Herbed White Bean Stew with Sausage

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, sliced 3/4-inch thick
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound dried great Northern beans, rinsed and picked through
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
2 thyme sprigs
1 large rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high. Add the sausage and brown until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.

Add the tomato paste and cumin to the pot. Cook, stirring, until dark golden, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the beans, 8 cups water, salt, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer gently until the beans are tender, about 2 hours, adding more water if needed to make sure the beans remain submerged.

When beans are tender, return the sausage to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Ladle into warm bowls and serve drizzled with more vinegar and olive oil.

Greek Lentil Soup

1 pound lentils, rinsed and picked over
10 cups vegetable broth or water
1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 bay leaves
2 medium potatoes (1 1/4 pounds), scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
10 ounces baby spinach, chopped
1 small butternut squash (1 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, with leaves, sliced
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 lemons

In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, combine the lentils, stock or water, jalapeño, coriander, cumin, oregano and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, partially covered, about 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender.

Add the potatoes, spinach and butternut squash, re-cover and cook another 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes and squash are tender.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, and cook, stirring, until it starts to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the celery and garlic and cook, stirring often, until they soften, 3 minutes. Add the mixture to the soup, deglazing the skillet with a little soup liquid and adding the deglaze contents back to the soup pot. Add the salt and pepper, taste, and add more if needed. Pick out and discard the bay leaves.

Thinly slice one of the lemons and cut the other into wedges. Just before serving, stir the lemon juice into the soup. Serve the soup hot, with a lemon slice floating atop each bowl. Pass lemon wedges at the table.

Winter Vegetable Stew

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
1/2 onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 bulb fennel, chopped
1 bunch kale, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 leeks, chopped
1 large carrot, diced small
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small napa cabbage, sliced thin
2 to 3 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Cassoulet beans with some broth

In a large pot, heat the olive over medium heat until shimmering, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, fennel, kale, leeks, and carrot. Salt lightly and stir. Allow them to cook for about 10 minutes until they’re soft but not quite done. Add the cabbage and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add water to barely cover the mixture, about 5 or 6 cups, depending on the pot you’re using and the state of the vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to a gentle simmer over medium to medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until vegetables are cooked through.

Add the beans and adjust the salt. Add a generous amount of pepper and bring back to a simmer.

Ladle into large bowls and drizzle each serving with extra-virgin olive oil.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
2 cups (10 ounces) diced onion, 1 large
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
4 cups (16 ounces) cauliflower florets, 1 medium
2 cups (16 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk, warmed
1/2 cup dark beer, such as Guinness
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (8 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese

In a 5-quart stock pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt, stir and cook until the onion turns slightly golden, about 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower, stir everything together to coat with the oil, cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes, add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the liquid is just simmering. Cover the pot and cook until the cauliflower is fork-tender, 7 to 10 minutes.

While the cauliflower cooks, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter until foaming. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and whisk until smooth, forming a roux. Reduce the heat and continue to whisk until the roux turns golden brown, about 7 minutes. Add the warmed milk in a stream, whisking until thick and smooth. Add the beer, whisking until smooth, and bring to a simmer, warming just until the bubbles have dispersed, 2 to 3 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape the beer sauce into the soup and stir until smooth. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, the thyme, Worcestershire, mustard, black pepper and cheese. Stir and heat until a silky cheese soup surrounds the cauliflower, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve hot.

Pork Chops and Cabbage with Mustard Cream Sauce

4 thin center-cut boneless pork chops (about 1 pound total)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup finely diced onion (about 1/2 large onion) is
4 cups rough chopped green cabbage (about 1 pound)
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Pat the pork chops dry and season with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chops and cook until browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Turn the chops and cook until browned on the other side, about 3 minutes. (If the chops are browning too quickly, lower the heat.) Transfer the chops to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Add the onion to the skillet and stir, cooking until the onion is softened and nearly translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cabbage and cook until the cabbage is tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the butter, if using, and toss to coat the cabbage. (If the chops are lean, butter will enhance the flavor.) Transfer the cabbage mixture to a serving platter and cover to keep warm.

Lower the heat to medium. Add the cream and mustard to the skillet and stir until the mustard is fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and white pepper; stir to combine

Add the chops back to the skillet. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes, basting the chops with the sauce.

Place the chops on top of the cabbage on the serving platter. Drizzle the chops and cabbage with the remaining sauce, garnish with the parsley and serve.

Classic Cauliflower Cheese

1 medium to large cauliflower
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Cheese Sauce:
4 Tbsp butter salted or unsalted
3-4 Tbsp all purpose flour *see Notes
1 cup milk at least 2% b.f.
1 cup whipping cream 35% b.f. ** see Notes
2 cups aged cheddar cheese grated, well packed
Pinch nutmeg grated or powdered
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425F.

Prepare and roast the cauliflower: Remove the stem leaves and core from the cauliflower and break off the florets into large chunks. (Not sure how to cut the cauliflower? Try my easy method details in the Cook’s Noes above). If you like, you can cut away most of the stalks and just use the florets or use it stalks and all. Cut the florets into bite-sized pieces, but not too small.

Place the cauliflower in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter onto a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until tender (test with a knife) and golden in spots. Remove from the oven, set aside and REDUCE THE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 400F.
Prepare the cheese sauce: Measure out your milk and cream in a 2-cup measuring cup and set aside. Grate your cheese and have ready.

In a large saucepan (you’ll be adding the cauliflower to it later, so make sure it’s big enough), melt the butter oven medium heat.

Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes, or as long as you feel you can without letting it scorch.

Reduce the heat under the pan to medium-low. Pour in a small amount of the cream/milk and whisk until a smooth paste forms.

Add the remaining milk a bit at a time and whisk until smooth, until all the milk has been added. Cook sauce over medium-low heat and whisking regularly, until the sauce noticeably thickens.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the grated cheese. Let stand without stirring for about 2 minutes, then stir together. The cheese should have all melted in to the sauce. If by chance it hasn’t, you can return the pot to the burner over low heat to finish the melting.

Add the nutmeg and stir in. Taste the sauce and add salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed.

Add the roasted cauliflower to the pot with the cheese sauce and stir to completely coat the cauliflower. Spoon the cauliflower cheese mixture into a baking dish large enough to hold it all. Place the baking dish onto a baking sheet (to catch any bubble overs).

Place into the preheated 400F and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly and deep golden on top. Let stand a few minutes before serving, to allow the sauce to set up a bit.

Notes: If using heavy cream, you should be good with 3 Tbsp of flour. If using a lighter cream, whole milk or you’re using cream, but want a thicker sauce, go with the 4 Tbsp of flour.
** Heavy whipping cream will produce the best results, but if you prefer, you could use a lighter cream, such as table cream (18% b.f) or half and half cream (10% b.f.)

Roast the cauliflower just until tender with just a few golden spots. Test it with a knife to be sure it’s tender, then remove. You don’t want to roast all of the moisture out of it.

Add the milk/cream mixture in small increments (a scant 1/4 cup-ish at a time), to ensure a smooth sauce.

Be sure to properly season your dish, starting with seasoning the cauliflower before roasting and ending with tasting and seasoning the cheese sauce at the end of cooking it on the stove-top, to really bring out the flavours.

Turning off the heat under your pot (or removing it from the burner if you have an electric stovetop) immediately after adding the cheese helps to ensure a smooth and creamy sauce, as the cheese is allowed to melt slowly from the residual heat in the sauce.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Gnocchi

1 pound brussels sprouts
1 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 (18-ounce) package shelf-stable or refrigerated potato gnocchi
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into 6 pieces
1/2 teaspoon honey
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

Trim and halve the brussels sprouts. Using a vegetable peeler, peel thick strips of lemon zest, then coarsely chop. (You should have about 2 teaspoons chopped zest.)

In a large (preferably 12-inch) skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high. Add the brussels sprouts, season with ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper, then arrange the brussels sprouts in an even layer, cut-side down. Scatter the lemon zest over the top and cook, undisturbed, until the brussels sprouts are well browned underneath, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the red-pepper flakes, stir and cook until the brussels sprouts are crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high. Break up any gnocchi that are stuck together, add them to the pan and cook, covered and undisturbed, until golden brown on one side, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the butter and honey, season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper, and cook, stirring, until the butter is golden, nutty smelling and foaming, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the brussels sprouts until warmed through. Serve with grated Parmesan.

Pasta with Cauliflower and Cream

Kosher salt and black pepper
8 ounces rigatoni, ziti or campanelle
6 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup fresh coarse or panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely grated pecorino cheese, plus more for serving
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), outer leaves and stem removed, sliced about 1/2-inch thick (it’s O.K. if it crumbles)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus more for serving
1/2 cup finely chopped chives
Red-pepper flakes (optional)

Variations: cooked bacon, leafy greens

Bring a large pasta pot filled with salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente; drain and reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re evenly toasted and golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add ¼ cup pecorino and toss to coat, letting the cheese melt and clump among the bread crumbs (think granola-like clusters). Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl or plate; set aside.

Wipe out the skillet and heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add shallot and cauliflower and season with salt and plenty of black pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the cauliflower has completely softened and both the cauliflower and shallots are beginning to caramelize and brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

Add heavy cream and 1 tablespoon lemon zest and bring to a simmer, then let the cream reduce and thicken, 2 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and plenty of pepper; if pasta is still cooking, remove from heat and set aside until pasta is ready.

Return the skillet to medium heat and add the pasta to the cauliflower, along with the remaining ¼ cup pecorino and ¾ cup of the pasta water. Cook, tossing to coat the pasta and thicken the sauce until it’s thick and glossy, and almost resembles macaroni and cheese, adding more pasta water by the tablespoon as needed, 4 to 6 minutes.

Remove from heat. Divide pasta among bowls and top with pecorino bread crumbs, chives, more lemon zest, red-pepper flakes (if using) and more cheese if you like.

Cauliflower Cheddar Casserole

4 cups cauliflower florets (from 1 medium head cauliflower)
8 ounces sour cream
1 cup coarsely grated mild white cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 350° and butter a shallow 9-by-13-inch ceramic baking dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Blanch the cauliflower until just tender, 4 minutes. Drain in a colander.

In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, sour cream, half the cheese, paprika, thyme, salt and red pepper. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the top is lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Sheet Pan Pork Loin with Maple, Butternut Squash, and Potatoes

Ingredients send grocery list
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, or 1 tablespoon dried
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1/2 cup white wine
2 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin roast or tenderloin
2 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash
1 pound baby potatoes, scrubbed clean and dried
Olive oil, salt, and pepper, as needed

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with foil.

In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, garlic, rosemary, white wine, salt, and pepper.

Optional step: Brown the pork roast in a pan with some olive oil. Deglaze the pan with an additional 1/2 cup of white wine. Pour the wine over the roast after placing it on the sheet pan.

Put the pork roast in the middle of the sheet pan and scatter the butternut squash cubes and potatoes around it.

Pour the balsamic mixture over the pork roast and the vegetables. Drizzle a little olive oil over the vegetables and season with salt and pepper as desired.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 145°F. The vegetables should be cooked through at this point. If the veggies need more time, increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees and put the tray back in the oven to continue cooking while the pork rests.

Remove from oven and let the pork rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. Serve with vegetables and pan juices.

Chipotle-Maple Sweet Potato Mash

4 large sweet potatoes (2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
1 cup milk
1 chipotle pepper in adobo
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Wash sweet potatoes and fork prick all sides. Microwave until cooked through. Once cooled enough, remove the skins. Then put the cooked sweet potatoes in a large bowl.

In a food processor or using an immersion blender (my choice) pulse the milk and chipotle together. In a saucepan bring the milk and chipotle mixture to a simmer on low. Then add the maple syrup, sour cream, butter, and salt and pepper to the milk mixture.

Pour the milk mixture over the cooked sweet potatoes and again use the immersion blender or a hand mixer to mix the ingredients together.

Colcannon

2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup whole milk or heavy cream
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
6 tablespoons butter, divided (I used unsalted, but you can use whatever you have)
1/2 head of green cabbage, thinly sliced and cut into about 2 1/2 inch strips
3 tablespoons chopped chives or green onions

Bring a pot of water with the potatoes to boil, turn down to a simmer, cover and cook until the potatoes are just fork tender. Drain.

In the meantime, combine the milk/cream, garlic, and peppercorns in a small saucepan. Bring just to a simmer, then remove from the heat, stir in the sugar and salt and allow to infuse while the potatoes cook.

In a large frying pan, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter over medium-high heat until foaming, then add the cabbage, stirring occasionally, and cook until softened and starting to get nicely browned in places. Remove from the heat.

Cut 3 of the remaining Tbs. of butter into chunks and place them in the bottom of a bowl. Strain the infused milk/cream into the bowl. Then, using a potato ricer, rice the potatoes into the bowl. Gently fold the potatoes, cream and butter together with a wooden spoon. Then gently stir in the cabbage and the chives/green onions. Season with more salt to taste.

Divide into bowls. Make a little divot in the potato-cabbage mixture in each bowl and add a pat of the remaining butter to each.

If you have any leftovers, you can make them into potato-cabbage cakes the next day. Just stir in 1 beaten egg per cup of leftovers. Mix just until combined, then gently form the mixture into patties. Fry in butter until golden brown on each side, then serve. Yum.

Roasted Winter Squash with Yogurt and Pistachios

1 winter squash (about 2 pounds), preferably kabocha, red kuri or acorn
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup raw shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 to 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with the rack in the middle.

Using a large, sharp knife, stab the squash in the middle and carefully work the knife down to cut the squash in half, going through the stem. Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp, and discard or reserve for another use. Cut the squash halves into 1 1/2-inch wedges, leaving the peel on.

On a large, rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the squash with the olive oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper and roast for 40 to 50 minutes, until the squash is very tender and golden brown with caramelized bits.

Meanwhile, in a small pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Cook, swirling occasionally, until the butter has browned and started to foam, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the pistachios, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and pinch of red pepper flakes, if using. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, taste, and add more salt, if needed.

In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Taste and add more salt, if needed. Spread the yogurt sauce over a large serving platter or bowl. Arrange the squash on the sauce and spoon the buttered pistachios over everything. Sprinkle with another pinch of red pepper flakes, if desired, and serve.

Roasted Kabocha Squash with Maple Syrup

3 pounds kabocha squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
6 thyme sprigs, plus thyme leaves for garnish
Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 450°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash wedges with the maple syrup, olive oil, ginger, thyme sprigs and salt. Arrange the squash in a single layer and roast for 15 minutes. Flip and roast for 15 minutes longer, until golden and tender. Discard the thyme sprigs. Transfer the squash to a serving platter and garnish with thyme leaves.

Spice Roasted Butternut Squash

One 3-pound butternut squash-peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large bowl, toss the squash with the olive oil, cumin, coriander and cayenne and season with salt and pepper. Spread the squash on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, until tender and lightly browned, tossing once halfway through. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

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.

Lemon-Salt Roasted Potatoes

2 large sage leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a mini food processor, pulse the sage, rosemary and thyme until finely chopped. Add the lemon zest and pulse to blend. Add the salt and pulse until finely ground. Transfer the herb salt to a small bowl.

In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the oil and butter and season with pepper. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on 2 large rimmed baking sheets and roast for 25 minutes. Season the potatoes generously with the herb salt, toss well and continue baking for 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and golden. Transfer to a bowl and serve hot or warm.

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.

Thai Pumpkin Soup

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 small white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 stalk of lemongrass, bruised
3 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
Kosher salt
One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons lime juice
Fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Thinly sliced Fresno chile, for garnish (optional)

In a large pot, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and curry paste and cook for 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and broth, stirring to incorporate, then season with salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and lime juice and let cool for 10 minutes.

Transfer the soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender in the pot) and puree until smooth. If needed, add additional water or broth to reach the desired consistency. Return the mixture to the saucepan. Serve warm and garnish with fresh cilantro and thinly sliced Fresno chiles.

Like most soups, this one is even better made the day before. Reheat before serving.