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The Cookstr Weekly: Eggs That Go Beyond Breakfast

August 28, 2014
 

Eggs are a go-to for just about every breakfast option, but their ability to do double duty in lunches and dinners is underrated. A cheap protein that fills in when you’re feeling stuck in the meat-poultry-fish rotation, eggs are embraced cross-culturally and take well to most quick and easy cooking techniques.

Whether soaking up flavors in a stir-fry or scramble, lending body and that signature creamy texture to a soup or dessert, or fried up on top of a dish in all their photogenic glory, eggs are the ingredient you should promote to main course status.

 

Warmest regards,
Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

 

 
  by Sharon Crayton 

 
A friend’s father used to make this dish as a weekend treat when she was a child. Kids like the trick of the egg inside the bread. Using good quality eggs and flavorful whole-wheat bread makes it delicious. The French eat their eggs for lunch or dinner, and this dish can work as a meal at any time of day.”
– Sharon Crayton

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The Cookstr Weekly: Ten Liquid Shortcuts to a Cooler Summer

August 11, 2014
 

When it’s too hot even to turn on the stove, and the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables in your refrigerator leaves you dreading the thought of one more produce-laden pasta salad or stir fry, it’s time to break out the blender. Tangy, sweet, and fruit-heavy smoothies can do double-duty as breakfast and a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. And chilled soups that run the gamut from reimagined gazpacho to fruit and vegetable concoctions provide a refreshing break from a sandwich for lunch.

Of course, produce should find its way into grownup drinks as well. Turn on the blender, whip up a batch of something refreshing, and keep your cool all August long.

Warmest regards,
Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

 
  by Louisa Shafia

 
It’s unusual to slot watermelon into a savory recipe, but think about the now-nearly-classic watermelon and feta salad. Watermelon and tomato share a high percentage of water and an in-season flavor intensity that make them a stellar pair in this inventive gazpacho. Toasted almonds give the soup body where stale bread is usually employed to do the same.

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The Cookstr Weekly: Ten Recipes for Tomatoes and Eggplant

July 31, 2014
It’s a common saying among gardeners and cooks that “things that grow together, go together.” Seasonality matters, because it provides a useful guide for combining ingredients. As both tomatoes and eggplant come into season, I’m reminded of how well their juicy flavors and complementary textures work in tandem.

Tomatoes have high levels of natural umami, the savory taste distinct from saltiness that gives foods like ramen and aged cheeses their lip-smacking quality. That makes them a perfect foil for the toothsome meatiness of eggplant. Try them together and separately in breakfasts, appetizers, and mains.

Warmest regards,

Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

  by Sophie Dahl 

I love nothing more than vegetables for breakfast, especially this time of year when so much good produce is available. This dish echoes the flavor profile of shakshouka, or eggs poached in tomatoes, chili peppers, and onions. In this version, you poach the eggs separately, then serve them atop a mixture of eggplant, tomatoes, and tahini seasoned with paprika, fresh parsley, and lemon juice. 

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The Cookstr Weekly: Ten Things You Should Be Grilling

July 25, 2014

Ah, the grill. That emblematic totem of summer eating. It holds such promise. But somehow, the food coming off the grill rarely seems to live up to its potential. The halfhearted, overdone cheeseburgers. The chicken pieces still raw in the middle with charred barbecue sauce coating the outside. It doesn’t have to be this way!

This summer, try making dinners on the grill that take full advantage of the smoky flavors and satisfying textures that grilling imparts, without settling for the traditional limitations. Salads, chops, vegetable dishes, seafood, and desserts can all come from that same grill grate. Paired with marinades, sauces, and seasonal produce, they’ll make for satisfying suppers all summer.

Warmest regards,

Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

  by Linda and Martha Greenlaw 

Fish can be more than a little intimidating to grill. All that tender, flaky flesh and delicate skin seems like it could easily turn into a burnt, fall-apart-y mess as soon as it hits the grate. But if you start with a hardy fish like salmon and leave the skin on, you should have good results. Try using a fish basket if you’re particularly nervous. And you want the salmon to be juicy on the inside when you’re done, bordering on rare. The sweet corn and blueberries make a delectable and colorful salsa.

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The Cookstr Weekly: Peaches, Plums, and Apricots

July 17, 2014

I went to see the movie Chef last weekend, and I highly recommend it. It’s so warm and funny and sweet. But most importantly, there’s a scene early on where Jon Favreau’s character is at the farmers’ market with his ten year old son, who’s asking for kettle corn. “Why don’t you get a piece of fruit?” He picks up an orange and says, “Look at how beautiful this is. Why wouldn’t you want to eat this?” Of course, they get the kettle corn, but the point is, every summer I’m reminded that for sheer aesthetic pleasure, packaging, and flavor, it’s hard to beat a ripe piece of fruit.

This time of year, stone fruits like peaches, plums, and apricots are in season. They’re obviously ideal in pies, cobblers, and compotes, but they work surprisingly well in savory dishes, paired with meats or cheeses, as well.

Warmest regards,
Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

 

  by Molly Stevens 

“Each time I make this, I marvel at the interplay of flavors between the plump pork sausages, the sweet-tart fruit, and the lightly acidic wine. And because this is such an easy dish, requiring few ingredients and little time, I make it often, especially in the summer, when plums are at their peak. As you’re cutting up the plums for this recipe, taste a piece. If the plums are on the sour side (as some early-season varieties are), add a pinch of sugar to the braise to bring out their sweetness.”

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The Cookstr Weekly: Camping Recipes for S’mores and More

July 15, 2014

When I was growing up, we went camping often: it was a cheap, character-building, safely adventurous take on vacation, and I remember it fondly. The magic transformation of a bag of sticks and fabric into a shelter, the day hikes through muddy swamps and over rickety bridges, the traumatic if harmless proliferation of daddy longlegs. But most of all, I remember camping food. It was far from fancy, maybe a can of beans heated over the fire in the morning, and instant soup, and corn cobs and baking potatoes that were wrapped in tinfoil and nestled into the coals until they were finally soft. But it was always good.

It seems like everything you cook over a campfire (with or without a grill grate, or even on a nearby camping stove) is imbued with a primal, smoky, satisfying flavor. Almost everything is impressive if you cook it while camping, and the recipes below take it a step further to truly gourmet. Of course, it’s always a good idea to supplement with granola bars and trail mix you make at home – still honorary campfire cuisine.

Warmest regards,
Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

 

  by Carla Snyder & Meredith Deeds 

 
 “When you’re cooking out of a chuckwagon, necessity is the mother of invention, especially when you’re feeding armed, hungry cowhands. Many a meal has been made of beef, beans and whatever else was available, and a soup similar to this was surely on the menu for many nights around the campfire.”

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The Cookstr Weekly: Ten Recipes for Summer Squash

July 7, 2014
I’ve joined a CSA this year, and the old line is more than true: what do I do with this excess of [insert abundant in-season vegetable here]? For the last few weeks, of course, that’s been summer squash. And after the first few stir-fries, sautés, and summer stews, I was ready for fresh inspiration,
Zucchini and summer squash are ideal for baking, with their subtle flavor relaying a moist backdrop to cakes and muffins. And using a mandoline, spiralizer, or vegetable peeler to cut summer squash into thin, pliable strips will lead you to a pasta substitute that’s perfect for summer.
Warmest regards,
Kara Rota
Editorial Director
Cookstr

  by Judita Wignall  

“No carbohydrate overload for this Italian “pasta” dish. I’ve served this to friends who didn’t even realize it was raw. It contains all the elements I love about Italian food: garlic, olive oil, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper, and tomatoes all in a creamy sauce. That’s amore!” 

The “creamy” sauce in this recipe comes from soaked cashews, which take on the Italian seasonings for a much lighter take on traditional and familiar flavors.

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