by Robin Robertson
The spring rolls in this recipe are really just a fresh, healthy conduit for the spicy peanut sauce, which is seriously addictive. Making spring rolls may seem tricky, but it’s actually quite simple – just be careful not to overstuff the rice wrappers. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can make your own peanut butter, but it’s fine to use a store-bought version as long as it’s unsweetened. The spicy peanut sauce would also be delicious with beef, chicken or vegetable satay, or with noodles and vegetables for an easy lunch.
Whether you start celebrating Carnival season when it begins around Epiphany, on January 6th, or only partake in the last hurrah of Mardi Gras on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, there’s no doubt that shellfish gumbo, dirty rice, and oysters are certainly worth a party. Here’s a menu for Creole and Cajun classics interspersed with more laid-back interpretations that are feasible for any home kitchen. These dishes are meant for sharing, from the celebratory event of a crawfish boil to never-ending pots of jumbo and jambalaya simmering on the stove for all who may stop by.
Sure, you can enjoy the parades, masks, dancing, and music – but like most holidays, deep down, this one is largely about the food.
by Sharon Kramis and Julie Kramis Hearne
Hush puppies are key in a NOLA-inspired menu, and they’re fantastic party food to boot. Including crab or shrimp, as well as plenty of spice, ensures that they’ll fit perfectly into a Mardi Gras meal. This version uses a cast iron ebelskiver pan to make nicely rounded fritters that are browned on all sides without deep-frying. The Green Goddess dipping sauce served alongside the hush puppies is full of fresh herbs, with some savory kicks from anchovy paste and Dijon mustard.
When I cook, I find that seasonality affects my food in more ways than simply reflecting which produce turns up at the market each month. In the springtime I tend to explore new cuisines and ingredients, eager for a fresh start. Fall is about baking: cookies, quickbreads, and sweets. In the summer, I can’t bear to be in the kitchen for longer than it takes to whip up a salad or pasta and a piece of fish. And in the winter, of course, it’s all about the basics. Comforting classics that you start daydreaming about by lunchtime, that provide a respite from the weather outside. The queen of these is roast chicken.
I’m confident you have a roast chicken recipe that you like, one that results in crispy skin and a moist interior to serve alongside a baked potato. Maybe you drizzle a little olive oil on top, or maybe you’re a proponent of sliding pats of butter underneath the skin. Whatever your preferences, I’m sure you’re doing fine.
That said, there may be some room to branch out a little. Here are ten roast chicken recipes that go above and beyond the usual routine, with surprising seasonings and new techniques that brighten up these cold days.
by Molly and Richard Krause
Za’atar is the Middle Eastern condiment created by combining fresh thyme leaves, sesame seeds, and ground sumac. The thyme is vibrant and fresh and the sumac is a bit fruity, while the sesame seeds add nutty crunch. You can sprinkle za’atar on hummus, serve it with bread and olive oil, or blend it with yogurt, but here it serves as seasoning for an easy roasted chicken. I’d eat this with a shepherd’s salad, hummus and bread, and a rice or bulgur pilaf.
Valentine’s Day can be a real bummer for food lovers: overpriced prix fixe menus and crowded restaurants, boxes of mediocre chocolate, and those chalky (although mysteriously addictive) candy hearts spring to mind. One way to get around that is to make breakfast the starring meal. Whether you have time for a bit of a leisurely breakfast in bed on the holiday itself, or you want to be ready to have that gift of IOU coupons cashed in, here are ten recipes for breakfasts that you’ll fall in love with.
Some of these recipes take two hours and others twenty minutes. Some are spicy and savory and others do a great job re-imagining breakfast as dessert. You’ll find something here to start the day right. No heart-shaped egg molds necessary.
by Jamie Oliver
The trick to really stellar banana pancakes lies in the way bananas caramelize perfectly in butter and sugar. The little brown crispy bits are the best part. Jamie achieves a transcendent level of fluffiness in these airy pancakes by separating the eggs and whisking the whites. Serving these with créme fraîche rather than whipped cream adds a little sophistication and luscious tang. Served on a tray with some good coffee, these promise a spectacular start to the day.
Here at Cookstr, we spend a fair amount of time thinking and talking about our food values. They aren’t quite the same as some other sites: we don’t have strictly paleo-friendly recipes, and we don’t insist that every dip you make start with dried beans instead of canned. Not every recipe on Cookstr is necessarily healthy! We believe that cooking is always better than not cooking, and that anything you make for yourself in your own kitchen will taste better and be better for you than what you’d get in the processed food aisles at the supermarket or at your local takeout joint. Even wings and french fries.
We also believe strongly in meeting people where they are. You might be the kind of home cook who’s already hard at work on the blueprints for your snackadium, or you might be planning to peel the plastic off a tub of ready-made seven layer dip. Either way, we figure there’s no harm in starting with fresh, whole foods for our Super Bowl menu, whether the outcome is kidney bean-quinoa vegan chili or homemade fried chicken.
So our superfood approach to this menu is a tongue-in-cheek way of working whole ingredients like beans, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and walnuts (“superfoods”, or, as we like to call them, “foods”) into just about any occasion.
|Cajun-Spiced Potato Wedges|
by Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner
Oven fries are a fantastic example of a dish that’s just better when you make it yourself. Turning the potatoes as they cook, carefully detaching their crisp edges from the bottom of the roasting pan – while cooking them, you earn the pleasure of popping the first perfectly golden wedge in your mouth when it’s still too hot. In this recipe, lemon juice, olive oil, and plenty of spices you’ll probably have in your cupboard make a Cajun-inspired sauce for the potato wedges and red onions.
by Anupy SIngla
This recipe works well whether you prepare it in a slow cooker in four hours, or on the stovetop in about twenty minutes. Indian spices pair with basic white cabbage and a handful of peas you’re likely to have in the freezer, creating a dish that you can use as a filling for pita, naan, or tortillas, topped with a bit of yogurt. Or you can serve the cabbage over brown basmati rice, for a healthy take on comfort food that brightens up the coldest days. Much better than eating tasteless asparagus or wimpy zucchini this time of year.
|Steamers with Beer|
by Becky Selengut
“Back in the day, my family would get wild clams from Asbury Park on the Jersey shore. We preferred littlenecks or cherrystones and believed the smallest clams were the most desirable (which gave us something to flight over). Here on the Pacific Coast, it’s manila and native littleneck country. If you have someone in your family who is a bivalve-a-phobe, this is the perfect gateway recipe. We used St. Pauli Girl, but any light beer will do.
…Serve the clams with bowls of melted butter, cocktail sauce, lemon wedges, and tiny cocktail forks. You can also dip the clams into the steaming brew. If you’re really fond of salt, beer, and clams, you’ll want to do what my grandfather did: use the spigot on the bottom of the steamer pot and pour yourself a mug of the infused brew. “Papa” wasn’t a drinking man, but he sure liked his salty clam brew.” - Becky Selengut