Oh, hi! I know, I disappeared there for while. Was I on vacation? Nope. I’ve been here in New York, sweating it out on streets that smell like garbage, locked in a routine of métro-boulot-dodo that allowed me to make a great leap forward with my new novel… but offered no time for blogging. But even though I haven’t been able to document my kitchen activity, I have been cooking and discovering some wonderful recipes from ye olde internets. I’ve been wanting share my new favorite recipe links for a while, if only to gather them all in one place so that I can stop Googling every time I want to cook. Ready? Here we go:
Ever since I discovered how to cook this Roman classic (pictured above), our Saturday family lunches have become so successful. My friend Mike from the blog, Squared Meals, says “this is the first dish that got [his] kids really excited about food” — and if you ever meet his adorable, corkscrew-curled, three-year-old, identical twin girls, they will tell you that their favorite thing to eat is “bucatini.” My method combines Mike’s recipe with the one found in Elizabeth Minchilli’s fantastic book that I keep banging on about, Eating Rome. In complete defiance of Mike and Elizabeth, who both sternly call for guanciale, I use bacon (sorry, guys); once it’s rendered I add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan to sauté the onions. The sauce requires a long simmer until the tomatoes and onions disintegrate, but from there the dish is a snap. I usually serve half the sauce right away, mixed with half a pound of bucatini, and save the rest for a midweek dinner.
These savory pancakes are kind of like a cross between falafel and socca, made from a base of chickpeas and tahini. The recipe comes from the lovely Dorie Greenspan, who suggests serving them as a festive first course, drizzled with tahini mayonnaise and topped with a simple salad. I liked them that way, but I absolutely loved the leftovers as a brown bag lunch. I warmed a couple of pancakes in the office microwave and slid them into a toasted pita with sliced avocado and cheddar. You could make a batch of these for the freezer, and keep them on hand for lunch or dinner emergencies.
DIY Shake Shack burger
It depends on your preferences, but me, I’m a thin-patty, salty, smushy, American cheeseburger kind of girl. Honestly, my heart belongs to In-N-Out, but here in New York, Shake Shack fills the void. Alas, our outpost is slightly too far for convenient takeout. Well, praise be to the burger gods, this recipe from Smitten Kitchen gives precise steps to make your own “smash-style” burger at home. Friends, I am not exaggerating when I say that this is the best burger that I have ever cooked: savory, with a chewy, rough-textured crust, and a juicy medium-rare center that soaks the bun. It’s so good, I don’t even care that my stove ended up covered in greasy spatter, or that my forearms are still healing from hot oil burns.
IF your almost-two-year-old finally gives up the bottle, only to go on a milk strike, and IF you decide, in all your parenting wisdom, to entice her back to the cow juice by making chocolate milk. But IF you don’t want to give her high-fructose corn syrup — because you’re already feeling plenty guilty about starting her day with chocolate — THEN you MIGHT like Food52’s recipe for homemade chocolate syrup, which is rich and chocolatey, easy to make, calls for ingredients that are probably already in your pantry, and stores well in the fridge. This is all completely hypothetical, of course.
Ancho [insert bean here] tacos
This recipe turns cooked lentils into taco filling, with the addition of a sautéed onion, some hot sauce, and the Post Punk Kitchen’s homemade taco seasoning (which is just a mix of spices you probably have in your cupboard). But the true secret is, you can use any type of bean—I regularly substitute a can of black beans, which I crush in the pan with a potato masher. I also skip the tomato paste, because I never seem to have any on hand. Here’s how I make a fast, healthy, taco dinner: 1) Prepare the beans. 2) Cut up an avocado. Crumble some fresh goat cheese. I don’t even use a serving plate—I simply “arrange” these latter two items on a cutting board. 3) Warm two corn tortillas directly on the gas flame. 4) Dollop 1-2 tablespoons of the bean mixture on the tortillas, add a slice of avocado, some goat cheese, a splash of Cholula hot sauce. 5) Fold and eat. Repeat.
After I got a waffle iron for Christmas, I futzed around with a few recipes but once I discovered this one from The Kitchn, I abandoned all others. These crisp waffles have a lovely, round, malty flavor. They’re made from a yeast batter, which rises overnight, so you have to plan in advance, but they’re are worth the extra effort. If you follow the recipe in the link, the waffles will have a chewy, crunchy, dense texture. But one Friday night — after a lively happy hour with friends — I threw this batter together… and accidentally left out an entire cup of flour. The next morning, the batter looked strange and thin, but my dad convinced me to make the waffles anyway. Lo and behold, they turned out remarkably crisp and light — even better than the original recipe! To make the waffles MY way, follow the recipe but use: 2 cups of flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon sugar.
Spicy cilantro-mint chicken kebabs
I’m always looking for recipes that use a great quantity of herbs at once because I buy delicate bunches for one recipe and they turn black and slimy before I can use them for another. This recipe from Mallika Basu blends cilantro, mint, onion, ginger, garlic, and some other stuff into a spicy pesto-like marinade that she slathers on chicken thighs and drumsticks before baking. But I don’t like dark meat, so I made chicken kebabs. I plunged cubes of chicken breast into the marinade and left them in the fridge all day. That evening, I threaded the cubes onto skewers and cooked them in my grill pan. I’m not sure if it was the high heat, or the long marinade, but it was some of the tenderest, tastiest chicken I’ve eaten in a long time.
What are you cooking this summer?