Spicy Corn and Coconut Soup

5 ears yellow or bicolor corn (or 5 cups frozen corn kernels)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced into rings
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 serrano chile (or other chile), minced
2 small red potatoes (6 to 8 ounces total), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or 2 1/2 cups of hot water whisked with 1 1/2 teaspoons jarred bouillon)
1 (15-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon lime juice (from 1/2 lime)
Kosher salt, to season
Torn cilantro leaves, toasted coconut flakes, chopped roasted peanuts, crispy fried shallots, lime wedges and more sliced Serrano chiles, to serve (optional)

Cut the corn kernels off the cobs and transfer to a bowl. Using the back of a butter knife, scrape the cobs so that all of the milky juices collect in the bowl and the cobs look completely dry, like wrung-out sponges. Set aside. (If using frozen kernels, skip this step.)

In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add shallots, garlic, ginger and chile, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add corn kernels and juices to the pot, and sauté until the corn is softer and brighter, about 3 minutes more.

Add potato pieces, and stir to coat, 1 to 2 minutes.

Now, pour in the vegetable broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender all the way through.

Use an immersion blender to roughly purée the soup, so that it’s creamy with some kernels of corn, chunks of potato, and chile flecks remaining. (Alternatively, ladle about half of the soup into a blender, blend until smooth, and return to the pot.) Season with lime juice and salt, and mix to combine. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with toppings of your choice.

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.

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.

Crispy Spiced Cauliflower Steaks

1/2 of 1 cinnamon stick, broken up
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 cloves
Large pinch of ground cayenne
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt, plus additional, as needed
1 1/3 cups brown- or white-rice flour (about 7 1/3 ounces)
2/3 cup tapioca flour (about 3 2/3 ounces)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 2 limes)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 large lemon), plus additional lemon wedges, for serving
1 tablespoon grated fresh turmeric (or 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric)
2 small heads cauliflower (about 1 pound each), leaves removed, cut from top to core into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 1/2 to 2 cups coconut oil
1 cup Greek yogurt, for serving (optional)
2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems, for serving (optional)

Line a baking sheet with a wire rack or paper towels, and set aside.

Finely grind cinnamon, coriander, fennel, peppercorns, cumin and cloves in a spice grinder, spice mill or mortar and pestle.Transfer to a bowl, and stir in cayenne and 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk both flours until combined. Whisk in lime and lemon juices, then gradually whisk in enough water until the mixture is the consistency of thin pancake batter (about 1 1/3 cups). There is no gluten in either flour, so don’t worry about overmixing.

Stir in turmeric and the spice mixture. Taste, and adjust salt as needed.

Working with 1 or 2 steaks at a time, push the cauliflower steaks into the batter, turn to coat and allow to marinate for at least 3 minutes.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium high. Add coconut oil to a depth of 1/3-inch, and heat until hot. Carefully drip a few drops of batter into the oil to test that it’s sufficiently hot. The batter should immediately sizzle and expand. Slip the steaks one at a time directly from the batter into the pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan — the steaks should never touch.

Cook until golden brown on the bottom, 8 to 12 minutes, rotating the steaks around the pan after 6 to 8 minutes to ensure even browning. Use a thin metal spatula to carefully flip the steaks. Continue cooking until the second sides are golden-brown and the cores are tender when pierced with a knife, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer steaks to the prepared baking sheet, and allow to drain. Season with salt. Repeat with the remaining steaks and any remaining smaller pieces of cauliflower, adjusting the heat as needed to prevent the steaks from browning too quickly.

Serve hot or reheat in an oven at 400 degrees until hot and crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a shower of chopped cilantro, if desired. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing on top.

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.

Super Crispy Potatoes

Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon (4g) baking soda
4 pounds (about 2kg) russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters, sixths, or eighths, depending on size (see note)
5 tablespoons (75ml) extra-virgin olive oil, duck fat, goose fat, or beef fat
Small handful picked rosemary leaves, finely chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
Small handful fresh parsley leaves, minced

Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 450°F/230°C (or 400°F/200°C if using convection). Heat 2 quarts (2L) water in a large pot over high heat until boiling. Add 2 tablespoons kosher salt (about 1 ounce; 25g), baking soda, and potatoes and stir. Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until a knife meets little resistance when inserted into a potato chunk, about 10 minutes after returning to a boil.

Meanwhile, combine olive oil, duck fat, or beef fat with rosemary, garlic, and a few grinds of black pepper in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Cook, stirring and shaking pan constantly, until garlic just begins to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Immediately strain oil through a fine-mesh strainer set in a large bowl. Set garlic/rosemary mixture aside and reserve separately.

When potatoes are cooked, drain carefully and let them rest in the pot for about 30 seconds to allow excess moisture to evaporate. Transfer to bowl with infused oil, season to taste with a little more salt and pepper, and toss to coat, shaking bowl roughly, until a thick layer of mashed potato–like paste has built up on the potato chunks.

Transfer potatoes to a large rimmed baking sheet and separate them, spreading them out evenly. Transfer to oven and roast, without moving, for 20 minutes. Using a thin, flexible metal spatula to release any stuck potatoes, shake pan and turn potatoes. Continue roasting until potatoes are deep brown and crisp all over, turning and shaking them a few times during cooking, 30 to 40 minutes longer.

Transfer potatoes to a large bowl and add garlic/rosemary mixture and minced parsley. Toss to coat and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Baked Shells with Cauliflower and Taleggio

Salt
1 medium head of cauliflower (1 3/4 pounds), cut into 1-inch florets
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced 2 teaspoons minced rosemary
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (6 ounces)
1/2 pound Taleggio cheese—rind discarded, cheese cubed
1 pound large shells, such as conchiglioni
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 450°. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and fill a large bowl with cold water. Boil the cauliflower until tender, 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cauliflower to the cold water and let cool slightly. Drain and pat dry; keep the cooking water hot.

In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and rosemary, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and boil until evaporated. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the cream, 1 cup of the Parmigiano and the Taleggio.

Return the water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Scrape the cauliflower and cheese sauce into the pasta and toss well. Spread half of the pasta into a 3-quart baking dish and top with 2 tablespoons of the bread crumbs. Top with the remaining pasta, 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs and 1/2 cup of Parmigiano.

Bake the pasta for about 20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden and crisp. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead: The unbaked assembled pasta dish can be refrigerated overnight. Return the pasta to room temperature before baking.

Rigatoni with Cauliflower and Prosciutto

3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 pound rigatoni
One 1 3/4-pound head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 ounces sliced prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch-thick ribbons

Preheat the broiler. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and simmer until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook the rigatoni until al dente; about 6 minutes before the rigatoni is done, add the cauliflower florets to the pot. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss the panko with the Parmigiano cheese and the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

Return the rigatoni and cauliflower to the pot. Add the garlic cream, the prosciutto and the reserved pasta water and toss until the pasta is coated. Scrape the pasta into a large shallow baking dish and sprinkle the panko mixture evenly over the top. Broil for about 2 minutes, rotating constantly, until the topping is evenly browned. Serve hot.

Cauliflower Gratin with Manchego and Almond Sauce

3/4 cup half-and-half 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
One 2-pound head of cauliflower, cut into 1 1/2-inch florets
1/2 cup whole roasted almonds with skin, plus 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped almonds (3 ounces)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely shredded Manchego or other mildly nutty semi-aged sheep’s- or cow’s-milk cheese (3 1/2 ounces), such as Gouda
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon Pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small saucepan, heat the half-and-half until steaming, then transfer it to a food processor or blender. Add the 1/2 cup of whole almonds and process until finely ground. Let stand for 10 minutes. Strain the half-and-half through a fine sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the almonds to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the ground almonds.

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the flour and whisk over moderately high heat for 1 minute. Add the milk and the half-and-half and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add 3/4 cup of the Manchego and whisk until melted. Whisk in the nutmeg; season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

In a large skillet, bring 1/2 inch of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower, cover and cook over high heat until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the cauliflower in a colander. Wipe out the skillet.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Transfer the cauliflower to a 7-by-10-inch glass or ceramic baking dish and spread the Manchego sauce on top.

Sprinkle the gratin with the remaining cheese, the 2 tablespoons of chopped almonds and the paprika and bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, or until bubbling and browned on top. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Note: The gratin can be prepared through Step 4 and refrigerated overnight. Bring it to room temperature before baking.

Smothered Cauliflower with Eggs

One 10-ounce head of cauliflower—leaves removed, head cut into slabs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound yellow tomatoes, cored and finely chopped (3 cups)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Salt
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
4 large eggs Marjoram leaves and herb flowers (optional), for garnish
Crusty bread, for serving

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the cauliflower until crisp-tender, 3 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the flour, tapping off the excess.

Step 2
In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the cauliflower and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned. Add the tomatoes, crushed red pepper and lemon zest to the skillet and season with salt. Cook over moderate heat until the tomatoes have broken down, 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a small, dry skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, 5 minutes. Let cool.

Using a spoon, make 4 wells in the tomato sauce. Crack the eggs into the wells, cover and cook over moderately low heat until the eggs are just set, 3 minutes. Garnish the eggs with the almonds, marjoram leaves and flowers and serve right away with crusty bread.

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.

Heirloom Beans and Cream

2 cups mixed dried heirloom beans, soaked overnight
2 quarts chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
4 sprigs thyme, plus leaves for serving
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
Flaky sea salt
Olive oil (for serving)

Bring beans, stock, and thyme sprigs to a gentle simmer in a medium pot over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, skimming any foam from surface, until beans are tender, 1–1 1/2 hours, depending on types. Discard thyme. Season with kosher salt and pepper, remove from heat, and let sit 30 minutes.

Return to a simmer; stir in cream. Season with more kosher salt and pepper if needed. Serve topped with thyme leaves and sea salt and drizzled with oil.

Do Ahead: Beans can be cooked 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.

Tomato Rice with Cheddar

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 small Indian green chile or Serrano chile, finely chopped
10 plum tomatoes (about 2 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups cooked basmati rice (from about 1 cup dry rice)
1 cup shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese

Adjust an oven rack to the highest position and heat the oven to 500 degrees.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onion and chile, spread them out in an even layer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes translucent and starts to lightly char, 5 to 7 minutes.

Increase the heat to high and add the tomatoes, using the back of a wooden spoon to lightly crush them. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down into a chunky sauce, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the salt and remove from heat.

Stir in the cooked rice and transfer to an 8-inch square (or similar size) baking dish. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top in an even layer.

Switch the oven to broil and place the baking dish on the oven rack closest to the broiler. Broil until the top bubbles and turns golden brown, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

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.

Chicken Tacos with Cabbage and Cilantro Cream

1/2 cup cilantro leaves
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small red cabbage (1 1/2 pounds), halved, cored and finely shredded
2 pickled jalapeños, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 small rotisserie chicken, meat shredded, skin and bones discarded
Warm corn tortillas, for serving

In a blender, puree the cilantro with the sour cream, lime juice and olive oil until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the red cabbage with the jalapeños, scallions and the cilantro dressing. Let stand for 15 minutes, until the cabbage just begins to wilt. Add the chicken and toss until it is coated with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper and serve with warm corn tortillas.

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.