• Chickpea and Vegetable Tagine
    Beans,  Gluten-free,  Indian,  Middle Eastern,  Moroccan,  Side Dishes,  Vegan,  Vegetables,  Vegetarian

    Chickpea and Vegetable Tagine

    Like “casserole,” “tagine” refers to both a type of cookware and the meal you make in it. Tagine gets its name from a Moroccan pot that looks like an oversized piece from the Sorry! game. But you don’t need an authentic tagine to make this warmly spiced chickpea and vegetable stew. A dutch oven or large frying pan will do the trick. We call it a tagine, but with all the Indian spices it tastes like a curry. In fact, we suggest optional curry powder for an extra blast of flavor and heat. Let’s just say that this falls into the “dishes without borders” category. So you can serve it with couscous, basmati rice,…

  • Meringue-a-tangs
    Cookies,  Gluten-free,  Other,  Passover,  Snacks

    Muriel Brody’s Meringue-a-Tangs

    Tap this crispy, weightless meringue cookie and it sounds hollow. But take a bite and the outside shatters, melts, then gives way to the chew of chocolate chips and nutty bits. More a confection than cookie, it is sweet, crunchy air. These treats whip up easily and bake all by themselves. Put them into a hot oven, switch it off, and forget them. Do not disturb them for hours—preferably overnight. Slow drying crisps them up. My mom, Muriel, of Olympic Seoul Chicken fame, wouldn’t settle for plain-old boring meringues. So she folded in chocolate and nuts. My two older brothers named them Meringue-a-Tangs—as fun to say as to eat. We thank our family dog,…

  • Vegetable Pulao
    Gluten-free,  Indian,  Rice,  Side Dishes,  Vegan,  Vegetables

    Basmati Rice with Peas and Carrots (Mixed Vegetable Pulao)

    Peas and carrots—that humble yet dynamic duo—add just the right sweetness and color to this Indian-spiced rice. The pared-down ingredient list may tempt you to throw in aromatics and sexier veggies, but don’t bother. This easy dish tastes authentic, cooks in a flash, and can either go with a curry or dress up a simple meal with its fragrant, warm spices. This recipephany came from the back of a bag of basmati rice, more proof that we get the best recipes right off the packages. Unfortunately, we didn’t note the brand, so we can’t give it credit. Maybe it’s just as well we don’t remember the brand. The rice producer would probably be upset…

  • Chocolate Cups With Chocolate Mascarpone
    Candy,  Desserts,  Gluten-free,  Pudding,  Snacks

    Chocolate Whipped Mascarpone in Dark Chocolate Mini Cups

    Our daughter once gave us a box of imported chocolate mini cups, which made any filling an instant dessert. Turns out, if you can melt chocolate you can make them yourself. Paint the inside of small paper baking cups with melted bittersweet chocolate, let harden, then strip off the paper. The crisp accordion pleats make these cups look so much like paper liners, your guests will try to peel them off. It’s such fun—the opposite of fake food. It’s both a craft project and a dessert. Better yet, fill these petite cups with mascarpone chocolate cream and you get a dreamy, deep chocolate that melts away with each heavenly bite. Mascarpone—the milder and creamier…

  • Punched Potatoes from Richard Nasser
    Gluten-free,  Other,  Potatoes,  Side Dishes,  Vegan,  Vegetable,  Vegetables

    Punched Potatoes from Richard Nasser

    Our friend Richard Nasser served these heavenly punched potatoes and they made us think of what makes a great french fry: crispy outsides with soft, creamy insides. Our daughter, when she was little, nailed it when she said her favorite fries have “a lot of filling.” Yes, we want them crisp, but the real potato punch is in the “filling.” “Punched potatoes” apparently come from Portugal, creating some nice English alliteration. They are also known as ”smashed potatoes.” As both names imply, the idea is to flatten them. As our guest contributor, Richard shares his technique for creating the optimal “flesh/skin ratio” that make these potatoes totally irresistible. “I don’t know the national provenance…

  • Risotto with Butternut Squash and Sage in the Pressure Cooker
    Appetizers,  Gluten-free,  Italian,  Main Dish,  Rice,  Vegetables

    Risotto with Butternut Squash and Sage in the Pressure Cooker

    As the days get shorter, keep the sun in your life with gleaming risotto lit with golden butternut squash. Plump little Arborio rice grains turn creamy yet keep a nice al dente chew. Swirled with sweet winter squash, it’s a comfort food to rival mac and cheese. The pressure cooker (or Instant Pot) cooks it up perfetto in just about 5 minutes, without any of the watching, stirring and all-around fussing that scare cooks away from risotto. Fresh sage plays the hero here, propelling the savory flavors into the stratosphere. Dried sage can work, too, but fresh velvety leaves add the brightness of garden greens. If you don’t have a pressure cooker or its…

  • Cookies,  Desserts,  Gluten-free,  Other,  Passover,  Snacks

    Leah’s Fudgy, Flourless Chocolate-Almond Macaroons

    There’s no denying it—every fudgy bite of this flourless almond cookie says it’s the Macaroon’s Macaroon. I grew up thinking macaroons were those sugary coconut mounds sold in cans during Passover. They were such a holiday ritual that there should have been a spot for them on our Seder Plate. They were okay, but who’d ever want to eat them the rest of the year? Then along came “macarons,” the French almond-meringue, attitude-filled confections that look like pastel rainbows in pastry cases. They no doubt dropped the “o” to distance themselves from their macaroon relatives and signal that they are très cher. They make a lovely occasional treat, but nothing I’d ever crave. Now,…

  • Asian,  Fish,  Gluten-free,  Noodles,  Vegetables

    Boondock Shrimp and Green Beans With Rice Noodles

    The basics for this dish came from my baking buddy Joanne Hofmann Sexeny, whom I met during a tour of Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street when it was a shiny new enterprise. Joanne has the distinction of being an America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) recipe tester, and she authorized me to critique a shrimp and green bean stir-fry recipe under development for Cook’s Country Magazine. I gave it a positive review, while noting a few recipe errors. The mistakes were hard to spot and I wondered if ATK had planted them to test their readers. Now four years have passed, and while I haven’t seen the final version, I assume they fixed the errors. Meanwhile, we’ve…

  • Dick's Hermit Cookies
    Cookies,  Desserts,  Gluten-free

    Dick’s Hermits

    How did these classic New England molasses-spice cookies come to be called “hermits”? Some say it’s because they kept well when hidden away on ocean voyages. Others think they resemble hermits’ robes. Let’s just chalk it up to the region’s wacky names. For instance, Rhode Islanders call milkshakes “cabinets,” and they don’t have a good explanation for that, either. Since my mother-in-law Dorothy (known as Dick) grew up in western Massachusetts, the heart of hermit country, these cookies may have been passed down from her mom. My husband usually beat his siblings to them, often stealing a couple right off the cooling rack. When he introduced me to these these tender bars—completely new to…

  • Desserts,  Gluten-free,  Pudding,  Rice,  Snacks,  Vegan

    9-Minute Creamy Rice Pudding in the Pressure Cooker

    Luxurious rice pudding tastes divine and makes you feel good all over. But achieving a rich creaminess can be tricky. Baking can take hours, and the rice can even toughen. Thanks to the miraculous time-defying Pressure Cooker, this recipephany takes raw rice from zero to supreme creaminess in less than 15 minutes. Evaporated milk (milk that’s been concentrated by cooking it down) adds thickness plus a hint of caramelization. This slight nuttiness joins hands with the vanilla and cinnamon (rice pudding is a great delivery system for both) to create ahhh-inspiring yumminess. While you might think of rice pudding as the fluffy slippers of desserts, it has some hipness. When our son lived in…

  • Beans,  Gluten-free,  Latin American,  Main Dish,  Other,  Rice

    Anne’s Irresistible Cuban Black Beans and Rice (Frijoles Negros)

    My first taste of Anne Discenza’s cooking was no less than Beef Wellington, perfect tenderloin gift-wrapped in puff pastry. She happily dove into all kinds of cuisines, from epicurean classics to ethnic specialties. She was so generous and passionate about food that she created dishes showcasing local seafood even though her allergies prevented her from taking the smallest taste. She rarely taste-tested as she cooked anyway, since she got all her feedback by simply sniffing aromas mingling in the pan. Following Anne’s memorial service last month, the family gathered in her and Joe’s kitchen. Miriam Discenza told the story of her mother-in-law’s irresistible black beans and rice. Once you make this recipe, you’ll understand…