Nyesha is an expert at fusing food and place and then building narratives around that fusion. Most of her stories are about Los Angeles, which meant that I tried to pick an LA story also. That sparked a memory of the first time I visited California, back in the mid-eighties, and specifically a memory of Toddy Tee’s “Batterram,” an early hip-hop song about the LAPD’s use of a modified Army tank to break down doors in search of crack dealers. That’s a completely different kind of cooking, but that’s not why I picked it. To me, it was one of the first true signs that there was distinct a West Coast culture that wasn’t making its way back east unless people brought it.
Seriously, this dish is winey and buttery and comforting and faintly reminds me of chicken marsala, and who doesn’t love chicken marsala? You can use whatever mushrooms you like; I like a mix of button (my go-to cheap, delicious utility mushroom), shiitake (not my all-time favorite mushroom, texture-wise, but definitely the most flavorful), and maitake (aka hen of the woods, for even more texture), but honestly any other varieties would be great! And you could use a wine other than Riesling, but I love the complexity and almost floral sweetness it brings, which balances nicely with the warm spices in the dish. Yes, I know, it is entirely uncool to like white wine that isn’t super dry, but I’m not sure why, and we don’t have to live our lives the way other people want us to just to be polite.
If you can’t find vegan puff pastry to use as a lid for this pot pie, use a piecrust mix to make pie dough instead. Feel free to play around with the filling and omit the seitan if you want—but whatever you use should add up to a similar amount. Try using a mixture of mushrooms and cooked root vegetables in winter, or in summer, add uncooked peas, asparagus, or broccoli to the sauce before the lid is added.
Sweet roasted pumpkin, filled with nutty, fragrant rice and sharp barberries. Serve it as a main course with a green salad.
I’m a little obsessed with bean gratins. These cozy make-ahead suppers (or side dishes) are satisfying and economical, and they can take as little as twenty minutes to get into the oven. This Mediterranean-inspired version relies on a handful of ordinary ingredients—cooked beans (from scratch or a can), sautéed onions, sausage, canned tomatoes, and parsley—but somehow it all bakes up into one of those dishes that I can’t get enough of. It seems to get better with every bite, especially if that bite includes some of the crunchy bread crumb and cheese topping.
Miso is great with chicken and the flavours of the apricots take on a syrupy jamminess, mingling with the cider to create a sticky-sweet sensation. It is something a little different but, trust me, it is incredibly flavourful.
There are as many lasagna recipes as there are cooks in Italy, yet, with so much variation, there is one regional tradition that stands out among all the others: Bologna’s lasagna. It is the lasagna that all others aspire (and fail) to be. This particular incarnation of Italy’s famous recipe features sheets of spinach pasta layered with meat ragù and béchamel.
One of my all-time favorites, this sheet-pan supper has it all—spicy harissa-laced roasted chicken; sweet, browned leeks; crunchy potatoes; plus a cool garnish of salted yogurt and plenty of fresh bright herbs. It’s a little lighter than your average roasted chicken and potatoes dinner, and a lot more profoundly flavored.
Wander through the medina of Tripoli and you will soon smell the sizzle of beef kebabs wafting through the air as little hole-in-the-wall stalls grill up a storm throughout the day. To get the meat super succulent you need to have a high fat content—I suggest at least 20 percent fat. These kebabs are simple to make and cook fast on a barbecue. Rather than serve them in a wrap, I like to make these a little different, plating them up on a slick of hummus—either buy your favorite or make a batch—and then top the meat with a really zesty mix of red onion, sumac, and parsley.
This might be the ultimate lazy recipe. Short ribs, generally reserved for braising, are seared (because their perfect thickness and ridiculous marbling of fat just might make them the best cheap steak you can buy), and kimchi, which is fermented for basically forever, is made in 5 minutes (okay, so it’s more slaw than kimchi—that lactic acid tang just can’t be replicated, no matter how much salt and vinegar you use). The results are not the same, but that’s more than okay, because the results are still great.