2 cup [120 ml] of this corn stock and reserve the rest for another use.

In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add the chiles and shallot and cook until tender, but not browned, about 3 minutes.

Add the corn kernels and season with salt. Add the corn stock, the milk from the corn cobs, and half the feta cheese and cook until the liquid has reduced slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with additional salt and stir in the lime juice. Remove from the heat and stir in half the cilantro leaves.

Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with the remaining feta cheese and cilantro leaves, and serve warm.

Grilled Corn Salad with Chilies, Basil, and Lime

4 ears fresh corn, shucked
2 red jalapeños
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Sea salt
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn in small pieces
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Light the grill and get it really hot. If you are using a charcoal grill, which I strongly recommend, make sure the coals are cooked down to a fiery-hot gray.

Place the corn and the jalapeños on a baking sheet, and brush with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the corn and chiles all over with sea salt, and place them directly on the grate of the grill. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, turning halfway through, until well charred. Remove the corn and the chiles from the grill and set them aside to cool.

Using a knife or a corn shucker, cut the corn kernels from the cob and place them in a bowl. Finely chop the jalapeños, discarding the stem (I leave it up to you if you want the seeds in there). Add the jalapeños, basil leaves, and lime juice to the corn. Taste, and add more sea salt if needed. Toss well, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and stir. Let the salad sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. Serve.
 

Mexican Grilled Slaw

1 small purple cabbage
1 small green cabbage
1 small bunch cilantro, the leaves cleaned and roughly chopped, approximately 1/2 cup
1 cup crema, or to taste
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste
1 tablespoon adobo from a can of chipotles en adobo, or hot pepper sauce to taste (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Make the crema the night before, or many nights before, the day you want to cook.

When you are ready to make the slaw, build a fire in your grill, leaving about 1/3 of grill free of coals, or set one burner of a gas grill to high.

When the fire is ready, place the cabbages, whole, onto the fire or over the open burner, and allow them to roast in the heat of the open flames, turning them every few minutes and allowing them to rest occasionally on the cooler side of the grill, until they are blackened, blistered and a little soft to the touch, approximately 30 to 45 minutes. You are not looking to incinerate them so much as to cook them aggressively. You will discard most of the burned exterior.

Meanwhile, make the dressing. Whisk the cilantro into the crema in a bowl, and add the lime juice and, if you’re using, adobo or hot sauce to taste, along with a little salt and pepper.

When the cabbages are blackened and have softened to the point where you can insert a knife into each one fairly easily, remove them to a cutting board. Once they have cooled slightly, take off most of the blackened exterior leaves. Cut each cabbage in half, then use your knife to remove the cores. Slice the cabbage into thin strips, as for a coleslaw, and add them to a large serving bowl.

Apply about 1/2 a cup of the crema to the sliced cabbage, and toss to combine. Continue adding crema until you have enough to coat all the cabbage, then taste and adjust seasonings. (You can save the rest of the crema for another use, keeping it in a closed jar in the refrigerator.) Serve with grilled meats or alone.

Notes: A perfect accompaniment to almost anything you’d think to cook on the grill. It is lovely in tacos. It is a great match for ribs. It is brilliant with corn.

Summer Potato Salad with Bacon and Scallions

Salt
5 pounds new potatoes, creamers or other small (1-inch to 1 1/2-inch diameter) potatoes
6 scallions, thinly sliced into rings
2 tablespoons garlic-infused oil
10 slices ( 1/2 pound) bacon
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup good-quality white wine vinegar

Bring a large wide pan of salted water to a boil, and add potatoes. Boil until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes, cut in two, and place in a large bowl. Add scallions, and toss gently to mix.

Return dry potato pan to medium heat, and add garlic oil and bacon. Cook bacon until very crisp, and transfer to paper towels.

Add mustard seeds to bacon fat in pan. After a few moments, they will begin to pop. Immediately turn off heat, and add vinegar and potato mixture. Toss together, then transfer back into bowl.

Cover salad with plastic wrap, and allow to rest at room temperature for about an hour. To serve, transfer to a serving bowl, and crumble crispy bacon on top.

Miso Glazed Grilled Duck Breasts with Mango and Greens

4 large duck breasts (about 2 pounds)
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons red miso
2 tablespoons light soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon sake or mirin
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch of cayenne
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
6 ounces small green beans, topped and tailed
Lettuce leaves, for serving
1 large mango, peeled and sliced
Watercress sprigs, for garnish (optional)
3 tablespoons chopped scallions

Trim duck breasts of extraneous fat (or ask your butcher to trim them) and score the skin. Season very lightly with salt and generously with coarsely ground pepper.

Make the marinade: In a mixing bowl, whisk together miso, soy sauce, sake, orange zest, ginger, garlic, cayenne and sesame oil. Remove 1/4 cup of the marinade and combine it with 2 tablespoons orange juice to make a dressing; set aside. Add remaining 2 tablespoons orange juice to the marinade in the mixing bowl.

Lay duck in a shallow pan and pour the marinade over, making sure meat is well coated. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour. If you wish, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day; bring to room temperature before proceeding.

Prepare a bed of medium-hot coals in a grill, or heat a stovetop grill or cast-iron pan to medium hot. Cook duck breasts skin-side down for 8 to 10 minutes, until fat is rendered and skin is nicely colored. (See note.) Turn and cook on the other side for 3 or 4 minutes, until internal temperature registers 125 degrees. Remove from heat and let rest at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook green beans for 1 to 2 minutes, until firm-tender. Drain green beans and rinse with cool water; blot dry.

Slice duck crosswise about 1/8-inch thick. Line a platter with lettuce leaves. Place several slices of duck on each leaf, along with a couple of mango slices. Arrange green beans over the top and garnish with watercress, if using. Drizzle reserved dressing over everything, sprinkle with scallions and serve.

Green Beans and Cucumbers with Miso Dressing

3 Persian cucumbers or 1/2 English hothouse cucumber
Kosher salt
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1 1-1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1 serrano or Fresno chile, finely grated
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup white miso
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions (for serving)

Lightly smash cucumbers with a rolling pin, then tear into bite-size pieces. Toss with a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Let sit to allow salt to penetrate.

Meanwhile, place green beans in a large resealable plastic bag, seal, and smash with rolling pin until most of the beans are split open and bruised. Whisk ginger, chile, garlic, vinegar, miso, olive oil, and sesame oil in a medium bowl until smooth. Add dressing to beans and toss around in bag to coat; season with salt.

Drain cucumbers and add to bag with beans. Shake gently to combine. Transfer salad to a platter and top with sesame seeds and scallions.

Soba Noodle Salad with Cucumber and Mango

3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 red jalapeño or serrano chile, seeded, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon oriental sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime peel
12 ounces green soba or chuka soba (Japanese-style) noodles
1 large English hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
1 large ripe mango, peeled, halved, pitted, thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup chopped fresh mint
1 cup chopped toasted salted peanuts
Lime wedges

Warm vinegar, sugar, and salt in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Stir in garlic and jalapeño. Cool. Mix in lime juice, sesame oil, and lime peel.

Cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain well. Rinse under cold water; drain again. Transfer noodles to dish-towel-lined platter to drain. Transfer noodles to large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Add cucumber, mango, basil, and mint to noodles and toss gently. Arrange salad on platter. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Garnish with lime wedges. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

Cold Udon Noodles with Chicken

1 8-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast
Kosher salt
9 ounces udon noodles
3 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper, optional
2 carrots, peeled, very thinly sliced
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens separated
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Simmer the chicken breast in a medium pot of salted water until cooked through, 10–15 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. Shred into bite-sized pieces.

Meanwhile, cook udon noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain; rinse under cold water.

Whisk tahini, vinegar, soy sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup water in a large bowl until smooth; season with salt. Add carrots, cucumber, scallion whites, shredded chicken, and udon noodles and toss to coat. Garnish with scallion greens and sesame seeds.

Cold Sesame Soba Noodles with Mixed Greens and Bok Choy

1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel
2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper, divided
1/3 cup canola oil
8 ounces soba noodles
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
3 cups (loosely packed) mixed baby greens
2 heads of baby bok choy, cored, thinly sliced crosswise
1 English hothouse cucumber, cut into matchstick-size strips
3 green onions, cut into matchstick-size strips
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Salted roasted peanuts

Puree first 9 and 1 teaspoon red pepper in blender until smooth. With machine running, gradually add canola oil through opening in lid. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.

Cook soba noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Using kitchen shears, cut noodles crosswise in 2 to 3 places. Drizzle noodles in strainer with sesame oil and toss to coat.

Place greens, bok choy, cucumber, green onions, chopped cilantro, and mint in large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon red pepper, dressing, and noodles; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and peanuts and serve.

Cold Noodles with Chicken and Chili-Scallion Oil

2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 star anise pods
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
1/2 cup vegetable oil
6 oz. Japanese wheat noodles (such as ramen, somen, or udon)
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 large English hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
4 radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced
1 cup cilantro leaves or any sprout

Chile-scallion oil: Cook all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until scallions and garlic are just golden brown, about 3 minutes. Let cool; transfer oil to a jar.

DO AHEAD: Chile oil can be made 4 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Noodles and assembly: Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions; drain. Rinse noodles under cold water, then shake off as much water as possible.

Whisk soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and oil in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Add noodles, chicken, and scallions; toss to coat.

Toss with cucumber, radishes, and cilantro and drizzle with chile oil just before serving.

DO AHEAD: Noodles can be cooked the night before. Toss with 1 tsp. oil; cover and chill. Store noodles with chicken; store vegetables and dressing separately.