Many years ago, I had a memorably boisterous dinner in the upstate home of a Colombian woman, surrounded by snow and filled with light. It was a blustery winter night and she served a huge clay pot of Ajiaco, a traditional Colombian chicken soup. There was something different about this soup, so I asked if there was a secret ingredient. Indeed, there was one flourish: an herb called guascas that imparts a deep grassy flavor essential to an authentic bowl of Ajiaco.
This week I've been sharing the fall pumpkin-carving party I hosted with my friend Lydia, an autumnal afternoon of carving pumpkins, sipping cider and sitting down for a romantic outdoor dinner at dusk. Today I'm going to give you a full look at how we transformed the blank slate of Lydia's backyard into party central, with a casual pumpkin-carving zone and a cozy buffet and dining area.
I'll also give you all the details how I created a mostly make-ahead menu centered on a healthy Indian-themed sweet potato bar full of fresh yet comforting flavors. And there's a fun DIY project: an eye-catching (but simple!) table runner made out of butcher paper and neon tape. Ready to dive in?
Boeuf Bourguignon is so much more than just another beef stew. This classic French dish, made so popular by a certain Ms. Julia Child, is the kind of stew that can earn marriage proposals. The aroma alone — that deeply savory aroma of onions, slow-cooked beef, and red wine — is enough to make your eyes roll skyward and your knees go weak. Make Boeuf Bourguignon once and you'll wonder why anyone ever bothers making anything else.
Autumn is all about the warming, stick-to-your-ribs dishes that sound so good as the weather cools down, but comfort food doesn't have to mean heavy and cheesy. For the fall pumpkin-carving party I hosted for our latest Gatherings From The Kitchn, I wanted to serve a meal that was fresh and healthy as well as warm and comforting, so I planned a buffet centered around an Indian-themed baked sweet potato bar.
The main topping was rich and flavorful lamb korma, a creamy curry made with lean lamb leg and a little coconut milk that was surprisingly light — yet tasted totally decadent. Even better? This is a recipe that tastes best after a day or two in the fridge, making it a great make-ahead dinner party option.
When the other editors and I sat down at the beginning of the year to plan out our new series, Gatherings From The Kitchn, there was one event I knew had to happen: a fall pumpkin-carving dinner party. It's a tradition that my friends and I started a few years ago — we gather together on a cozy evening in October to carve pumpkins, sip cider and eat a meal full of comforting autumn flavors. We call it "The Fall Fête" and it has come to be one of my favorite nights of the year.
If that's exactly the kind of party you've been craving as the nights get chillier and Halloween draws near, stay tuned this week as I share how my friend Lydia and I transformed her backyard into pumpkin-carving central, with a romantic outdoor dining area for dinner at dusk.
During The Kitchn Cure, I reorganized my cookbooks, filling one shelf with "Dang! I used to love this one!" books. Sundays at Moosewood was a favorite of mine in college, so it went on a low shelf. I have been meaning to think of new breakfast options for my kids, who are getting older and would rather sleep a few more minutes and skip breakfast. They need protein in the morning and I love starting their day with veggies, so Moosewood's vegetable pancakes were the perfect option.
It's a delicate business, correcting a friend's mispronunciation of phở, that delicious Vietnamese noodle soup with the deceptive-looking name. Make it easy on yourself and just forward them this hilarious and memorable video. It's the phở PSA the world has been waiting for. (And if you're the one who has been wondering if you're saying it wrong, it's even more helpful.)
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.
Is there anything that sounds more satisfying this time of year than a steamy bowl of homemade dumplings? Even the name carries with it a feeling of comfort: dumpling. If you're in need of some groovy recipe inspiration involving these tiny moldable forms of dough, here are 8 recipes that have you covered:
Although chicken tikka masala is more British than Indian, you'd be hard-pressed to find an Indian restaurant that doesn't have this creamy, bright orange dish featured prominently on its menu. But if you do, you're welcome to come to my house, where chicken tikka masala is on our regular monthly meal rotation. It's surprisingly easy to pull together, and I promise it's just as good as anything ordered off the take-out menu.