Thursday, 30 July 2015 | 17 comments

Roasted chicken thighs with green peaches, ginger, & summer herbs

Here is how a weeknight dinner party goes. First, you plan it, a few weeks in advance. It will be a nice small get-together to say farewell to your friend who’s moving away. Then, it will sneak up on you.

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Monday, 12 January 2015 | 28 comments

Melissa Clark’s pinto beans braised with bacon & red wine

I took a little holiday break from writing here but not from writing, which was an interesting experiment that caused me to descend into some pretty dark stuff that no one, trust me, wants to read. So! Happy new year. Let’s talk about beans and definitely not about feelings, feminism, guns, or country music.*

I don’t pretend to be any high arbiter of bean quality, but if you like food, we live in a golden age of beautiful, heirloom beans, no small thanks to seed savers and discoverers like Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo. Heirloom beans are worth the money, and sometimes I special order them for particular dishes or to have on hand for a treat. I could spend a long time convincing you of the merits of gorgeous Good Mother Stallards or Christmas limas. But beans are supposed to promise a triple threat of nutrition, rib-sticking satiety, and economy. And at $6+ a pound, heirlooms don’t exactly satisfy that last qualification. So let’s talk about budget-conscious beans. Enter the humble pinto.
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Tuesday, 7 October 2014 | 26 comments

David Tanis’s lentil & sausage cassoulet

Sometimes the recipes that are real workhorses in our household evade documentation here. I discovered this dish early in 2013, when it was still frigid February, and in subsequent cold seasons have made it (or a variation on it) more times than I can count. By the time I realized, this year, it was such a keeper that I had to write about it, it was spring. And writing about warming things like braised lentils is anathema when there are green things sprouting. Now, though, there’s a chill in the air again. This recipe has bided its time.

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Monday, 8 September 2014 | 23 comments

Chickpea & barley salad with toasted spice vinaigrette. Also, the Internet.

In the wide world of the Internet, it’s easy to get cynical about how rapidly and easily ideas are repackaged, reposted, and reshared, ad infinitum. You could say this about serious subjects, like news coverage, or about less serious subjects, like celebrity gossip. You could also say it about food-related content. Take, for instance, the phenomenon of what I call the “wedding salad” (because nearly every catered salad you’re served at a wedding is a variation on this). It consists of spinach/arugula, goat cheese/feta, dried cherries/cranberries, nuts (sometimes candied), and a vinaigrette. The wedding salad is omnipresent, and for good reason: it is delicious and time-tested. It’s hard to mess up. But the public does not need four million recipes for this salad. Moreover, I worry that all the recipes detailing minor variations on this wedding salad esotericize* something that should be simple. In other words, maybe the recipe should really be: Here is how you make a salad. A nice template for a salad is a tender green + a soft cheese + something sweet + something crunchy + something acidic.

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Monday, 30 June 2014 | 36 comments

Herbed squash gratin

Sometimes life gives you lemons. Sometimes life gives you a behemoth summer squash on your doorstep.

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