Since I cook a lot from the New York Times Cooking website, I get to know writers who make recipes that we’ll like. One of those is Ali Slagle, who introduced us to halloumi, a low-lactose cheese that kind of squeaks in your mouth. We’ve grown to really like this meatless recipe.
INGREDIENTS 3 cups cooked grains (such as brown rice, wheat berries, farro or a mix), shaken or patted dry (we use brown rice) 8 to 9 ounces halloumi or feta, torn into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and shaken dry 4 Persian or mini seedless cucumbers Kosher salt 2 limes or lemons or 1 grapefruit 1⁄2 cup finely chopped cilantro, dill or parsley leaves and stems, or a mix 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed 1 teaspoon ground cumin or coriander Black pepper Sliced radishes (optional)
PREPARATION Step 1 • Heat the broiler on high with a rack six or fewer inches from the heat source. Put the grains, halloumi and chickpeas on a sheet pan to air dry while you prepare the other ingredients. (You can do this up to a day ahead and refrigerate the sheet pan.)
Step 2 • Meanwhile, smash the cucumbers with the side of your knife until they’re craggy and split. Coarsely chop into irregular 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer the cucumbers and any liquid on the cutting board to a small bowl and season with salt. Finely grate about 1 teaspoon of the citrus zest over the cucumbers, then squeeze in 3 tablespoons juice. Cut any remaining citrus into wedges for serving. Add the herbs and 1 tablespoon olive oil, stir to combine and set aside. (Cucumbers can be prepared up to 3 hours in advance.)
Step 3 • Add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and the cumin to the sheet pan. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, spread in an even layer, and broil, shaking the pan occasionally or tossing with a fork, until the chickpeas start to pop and everything is crisped and golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes.
Step 4 • Serve the grain-bean mixture topped with the cucumbers and the dressing in the bowl. Season to taste with salt, pepper, citrus juice and olive oil.
Note: We have also served it with some sliced avocados.
This recipe, by New York Times writer Melissa Clark, reminds us of going for dumplings; however, the shop is quite far from our home so this will have to suffice. I didn’t have any black vinegar for the final topping, so truthfully, I just left it off. In her notes, Ms. Clark says balsamic can be a substitution, although it is a bit sweeter.
INGREDIENTS: 12 ounces baby bok choy (3 or 4 small heads) 1 ounce ginger root (1 fat 2-inch- thick knob) Kosher salt 8 ounces rice noodles, not too thin 2 tablespoons peanut or safflower oil 1 pound lean ground pork 1⁄4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 1⁄2 cup thinly sliced scallions 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 fresh Thai or habanero chile, seeded if desired, thinly sliced 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds 1 1⁄2 teaspoons sesame oil, more for drizzling Cilantro or torn basil, for serving Black vinegar, for serving
PREPARATION: Step 1 • Trim bok choy and separate dark green tops from white stems; leave tops whole and thinly slice stems. Peel ginger and finely chop half of it. Slice remaining ginger into thin matchsticks if using vinegar garnish.
Step 2 • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook according to package instructions. Drain and run under cool water; drain again.
Step 3 • Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, breaking up with a fork, until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meat to a bowl.
Step 4 • Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Stir in half the scallions, the finely chopped ginger, the garlic and the chile. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add bok choy stems and a pinch of salt. Cook until bok choy is almost tender, about 2 minutes. Toss in leaves and return pork to skillet.
Step 5 • Toss noodles, remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar into the pan. Cook until just warmed through.
Step 6 • Transfer to a large bowl and toss with remaining scallions, sesame seeds, sesame oil and herbs.
Optional: In a small bowl, combine ginger matchsticks with just enough black vinegar to cover. Serve ginger mixture alongside noodles as a garnish.
This is my favorite one-pot meal, although there is some chopping of toppings. It comes together quickly, and is also good the next day.
¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning 1 ½ cups sushi rice (short-grain white rice), rinsed until water runs clear 1 ½ pounds skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch cubes ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce 3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar 2 tablespoons safflower or canola oil 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped scallions 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (from one 2-inch piece) 3 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced 8 ounces green coleslaw mix (about 3 packed cups) OPTIONAL 1 avocado, halved, pitted and thinly sliced or cut into chunks Nori Komi Furikake seasoning
In a large saucepan, combine rice vinegar, sugar and salt; stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the rice and 1 3/4 cups water, and mix well. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
In a small bowl, toss salmon with 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil and season with salt. Once rice is tender (after about 20 minutes), arrange salmon in an even layer on top of rice. Cover and steam over low heat until fish is cooked to medium, about 12 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine soy sauce, white vinegar, safflower oil, scallions, ginger and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil. Mix well, and season with salt.
Scoop salmon and rice into bowls. Top each with some cucumbers, coleslaw mix (if using) and avocado. Drizzle with the vinaigrette. Top with seasoning.
It had been a hot week, with all daytime temperatures approaching — or over — 100 degrees. I saw this on the New York Times Cooking website, and we decided to try it. That first time we garnished it with a soft-boiled egg. Wrong. The “broth” was barely there, so this week we made it again, with the revisions shown below. Much better, and perfect for a really hot day. We like the addition of the shrimp, but you could leave them off.
Last note: I usually toast my sesame seeds in a small non-stick skillet, swirling and tossing until they look a slightly darker color. But on our last trip to the Ranch 99 Market near us they had a large container of Toasted Sesame Seeds. We brought it home with us and used it this go-round.
2 pints ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
2 teaspoons kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
12 to 14 ounces somyeon, somen, capellini or other thin wheat noodle
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 cups cold filtered water
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2 to 4 radishes, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced at an angle
2 Persian cucumbers, sliced
1/2 cup crushed ice
1/2 pound raw shrimp, tails off, deveined, cut in half
In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes and salt. Let sit until juicy, at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to package instructions, drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, poach the shrimp briefly in boiling salted water. Remove promptly and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, mustard and sesame oil. Add to the tomatoes, and toss with a spoon until well combined. Stir the filtered water into the tomatoes and sprinkle the surface of the broth with the sesame seeds, radishes and scallions.
Right before serving, add the ice to the broth. Divide the noodles among bowls, and ladle in the broth and any unmelted ice, making sure each serving gets a nice sprinkling of tomatoes, radishes, scallions and sesame seeds.
A light, refreshing and delicious soup. I add a little bit of sriracha sauce to liven it up, but my husband liked it just as it was, although we agree that this should be salted to taste (in other words, add more). According to the New York Times, from where I adapted this recipe, donabe refers to the clay pot in which it is cooked as it keeps the soup hot longer. My enameled cast iron pot did just fine.
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and halved
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced into 1/8-inch-thick strips
Kosher salt and black pepper
8 ounces tender mushrooms, such as maitake, beech or enoki, or a combination, stemmed and broken into large clusters
Chinese wide noodles, cooked according to package directions, then drained
In a large Dutch oven, combine broth, garlic and ginger. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and add to pot. Bring to a boil over high, skimming the foam and fat that rises to the top and discarding it. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, occasionally stirring and skimming, until foam no longer appears in the broth, about 5 minutes.
Add mushrooms, cabbage, daikon, scallions and carrot to the pot, arranging them in sections, and season with salt. Cover and simmer over medium to medium-low heat (maintain a good simmer, but do not boil) until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Discard ginger. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine ponzu, sesame oil and a tiny pinch of red pepper flakes, and mix well.
Also meanwhile, cook your noodles. We liked the version shown below.
Divide donabe among four bowls. Drizzle with some of the ponzu sauce and serve warm.
The noodles were first put in the bottom and the soup was ladled over it. This donabe is even better the next day, we think. We have also developed an affinity for daikon radishes, that when cooked remind us of a cross between a mild radish, a turnip, and a potato.
I first had this dish when my husband and I went to Eataly in Los Angeles. The first entreé was way too salty, so even though I never do this, I alerted the wait staff to bring something else (the waiter confided in me that they have a new chef and a lot of food was salty). So I chose this, and loved it.
We saw it in Trader Joe’s in the frozen food aisle and that was delicious, too. Then pandemic-supply-side problems hit, and we couldn’t get it. So I found three recipes, combined and came up with this. Enjoy!
Cacio e Pepe | 2-4 servings
8 ounces dry pasta–we used Linguine Fini, from Barilla
Bring 2 quarts water to boil in a pot; add salt, then bend in your pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s about two minutes before it’s tender. Drain, reserving 1 cup water (I saved about 1 1/2cups).
In the meantime, in a large skillet or cookware, melt 2 Tbls. butter over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula until toasted, about 1 minute.
Add 1/2 cup of pasta water to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta to the skillet and using tongs, swirl the pasta mixture together. Add more pasta water if it looks dry.
Grate the cheese finely, and add to pasta mixture a handful at a time, stirring with a set of tongs so you can lift the pasta to help it incorporate the ingredients. Add about 1/4 cup more pasta water. Cook and swirl it with tongs until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta and the pasta is al dente. (Again, if it looks dry, add more pasta water, about 2-3 Tablespoons at a time.)
This is the process photo of what it looks like in the pan.
I read about this one in the New York Times, but then went wandering onto the internet to see others. This version of riced-stuffed onions is adapted from a couple of different recipes.
Once you get the large onion boiled up and slightly cooled, the recipe is not a hard one. Leftovers are good, too. This makes about 4-6 servings.
NOTE: Two large onions are recommended, unless you are cooking for a small group. I also used a mixture of brown and white basmati rice.
2 large white or yellow onions.
1/4 sliced almonds (I used chopped almonds as it was all I had)
1/2 teaspoon loosely packed saffron, crumbled
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed until water runs clear
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1 teaspoon cinnamon, or one 3″ stick of cinnamon
1/2 pound ground pork (can be left out, if you want a vegetarian version)
1/4 cup shelled salted pistachios, chopped
3 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons dried tart cherries, chopped (if you don’t have, increase the amount of golden raisins)
1/4 cup chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar
Bring a large deep pot of salted water to a boil. Cut off a sliver of the root end and top of an onion, then peel. Cut a lengthwise cut into each onion from the top to the root end of the onion (which will make it easier to separate the layers). Submerge it into the boiling water, reduce heat to let it simmer until the onions are softened through the middle and the layers separate easily, about 20 minutes. Sometimes mine liked to pop up, so I sometimes use a spatula at an angle or a smaller pot lid, also at an angle to keep it submerged. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees. Also meanwhile, brown the ground pork, adding some salt and pepper as it cooks. Drain if too greasy and set aside.
In a dry saucepan, toast the almonds, keeping an eye on them so they don’t burn. Let cool.
In a small bowl, combine the saffron and lemon juice and let it sit.
Separate the onion into layers; if they are stubborn, you may have to slice off a bit of the top and the bottom. On the larger outside layers, cut in half. Try to get a total of 24 layers.
Finely chop any extra layers to make 1 cup. If you don’t have any extras (like me), cut up a raw onion.
Heat 2 Tablespoons of the oil in a high-sided, 12″ ovenproof skillet with a lid over medium heat. Add chopped onion (raw or cooked) and cook, stirring occasionally until tender (approx. 3-8 minutes).
Stir in rinsed rice, 2 tablespoons butter and stir until evenly coated. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, saffron-lemon juice, cinnamon, cumin, cardamon, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil over high, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until the liquid is just absorbed — about 3 minutes (rice will still be undercooked).
Stir in toasted almonds, pistachios, raisins, cherries and parsley. If the rice mixture isn’t golden-looking enough, add 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric. Transfer rice mixture to a bowl, and wipe out pan. Coat the skillet with the remaining 2 Tablespoons of oil.
Spoon two tablespoons of rice mixture in the center of each onion layer piece, wrap. Set aside. Repeat until all layers have been filled, or you’ve run out of rice. If you have extra rice mixture you can save it to spoon around the stuffed onions.
Heat pan over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, place the onions seam-side down. Let cook for 2 minutes until the bottoms have browned slightly. Add vinegar to 1 cup water and pour around the onions. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter, then sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar.
Cover the pan with the lid, and transfer to the oven to bake until all liquid has been absorbed, rice is cooked through, and onions are tender, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven. Garnish with parsley and drizzle with oil (opt.) Serve warm.
I loved the cookies from Sweet Mac Shop, but found them a tad too sweet to my tastes. So I made some adjustment to some of the measurements, but kept the interesting combination of pretzels, caramel bits and chocolate chips. I also subbed out some whole-wheat flour for the all-purpose flour for a bit chewier texture. These are hard to resist!
Ingredients 1 cup butter, still a little cold, but soft 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed 1/2 cup white sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 large eggs 1 cup whole wheat flour 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 1/2 cups chopped pretzels 1 bag Kraft Caramel Bits (11 oz)
Instructions Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place butter in a stand mixer with paddle attachment, then add both sugars and beat for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in eggs and vanilla and beat one more minute.
Mix together the whole wheat flour with the baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk together and add slowly to mixer on low speed. Add the all-purpose flour; mix just to combine.
Coarsely chop pretzels. Add chocolate, caramel, chopped pretzels to the cookie mixture and just mix until combined. Over-mixing will break down the pretzels.
Sweet Mac Shop uses the OXO size 20 scoop to make all her cookies evenly shaped, and I did the same, scooping them out on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Pop into freezer for 10 minutes. (I store the tray of cookies in the freezer and bring them out in between to set up a new batch.)
Pull out 9 balls of dough at a time and space them on a half-sheet baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-12 minutes.
The tongue-in-cheek joke in our house is that this is known as “Elizabeth’s Award-winning dessert.” I was dating my husband at the time, and served some to him, proudly announcing that it had won a blue-ribbon at the fair. I was beaming. True to his scientific ways and analysis (in every aspect of his life), he asked, “And how many entries were there?” I pulled a face. He went on eating it. I’ll never tell how many entries in my category there were; to me it’s a blue-ribbon winner all the way.
Ingredients: 1 pound REAL butter, melted 2 1/2 cups chopped walnuts 1/8 cup sugar 3 tsp. cinnamon 1 pound filo dough (found in frozen section of grocery store, thaw in fridge before using)
Method: Mix together nuts, sugar and cinnamon, set aside.
Brush a cookie sheet with some of the melted butter. Place one sheet of filo carefully in the pan. Brush the sheet with melted butter. Repeat until there are 6 layers of filo.
Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top of this layer.
Layer two leaves of filo on top of nuts. Brush with butter. Layer on 4 more sheets, one at a time, brushing each with butter.
Sprinkle 1/3 the nut mixture on top of that last layer.
Layer two leaves of filo on top of nuts. Brush with butter. Layer on 4 more sheets, one at a time, brushing each with butter.
Sprinkle last 1/3 nuts on top. Repeat layering of filo until all leaves are used. Brush top layer with butter. With a small sharp knife, score the top of the pastry with parallel diagonal lines about 1/2-inch deep and 2 inches apart, then cross them diagonally to form diamond shapes. Bake in the middle of a 350°F oven for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300°F and bake for 45 minutes longer, or until the top is crisp and golden brown.
Meanwhile, make the syrup: 1 1/2 cups sugar 3/4 cup water 1 tablespoon FRESH lemon juice 1 tablespoon honey
Combine sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan and, stirring constantly, cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves. increase the heat to high and, timing it from the moment the syrup boils, cook briskly, uncovered, for about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the honey. Pour the syrup into a pitcher or other pouring container and set aside.
When the baclava is done, remove it from the oven and pour the syrup over it, slowly, up and down all the rows and across. Cool to room temperature, and just before serving, cut through the scored lines to the bottom of the pan, yielding diamond-shaped pieces.
These are a winner, all the way around. Perfectly sticky, soft dough, just the right amount of spice all combine for a perfect Christmas morning cinnamon roll. The original recipe comes from Joy Wilson, via the Washington Post, 2020.
Sticky Pecan Rolls
If you want a fresh-baked batch of rolls when you wake up, proceed with the recipe through the step when you place the cut rolls into the pan with the sauce. Cover the pan with lots of plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, let the rolls come to room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes while you preheat the oven. Then bake as directed.
For the dough: 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast 3 tablespoons warm water Scant 3 cups (360 grams) flour, plus more for dusting the counter ½ cup (120 milliliters) whole milk, at room temperature, or more as needed ⅓ cup (65 grams) lightly packed light brown sugar 1 large egg, lightly beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon kosher salt 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into medium chunks
For the filling inside the pecan roll: ½ cup (99 grams) lightly packed light brown sugar 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves ½ teaspoon kosher salt 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the sticky topping: ½ cup (120 milliliters) heavy cream ⅓ cup (113 grams) honey 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter ¼ teaspoon kosher salt 1¼ cups (125 grams) coarsely chopped pecans
Make the dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the yeast with the warm water until combined. Add the flour, milk, brown sugar, egg, vanilla and salt. Using a silicone spatula, stir the mixture into a shaggy dough.
Place the bowl on the stand mixer and mix on low speed, slowly adding chunks of butter as the dough comes together. [Note: This is kind of weird, and doesn’t look as if the butter will incorporate, but it does.] If the dough looks too dry, add an additional tablespoon of milk. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead the dough until it begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, about 4 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand into a cohesive, relatively smooth ball, about 3 minutes.
Place the dough in a large, greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours.
Make the filling:
While the dough rises, in a medium bowl stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt until combined. Reserve the room-temperature butter for use in assembling the sticky rolls.
Make the topping:
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, honey, butter and salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer gently until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the pecans.
Generously flour a work surface and unwrap the dough onto it. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle about 12 by 15 inches. Spread the reserved butter over the dough and sprinkle the filling mixture on top. Starting with the long edge of the dough, lift and roll it into a tight log, seam-side down. Using a sharp knife, trim off the uneven edges. Slice the log into 9 equal pieces.
Pour the prepared pecan topping into a 9-inch greased square pan. Nestle the cut rolls over the topping. [Note: I slightly flattened out the rolls into a bit larger circle when I placed them in the pan.] Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rest while the oven preheats, about 20 minutes. (To store overnight, skip the 20-minute rest, cover the rolls with lots of plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator overnight. Let come to room temperature before baking.)
Position the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.
Uncover the rolls and bake for 30 to 32 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. While the rolls are still warm, run a butter knife around the edges of the pan and invert the entire pan onto a large serving platter. Scrape any nuts or caramel that remain in the pan on top of the rolls. Serve warm.