Spring Pea Pasta with Lemon and Shiso

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon minced garlic
12 ounces dried orecchiette or shell pasta (or two batches of this fresh orecchiette)
Salt and black pepper
2 cups frozen peas
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons Vermont Creamery mascarpone (Greek yogurt or Vermont Creamery crème fraîche work well, too)
2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
1/4 cup finely sliced shiso leaves (or mint, if unavailable), plus more for garnish

Combine oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic in a small skillet or saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is pale golden brown, 9 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add the orecchiette and 2 teaspoons salt and cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. (The pasta should still have quite a bit of bite; it will continue to cook in the sauce.)Reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Add the peas, lemon zest and juice, reserved garlic-oil mixture, and 3/4 cup of the pasta water to the pasta. Stir until pasta is well-coated with oil and no water remains in the bottom of the pot.

Add the mascarpone, Parmesan, and shiso leaves. Toss until the cheeses melt and evenly coat the pasta. If needed, loosen the pasta with the remaining 1/4 cup pasta water.

Season with more salt and plenty of black pepper to taste, then serve, with extra Parmesan on the side and more shiso, if desired. Enjoy!

Grilled Flank Steak with Soy-Chile Glaze

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 1/4 pounds flank steak
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Thinly sliced scallions and lime wedges

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a small saucepan, heat the oil. Add the garlic and ginger and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic begins to turn golden. Add the soy sauce, sugar and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, until syrupy, about 3 minutes; let cool.

Season the steak with salt and pepper. Grill the steak for 10 minutes for medium-rare meat, turning once; during the last minute, brush all but 2 tablespoons of the glaze over the steak. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let stand for 5 minutes.

Cuban Flank Steak

1 teaspoon grated lime zest plus 2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest plus 1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
2 large garlic cloves
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Kosher salt
Pepper
One 1 1/2-pound flank steak
2 ripe, firm mangoes—peeled, pitted and sliced
Lime wedges, for serving

In a blender, combine the ?citrus zests and juice with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic, oregano, cumin, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and blend until smooth.

In a glass or ceramic baking dish, pour all but 1/4 cup of the marinade over the steak and turn to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Light a grill or grill pan and oil the grate. Remove the steak from the marinade, letting the excess drip off. Season with salt and pepper and grill over moderate heat, turning once, until lightly charred and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 125, 10 to 12 minutes.

Transfer the steak to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the meat against the grain and transfer to a platter with the mango slices and lime wedges. Drizzle with the reserved marinade and serve.

Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans

INGREDIENTS

Sauce

2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Stir fry

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound (450 grams) green beans, tough ends removed
(Optional) 1/2 pound (220 grams) ground pork (*Footnote 1)
(Optional) 3 tablespoons Sichuan pickled mustard greens (Sui Mi Ya Cai) (*Footnote 2)
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon whole Szechuan peppercorn
3 dried chili peppers (*Footnote 3)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside. Dry the green beans thoroughly before cooking to prevent oil splatter.

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add the green beans and stir to coat well with oil. Spread the beans to prevent them from overlapping, as much as possible. Flip every 15 seconds or so. Cook and stir until the surface is mostly brown and withered, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn to medium heat if the pan starts to smoke too much. Remove the pan from the stove. Transfer the green beans to a plate and set aside. (*Footnote 4)

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the Sichuan peppercorns to the pan. Cook over medium heat until the peppercorns turn dark. Scoop out and save for later. (*Footnote 5)

Add the ground pork, Sichuan pickled mustard greens, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook and chop the pork to separate it into small pieces. When the surface of the pork turns golden, add the dried chili pepper, garlic, and ginger. Stir a few seconds to release the fragrance. Add back the green beans and pour the sauce over them. Cook and stir until the sauce is mostly absorbed, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove the pan from the stove and taste a green bean. If it’s not salty enough, add a pinch more salt, return the pan to the stove, and stir to mix well. Transfer everything to a plate.
Serve hot on top of rice as a main, or as a side.

NOTES

The purpose of ground pork is to add flavor, although I did use a bit more pork in this recipe to make the dish substantial enough to serve as a main. You can replace it with ground chicken or ground beef, or skip it altogether for a side dish. If you choose to skip the ground meat, I highly recommend you add 2 more tablespoons of the Sichuan pickled mustard greens to enhance the flavor. If you do not have Sichuan pickled mustard greens, adding a bit of chicken bouillon, 2 tablespoons of fermented black beans, or 1 tablespoon of fermented chili bean paste (Doubanjiang) will work too.

Sichuan pickled mustard greens add savory and sweetness to the dish, making it extra rich. You can double the pickles and skip the salt to make the dish extra fragrant. If you do not have pickled mustard greens, 2 tablespoons of fermented black beans, or 1 tablespoon of fermented chili bean paste (Doubanjiang) will work great, too.

The dried chili peppers add a fragrance and smokiness to the dish but not much in terms of heat. If you want the dish to be a bit spicy, break apart the chili peppers before adding them.
Alternatively, you could use a pair of tongs to remove charred beans and transfer them to a plate. This way, the beans will be browned more evenly without overcooking.

For the cooked Sichuan peppercorns, drain the oil with kitchen paper towel and ground them to powder. You can use them on the cooked green beans to add a zing or add to other dishes such as noodles etc.

Thai Watermelon Salad

3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons packed light palm sugar or brown sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lime juice
2 Thai or Serrano chiles, minced with seeds intact for fun
1 tablespoon finely chopped kaffir lime leaf (remove the midrib)
1/3 cup (90 ml) dried shrimp, briefly rinsed to soften and finely chopped
1/2 cup (120ml) roasted, unsalted peanuts, chopped
A volleyball-size seedless watermelo

For the dressing, combine the garlic, sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice in a bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the lime leaf, dried shrimp, and peanuts. Set aside for 15 minutes, then revisit the dressing for a taste test. Add extra lime juice, sugar, or fish sauce as needed to balance the flavors. Set aside or refrigerate for up to 3 days; return to room temperature before using.

Cut the watermelon into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes. Pile them into individual bowls, on a dramatic platter or in a shallow bowl. Top with the dressing and serve.

Thai Spicy Chicken and Holy Basil Fried Rice

1/2 lb. boneless chicken, cut into small bite-size pieces
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 shallots, thinly sliced (or substitute with a small onion)
2-3 cups young Asian broccoli
2 jalapeno, serrano or fresno hot chilli peppers
4 cups cold cooked leftover rice
3-4 Tbs. peanut oil
2 tsp. black soy sauce – the semi-sweet kind (or substitute with regular soy plus sugar)
2 Tbs. fish sauce (nahm bplah), or to desired saltiness
1+ cups basil leaves and flowers
Liberal sprinkling of powdered white pepper
1 lime, cut into four wedges

Prepare the ingredients where instructed above. For the Asian broccoli, cut the stem ends at a very slanted angle into thin strips about 1 1/2 inches long and the leafy portion in segments about the same length. Keep the stemy pieces separate from the leafy pieces.

Slice the chilli peppers into half circles or short slivers; do not remove the seeds if you wish a spicier fried rice (skip if you don’t want your fried rice to be spicy).

Crumble and break up the cold leftover rice so that the grains are no longer stuck together in big chunks. (If you do not have leftover rice, cook rice earlier in the day and cool completely before frying. Freshly cooked rice makes mushy fried rice if used when it is still warm.) Set aside.

Heat a wok over high heat until hot. Swirl in the oil to coat its surface and wait a few seconds for the oil to heat.

Add the chopped garlic, followed a few seconds later with the chicken. Stir-fry half a minute, or until the chicken begins to lose its raw pink color.

Toss in the sliced shallots and chillies. Stir and follow 15 seconds later with the broccoli stems. Stir-fry another 20 seconds before adding the leaves. Toss until leaves are partially wilted, then add the rice and toss well with all the ingredients in the wok.

Continue to stir-fry until the rice is well coated with the oil and has softened and begun to brown. Sprinkle evenly with some black soy sauce, enough to lightly color the grains. Stir some more, then sprinkle with fish sauce to the desired saltiness. Stir-fry until the broccoli is cooked to your liking, preferably still crisp and a vibrant green color.

Toss in the basil and stir quickly for a few seconds to wilt and mix in with the rice. Sprinkle with white pepper. Stir well and transfer to serving plate(s).

Serve with a wedge of fresh lime for each serving. Squeeze the juice over the rice, as desired, before eating. Serves 2-3 as a one-dish meal.

Spicy Basil Chicken (Gai Pad Horapa)

1 Pound Boneless Chicken Breast, cut into small slices
8 Fresh Red or Green Chiles, Sliced diagonally
2 Tablespoons Roughly-Chopped Garlic
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoon Oyster Sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Tablespoons Water
1 Cup Fresh Thai or Holy Basil

In a wok heat vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and stir-fry for just a minute or less (starts to get fragrant and golden color).

Add chicken. Let cook until the chicken is no longer pink (about 10 minutes).

Add fresh red chiles, oyster sauce, fish sauce, water and sugar. Fry it for a minute or two, and taste, add more chiles if you want it spicier.

Raise heat to high, then add basil. Mix well, turn off heat, and serve with jasmine rice. Enjoy!

Rice Vermicelli with Garlic Pork Tenderloin (Sen Mee Pad Kratien Moo Manau)

3 1/2 Grams Rice Vermicelli
5 Ounces Pork Tenderloin, Thinly Sliced
2 1/2 Tablespoons Freshly-Squeezed Lime Juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
2 Teaspoons White Sugar
2 Large Cloves Garlic, Sliced
4 Fresh Thai Chile Peppers, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons Fresh Garlic, Finely Chopped
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Teaspoon Thin Soy Sauce
Fresh green beans
Fresh Mint Leaves, for garnish
Garnish Thinly sliced lime

Soak the rice vermicelli in lukewarm water for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, sliced garlic, and at least 1 teaspoon finely-chopped fresh Thai chiles (more to add spice). Set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in wok over low/medium heat. Add finely-chopped garlic and fry until golden brown and aromatic. Quickly remove wok from heat, remove the garlic with a slotted spoon or strainer, and set garlic aside. Keep the oil in your wok.

Return wok to burner, over low/medium heat, add the soaked rice vermicelli, thin soy sauce, and cook for a few minutes until noodles are done. Keep stirring the noodles, be careful not to burn them. Transfer your noodles to a serving plate (see pictures at right), topping with fried garlic.

Blanche the green beans in boiling water for 1.5 minutes, set aside. Blanche the sliced pork in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, set aside

Put green beans on the plate, and top with cooked pork. Spoon the sauce mixture over the pork, and garnish with fresh mint leaves and sliced lime. Enjoy!

Thai Zucchini and Carrot Salad

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. packed light brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red Thai chile, minced
3 large zucchini, julienned
1 large carrot, julienned
1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
1/4 cup packed mint leaves
1/4 cup unsalted, dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

In a large bowl, whisk the lime juice with the fish sauce, oil, sugar, garlic, and chile. Add the zucchini, carrot, cilantro, mint, and peanuts, and toss to combine. Transfer the salad to a bowl to serve.

New-Fashioned Corn Pudding

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
1 large white or yellow onion, finely diced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for the onions
2 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled, and minced
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 4 cobs)
3/4 cup grated sharp-as-possible cheddar
6 tablespoons cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Set a medium skillet over medium heat and add the butter. When it’s melted, add the onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Turn off the heat.

Add the garlic and mustard, and stir. Let cool while you tend to the rest of the recipe.

Heat the oven to 350° F. Butter a 9×9 inch baking dish (or other 1 1/2 quart–sized baking dish).

Combine the cream, buttermilk, eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and hot sauce in a bowl or measuring cup. Whisk with a fork until smooth.

Combine the corn kernels, cheddar, cornmeal, and baking powder in another, larger bowl. Stir with a spoon or rubber spatula until combined.

Add the cooled onion mixture and stir. Add the liquid mixture and stir.

Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for about 45 minutes until the casserole has puffed up, is deeply browned along the edges, and browning on top. Cool for a few minutes before serving.

Burmese Tomato Salad

250 grams tomatoes (approx. 2-3 medium), cut into bite size chunks
1 shallot, medium, thinly sliced
20 grams garlic, peeled
5 grams green chilis (Thai bird chilis), roughly chopped
15 grams roasted peanuts (Planters work just fine), coarsely crushed. Choose your weapon to crush: mortar and pestle, rolling pin, can of soup.
1-2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced into hair-like shreds
1 handful cilantro, leaves and stems, chopped
1/2 tablespoon chickpea flour (also called gram flour or besan), toasted. Easily found in Indian stores, Asian stores, or other specialty stores.
2 tablespoons “tep say an lien” or crisp-fried, seasoned tiny shrimp (easily found in Asian stores in the ready to eat snacks aisle)
1 tablespoon peanut oil or vegetable oil
pinches kosher salt to taste

Begin by toasting 1/2 a cup of chickpea flour in a cast iron pan or skillet set on medium heat. Keep stirring every 2 minutes or so. At the 7-8 minute mark, it’ll start to change color and your nose will start to pick up a wonderful, nutty aroma. At this point, stir every 30 seconds or so for an additional 3-4 minutes, until it resembles the color of finely powdered graham crackers. Remove pan off the heat and let cool. Store in an airtight container and use any extra in Burmese-style vegetable salads or as a thickener/base in soups and curries.

Next, put garlic and green chilis in a blender and pulse a couple of times to get a chunky mix with easily distinguishable pieces of garlic and chili; at no point should it become a paste.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small wok and cook the garlic-chili blend in it until it turns an even golden brown.
Carefully remove the fried garlic-chili blend gently pressing against the side of the wok as you do, so as to leave most of the oil in the wok. Wait for the wok to cool down a bit.

Next, add a 1/2 tablespoon of toasted chickpea flour into the residual oil in the wok and stir it in to instantly form an emulsified dressing of sort. Follow with tomatoes, shallot, kaffir lime leaves, and cilantro and give it a good mix. At this point, you can stick it into the refrigerator for a couple of hours until ready to eat.

This salad can be enjoyed at room temperature or cold. Remember to salt only when ready to eat. After salting, garnish with fried garlic-chili blend, crushed peanuts, and crisp-fried dried shrimp.

Pesto all Trapanese (Sicilian Almond Pesto)

3 medium cloves garlic
Kosher salt
2 ounces toasted blanched almonds (60g; about 1/2 cup); see note
35 large basil leaves (about 4 sprigs, weighing 25g total)
2 to 4 mint leaves (optional)
3 1/2 ounces (100g) grated cheese, preferably a milder aged pecorino or a 50/50 mix of Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
1 pound (450g) plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1/4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 pound (450g) linguine

If Using a Mortar and Pestle: Crush the garlic in the mortar with a pinch of salt to form a paste. Add almonds and beat and crush into a rough paste. Work in basil leaves and mint (if using), pounding and crushing into tiny bits. Smash in cheese, followed by tomatoes and olive oil. The final sauce should be a rough paste. Season with salt.

If Using a Food Processor: Pulse garlic with almonds until roughly chopped. Add basil, mint (if using), cheese, tomatoes, and olive oil and process to a rough paste. Season with salt.

Transfer two-thirds of the sauce to a large heatproof serving bowl.

In a pot of salted boiling water, cook linguine until al dente. Transfer pasta to serving bowl, reserving some of the pasta-cooking water. Toss well, adding more olive oil and pasta-cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time each, until a creamy sauce forms that’s not dry but also not soupy. Season with salt, if needed. If the sauce gets too dry at any point, simply add more pasta-cooking water to loosen it.

Serve, spooning remaining sauce on top of each portion and adding more cheese as desired.

Caramelized Coconut Green Beans

Kosher salt
1 pound green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen coconut chunks, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 red Thai chiles, split lengthwise
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and cracked
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans; cook until bright green and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain beans and rinse under cold water until chilled; pat dry with a paper towel.?

Melt coconut oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add coconut slices, and cook until browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Stir to loosen coconut; add garlic, mustard seeds, and peppercorns. Cook, stirring often, until mustard seeds pop, about 30 seconds. Stir in onion and chiles. Cook, stirring often, until onion and coconut are golden around edges, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add green beans to skillet, and fold to coat. Cook until green beans are heated through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a platter, and top with coriander seeds and flaky sea salt.

Thai Corn Salad

1 to 2 red Thai bird’s eye chiles (depending on your tolerance for heat), stemmed, seeded and cut into ½ -inch slices
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 ounces green beans, cut into
1-inch pieces (3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, or more as needed
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 or 3 limes)
2 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into 8 wedges each
3 medium carrots, coarsely grated
2 1/2 cups cooked corn kernels (from 3 cobs; see NOTE)
1 3/4 cups roasted, unsalted cashews

Combine the chiles (to taste) and garlic in a gallon zip-top bag and zip it almost all the way closed, leaving an inch or two unzipped. Use a rolling pin to pound the chiles and garlic through the plastic and form a rough paste. Add the beans and pound briefly to crush them a little. Add the brown sugar, soy sauce and lime juice.

Add the tomatoes and pound briefly, just to flatten them. Stir in the carrots and corn; pound gently, just to help the flavors incorporate. Taste, and add more soy sauce as needed.

Transfer to a serving bowl, top with the cashews and serve right away.

NOTE: For an easy way to briefly cook corn that makes it easy to husk and de-silk, dip the three cobs, husks and all, in water (just to moisten them). Microwave on HIGH for 4 to 5 minutes, until very hot. Remove, let cool for a bit, then use a sharp knife to cut crosswise through the husk and cob an inch or two from the wide end (opposite from the end with the tassel of silk). Hold the silk end, and push the corn out. To cut off the kernels, let the cobs cool until easy to handle. Cut the cobs in half crosswise, stand each half on one end and cut off the kernels from each side.

Coconut Corn Salad

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 ears of corn, shucked
fine grain sea salt
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 cup big coconut flakes, well toasted
1 cup sliced almonds, well toasted
3 tablespoons chopped red onions
big squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn, sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt and stir well, you want all the corn to be coated. Cook for just a minute, until the corn looses its raw edge, stir in half the thyme, and then transfer the corn to a large serving bowl.

Just before you’re ready to serve, add most of the coconut flakes, most of the almonds, the rest of the thyme, red onions, and citrus juice. Stir well. Taste, season with more salt, to taste, and serve topped with the remaining coconut and almonds (and another jolt of juice if needed!).

Lime and Blistered Peanut Coleslaw

1 1/2 cups unsalted raw peanuts
1/2 of a medium-large cabbage
1 basket of tiny cherry tomatoes, washed and quartered
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and diced
3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon + fine-grain sea salt
honey, to taste

In a skillet or oven (350F) roast the peanuts for 5 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice along the way, until golden and blistered.

Cut the cabbage into two quarters and cut out the core. Using a knife shred each quarter into whisper thin slices. The key here is bite-sized and thin. If any pieces look like they might be awkwardly long, cut those in half. Combine the cabbage, tomatoes, jalapeno (opt), and cilantro in a bowl.

In a separate bowl combine the lime juice, olive oil, salt. Taste, and whisk in a teaspoon or two of honey if the lime is too strong for you. Add to the cabbage mixture and gently stir to combine. Just before serving fold in the peanuts (add them too earl and they lose some of their crunch). Taste and adjust the flavor with more salt if needed.

Roasted Tomato Salsa

2 pounds Roma tomatoes (or similar), cut in half lengthwise
1 medium white onion, cut into six wedges
1 large garlic clove, halved
a couple pinches of finely ground sea salt
2-3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium dried guajillo chile pepper, soaked in boiling water until softened, and then drained
1 -2 chipotles in adobo sauce (canned)
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

Heat oven to 400F degrees. Now gently tossed the tomatoes, onions, garlic, and salt with the olive oil in a large bowl. After they are nicely coated arrange in a single layer, tomatoes cut-side facing up, across a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the tomatoes start to collapse and the onions begin to caramelize a bit. Remove from the oven.

Puree the chiles (both the guajillo and chipotles) with the roasted garlic and two roasted tomato halves. Chop the remaining tomatoes by hand (once they’ve cooled a bit). Chop and add the onions as well. Season with salt generously, and stir in the cilantro.

Pasta alla Norma

1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes
Kosher salt
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
12 ounces penne rigate or mezze rigatoni pasta
8 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pints grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 ounces ricotta salata, shredded

Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the upper-middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment. In a large bowl, toss the eggplant with 1½ teaspoons salt and 4 tablespoons of the oil. Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast until browned and tender, 30 to 35 minutes, stirring once.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 2 tablespoons salt; cook until the pasta is al dente. Reserve about ½ cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.

While the eggplant roasts and the water heats, in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and 1½ teaspoons salt, then cover and cook, occasionally shaking the pan, until the tomatoes begin to release their liquid, about 1 minute. Stir in the vinegar, then use the back of a large spoon to crush the tomatoes. Cover, reduce to medium and cook, stirring, until the mixture breaks down into a lightly thickened sauce, 8 to 9 minutes.

Peach Bread Pudding with Warm Brown Sugar Sauce

Bread Pudding:
1/2 a loaf of day-old unsliced bakery bread
3-4 peaches, peeled and sliced
3 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla or vanilla bean paste
4 tsp white sugar, for topping

Brown Sugar Sauce:
1/4 cup salted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350° and grease 4 individual dishes or an 8×8-inch baking pan. Set on to a baking sheet and set aside.

Peel peaches and cut in to slices. Set aside.

Slice bread in to thin 3/4-inch slices or cube. If using slices, you’ll want your bread pieces to be about an inch higher than the height of your baking dish, so figure out how tall they should be and cut off the bottom of the slices to that height. (*You won’t need the part you cut off the bottom, but you can use them by cutting them in to cubes and making some croutons with them!). Then cut each of the trimmed slices in half from top to bottom to make two pieces. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/2 cup white sugar, cream, milk and vanilla.

Place your bread slices in to your baking dishes (or disby slightly overlapping them (crust side facing the side of the disand allowing them to tilt back a bit. If using cubes, place in your dish or dishes.

Place some peach slices in the gaps between the bread. Pour some of the egg mixture over the bread and in to the dishes, just until it reaches the top edge of the dish or until it nears but doesn’t cover the top of the bread.

Allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, then top up with remaining egg mixture, just until it reaches the edge of the dish again or near the top of the bread. You may not need it all.

Lightly brush the top of the bread with a bit of the egg mixture, then sprinkle a heaped 1 tsp. of white sugar over the top of each dish, especially on the top crust edge.

Place dishes on baking sheet (to catch any overflow!) in to preheated 350° oven and bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden and set. (*You may want to check at 25-30 minutes in case it’s browning too quickly, in which case, just lay a sheet of aluminum foil over top while it finishes baking.

Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before eating. If not eating right away, allow to cool for 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate.

While puddings are baking, make the brown sugar sauce by melting butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, cream and a pinch of salt and stir to combine.

Allow to come to a boil, stirring regularly. Once it comes to a boil, cook another few minutes, stirring regularly, then remove from heat and pour in to a bowl or pitcher.

Cover and refrigerate if not using right away. Can be re-warmed in the microwave/saucepan to serve.

Serve puddings at warm, at room temperature or slightly re-warmed in the microwave, topped with warm brown sugar sauce (*You’ll want to place your small dishes on a plate, as the brown sugar sauce will most likely spill over the sides when poured on top).

Peaches and Cream Cake

2/3 cup white sugar (scant 2/3 cup)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp whole milk at room temperature
6-7 fresh peaches

Grease an 8 or 9-inch springform pan (if you don’t have a springform, use a regular round 8 or 9-inch cake pan, but note that you will not be able to remove in one piece from this type of pan). If you’d like to later remove the cake from the base, be sure to line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Sprinkle the inside of the greased pan with a bit of brown sugar. Wrap the outside of the springform pan in a piece of aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 355° F.

Peel peaches and cut flesh off sides, then cut in to chunks (don’t have to be too small). Set aside.

Melt the butter and let it cool. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

In the meantime, whisk the eggs with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the vanilla and (coolemelted butter until combined. Add the milk and then the flour sifted with baking powder. Gently fold peaches into the batter.

Pour in to the prepared pan. (*You’ll know you have enough peaches if they poke above the batter when you pour it in the pan. If not, maybe add another). If you like, you can sprinkle the top with white sugar before baking for a sweet top crust.

Bake in preheated 355° oven for 50-55 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, refrigerate in the pan if you are making ahead. To eat right away, run a knife around the outside and remove the outer ring. Slice and serve cool, at room temperature or slightly re-warmed, garnished with a dusting of icing sugar or dress it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.