Instant Ramen Fried Rice

One 2.5-ounce (71g) cup instant ramen noodles, such as Cup Noodles, in flavor of your choice
Boiling water
3 tablespoons (45ml) canola oil or other neutral oil
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup (7 3/4 ounces; 220g) cooked medium- or short-grain rice (see note)
Kosher salt

Transfer contents of instant noodles cup (dried noodles plus all seasonings and mix-ins) to a zipper-lock bag or mixing bowl. Crush noodles well into roughly rice-size pieces, but don’t obsess about it.

Return crushed noodles and seasonings to cup.

Add just enough boiling water to wet contents of cup but no more than that. Cover and let stand while you continue with the recipe.

In a large nonstick skillet, wok, cast iron, or carbon steel pan, heat oil over high heat until shimmering. Add egg and cook, stirring, until just scrambled.

Add rice and cook, stirring constantly and breaking up any small lumps, until heated through and glazed in the oil, about 2 minutes.

Add soaked ramen along with any liquid and cook, stirring and tossing constantly, until excess moisture has cooked off and rice and noodles are lightly golden and toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt.

Transfer to a serving platter or pack into a heatproof bowl, then invert bowl on a plate to make a compact mound of rice.

Note:
If a heartier meal is desired, you can whip up a 4-egg omelette and unfurl it on top of the mound of rice; top with ketchup and anything else you want.

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.

Japanese-Style Tuna Noodle Salad

FOR THE SALAD:
8 ounces dried udon noodles
1 to 2 tablespoons furikake or sesame seeds
10 to 12 ounces tuna in oil, drained
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

FOR THE DRESSING:
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sweet miso

Cook the noodles according to the package instructions.

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing: In a measuring cup or bowl, whisk to combine the sesame oil, canola oil, rice wine vinegar, mirin, soy sauce and miso; set aside.

In a small skillet, lightly toast the sesame seeds, if using, over medium-low heat until fragrant; set aside.

Drain the cooked noodles in the colander, then transfer to a wide, shallow serving bowl. Add the wakame and about 3/4 of the dressing, and toss to coat. Divide the noodles among 4 bowls. Top each portion with tuna, drizzle with the remaining dressing, then sprinkle with the scallions and furikake or sesame seeds. Serve hot, cold or anywhere in between.

Turmeric-Roasted Cauliflower with Pistachio Gremolata

1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-sized florets
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh turmeric (from about three 3-inch pieces), or 1 teaspoon ground (or as needed to fully coat the florets)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
6 to 8 dates, such as Medjool, pitted and halved (or quartered if large)
1 large lemon (finely grated zest plus juice)
1/3 cup shelled pistachios, raw and unsalted are ideal but roasted work too
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or to taste

Heat oven to 425°F.

Toss the cauliflower with the turmeric and olive oil on a sheet pan, season with salt, and arrange in a single, even layer. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven.

Add the dates, toss everything together, and redistribute in a single, even layer. Continue roasting until the cauliflower is nicely browned and tender, and the dates and little bits of grated turmeric are starting to caramelize, about 10 minutes more.

Remove pan from oven, and squeeze half a lemon (zest it first—you’ll need it for the gremolata in Step 3!) over the whole dish; add more lemon juice and salt, to taste.

Meanwhile, to make the pistachio gremolata: Toast the pistachios in a small skillet over medium heat, until they’re fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and when cool enough, chop them into fine yet irregular pieces with a knife.

In a small bowl, toss together the pistachios, lemon zest, parsley, pomegranate arils, and Aleppo pepper; season with a pinch of salt.
Arrange the cauliflower and dates on a large serving platter, and scatter the pistachio gremolata over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tomato Cheese Masala Toast

2 slices bread, any kind (I like a very grainy bread, but this combo tastes great on truly anything)
1 medium Roma tomato, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (1 ounce)
1/2 teaspoon chaat masala, plus more if needed

Toast the bread to the desired toastiness. Evenly top each piece of toast with the tomatoes, followed by the cheese.

Place the tomato-cheese toasts in a toaster oven (or under the broiler on high) and toast until the cheese has fully melted on top of the tomatoes.

(Alternatively, microwave the toasts on high in 30-second intervals, until the cheese has fully melted on top of the tomatoes.)

Sprinkle the toasts with the chaat masala, adding more to taste.

Smacked Zucchini Salad With Chile Oil & Black Vinegar

4 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon chile crisp (or chile oil with its sediment)
2 teaspoons black vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 large garlic clove, Microplaned or minced
2 zucchinis (totaling at about 12 ounces)
1 pinch kosher or flaky salt (if needed)

Combine the soy sauce, chile crisp, black vinegar, sugar, and garlic in a medium bowl, and stir to combine.

Lay the zucchinis on a cutting board and smack with a rolling pin until they split, like a dropped watermelon at the grocery store. Now chop the smacked zucchinis into bite-size pieces with a knife. Add the zucchini to the bowl with the dressing and toss.

Taste and adjust as needed. Maybe you want the salt, or not. Maybe you want more soy sauce, or chile crisp, or vinegar, or sugar, or garlic. Adjust until it tastes very, very good to you. The longer it sits, the softer the zucchini will get, and the saucier.

Chongqing Melted Cheese

To Assemble:
1 1/2 tablespoons My Ultimate Chile Oil (recipe below), or your favorite chile oil
3/4 cup (68 g) shredded Pepper Jack cheese
3/4 cup (68 g) shredded mild Cheddar cheese
1 large egg
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch finely chopped herbs and aromatics, such as mint, parsley, and scallions
1 piece crusty bread, for serving

Ultimate Chile Oil:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 cup (50 g) Sichuan (spicier) or Korean (milder) chile flakes
1 star anise pod
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups (480 mL) canola oil
3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
2 dried bay leaves
2 tablespoons finely ground Sichuan peppercorns

Assemble:
Add the chile oil to a small, heavy skillet (7 to 8 inches/18 to 20 cm; best to use a skillet in a material that retains heat well, like cast iron) and swirl to spread it around. Scatter the cheeses on top and make a small well in the middle, then crack the egg into the well. Place over medium-low heat with the lid on and cook until the cheeses are melted and the egg is just cooked, with the yolk still runny. You can peek a couple of times during the process; it’s fine.

Crack some fresh black pepper on top and sprinkle with whatever fresh greens and herbs you have on hand, such as scallions, mint, or parsley. Serve immediately with crusty bread.

My Ultimate Chile Oil:

Mix the soy sauce and grated garlic together. Set aside.

Using a spice grinder, grind the chile flakes, star anise pod, coriander, cumin, and curry powder into a fine powder. In a large saucepan at least 6 inches (15 cm) deep, combine the spice powder with the oil, sesame seeds, and bay leaves. Set it over medium heat and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the chile flakes have turned maroon in color (but not black!).

When the chile flakes have turned to the desired color, turn off the heat immediately, then add the ground Sichuan peppercorns. Stir and let fry in the residual heat for about 30 seconds, then add the soy sauce/garlic mixture. The oil will boil up a little due to the added moisture (which is why we’re using a deep pot). Just keep stirring until the sizzling has died down.

Let the chile oil sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours (or best overnight) before using. Keep in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Louisiana Barbecued Shrimp

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 bay leaves, crushed
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup fish stock (or chicken stock)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 pound shell-on shrimp
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Hot crusty French bread, for serving

In a small bowl, combine the cayenne, black pepper, salt, red pepper flakes, thyme, oregano, paprika, and bay leaves.

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the butter over medium-high until melted and sizzling. Add the garlic, spices, wine, fish stock, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens enough to lightly coat a spoon, about 5 to 7 minutes; shake the pan as it cooks to help bring the sauce together.

Add the shrimp, reduce the heat to low, and cook, turning once, until the shrimp turn pink and firm, 3 to 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the shrimp with parsley and serve immediately from the skillet with hot French bread to soak up the sauce. Eat with your hands.

Pasta e Ceci with Miso and Chili Oil

2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons white miso
2 1/2 cups just-boiled water
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup ditalini
2 teaspoons chili crisp (such as Lao Gan Ma or Fly By Jing), with oil, adjusted to taste

Add the oil and miso to a large saucepan or small soup pot. Set on the stove over medium to medium-low heat and stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes, lowering the heat if the miso is threatening to burn, until the miso is very fragrant and a toasty, chestnutty brown.

Carefully pour off the oil into a small heatproof bowl (you don’t need to obsess over every last drop, just try to get most of it); discard this later on, whenever it’s cool.

Set the pan back on the stove and add about half the water, stirring until the miso is incorporated and all the bits on the bottom are scraped up.

Add the rest of the water, as well as the chickpeas and pasta. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the pasta is super-duper al dente (remember, it will continue to cook as it hangs out in the hot soup).

Divide into two soup bowls and top with however much chili crisp you want.

Tomato Rice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
Salt
1 cup chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 cup long grain brown rice

Heat the butter in a medium heavy saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and pepper and a large pinch of salt and stir to coat. Cook gently, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. (Do not let the vegetables brown — if necessary, add a splash of water to prevent this.)

Add the tomatoes and another large pinch of salt to the pan and stir to combine. Raise the heat so the mixture bubbles steadily and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until you have what resembles a thick sauce.

Stir in the rice, 2 1/2 cups cold water and a couple more pinches of salt. Bring to a brisk simmer and cook uncovered for 5 to 8 minutes without stirring, until the liquid on the surface is mostly gone. Stir the rice briefly, cover and turn the heat down as low as it will go. Cook the rice, without removing the lid, for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pot sit covered for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

Broccoli with Preserved Lemon Yogurt

1 1/2 pounds broccoli (2 small heads)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Kosher salt
Black pepper
6 tablespoons Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced preserved lemon rind, plus julienned rind for garnish
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 475. Place a baking sheet on the center rack and allow to heat for ?10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the broccoli lengthwise into 1/3-inch-?thick slabs, reserving any florets that fall off; trim the florets to form mini steaks that lie flat.

In a large bowl, toss the broccoli, olive oil and crushed red pepper and season with salt and black pepper. Carefully arrange in a single layer, cut side down, on the hot baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes, turning halfway, until golden and tender.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the yogurt, mayonnaise, garlic, minced lemon rind and lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper. ?

Transfer the broccoli to plates and top with the cheese. Garnish with julienned lemon rind. Spoon the yogurt sauce on the side and serve.

The preserved lemon yogurt can be refrigerated overnight.

Ham Fried Rice with Pineapple

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
3 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 cup leftover ham, diced
1/2 cup pineapple, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced (yields about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cooked rice overnight long grain rice
3 eggs, beaten
Salt, to taste

Mix the soy sauce and pineapple juice together in a small bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large nonstick pan and heat it over medium-high heat until hot. Add the ham and pineapples. Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the bell peppers. Stir a few times to mix well, then transfer everything to a plate and set aside.

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil and the garlic into the skillet. Stir a few times to release the fragrance. Add the rice and spread it out with your spatula. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is lightly toasted.

Move the rice to one side of the pan and add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the other side of the skillet. Add the beaten eggs onto the oil. Let it cook until the bottom sets, 30 seconds. Scramble a few times until most of the eggs are cooked but some parts are still runny. Mix the rice into the egg, chopping and stirring to mix everything together.

Move the rice to the edge of the pan to make a well in the center. Pour the soy sauce and pineapple juice into the center. Let it cook for a few seconds to evaporate the liquid. Stir everything together until the rice is evenly coated with the seasonings. Let it cook, stirring occasionally, until the moisture is cooked off.

Add the cooked ham mixture back into the pan. Stir everything together. Taste the rice. Add a pinch of salt and mix again, if needed.

3-Ingredient Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

6 ounces (170g) elbow macaroni
Salt
6 ounces (180ml) evaporated milk
6 ounces (170g) grated mild or medium cheddar cheese, or any good melting cheese, such as Fontina, Gruyère, or Jack

Place macaroni in a medium saucepan or skillet and add just enough cold water to cover. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Continue to cook, stirring, until water has been almost completely absorbed and macaroni is just shy of al dente, about 6 minutes.

Immediately add evaporated milk and bring to a boil. Add cheese. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring continuously, until cheese is melted and liquid has reduced to a creamy sauce, about 2 minutes longer. Season to taste with more salt and serve immediately.

Oi Muchim (Korean Marinated Cucumbers)

ngredients
4 Persian cucumbers (about 10 1/2 ounces; 300g), sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon (8g) coarse ground gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) kosher salt
1 teaspoon (5g) sugar
2 tablespoons (30ml) unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon (5ml) fish sauce
1 medium garlic clove (5g), very finely minced or grated
3 tablespoons (45ml) toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon (10g) toasted sesame seeds

In a medium bowl, combine cucumbers, gochugaru, salt, and sugar. Using clean hands, massage cucumbers, squeezing and tossing them with seasoning, until cucumber is well-coated on all sides and begins to release liquid and color of gochugaru brightens to vibrant orange-red, about 1 minute.

Transfer cucumbers to a colander, then set colander inside bowl used to season cucumbers. Cut a round of parchment paper large enough to cover surface of cucumbers, and place over cucumbers. Then place a weight on top of parchment to press down on cucumbers (canned goods, a cast iron skillet, a mixing bowl filled with water, or a Chef’s Press all make for good weights). Set aside to drain for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a separate medium bowl, whisk together rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, and garlic. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in sesame oil until emulsified.

Once cucumbers have drained, remove weight and discard parchment paper. Using clean hands, squeeze cucumbers to get rid of excess moisture, then transfer to bowl with dressing; discard accumulated cucumber liquid. Toss cucumbers with dressing until well-coated all over, about 30 seconds. Add sesame seeds and toss to combine. Divide between small individual serving bowls and serve, or transfer to airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Kering Kentang (Spiced Potatoes)

500 gr potatoes – Choose less waxy potatoes like Russet
2 Thai red chilis – seeded and cut into strips
Cooking oil – to fry potatoes

Spiced paste:
4 kaffir lime leaves – use a scissor to cut into thin strips, remove the vein in the middle
1 Tbsp cooking oil
2 cloves garlic – grated or finely minced
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 Tbsp sambal oelek – or use chili paste
2 tsp galangal powder
70 gr coconut sugar – or use dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
5 Tbsp water
2 bay leaves – or 4 dried bay leaves

To add last:
2 Tbsp Crispy fried shallots / bawang goreng

Soak the potatoes:

Peel the potatoes and use a mandoline slicer if you have one to cut the potatoes into uniform size sticks. This is important and will make your life easier when you fry them. They are cooked and get crispy at the same time. You can manually cut them too, it’s more work!

Soak the potato sticks in fresh cold water for at least 2 hours (overnight is fine too) and then drain off all the water and starch that leaks out. Do not skip the soaking part.

Use an absorbent paper towel and pat the potatoes dry.

Fry the potatoes:

Preheat about 1 1/2-inches of cooking oil over high heat. When you dip a chopstick into a oil and it bubbles around the chopstick, the oil is ready. Or you can just put one piece of potato in there and if it bubbles and floats, the oil is ready. Lower the heat to medium.

You need to fry the potatoes in 3-4 batches. DO NOT dump all at one go. Place the first batch in and fry until the potatoes are crispy and golden brown. Remove to an absorbent paper towel. Continue frying the next batch.

Prepare the spiced paste:

Place all ingredients for the spiced paste in a bowl, except for kaffir lime leaves and bay leaves.

Preheat 1 Tbsp of cooking oil in a large pan/wok. Add the kaffir lime leaves and Thai chili and fry briefly, about 10 seconds or so. Add the rest of the ingredients above and bay leaves and cook until the sauce thickens to a syrup consistency.

Add the fried potatoes into the sauce and turn off the heat. Stir to make sure the sauce is coating the potatoes. Sprinkle in the bawang goreng and stir again to mix. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Notes:

Kering kentang is best served on the same day. The kering kentang will stay crispy for one whole day. The next day, they will get significantly soggy, which is normal as the moisture from the sauce continues to soften the potatoes.

It’s not uncommon to add things like: roasted peanuts, dried anchovies, fried tempeh (tempe). I highly recommend that you fry these ingredients separately and then add them in when you are about to toss the potatoes to the sauce. This helps to keep the kering kentang crispy.

Sambal Goreng Tempeh

8 oz tempeh – (cut into long and narrow strips)
1/2 tsp belacan / shrimp paste – omit for vegan version
1 Tbsp seedless tamarind paste – mixed with 2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp gula jawa/ Indonesian palm sugar – roughly chopped, or you may sub with brown sugar
Salt to taste
Cooking oil – for deep-frying of pan frying

Ground ingredients:
3 shallots – (peeled and thinly sliced)
3 cloves garlic – (peeled and finely minced)
4 Fresno chili – or use 1 Tbsp chili paste
1 tsp galangal powder
1 Roma tomato – quartered

Place all the ground ingredients in a food processor and process into a smooth paste. Set aside. Preheat about 1-inch of oil to deep fry the sliced tempeh in batches if necessary. Deep fry until they are golden brown. Drain on an absorbent paper towel and set aside. Alternatively, you can also put about 1 Tbsp of oil in a large non-stick skillet and pan fry them on 1 layer until they are crispy.

In a large skillet or wok, preheat about 2 Tbsp of oil. Add the ground ingredients and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add tamarind juice and palm sugar. Stir to mix and until the palm sugar is melted. Add the fried tempeh and stir to mix everything to make sure the sambal sauce is coating every piece of the tempeh. Have a taste and season with more salt and sugar as needed. It should be spicy, sweet, and slightly tangy.

Kering Tempeh Kacang (Sweet and Spicy Tempeh with Peanuts)

300 gr tempeh
100 gr roasted unsalted peanuts
2 Thai red chilis – seeded and cut into strips – optional
Cooking oil – to fry tempeh

Spice paste:
4 kaffir lime leaves – use scissors to cut into thin strips – remove the vein in the middle
1 Tbsp cooking oil
2 cloves garlic – grated or finely minced
1 tsp tamarind paste – or use 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp sambal oelek – or use chili paste
2 tsp galangal powder
70 gr coconut sugar – or use dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
5 Tbsp water
2 bay leaves – or 4 dried bay leaves

Fry the tempeh:

Cut tempeh into long strips, about 2 inches long and about 1/2 inch wide. Preheat about 1-inch of cooking oil on a pan and fry the tempeh until they are dry and crispy. You can also just use about 2 Tbsp of cooking oil and shallow fry the tempeh until they are golden brown, they won’t be as crispy but less oil and still make a tasty kering tempeh.

Prepare the spiced paste:

Place all ingredients for the spiced paste in a bowl, except for oil and kaffir lime leaves and bay leaves.

Preheat 1 Tbsp of cooking oil in a large pan/wok. Add the kaffir lime leaves and Thai chili and fry briefly, about 10 seconds or so. Add the rest of the ingredients above and bay leaves and cook until the sauce thickens to a syrup consistency.

Put everything together:

Add the fried tempeh and roasted peanuts into the sauce and turn off the heat. Stir to make sure the sauce is coating the tempeh and peanuts. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl.

Cucumber Salad with Mustard Oil

1/2 cup (2 oz; 60g) raw hazelnuts or peanuts, skinned
2 English cucumbers (25 oz; 700g)
2 tablespoons (30ml) mustard oil
2 tablespoons (30ml) lime juice, from 1 lime
2 teaspoons (1/8 oz; 4g) red pepper flakes
Kosher salt

In a small dry saucepan, toast hazelnuts over medium-high heat, until they just start to brown and become fragrant, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately transfer to mortar and crush with pestle to form coarse powder. (Alternatively, use a spice grinder.)

Trim and discard ends of cucumbers. Cut each cucumber in half lengthwise and then into thin slices. Place sliced cucumbers in a medium mixing bowl.

Using a whisk or fork, thoroughly mix mustard oil and lime juice in small bowl and pour over cucumbers. Add toasted hazelnuts and pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately.

Cauliflower, Grape, and Cheddar Salad

1 large head cauliflower broken into bite sized florets
6 tablespoons sunflower or other light oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and roughly crushed
2/3 cup seedless red grapes, halved
3 oz aged Cheddar cheese, coarsely crumbled
2/3 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 425.

Toss the cauliflower florets with half of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

To make the dressing, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons oil with the vinegar, mustard, honey and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the raisins and let them marinade for at least 10 minutes.

Just before serving, transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and add the hazelnuts, grapes, Cheddar and parsley. Pour the raisins and dressing over the top, toss together, transfer to a large platter, 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.