Pressure Cooker Lemongrass Pumpkin Congee (Tinutuan)

1/2 cup (120 grams) long grain or short grain rice
8 cups water
1 stalk lemongrass (or 2 stalks if you like a very strong lemongrass flavor)
3 cups diced kabocha squash (the yield from half a kabocha squash)
1 cup sweet corn kernels
4 cups spinach
(Optional) 1 bunch of Thai basil leaves for garnish
Sambal and/or fried shallot for serving

Add rice and water to cover in a large bowl. Use your hand to gently swirl a few times to rinse, discard the water. Repeat 1 to 2 times. Drain rice and transfer into an Instant Pot. Add 8 cups water.

Cut the lemongrass into 2-inch (5-cm) stalks and pound them with the back of your knife, to bruise the stalks so they release more aroma. Add the lemongrass into the Instant Pot. Set the pressure to high and timer for 15 minutes. Once the timer is up, use quick release to reduce the pressure.
Add the diced pumpkin. Cover and cook on high pressure, for another 6 minutes. Use natural release to reduce pressure.

Add the sweet corn kernels and turn on the saute function until bringing to a boil. Cook with the lid two-thirds of the way covered for 3 to 5 minutes, until the corn is cooked through.
Add the spinach and continue cooking for a minute. Turn off the Instant pot.

Transfer the porridge into serving bowls. Serve hot with sambal and / or fried shallot.

Lemon Souffle

About 1 teaspoon unsalted butter for the dish
1 cup sugar, plus some for the dish
6 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon minced or grated lemon or orange zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice or Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
Pinch salt

Butter a 2-quart soufflé or other deep baking dish. Sprinkle the dish with sugar, invert it, and tap to remove excess sugar. Set aside and heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the egg yolks with 3/4 cup of the sugar until light and very thick; the mixture will fall in a ribbon from the ends of the beaters when it is ready. Beat in the flavorings and set aside.

Beat the egg whites with the salt until they hold soft peaks; continue to beat, gradually adding the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, until they are very stiff but still glossy. Stir a good spoonful of them thoroughly into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites, using a rubber spatula or your hand.

Transfer to the prepared soufflé dish(es) and bake until the center is nearly set, 25 to 35 minutes (15 to 25 minutes for individual soufflés). Serve immediately.

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.

Hot Mulled Cider

1 gallon apple cider
3/4 cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay
1/4 cup honey 2 quince—peeled, cored and finely chopped
One 4-inch rosemary sprig
Two 3- to 4-inch cinnamon sticks, broken
4 cloves
1 star anise
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Combine the cider, wine, honey, quince, rosemary, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and lemon zest in a large saucepan and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. Strain the mulled cider and discard the solids. Serve the mulled cider warm.

Sweet Potatoes with Apple Butter

4 pounds sweet potatoes
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup apple butter
Salt

Preheat the oven to 350°. Pierce the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until very tender.

Peel the sweet potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher until creamy, then mash in the butter and apple butter. Season with salt and serve.

Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1/4 cup canola oil
2 1/4 pounds baby brussels sprouts or regular brussels sprouts halved lengthwise
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and softened
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup Grade A pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 cup vacuum-packed roasted chestnuts, coarsely chopped (6 ounces)
1 tablespoon walnut oil

Heat the canola oil in a very large skillet until shimmering. Add the brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper, then cook over high heat without stirring until they are browned, about 2 minutes. Add the unsalted butter and brown sugar and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the brown sugar is melted. Add the maple syrup and cook, stirring occasionally, until the brussels sprouts are just crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in the cider vinegar. Add the chestnuts and walnut oil and cook until hot.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the brussels sprouts and chestnuts to a bowl. Boil the cooking liquid over high heat until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the brussels sprouts and serve.

Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds trimmed beef flatiron steak or chuck, cut into 8 pieces
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
One 750-milliliter bottle dry red wine
2 bay leaves
1 thyme sprig
One 5-ounce piece of pancetta
15 pearl or small cipollini onions, peeled
15 cremini mushrooms
15 baby carrots, peeled
Sugar
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the meat in the casserole in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 8 minutes. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the meat with it. Add the wine, bay leaves and thyme, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Cover the casserole and transfer it to the oven. Cook the stew for 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is very tender and the sauce is flavorful.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cover the pancetta with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the pancetta and slice it 1/2 inch thick, then cut the slices into 1-inch-wide lardons.

In a large skillet, combine the pancetta, pearl onions, mushrooms and carrots. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 cup of water and a large pinch each of sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until almost all of the water has evaporated, 15 minutes. Uncover and cook over high heat, tossing, until the vegetables are tender and nicely browned, about 4 minutes.

To serve, stir some of the vegetables and lardons into the stew and scatter the rest on top as a garnish. Top with a little chopped parsley and serve.

Pasticcini di Mandor (Italian Soft Almond Cookies)

Makes 12-16 biscuits

350g ground almonds
150–200g icing sugar, plus more for dusting
Zest of 1-2 unwaxed lemons
2 medium eggs

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.

In a large bowl, mix together the ground almonds, icing sugar, lemon zest and eggs to form a soft, slightly sticky dough.

Dust your hands with icing sugar, and scoop out a walnut-sized ball of dough. Then gently roll it between your palms. You can also roll it on the work surface as long as it is dusted with icing sugar. Repeat. Put the balls on the baking tray and make an indentation in the centre of each.

As they bake, the biscuits will crack gently. For soft and marzipan-like biscuits bake for 11-12 minutes, for a firmer, chewier biscuit 14-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. They will keep in an airtight tin for a month.

Pasta e Piselli

1.3kg peas in their pods, or 350g frozen
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
A small knob of butter or 50g pancetta or guanciale, diced
3 large or 6 small spring onions, chopped
A celery stalk, chopped
A sprig of mint
Salt
1 tbsp tomato puree (optional)
A parmesan rind
300g fresh egg pasta or 200g dried pasta
Pecorino or parmesan cheese, grated

If the peas are in their pods, pod them and set aside. Warm the olive oil in a large pan and fry the pancetta, onion, celery and mint with a pinch of salt, until soft and translucent. Stir in the tomato puree, if using, then add the peas, stir and cook for a few minutes.

Add 1.3 litres of cold water and the parmesan rind. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.

Once the peas are tender, remove the mint, add another small pinch of salt and the pasta. Cook, stirring regularly, until the pasta is al dente. Leave to sit for a couple of minutes, stir in 2 tbsp grated cheese, taste and check for salt (it shouldn’t need it). Divide between bowls and serve, handing round more cheese for those who want it.

Pasta with Eggplant

2 large aubergines
Olive or groundnut oil, for frying
1kg fresh tomatoes or 500g passata
2 garlic cloves
A small handful of basil
1 tsp sugar (if you need it)
500g pasta, such as spaghetti, rigatoni, casarecce, mezze maniche or penne
200g salted ricotta, grated
Salt

Peel strips of skin from the aubergines so they are striped, then cut them into 5mm slices. If you’re going to salt them, do it now; otherwise just dry them with a clean tea towel. Heat about 5cm oil in a frying pan and fry the slices, turning them halfway, until they are golden brown on both sides, then drain on kitchen paper. Set aside, near the stove so they keep warmish.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil. If using fresh tomatoes, peel by plunging them into boiling water for 1 minute, then lift them out with a slotted spoon and cool under cold water, at which point the skins should slip away. Keep the hot water for cooking the pasta later. Roughly chop the tomatoes, removing the seeds if you wish (I don’t).

Crush the garlic cloves with the back of a knife, so they split, but remain whole. Warm some more oil in a frying pan and add the garlic. Once fragrant and lightly golden, remove from the pan, add the tomatoes (or passata) and cook until they collapse into a sauce. You can pass the tomatoes through a food mill back into the pan or, if you’re happy with the texture, simply tear in most of the basil, add the sugar if you think the sauce is too sharp, and a good pinch of salt.

Bring the pan of tomato water back to the boil, add salt, stir well and add the pasta. Cook it until al dente, then drain. Mix the pasta with the sauce and a handful of ricotta. Divide between bowls, top with several slices of aubergine, plus a little more salted ricotta and a couple more basil leaves. Pass around the remaining aubergine slices and cheese, so that people can help themselves.

Paste e Ceci

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (from one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup (2 ounces or 55 grams) uncooked ditalini pasta (or another small shape; I use annelini)
2 cups (275 ml) boiling water

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil (estimate 1 per serving)
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
Salt and red pepper flakes

In a medium-large heavy-bottomed pot or deep saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil until it shimmers.

Add 2 smashed cloves of garlic and cook, stirring until it becomes lightly, barely browned but very fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, and pepper and cook them with the garlic for 30 seconds or so.

Add the chickpeas, pasta, and boiling water. Stir to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot, lower the heat, and simmer until the pasta is cooked and a lot of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning and ladle into bowls.

Make finishing oil: Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small sauce- or frying pan over medium-low heat with remaining clove of garlic, rosemary, a pinch or two of salt and pepper flakes, until sizzling; pull it off the heat as soon as the garlic is going to start taking on color. Drizzle this over bowls of pasta e ceci and eat it right away.

Baked Gobi Manchurian

4 cups chopped cauliflower
1 cup chopped onions
1 large bell pepper chopped or eight small little ones
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon turmeric

For the sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha or other hot sauce

Line a sheet pan with foil and turn on your broiler.

Sprinkle the veggies with oil, salt, and turmeric.

Mix well and place veggies on foil-lined sheet.

Broil for 30 minutes or so until the veggies are cooked.

Meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl, mix together all the sauce ingredients and microwave for 30 seconds. Let this sit while the veggies cook.

When the veggies are done, remove from the oven and pour sauce on them, mixing as you go.

Strawberries with Swedish Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
Sugar or honey to taste
1 tablespoon any liqueur, like Cointreau or amaretto (optional)
1 quart strawberries, washed, hulled, and halved or quartered, if necessary

Whip the sweet cream until it holds soft peaks, then fold it into the sour cream; add sugar to taste and liqueur if you like.

Put the berries in four to six bowls or stemmed glasses and top with the cream. If desired, garnish with a leaf of fresh mint.

Pressure Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

3 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken pieces, preferably dark meat (if using white meat, cut cooking time by 2 minutes)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 Spanish onion, diced
1 turnip, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart chicken stock, preferably homemade
Chopped fresh parsley or celery leaves, for serving

FOR THE DUMPLINGS
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
1/4 cup minced fresh chive (optional)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup whole milk

Green and Wax Beans with Tomato Vinaigrette

1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
1/2 pound yellow wax beans, trimmed
1 overripe large tomato
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt, plus more as needed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup thinly sliced pitted kalamata olives
1/3 cup torn fresh basil leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Drop green and wax beans into boiling water for 1 to 3 minutes or until just tender. Drain and immediately transfer to the ice bath. When cool, drain and dry with a towel and place in a large bowl.

Cut tomato in half across its equator and squeeze out seeds (use for another purpose or discard). Using the largest hole on a box grater, grate the tomato flesh. Discard skin and transfer grated flesh to a medium bowl. You should have about 1/2 cup.

Stir in vinegar and salt, then stir in olive oil and garlic. Taste and adjust vinegar and salt as needed.

Add just enough vinaigrette to coat beans, add olives, then toss well. Let sit for at least 10 minutes (and up to 4 hours) before serving. Add torn basil and serve.

Apple Crumble

12 tablespoons/170 grams unsalted butter, melted, plus more for buttering the pan
1 1/2 cups/180 grams all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup/300 grams packed dark brown sugar, divided
1 cup/80 grams old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup/113 grams pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 1/2 pounds mixed apples, such as Granny Smith, Macintosh, and Pink Lady, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch wedges (about 8 medium apples)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, 1 cup/200 grams of the brown sugar, oats, pecans and salt. Add the butter, and stir with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened.

Add the apples to the buttered baking dish and toss with the remaining 1/2 cup/100 grams brown sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. Spread the apples into an even layer.

Press the crumb mixture together to create clumps of different sizes, and sprinkle on top of the apples.

Transfer to the oven, and bake until the apples are tender and the crumb topping is crisp and deep golden brown, about 50 to 60 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Braised Eggplant with Minced Pork

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 pounds eggplant, cubed
8 ounces ground pork
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
2 teaspoons, plus 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (divided)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
10 ounces dried spaghetti or noodles
1 tablespoon, plus 3 tablespoons oil (divided)
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 red chili, chopped
2 tablespoons ground bean sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt into 8 cups of water in a large bowl. Soak the cubed eggplant in the salt water for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, drain the eggplant, and use your hands or a clean dish towel to squeeze the water out of it. Set aside. This step helps the eggplant cook faster and absorb less oil later on.

In a separate bowl, mix the ground pork with 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine, 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper, 2 teaspoons light soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, and 2 teaspoons water. Marinate for 15-20 minutes.
Next, cook the spaghetti (or noodles) according to the package instructions. Drain, and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a clean wok over medium heat, and cook the bell pepper for about a minute. Transfer the peppers to a dish, and set aside.

Next, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in the wok over low heat. Cook the ginger and garlic for about a minute. Add the chili, and cook for another minute. Add the ground bean sauce, and cook for another minute. Then add the pork, and turn up the heat. When the pork is browned, add the eggplant, and stir-fry everything together thoroughly.

Cook for a couple of minutes before adding 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, and 2 cups water. Mix everything together well, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes over medium heat, or until the eggplant is tender. At this point in the cooking process, there should be plenty of sauce in the wok. The starch from the spaghetti or noodles will help thicken it.

Lastly, add the bell pepper, cooked noodles, and chopped cilantro to the wok (if using). Mix everything well, add salt to taste, and serve immediately!

Summer Corn Chowder

1 quart good chicken stock
1 stalk fresh lemongrass, chopped
3 ears fresh corn
1 sweet red pepper, seeded & chopped to size of corn kernels
1 small onion chopped to size of corn kernels
Salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Italian parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Combine lemongrass and stock, simmer 20 minutes (until the stock is well-flavored). Strain the stock and reserve, discarding the lemongrass.

Cut kernels from cobs, then scrape the cobs with the edge of a knife to extract all the milky fluid from the base of the kernels. Add corn (and liquid from the cobs), red pepper, and onions to stock, simmer until vegetables are tender.

Add cream and parsley, adjust seasoning, and serve, garnished with a sprig of Italian parsley.

Sweet Corn Cacio e Pepe

For the Corn Stock:
6 medium corncobs, husked
6 cups water
5 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 thyme sprig

For the Pasta:

Kosher salt, to taste
1 pound dried spaghetti
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 cups corn stock
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
Reserved corn kernels
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano

Make the corn stock: Slice off the kernels from the corncobs, reserving the kernels for later. Place the cobs in a medium saucepan with the remaining stock ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until reduced to 1½ cups, 1 hour. Strain, discarding the solids.

Make the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, 6 minutes, then drain.

Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, toast the pepper over medium heat until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the corn stock, butter and corn kernels, and bring to a simmer.

Add the pasta to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the pasta is fully cooked and the sauce has reduced slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cheeses and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the cheeses have melted and the pasta is fully coated in the sauce, 1 minute more. Divide between bowls and serve immediately.

Braised Spiced Romano Beans with Yogurt and Mint

1/4 cup [60 ml] Greek-style yogurt
Juice of 1 lime
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground black lime, plus more for sprinkling (or use lime juice)
1 tsp coriander seeds toasted and ground
1 tsp fennel seeds, toasted and ground
2 cups Pomodoro Sauce
1 cup Vegetable Stock or Chicken Stock, plus more as needed
1 lb [455 g] romano beans, stem end trimmed
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup [7 g] mint leaves

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, lime juice, and 2 Tbsp of the olive oil. Add water, 1 tsp at a time, so the mixture is thick but pourable. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a deep, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and garlic and cook until just starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the black lime, coriander seeds, and fennel seeds and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the pomodoro sauce and stock and bring to a simmer. Stir in the romano beans, coating with the sauce, and bring back to a simmer. Season with salt, turn the heat to medium-low, and cook at a slow, steady simmer until the beans soften and darken in color, 15 to 20 minutes. If needed, add more stock, 1 Tbsp at a time, to keep the pan from drying out.

Remove from the heat and add the vinegar. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if desired.

Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with the lime yogurt. Scatter the mint leaves over all, sprinkle with a bit more ground black lime, and serve warm or at room temperature.