I think it has something to do with these short, cold, dark days in the lull between the holidays, and the shortness of time and energy that tends to come with them; lately, I’ve been leaning on comfort dishes that I can cook by heart.
That means beans with thick slices of garlic toast submerged in the broth or pots of khichdi with yogurt and simple, stir-fried vegetables. Tofu stews! Dal and rice! Pasta with tomato sauce and grated cheese. Steamed and sizzled eggplant.
But listen, I’m finally ready to turn off my autopilot function and try some new recipes. Here are five on my to-cook list right now, because they feature a smart technique I want to try or just light something up in my brain.
1. Butternut Squash Congee
I often cut and roast squash to make this porridge with brown butter and can’t wait to try this one-pot version from Hetty McKinnon, where diced squash is simply thrown in and boiled with rice until it practically falls apart. Hetty deepens the flavors with a piece of kombu, which she fishes out at the end, and finishes the bowls with a drizzle of chile oil.
2. Gochujang Caramel Cookies
My youngest nephew has been obsessed with the heat from black pepper and chiles lately, so I’m bookmarking this Cookie Week recipe from Eric Kim to bake with him over the weekend. I love that you mix the dough by hand rather than in a machine, and that we won’t have to cook the gochujang “caramel” on the stovetop: Eric makes it by mixing a bit of chile paste with butter and brown sugar, and then he swirls it directly into the dough. This is going to be so fun!
4. Refried White Beans With Chile-Fried Eggs
This simple recipe comes from “Mi Cocina” by Rick Martínez and was adapted by Ali Slagle. Start by lightly browning onions in olive oil, then add a can of white beans and the starchy liquid, which thickens the mixture as it simmers. You could top it with a number of things: a pile of wilted greens and fried bread crumbs, avocado and a generous shake of furikake. … But a couple of fried eggs with chile flakes and a splash of vinegar sounds perfect.
5. Sesame-Brown Butter Udon Noodles
I love the chewy texture of thick, fresh udon noodles! Ali Slagle’s recipe involves adding a pound of spinach leaves and dressing it all in brown butter, toasted sesame seeds, a touch of soy sauce and sugar. That’s it, though if you would like to get more protein in, she suggests topping it with fresh yuba sheets or hard-boiled eggs. The dish seems so quick and flexible that I can easily imagine adding it to my comfort-cooking repertoire.
One More Thing
If you want to streamline your baking as much as possible, but still want a variety of beautiful cookies, it’s time to check out Yewande’s dreamy, melt-in-your-mouth butter shortbread.
Make three batches of this dough, and you’re ready to put the finishing touches on six (!) different kinds of cookies:
Strawberry Jam Bars With Cardamom
Spiced Chocolate Marble ShortbreadAdvertisement
Salted Caramel and Peanut Butter Shortbread
Thanks for reading The Veggie, and see you next week.
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