Pressure Cooker Beef Chili

2 1/2 lb Ground beef
1/2 large Onion (chopped)
8 cloves Garlic (minced)
2 15-oz can Diced tomatoes (with liquid)
1 6-oz can Tomato paste
1 4-oz can Green chiles (with liquid)
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Chili powder
2 tbsp Cumin
1 tbsp Dried oregano
2 tsp Sea salt
1 tsp Black pepper
1 medium Bay leaf (optional)

In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the chopped onion for 5-7 minutes, until translucent (or increase the time to about 20 minutes if you like them caramelized). Add the garlic and cook for a minute or less, until fragrant.

Add the ground beef. Cook for 8-10 minutes, breaking apart with a spatula, until browned.
Transfer the ground beef mixture into a slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients, except bay leaf, and stir until combined. Place the bay leaf into the middle, if using.
Cook for 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high. If you used a bay leaf, remove it before serving.

Instant Pot pressure cooker instructions

Select the “Sauté” setting on the pressure cooker (this part is done without the lid). Add the chopped onion and cook for 5-7 minutes, until translucent (or increase the time to about 20 minutes if you like them caramelized). Add the garlic and cook for a minute or less, until fragrant.

Add the ground beef. Cook for 8-10 minutes, breaking apart with a spatula, until browned.
Add remaining ingredients, except bay leaf, to the Instant Pot and stir until combined. Place the bay leaf into the middle, if using.

Close the lid. Press “Keep Warm/Cancel” to stop the saute cycle. Select the “Meat/Stew” setting (35 minutes) to start pressure cooking.

Wait for the natural release if you can, or turn the valve to “vent” for quick release if you’re short on time. If you used a bay leaf, remove it before serving.

Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1/4 cup canola oil
2 1/4 pounds baby brussels sprouts or regular brussels sprouts halved lengthwise
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and softened
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup Grade A pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 cup vacuum-packed roasted chestnuts, coarsely chopped (6 ounces)
1 tablespoon walnut oil

Heat the canola oil in a very large skillet until shimmering. Add the brussels sprouts and season with salt and pepper, then cook over high heat without stirring until they are browned, about 2 minutes. Add the unsalted butter and brown sugar and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the brown sugar is melted. Add the maple syrup and cook, stirring occasionally, until the brussels sprouts are just crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in the cider vinegar. Add the chestnuts and walnut oil and cook until hot.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the brussels sprouts and chestnuts to a bowl. Boil the cooking liquid over high heat until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the brussels sprouts and serve.

Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds trimmed beef flatiron steak or chuck, cut into 8 pieces
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
One 750-milliliter bottle dry red wine
2 bay leaves
1 thyme sprig
One 5-ounce piece of pancetta
15 pearl or small cipollini onions, peeled
15 cremini mushrooms
15 baby carrots, peeled
Sugar
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the meat in the casserole in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 8 minutes. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the meat with it. Add the wine, bay leaves and thyme, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Cover the casserole and transfer it to the oven. Cook the stew for 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is very tender and the sauce is flavorful.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cover the pancetta with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the pancetta and slice it 1/2 inch thick, then cut the slices into 1-inch-wide lardons.

In a large skillet, combine the pancetta, pearl onions, mushrooms and carrots. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 cup of water and a large pinch each of sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until almost all of the water has evaporated, 15 minutes. Uncover and cook over high heat, tossing, until the vegetables are tender and nicely browned, about 4 minutes.

To serve, stir some of the vegetables and lardons into the stew and scatter the rest on top as a garnish. Top with a little chopped parsley and serve.

Pasta e Fagioli

170g dried borlotti
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
A sprig of fresh rosemary
300-500g fresh tomatoes
Salt and black pepper
180g fresh egg pasta, cut into small, misshapen squares or 220g dried small pasta, or broken tagliatelle

If you are using dried beans, soak them for 12 hours or overnight. Drain, cover them with enough cold water that it comes at least 3 inches/10cm above the beans and cook at a simmer until tender, which usually takes about an hour and a half. Leave the beans to cool in their cooking liquid.
If you are using fresh beans, pod them, then cover them with enough cold water that it comes at least 10cm above the beans. Bring to a very gentle boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes or until the beans are tender. Leave the beans to cool in their cooking liquid. If you are using tinned beans, drain and rinse them.

Meanwhile, in a large, deep sauté pan or casserole, warm the olive oil over a low flame, add the peeled and gently crushed garlic cloves and rosemary, then fry them gently until fragrant. If desired, you can remove the garlic at this point. Peel the tomatoes, if you like, then roughly chop them and add them to the pan. Raise the heat just a little and cook the tomatoes for 10 minutes, or until soft and saucy. Add the beans and a couple generous ladlefuls of bean cooking water, then let the pan bubble away for another 10-15 minutes. Season with salt. At this point you may like to blend half the soup for a creamier consistency.

Add another couple of ladlefuls of bean cooking water and then the pasta. Continue cooking, stirring attentively until the pasta is tender. You may need to add a little more bean cooking water. Serve immediately.

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

2 slices of day-old bread (about 50g), crusts removed
A little milk
500g minced beef
2 eggs, lightly beaten
A small garlic clove
A sprig of parsley
Salt and black pepper

For the sauce
750g ripe, fresh tomatoes
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1–2 garlic cloves, peeled or crushed
A pinch of red chilli flakes (optional)
A tin of peeled plum tomatoes, chopped roughly in the tin
1 tbsp tomato puree (optional)
Salt

Rip the bread and soak in a little milk until soft, and easily crumbled. Squeeze out excess milk. Put the crumbs in a large bowl along with the beef and lightly beaten eggs.

Peel and chop the garlic very finely along with the parsley, salt and pepper. Add to the meat, then use your hands to mix everything together.

Divide the mixture into 12 meatballs: if the mixture is very sticky, flour your hands lightly. Let the meatballs rest.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Peel the fresh tomatoes by plunging them first in boiling water, then in cold, at which point the skins should slip off. Then chop them roughly.

Peel the garlic and crush for a milder flavour or finely chop for stronger. Put 4 tbsp of the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan or cassarole and cook the garlic gently over a low heat until it is fragrant. At this point you can remove the whole garlic if you wish.

Add the chopped tomatoes and chilli. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the final 2 tbsp oil and the tinned tomatoes. Add 1 tbsp tomato puree if you feel it needs it. Cook for 20–40 minutes, or until the sauce is rich and thick.

Drop the meatballs in the sauce, making sure they are submerged. Turn the heat to low, cover the pan and poach for 15 minutes, by which time the meatballs should be cooked through but still tender.

Pasticcini di Mandor (Italian Soft Almond Cookies)

Makes 12-16 biscuits

350g ground almonds
150–200g icing sugar, plus more for dusting
Zest of 1-2 unwaxed lemons
2 medium eggs

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.

In a large bowl, mix together the ground almonds, icing sugar, lemon zest and eggs to form a soft, slightly sticky dough.

Dust your hands with icing sugar, and scoop out a walnut-sized ball of dough. Then gently roll it between your palms. You can also roll it on the work surface as long as it is dusted with icing sugar. Repeat. Put the balls on the baking tray and make an indentation in the centre of each.

As they bake, the biscuits will crack gently. For soft and marzipan-like biscuits bake for 11-12 minutes, for a firmer, chewier biscuit 14-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. They will keep in an airtight tin for a month.

Beef Braised In Chianti

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1kg stewing or braising beef – chuck, flank or neck, cut into large chunks of about 5cm
3 garlic cloves, peeled but whole
1 bottle red wine, ideally chianti
Salt
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns, plus a few extra just in case

To serve
Bread or buttery mashed potato

Warm the olive oil in a heavy-based casserole or stockpot, then brown the meat in batches over a medium heat. Return all the meat to the pan, add the peeled but whole garlic cloves, the red wine and a pinch of salt. Use a pestle and mortar to pound the peppercorns until fine, then add that to the pan.

Bring the pan almost to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer for 2-2½ hours or until the meat is very tender but still holding its shape. If you like, remove the lid for the last 45 minutes to reduce the sauce. If you want it reduced further, remove the meat and boil the sauce until slightly thickened, then return the meat to the pan.

Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Ideally allow to rest for a few hours – better still, overnight – then reheat gently.

Pasta e Piselli

1.3kg peas in their pods, or 350g frozen
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
A small knob of butter or 50g pancetta or guanciale, diced
3 large or 6 small spring onions, chopped
A celery stalk, chopped
A sprig of mint
Salt
1 tbsp tomato puree (optional)
A parmesan rind
300g fresh egg pasta or 200g dried pasta
Pecorino or parmesan cheese, grated

If the peas are in their pods, pod them and set aside. Warm the olive oil in a large pan and fry the pancetta, onion, celery and mint with a pinch of salt, until soft and translucent. Stir in the tomato puree, if using, then add the peas, stir and cook for a few minutes.

Add 1.3 litres of cold water and the parmesan rind. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.

Once the peas are tender, remove the mint, add another small pinch of salt and the pasta. Cook, stirring regularly, until the pasta is al dente. Leave to sit for a couple of minutes, stir in 2 tbsp grated cheese, taste and check for salt (it shouldn’t need it). Divide between bowls and serve, handing round more cheese for those who want it.

Pasta with Eggplant

2 large aubergines
Olive or groundnut oil, for frying
1kg fresh tomatoes or 500g passata
2 garlic cloves
A small handful of basil
1 tsp sugar (if you need it)
500g pasta, such as spaghetti, rigatoni, casarecce, mezze maniche or penne
200g salted ricotta, grated
Salt

Peel strips of skin from the aubergines so they are striped, then cut them into 5mm slices. If you’re going to salt them, do it now; otherwise just dry them with a clean tea towel. Heat about 5cm oil in a frying pan and fry the slices, turning them halfway, until they are golden brown on both sides, then drain on kitchen paper. Set aside, near the stove so they keep warmish.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil. If using fresh tomatoes, peel by plunging them into boiling water for 1 minute, then lift them out with a slotted spoon and cool under cold water, at which point the skins should slip away. Keep the hot water for cooking the pasta later. Roughly chop the tomatoes, removing the seeds if you wish (I don’t).

Crush the garlic cloves with the back of a knife, so they split, but remain whole. Warm some more oil in a frying pan and add the garlic. Once fragrant and lightly golden, remove from the pan, add the tomatoes (or passata) and cook until they collapse into a sauce. You can pass the tomatoes through a food mill back into the pan or, if you’re happy with the texture, simply tear in most of the basil, add the sugar if you think the sauce is too sharp, and a good pinch of salt.

Bring the pan of tomato water back to the boil, add salt, stir well and add the pasta. Cook it until al dente, then drain. Mix the pasta with the sauce and a handful of ricotta. Divide between bowls, top with several slices of aubergine, plus a little more salted ricotta and a couple more basil leaves. Pass around the remaining aubergine slices and cheese, so that people can help themselves.

Paste e Ceci

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (from one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup (2 ounces or 55 grams) uncooked ditalini pasta (or another small shape; I use annelini)
2 cups (275 ml) boiling water

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil (estimate 1 per serving)
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
Salt and red pepper flakes

In a medium-large heavy-bottomed pot or deep saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil until it shimmers.

Add 2 smashed cloves of garlic and cook, stirring until it becomes lightly, barely browned but very fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, and pepper and cook them with the garlic for 30 seconds or so.

Add the chickpeas, pasta, and boiling water. Stir to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot, lower the heat, and simmer until the pasta is cooked and a lot of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning and ladle into bowls.

Make finishing oil: Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small sauce- or frying pan over medium-low heat with remaining clove of garlic, rosemary, a pinch or two of salt and pepper flakes, until sizzling; pull it off the heat as soon as the garlic is going to start taking on color. Drizzle this over bowls of pasta e ceci and eat it right away.

Roast Beef for Sandwiches

2 small garlic cloves, grated
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons rosemary leaves
2 1/2 pounds boneless beef top loin (top sirloin) roast (leave the fat on top)
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

In a small bowl, stir together the garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary. Spread the paste all over the meat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to prepare the meat, remove it from the fridge and let stand at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet.

Coat the roast lightly with olive oil. Transfer to the wire rack and roast for 75 to 95 minutes, until an instant thermometer inserted into the center of the roast registers 125 to 130 degrees for medium-rare.

Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let cool completely before carving (trim off the fat cap if you plan to serve it cold). The meat can be roasted three days ahead; cool completely before refrigerating.

Parmesan Cheese Dip

2 cups (5 1/2 ounces / 150g) finely grated Parmesan cheese (on a Microplane)
Scant 1/4 cup (50ml) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine

Add-in ideas: black pepper, lemon juice, chopped dried figs, chopped dates, finely lots of chopped chives, lemon zest, or red pepper flakes, dried herbs, chopped sun-dried tomatoes

Combine the cheese, olive oil, and wine in a jar or bowl. Stir gently until it all comes together, then press the cheese down a bit into a flat surface. It will keep like this, drizzled with a layer of olive oil, for a few weeks refrigerated. (Let it come back down to room temperature before serving.)

To serve the cheese, scoop out a bit into a separate smaller bowl or plate, and stir in or sprinkle with any add-ins at this point.

Serve with crackers, toasts, or crudités; spread on sandwiches; layer in tarts; spoon into soups.

Grilled Scallops with Corn, Peaches, and Tomatoes

olive oil
2 ears corn
2 peaches (halved and pitted)
8 large scallops
salt and pepper
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
chopped parsley

Heat a charcoal or gas grill until very hot.

Rub the grill grate with a little oil and put it 3 or 4 inches from the heat.

Brush 2 ears corn, and 2 peaches (halved and pitted) with olive oil; grill until lightly browned.

Strip the corn kernels off the cobs, chop the peaches; put in a large bowl.

Brush the scallops with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill until they’re brown on the bottom and release easily from the grill, 2 to 3 minutes.

Turn and brown on the other side; total cooking time should be 3 to 5 minutes; take the scallops off the grill before the interior becomes totally opaque.

Halve the scallops and add them to the bowl along with 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes, chopped parsley, basil, or chives, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss.

Corn and Fregola

Salt
8 ounces fregola
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups sweet corn kernels or frozen peas
1 cup sliced scallions
1 cup hot vegetable stock
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese, or as needed
Pepper

In a medium pot, bring lightly salted water to a boil. Add fregola and cook until tender yet springy and chewy, 12 to 14 minutes. Drain, rinse under cool water, and drain again.

Place a sauté pan over medium-high heat, and add butter, corn or peas, scallions, and vegetable stock. Cook at a lively simmer, stirring occasionally, until the corn or peas are cooked and the broth is reduced by about half, about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat, and add fregola and Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano. The mixture should be gooey like macaroni and cheese.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, serve with a green salad.

Corn Risotto

2 corn cobs (kernels removed and reserved for risotto)
1 onion, cut into quarters
1 carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 celery rib, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
Dark green leaves from 1 leek (reserve white and light green parts for risotto)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

FOR THE RISOTTO:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 leek, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4.teaspoon black pepper
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 cups hot corn stock or chicken stock
1 1/2 cups raw corn kernels (from about 2 ears corn)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced chives (optional)

FOR THE STOCK:
Combine all ingredients with 6 cups water in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat so liquid is simmering; cover pot and let simmer for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Add enough water to bring liquid up to 6 cups.

FOR THE RISOTTO:
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a wide, high-sided sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add rice and cook, stirring, until grains look slightly translucent.

Pour in wine and cook, stirring, until it has all been absorbed, about 2 minutes.

Add a ladleful of hot corn stock to the rice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until rice has absorbed all of the stock. Continue cooking, adding ladlefuls of stock whenever rice mixture looks dry and stirring continuously. When half the stock has been added, stir in corn. Continue cooking until all of the stock is incorporated, corn is tender and rice is creamy and tender, about 30 to 40 minutes total.

Remove risotto from heat and stir in Parmesan and remaining tablespoon of butter. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream at high speed until it holds stiff peaks. Uncover risotto, stir vigorously and season to taste with salt and pepper. Immediately before serving, stir in the chives, if using, then gently fold in cream.

Pasta alla Norma

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled
Pinch of crushed red pepper
12 basil leaves, plus a few basil sprigs for garnish
4 cups peeled, chopped tomatoes with juice, fresh or canned
3 or 4 small eggplants (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound pasta, such as penne, rigatoncini or spaghetti
1 cup coarsely grated ricotta salata
1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs, preferably homemade

Make a quick tomato sauce: Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in garlic, red pepper and basil leaves and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, stir and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and let sauce simmer gently for 20 minutes, until slightly thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside. (Sauce may be prepared up to 2 days in advance.)

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Turn heat to low and cover pot until it’s time to cook the pasta.

Put a wide cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Add 4 tablespoons olive oil to coat surface of pan. When oil is wavy, test by adding a cube of eggplant. It should begin to sizzle and brown immediately. Fill the pan with a single layer of eggplant cubes. Turn eggplant with a spatula or tongs and brown nicely on all sides. Lower heat as necessary to maintain an even temperature; if the pan is too hot, the eggplant will burn.

Remove cooked eggplant to a plate and continue to fry remaining eggplant in batches, adding more oil as necessary. Season finished eggplant with salt and pepper. (Alternatively, roast the eggplant on a baking sheet at 400 degrees, lightly drizzled with oil, until cooked and nicely browned, about 20 minutes.)
To assemble and serve, boil pasta until al dente, leaving it a little firmer than normal. Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer. Add eggplant to sauce and gently stir to combine. Reserve a cup of pasta cooking water, then drain pasta and add to sauce. Using 2 wooden spoons or tongs, toss pasta and sauce, and let cook 1 minute more. Thin sauce if necessary with a little pasta cooking water.

Transfer to a warmed wide pasta bowl. Sprinkle with grated ricotta salata and bread crumbs. Garnish with torn or whole basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.

Grilled Eggplant, Peppers, and Onions

4 small eggplants (about 2 pounds), sliced into 3/4-inch rounds
2 medium onions, sliced into 3/4-inch rounds
2 ripe bell peppers (or another type of large sweet pepper), halved and seeded
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
Pinch of dried oregano
Pinch of crushed red pepper

Prepare a bed of hot coals in a charcoal grill, or heat a stovetop grill to medium-high. Arrange eggplants, onions and peppers on a baking sheet. Paint vegetables lightly on both sides with olive oil.

Working in batches, grill all vegetables on both sides until softened and lightly charred, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. When all vegetables are cooked, chop them into rough chunks and place in a mixing bowl. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and the vinegar. Season well with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Add capers and toss again.

Transfer mixture to a serving dish and sprinkle with oregano and crushed red pepper. Serve at room temperature.

Bucatini all’Amatriciana

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 pound guanciale, in 1-inch slivers 1/4 -inch thick
3 cups canned San Marzano tomatoes (about a 28-ounce can)
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes, or to taste
Salt
1/4 cup grated aged pecorino cheese, more for serving
1 pound bucatini

Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet. Add onion and garlic, and sauté over medium heat until transparent. Add guanciale and sauté until barely beginning to brown.

Break up tomatoes and add. Cook about 15 minutes, crushing tomatoes with a spoon, until sauce has become somewhat concentrated and homogenized. Season with chili and salt and stir in 1 tablespoon cheese. Remove from heat.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add bucatini and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain and transfer to skillet. Gently reheat contents of skillet, folding pasta and tomato sauce together until they are heated through and pasta is well-coated, about 5 minutes. Fold in remaining cheese. Check seasoning and serve with more cheese on the side.

Summer Potato Salad with Bacon and Scallions

Salt
5 pounds new potatoes, creamers or other small (1-inch to 1 1/2-inch diameter) potatoes
6 scallions, thinly sliced into rings
2 tablespoons garlic-infused oil
10 slices ( 1/2 pound) bacon
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup good-quality white wine vinegar

Bring a large wide pan of salted water to a boil, and add potatoes. Boil until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes, cut in two, and place in a large bowl. Add scallions, and toss gently to mix.

Return dry potato pan to medium heat, and add garlic oil and bacon. Cook bacon until very crisp, and transfer to paper towels.

Add mustard seeds to bacon fat in pan. After a few moments, they will begin to pop. Immediately turn off heat, and add vinegar and potato mixture. Toss together, then transfer back into bowl.

Cover salad with plastic wrap, and allow to rest at room temperature for about an hour. To serve, transfer to a serving bowl, and crumble crispy bacon on top.

Cherries with Red Wine and Mascarpone

2 1/4 cups red wine
1 cup sugar
1 1-by-3-inch strip orange zest
2 pounds sweet cherries, halved and pitted
1 cup mascarpone cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons honey

In a medium stainless-steel saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Add the cherries and bring back to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the cherries are just tender, about 5 minutes. Pour into a glass or stainless-steel bowl so the cherries don’t overcook.

In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone with the honey. Remove the strip of orange zest from the cherries. Serve the warm cherries and syrup in bowls or stemmed glasses, topped with a large dollop of the mascarpone cream.

Variations

• The warm cherries and poaching liquid are great alone—without the mascarpone cream—or with whipped cream.

• Serve the mascarpone cream with cut up fresh fruit or mixed berries instead of with the poached cherries.