Posts in RECIPES

Right now, my husband and children are sound asleep in a tent 50 feet from our kitchen door, where the air is cool and crisp. I wrapped myself around them, whispered (harmless) ghost stories and watched the fire crackle against the peaked, nylon ceiling before their eyes shuttered, releasing me to slink away... to put life back in order, to wash dishes, and set some dough to proof for the morning. Sometimes I envy the freedom of childhood, the sweetness of slumber not wrought with a list of to-dos, but more so I love my role as the magic maker—the one burning the midnight oil for tomorrow’s gain. Because it’s all moving fast: their childhood, this fall—already. I think that’s why I love cooking so much, it’s the only thing I can grasp to slow things down—to put a meal in front of them, to sit across the table from a girl who’s lost all signs of “early childhood”, from a boy who’s legs spring out from his pant legs again and again, inching us from babyhood to boyhood, ever quicker.

What has any of this to do with this soup? My dough is proofing and the bonfire is still flickering so here I sit, writing this recipe up for you as I promised I would, because all I know from where I stand is that maybe, just maybe, the right pot of soup can stop time for all of us—if only for a moment. 

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BACK-TO-SCHOOL. I cringe at those words when I hear them in ads and get-organized campaigns. Yes, routine is good for us, but I miss the Indian summers of my youth, when creating structure (like homework nooks and regular meal times) wasn’t my responsibility. It's taken us a full four weeks to get back into the groove, but I’ll admit, having two kids in schools that have an actual start time—with a school bell—has created an order we haven’t known in eight years.

There’s been another game changer, too: Greta is super excited to help with way more meal prep, packing lunches and even tackling a few dinners on her own. The first thing I taught her to make is homemade Miso Ramen, with white miso paste, quick-cook ramen noodles, tofu, avocado and fresh greens or veggies she can pick from our garden. It's a super win for me (a healthy dinner I don't have to cook) and a pride point for my girl, who feels great about making a hot meal even her dad will devour.

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Did you know you can make risotto in the slow cooker?? (I KNOW!!!). My kids and husband love risotto, but I can’t always pull it off on a weeknight. Even though Italians consider risotto the ultimate fast food, the American brain auto-files it as fancy or complicated. It’s not, but it does require some standing and stirring, and on school nights (and work days), every minute counts.

So, gear up your slow cookers, your old grannie hand-me-down or a new fancy number like this one from Crate and Barrel that just come on the scene over here in my kitchen, and is already loved. Then, just follow along the recipe below. Mix in whatever veggies and greens float your boat, and serve with some serious pride—this beauty only took you about 15 minutes to prep, but they’ll never know.

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Fall brings with it all the cravings, for cozy sweaters, roasted aromas, plums and grapes and pears and with them, the kind of creamy toasted…..

Something easy, but earthy. Something spectacularly seeming with a secretly low workload behind it. Goat cheese toast delivers on this. Starting with honey chevre, which has a subtle sweetness that makes it palatable to even my four-year-old, you can top it with

To amp up the wow factor, I’ve seasoned my honey chevre with fennel seed, black pepper and maldon, and served it potted like a pate might be on a cheeseboard. Then, I popped a few clusters of grapes into the oven at high heat with salt and pepper and oil and yes, more fennel. It’s surprising how this anise-forward seed brings out the best of fall, and doesn’t overpower the sweet grape but instead, tempers them just a bit, keeping them feeling savory.

Clip with small scissors or pull off individual grapes to top your toasts.

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When I entertain, I like there to be a main event--a centerpiece that speaks of abundance, but also ease: a signal to both me and my guests that there will be plenty here, but we can relax and settle into it without a lot of shuffling about. This main event should be made or purchased ahead, and can look like a giant pork shoulder braised to a juicy, succulent tenderness, or a bountiful wheel of cheese, a no-hold’s bar approach to the cheese platter that we’ve all grown to know and love. There’s no worry of leaving enough for the person to your right or your left, just a welcome mat to heartily enjoy. 

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There is so much I love about chocolate cake, starting with the fact that I’m sure it’s the first cake I ever ate, the kind of cake my mom always, always baked on our birthdays as children, and later, carted to us across the country (literally) in her double decker Tupperware cake carrier when we moved far from home.

Too often, I find the kinds of chocolate cakes at birthday parties or events spongy and bland, not chocolaty enough to satisfy, not toothsome in the way I believe a cake absolutely should be. Not so this cake, which comes to us from Odette Williams, from her new book, Simple Cake. Skip on down for the recipe, below.

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Imagine your dreamiest chocolate sweet—the thing you’d eat with abandon if you could do so without consequence—if toothaches and stomach aches and snug waistbands were just the made up things of terrible fairy tales. Mine would be a Flødeboller, these chocolate dreams pictured above—though, I only recently learned that is what they’re called. I knew it in childhood simply as a chocolate-coated marshmallow treat—but not just any marshmallow—it would have to be an pillowy, airy, freshly made marshmallow without even the faintest resemblance to the kind you find in a bag (I’ll skip those all together, thank you). And not just any chocolate coating—the chocolate coating would be thin and snappy, and give to the slightest pressure from the tooth—made with the highest quality dark chocolate you can find (I link to one of my favorites for baking, below).

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There is only one thing, in my opinion, that needs to be made on the week of Valentine’s day, and that is anything containing chocolate (and lots of it). It could be big or small, fancy or simple, but for my taste, it should come as close to an elevated form of a pure chocolate truffle as humanly possible. This tart is one I developed ages ago for my very first book, but it has stood the test of time, and lives up brilliantly to the call. Thanks to its press-in crust (no rolling or pastry mastery required), it couldn’t be simpler. The inside, little more than a glorified ganache, set and baked with an egg, is pure chocolate bliss. You’ll need a tart pan with a removable bottom, and the best chocolate bricks or bars you can find, and the rest is as simple as is gets.

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I wasn’t raised to toot my own horn, so sometimes I’m shy about sharing my new work, especially when it’s in the New York Times, which still makes me giddy. It was always my dream to be published there and even after years of publishing my recipes in magazines like Saveur, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living and Real Simple, this still feels big to me because I love the way they approach food—it’s smart, fresh, super universal (no culture left behind) and perhaps most importantly, massively vetted, with tried and true recipes you can absolutely trust.

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Sorry for the crazy food porn. It’s for your own good. We’re taking a break from gift guide for a minute because pumpkin pie withdrawal is a real thing. Especially if, like me, you sort of skipped Thanksgiving this year and have had nary a sliver of whip-cream-topped pumpkin custard all season. It’s not good.

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