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The Cookstr Weekly: Spring Fever – Spicy Dishes that Turn up the Heat

April 22, 2015

Whether your method of choice is Sriracha, whole chiles, Tabasco, or just a little shake of dried red pepper, a hint of spice can add a lot to a dish. When paired with sweet, fresh, acidic, or umami flavors, spice keeps the balance in check.

There’s no need to be a hero – spice should be enjoyable, not a challenge. The recipes below vary widely in amounts and types of spice, so spice aficionados as well as the less enthusiastic can dig in.


Warmest regards, 

Kara Rota

Editorial Director
by Moosewood Collective

“Although at Moosewood we almost exclusively bake the fish we serve, in this recipe, we pan-fry it for a nice, crispy crust and because it’s quick and easy. It’s also good plain or with good old ketchup or tartar sauce.”

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The Cookstr Weekly: Meatless Meals for Warmer Weather

April 7, 2015

As springtime unfolds, I’m getting excited for some of my favorite produce, like asparagus, artichokes, scallions, and peas. They can form the basis for the lighter fare we crave in warmer weather, when even dedicated omnivores may forego meat for a dinner or two each week.

These meatless dishes don’t need to be relegated to side status. They’re hearty and satisfying enough to serve as the main event.


Warmest regards,

Kara Rota

Editorial Director

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The Cookstr Weekly: Egg Hunt

April 7, 2015

I have fond memories of Easter egg dyeing, followed by less fond memories of days of leftover hardboiled eggs in purple, pink, and green shells, showing up relentlessly in my lunchbox until the stock was finally depleted. So while I still associate those candy colors with early spring, I’d rather celebrate the iconic ingredient in a variety of dishes perfect for the season. 

Try those Easter eggs in dishes like pizza and salads, from breakfast to dinner, and in meals with global influences and flavors.


Warmest regards,

Kara Rota

Editorial Director
by Lauren Groveman
 
This dish is unusually quick and easy, especially considering how elegant and absolutely wonderful it is. Since the mushrooms are seasoned in advance, all you need to do is heat a dry pan and sear away. Usually, I don’t cook mushrooms in a nonstick skillet, since that can keep them from caramelizing. I do here, however, since the mushroom liquid that’s released is used to flavor the scrambled eggs.
– Lauren Groveman

The Cookstr Weekly: Mediterranean Meals for Spring

April 7, 2015
 

The Mediterranean diet gets well-earned recognition for its health benefits, but we like the focus on legumes, vegetables, olive oil, and fish because they’re some of our favorite ingredients – and just plain tasty. Drawing inspiration from the food of Southern Italy, Greece, and Spain, among others, these Mediterranean dishes are perfect for ushering in Spring.

 

Warmest regards,

 

Kara Rota

Editorial Director

The Cookstr Weekly: Ten St. Patrick’s Day Dishes

March 17, 2015

St. Patrick’s Day coincides with the just-before-Spring rush of suddenly warmer weather, hinting that winter might eventually come to an end. And its color palette of rich, bright greens reflects a multitude of spring produce to look forward to.

 

For now, though, we’ll stick with the Irish classics like stews and braises, which make for perfect meals during this in-between season.


Warmest regards,

 

Kara Rota

Editorial Director
by Greg Atkinson
Looking for a festive St. Patty’s dish that’s as green as the Chicago River, without all the artificial coloring? This soup does the trick, with a double hit of peas and mint.

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The Cookstr Weekly: Retro-Inspired Meals for #ThrowbackThursday

March 12, 2015

Maybe it’s trudging through these last weeks of winter. Maybe it’s looking forward to the return of Mad Men. Either way, I’m thinking about classic, simple recipes, the kind you look forward to at the end of a long day. Foods like potpie and pot roast and roast chicken.

So this week, we’ve put together a combination of those classic recipes, by authors like Julia Child and James Beard, along with newer takes inspired by favorite dishes from decades past.


Warmest regards,

 

Kara Rota

Editorial Director
by Diane Morgan
 
Cheese balls were all the rage in the 1970s, an easy, tasty, fab party food for any occasion. What’s old is now retro-chic- this lightened-up cheese ball seduces with the sweetness of dates, the savory bite of blue cheese, a hint of shallot, and a teasing whiff of lemon zest.” – Diane Morgan

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The Cookstr Weekly: Pasta Night Gets a Makeover

March 5, 2015

I’ll be honest: I make pasta for dinner often. Quite often. Rigatoni, ravioli, lasagna, penne, or angel hair; whole wheat or traditional semolina; dressed up with fancy toppings or simply with garlic, olive oil and a handful of spinach. I have no intention of changing that. Pasta is the ultimate pantry meal, it’s quick to throw together, and it makes for great lunch leftovers.

But pasta need never be a box of spaghetti with a jar of ready-made sauce. It’s the perfect vehicle for veggies that are just a little too wilted and tired for salad, or some leftover protein, or a tin of anchovies. Start with the recipes below for pasta dishes that liven up a weeknight.


Warmest regards,

Kara Rota

Editorial Director
 
by Glenn Rolnick
 
“Orecchiette translates to “little ears,” describing the shape of this distinctive pasta. That shape is important because it is ideal for trapping flavorful juices and bits of spices and herbs, making every bite a tiny celebration. The pasta itself moderates the pleasant bitterness of the broccoli rabe, allowing for the full-bodied flavor of the greens to shine through. The broccoli rabe, for its part, contrasts the sweet spiciness of the sausage, a meaty richness that makes this dish incredibly satisfying and helps bring it alive on the tongue. You can experiment with your own favorite type of sausage. In either case, the sauce is a wonderfully light vehicle for the cacophony of savory flavors.” 
– Glenn Rolnick

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