Mexican Rice

3 tablespoons oil
2 1/2 cups uncooked long grain white rice (450g)
3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock, or water + 1 bouillon cube (710 ml)
2 tablespoons tomato paste or 1 cup plain tomato sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

First, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a deep skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the rice and stir constantly until the rice begins to turn golden brown. The toastier your rice, the tastier it will be (information gleaned from my friend, via her grandma of course).

Next, add the chicken stock. The mixture will bubble up, and should be followed immediately by the tomato paste or tomato sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, and salt.

Bring to a boil, stirring the tomato paste to dissolve it if using, and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Immediately turn the heat down to low and set a timer for 20 minutes.

During or when the rice is done cooking, you may want to check moisture levels. If you smell a hint of a burnt scent, your heat is too high! In this scenario, if the rice is cooked, remove from the heat. If it’s not cooked, lower the heat, and add water ½ cup at a time to continue the cooking process. If it’s too wet, leave the lid slightly ajar or off the pan entirely.

When the rice is done, fluff it with a fork and serve

Daikon Radish with Ginger

1 pound daikon radish (about 450 g)
1 slice ginger
1 cup water or stock (235 ml)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce (16 g)
1/2 teaspoon salt (about 2 g, or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon sugar (about 1 g)
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 scallion (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

Cut the daikon into half-inch thick, bite-sized pieces. In a pot, add 1 slice ginger, 1 cup water or stock (235ml), 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (16 g), 1/2 teaspoon salt (2 g), 1/4 teaspoon sugar (1 g), 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (a large pinch), and stir to combine. Add the daikon.

Cover and bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 20 minutes until the daikon is folk tender, stirring occasionally.

Right before serving, add in the chopped scallion, and a few drops of sesame oil (optional). Mix well and serve!

Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Chili-Lemon Vinaigrette

2 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes or small (1- to 1 1/2-inch) Yukon Gold potatoes
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
3 rosemary sprigs
Kosher salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small jalapeño or Fresno chili, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Heat the oven to 500°F with a rack in the middle position. In a large pot over high, bring 2 quarts water to boil. Add the potatoes, garlic, rosemary and 1 cup salt, then cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until a skewer inserted into the largest potato meets no resistance, 18 to 22 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon transfer the potatoes to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet; place the garlic in a small bowl; remove and discard the rosemary. Let the potatoes cool for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, using a fork, mash the garlic to a paste, then stir in the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of oil, followed by the chilies; set aside.

After the potatoes have cooled slightly carefully remove the rack from the baking sheet. Wipe away any moisture on the baking sheet and place the potatoes in an even layer directly on the sheet. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup or ramekin, press down on each potato so it is slightly flattened and splits open but remains intact. Brush the tops of the potatoes with the remaining 4 tablespoons oil.

Roast the potatoes without moving them until browned and crisp, 35 to 40 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer to a serving platter, then sprinkle with the parsley and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Butter

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes of any color (about 4 medium), washed
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), at room temperature
1/4 cup well-stirred tahini
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus lime wedges, for serving
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, finely grated or pounded smooth with a pinch of salt
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
Flaky sea salt, for serving

Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a medium pot fitted with a steamer basket or footed colander. Place sweet potatoes in the steamer. Cover, reduce heat to medium and steam until potatoes are completely tender, 35 to 40 minutes. (Use a skewer or paring knife to check for doneness; the potatoes should be soft all the way through.)

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk butter, tahini, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic until smooth. It might seem as if the butter and liquids will never fully combine, but they will — just keep stirring! Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and more lime juice as needed.

Set a small pan over medium heat. Toast the sesame seeds, swirling the pan continuously, until seeds are golden. They’ll give off some oil and start to clump together, so if needed, stir with a wooden spoon to keep them moving so that they toast evenly. They’ll turn a nice deep-golden shade just as they dry off a bit, about 4 minutes. Transfer seeds to a small bowl to prevent them from overcooking.

When the sweet potatoes are tender, use tongs to transfer them to a large plate or platter. When they are just cool enough to handle, split potatoes in half lengthwise, and season with flaky salt. Spread tahini butter generously onto the flesh, and top with sesame seeds. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

Southern Macaroni and Cheese

Kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 cups whole milk
2 large eggs
4 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar (about 16 ounces)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
2 cups shredded Colby Jack (about 8 ounces)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook according to package directions until a little under al dente, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a colander and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk milk and eggs. Add cooked macaroni, 2 cups extra-sharp Cheddar, melted butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and stir until well combined.

Add half the macaroni mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups Colby Jack evenly on top. Spread the remaining macaroni mixture on top in an even layer. Cover with aluminum foil, transfer to the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven. Carefully remove and discard the aluminum foil. Top the macaroni mixture with the remaining 2 cups Cheddar and ½ cup Colby Jack. Broil on top rack until cheese is browned in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. (The broiled cheese can go from golden to burnt fairly quickly, so keep a close eye on it.)

Remove from oven and let cool until the macaroni and cheese is fully set, 10 to 15 minutes. (The mixture may first appear jiggly, but it will firm up as it cools.) Serve warm.

Notes: Extra-sharp Cheddar adds tartness and a layer of Colby Jack creates a gooey, molten center. If you can’t find a Colby Jack blend, shredded mozzarella or a Mexican-style blend will work in its place.

Pasta with Ricotta and Lemon

Kosher salt
1 pound short, ribbed pasta, like gemelli or penne
1 cup whole-milk ricotta (8 ounces)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino (2 ounces), plus more for serving
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest plus 1/4 cup lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
Black pepper
Red-pepper flakes, for serving
1/4 cup thinly sliced or torn basil leaves, for serving
Optional: To make it more filling, peas, asparagus or spinach (add in the last few minutes of the pasta boiling), or fresh arugula or watercress (stir in with the sauce in Step 3)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.

In the same pot, make the sauce: Add the ricotta, Parmesan, lemon zest and juice, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and stir until well combined.

Add 1/2 cup pasta water to the sauce and stir until smooth. Add the pasta and continue to stir vigorously until the noodles are well coated. Add more pasta water as needed for a smooth sauce.

Divide the pasta among bowls and top with some of the sauce that’s pooled at the bottom of the pot. Garnish with grated Parmesan, black pepper, red-pepper flakes and basil, if using.

Turmeric-Coconut Rice with Greens (or Vegetables)

2 cups long-grain rice, such as jasmine or basmati
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tablespoon white or black sesame seeds
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 scallion, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more as needed
1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
Pinch of saffron (optional)
Kosher salt
1 medium bunch kale, spinach or Swiss chard (or anything that steams in 10 minutes, such as frozen peas or edamame, green beans, broccoli, grated carrots or sliced fennel)
1 lime

While a meal all on its own, this rice would also be great accompanied by tofu, white fish, chicken thighs or stewed black beans. Prepared as written, this dish has a relatively pure, mild flavor, so if you want more oomph, add more turmeric and saffron and season with plenty of salt and pepper as you cook.

Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Parmesan

1 large head of broccoli (1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1 1/2-inch florets, stems peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced shallot
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 400°. On a large baking sheet, toss the broccoli florets and stems with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the broccoli in the oven for about 30 minutes, tossing halfway through, until browned and tender.

In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the shallot and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil; season the dressing with salt and pepper. Scrape the broccoli into a bowl. Add the dressing and the grated cheese, toss well and serve.

Source: Food and Wine

Caramelized Broccoli with Garlic

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 heads of broccoli (1 1/4 pounds total), stems peeled and heads halved lengthwise
1/2 cup water
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the broccoli, cut side down, cover and cook over moderate heat until richly browned on the bottom, about 8 minutes.

Add the water, cover and cook until the broccoli is just tender and the water has evaporated, about 7 minutes.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil along with the garlic and the crushed red pepper and cook uncovered until the garlic is golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Season the broccoli with salt and black pepper, drizzle with the lemon juice and serve.

Source: Food and Wine

Ultra Crispy Potatoes with Parmesan

3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons kosher salt, or 1 tablespoon table salt
4 dried bay leaves, preferably Turkish
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
6 whole garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
3 to 4 thyme or rosemary sprigs, or a mix
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 ounces finely grated Parmesan (about 1 cup)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Adjust oven rack to center position and heat to 425 degrees, or 400 degrees if using convection. (Convection is recommended, if available.) Combine potato chunks, 2 quarts water, baking soda and salt in a large saucepan.

Cut a 10-by-10-inch square out of cheesecloth and place bay leaves, peppercorns, garlic cloves and herb sprigs in the center. Gather up the corners of the cloth into a pouch, and tie off with butcher’s twine. Add bundle to the pot with potatoes, and set over high heat. Bring to a boil, and cook until you can poke a knife into a larger chunk of potato without any resistance, about 10 minutes after the water comes to a boil.

Drain potatoes in a colander and discard aromatic bundle. Line a 13-by-18-inch rimmed aluminum baking sheet with parchment paper.

Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Add melted butter and Parmesan. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss and fold with a rubber spatula until Parmesan, butter and starch form a slurry over the surface of the potatoes, about 30 seconds. Transfer potatoes to the prepared baking sheet and spread out so they are mostly separated from one another. (At this point, they can be allowed to cool, then transferred to a sealed container and stored in the refrigerator until ready to roast.)

Transfer baking sheet to oven and roast potatoes until pale golden brown and sizzling on the bottom, about 20 minutes. Flip potatoes using a thin metal spatula and continue roasting until crisp and blond-gold on most sides, about 15 to 20 minutes longer. (Check frequently toward the end, and don’t allow the potatoes to cook beyond a deep gold, or they will turn bitter.)

Remove potatoes from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the pan before transferring to a serving platter.

Extra Crispy Potatoes

4 1/2 pounds (2kg) russet potatoes (see note), rinsed, peeled if desired, and cut into 2-inch chunks
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon (15ml) white vinegar
1/4 cup (60ml) duck fat (see note)
Freshly ground black pepper
12 sprigs thyme

Adjust oven racks to lower and upper positions and preheat oven to 500°F (260°C). Place potatoes in a large saucepot and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Add 2 tablespoons (28g) salt and vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook until exteriors are tender, about 5 minutes. Potatoes should show slight resistance when poked with a paring knife or a cake tester. Drain potatoes and transfer to a large bowl.

Add fat to bowl with potatoes. Season with pepper and more salt to taste, then toss with a large metal spoon until exteriors are slightly bashed up and coated in a thin layer of potato/fat paste. Divide potatoes evenly between 2 heavy rimmed baking sheets. Spread thyme sprigs over potatoes.

Transfer baking sheets to oven and roast until bottoms of potatoes are crisp and golden brown, about 20 minutes total, swapping trays top for bottom and rotating them once halfway through roasting. Using a thin metal spatula, flip potatoes and roast until second side is golden brown, another 15 to 20 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs and serve.

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.

Dosa Potatoes

3 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 small dried hot red peppers
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Pinch of asafetida
1 tablespoon grated ginger
6 to 8 curry leaves
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 small green chiles, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds yellow-fleshed potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, boiled, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro, leaves and tender stems

Put ghee in a wide skillet over medium heat. When oil is wavy, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Wait for seeds to pop, about 1 minute, then add red peppers and onion. Cook, stirring until onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Add turmeric, asafetida, ginger, curry leaves, garlic and green chile. Stir to coat and let sizzle for 1 minute.

Add potatoes and ½ cup water. Cook, stirring well to combine, until liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Mash potatoes a bit with the back of a wooden spoon. Season well with salt, add cilantro, then set aside at room temperature. (Potato filling may be prepared up to a day in advance.)

Samosa Potatoes and Peas

5 potatoes, cooked and mashed
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 carrot, diced (optional)
1/2 lb peas
1 green hot pepper, cut into thin strips
1 (1-in) piece fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
Salt
Black pepper

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and pour the onion and ginger.

Sauté for 2 minutes until the onion is soft, then add the garlic.

Sauté for a minute.

Add peas, hot pepper and carrot and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.

Finally, add the mashed potatoes and the other ingredients.

Mix well and cook over low heat, covered for 5 minutes.

Pressure Cooker Polenta

Ingredients
1 cup polenta rough-ground cornmeal/
4 cups Chicken Broth
Salt
3-4 teaspoons Butter
1/2 cup Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese
1/4 cup half and half

Turn Instant Pot on sauté and add the chicken broth and polenta and whisk together.

As soon as it starts to boil, place and seal the lid, and set your Instant Pot on high pressure for 7 minutes and allow it to release pressure naturally when done.

When you open the lid there will be some excess water in it. Using your whisk, blend in the butter, cheese, and half and half. The polenta will thicken as you whisk it all together. Allow it to rest for a little longer.

Pressure Cooker Polenta Cacio e Pepe

1 cup polenta (not quick-cooking)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces Pecorino and/or Parmesan, finely grated, plus more

Whisk polenta and 4 cups water in Instant Pot until combined. Season with 1 tsp. salt and several grinds of pepper. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-high, whisk again, then seal pressure cooker according to manufacturer’s directions. Cook at high pressure for 9 minutes. When timer goes off, manually release pressure. Carefully open lid and whisk polenta until homogenous and creamy.

Whisk butter into polenta, then gradually add 4 oz. Pecorino, whisking until melted. Taste and season with more salt, if needed, and lots of pepper.

Transfer polenta to a wide shallow bowl. Top with more cheese and coarsely grind more pepper over.

Indian-Seasoned Baked Potatoes

1 pound small new potatoes or baby red potatoes
Kosher salt
3/4 cup sour cream
4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
2 small Indian green chiles or Serrano chiles, finely chopped
2 teaspoons chaat masala
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro stems and leaves, for garnish

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until they are easily pierced with a fork. Let the potatoes cool until they can be handled.
Without cutting all the way through to the bottom, slice each potato lengthwise and crosswise into four sections. Use your hands to push down and pull apart the four sections like a blooming flower. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on top of each potato, followed by a dollop of sour cream.

Evenly divide the ginger, onion, green chiles, and chaat masala among the potatoes. Make it rain with chopped cilantro and serve.

Vietnamese Chicken Salad

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
1 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 serrano chile with seeds, minced
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
Salt
4 cups finely shredded green cabbage (from 1/2 small head)
2 carrots, finely shredded
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (from 1/2 chicken)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped unsalted roasted peanuts

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar, water, chile and garlic and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let the dressing stand for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the shallots and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the shallots on paper towels; reserve the oil for another use. Sprinkle the shallots with salt and let cool.

In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, carrots, red onion, cilantro, mint and shredded chicken. Add the olive oil and the dressing and toss. Sprinkle with the peanuts and fried shallots and serve the chicken salad with lime wedges.

Chicken Panzanella

Rotisserie chicken
Tomatoes
Arugula or watercress
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Salt
Pepper
Toasted bread

Grab a super-tanned rotisserie chicken on the way home. Tear the meat into strips, then cut a few smallish supermarket tomatoes (or better, if you’ve got them) into wedges and marinate them in oil, salt, pepper and red wine vinegar.

Pay a few bills or fold some laundry, then turn the whole thing into panzanella by mixing together the chicken, the tomatoes, some fresh watercress and some chunks of stale or toasted bread, then showering the salad with freshly ground black pepper and a spray of kosher salt.

Miso Roasted Eggplant

Small japanese eggplants
Neutral flavored oil
White miso
Sesame oil
Rice wine
Soy sauce
Black pepper
Sesame seeds

Grab some small eggplants — the Japanese variety is a good option — and cut them on the bias into little steaks.

Drizzle them with neutral oil and roast in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes or so, turning them once or twice, until they’re soft.

Then crank the oven to broil, and paint them with white miso that’s been cut with splashes of sesame oil and rice wine, a smaller splash of soy and a few grinds of black pepper.

Let that get going until the skin begins to pop, then serve those little vegetarian flavor steaks over rice, with a spray of sesame seeds over the top.