I've talked a little in the past about my very favorite kind of fall dinner party: the soup party. And this week, my partner Sam and I started planning what is becoming an annual tradition. While we discussed chunky minestrone versus puréed butternut squash, the one question that has us inspired this year was: what to put on the toasts?
In all the history of cakes that look like other stuff, this cake is truly the most insane. Mhmm, that's right, what you see pictured above is not actually ramen, but in fact a cake made to look like ramen. It's OK if you need to cry.
It's squash and pumpkin time! And that means it's roasted pumpkin (and squash) seed time, too! Roasted seeds are a delicious autumn treat and well worth the tiny bit of effort needed to produce this salty, crunchy, toasty snack.
Q: I made a big batch of coleslaw for a party over the weekend. We used it to top pulled-pork sandwiches. Now I have a large quantity of leftover coleslaw, and I'm looking for creative ways to use it up — aside from just eating it as a salad. Please help!
There's nothing I love more than having a mammoth-sized batch of soup on the stove, whether it's going to serve a room full of people or supply me with a stockpile of meals. This New Mexico pork and green chile stew is the perfect candidate to make on a lazy Sunday and then live off of the rest of the week. It's spicy, savory, and hearty, and just when you think it can't get any better, it does!
One of my favorite go-to desserts in the colder months is shortbread. It's ridiculously simple to make, the kitchen is always stocked with the four necessary ingredients (flour, sugar, butter, salt!), and the end result presents beautifully.
However, shortbread need not always be sweet. Savory shortbread is an excellent, less expected pair with hearty fall soups and salads, or even as an elegant appetizer to nosh on over cocktails with friends.
Let this one simmer and bubble all afternoon. That gives the beans plenty of time to become soft and creamy while the sweet browned onions melt into the rich bean broth. Your reward is a stew so thick you could stand a spoon in it and so hearty that the dreariest winter day will feel cozy.
When the dimmer seasons turn you inward toward big pots of braising things or simmering batches of slow-cooker meals, match those recipes with a sturdy side dish that won’t cower behind their homey hardiness. Chili, for example, with its robust kick and bulky beany, meaty sauciness would use a “mixed greens salad” as a footrest, stomping out the side’s subtlety. This apple cabbage mélange is made for fall comfort classics, but it’s as vibrant and fresh as any summer predecessors.
This recipe happened because my favorite cooking reference, Google, totally failed me. It was Halloween and I was inspired. Pumpkin chili was on the menu. One of our children was a vegetarian and it seemed like a wonderful, hearty solution. But I had no recipe and Google was no help. I even looked through actual cookbooks. Every version I found contained meat, pumpkin puree, or both. My vision was a meat-free dish with chunks of pumpkin. Goshdarnit, the pumpkin chili was happening, recipe or not. I decided to wing it.
I have so many good memories of soft pretzels: a cold afternoon my first time in New York, Red Sox games at Fenway Park a few years later, a fantastic restaurant in San Francisco that serves them as an appetizer with cheese dip. In fact, it was a recent visit to this restaurant that reminded me of my deep and abiding love for this salty, chewy, soft-centered bread — and how, once upon a time, I'd even made them myself.
Soft pretzels aren't that hard, really. They are made with a simple dough nearly identical to sandwich bread, and the only tricky part — a leap of faith — comes when you drop the pretzels in a vat of simmering water before baking. But that's why I'm here — to show you how. And also because I believe everyone should get to relive their best memories with a piping-hot soft pretzel every once in a while.