This braise of custardy tofu cloaked in a garlicky, spicy meat sauce is a signature Sichuan dish.
Our version of this iconic Sichuan comfort food is bold in flavor, with a balanced spiciness. We started with cubed soft tofu, poaching it gently in chicken broth to help the cubes stay intact in the braise. For the sauce base, we used plenty of ginger and garlic along with four Sichuan pantry powerhouses: Asian broad bean chili paste (doubanjiang), fermented black beans (douchi), Sichuan chili powder, and Sichuan peppercorns. A small amount of ground beef acted as a seasoning, not as a primary component of the dish. In place of the chili oil often called for, we used a generous amount of vegetable oil, extra Sichuan chili powder, and toasted sesame oil. We finished the dish with just the right amount of cornstarch to create a velvety thickness.
In this dish, peas and salmon go together like, well, two peas in a pod.
Mixing Dijon mustard and lemon zest into softened butter made a piquant compound butter. When dolloped over seared salmon, the butter softened and melted, coating the fish and dripping into the rice to add extra richness.
Why Professional Bakers Use Reverse Creaming
Ever wonder why different cake recipes call for different approaches to mixing the batter? We wanted to investigate how two of the most common mixing methods impact a cake’s rise and texture.
Beans and roasted vegetables make this grain bowl hearty enough for dinner.
We started with a hearty base of nutty bulgur and topped it with silky roasted vegetables and peppery arugula. Then we tied it all together with a spicy chile-flecked yogurt sauce.
This pork and potatoes dinner comes together in less than an hour.
Roasting unpeeled garlic cloves with potatoes and broccoli rendered them sweet and creamy. The roasted garlic added depth and body to a creamy mustard pan sauce.
Have 10 minutes? You can make the best brussels sprouts that you’ve ever tasted.
To create stovetop brussels sprouts that were deeply browned on the cut sides while still bright green on the uncut sides and crisp-tender within, we started the sprouts in a cold skillet with plenty of oil and cooked them covered. This gently heated the sprouts and created a steamy environment that cooked them through without adding any extra moisture. We then removed the lid and continued to cook the sprouts cut sides down so they had time to develop a substantial, caramelized crust. Using enough oil to completely coat the skillet ensured that all the sprouts made full contact with the fat to brown evenly from edge to edge.
Northern Italians put an unexpected spin on risotto for a satisfying one-pot meal.
Making this deeply flavored, hearty winter specialty is typically a lengthy process of combining a minestrone-like soup with risotto. We eliminated the need to make two separate dishes and simplified its preparation to make one hearty risotto. Sautéed pancetta and mirepoix made a strong flavor base to which we added tomato paste and garlic for more savory depth. In place of the hard-to-find traditional Italian salam d'la duja, we used mild Italian-style salami, sautéing it with the Arborio rice before adding red wine and broth. Using our streamlined risotto method, we incorporated most of the liquid in one addition, making the cooking mostly hands-off. Near the end of cooking, we added chopped cabbage and creamy canned pinto beans. We finished the dish with butter for even more richness and red wine vinegar to brighten the meaty flavors.
Split red lentils give this dal a mild, slightly nutty taste.
Dals are heavily spiced lentil stews common throughout India. Split red lentils give this dal a mild, slightly nutty taste, and as the stew slowly simmers, they break down to a smooth consistency. We wanted our red lentil dal to be simple yet still embody the complex flavors of Indian cuisine, so we started with the spices. We created a balanced blend of warm spices with just a subtle layer of heat. Blooming the spices in oil until they were fragrant boosted and deepened their flavors. Onion, garlic, and ginger rounded out the aromatics. Authentic dal should have a porridge-like consistency, bordering on a puree (without the need for a blender). Getting this consistency required cooking the lentils with just the right amount of water: We finally settled on 4 cups water to 1¼ cups lentils for a dal that was smooth but not thin. Before serving, we added cilantro for color and freshness and diced raw tomato for sweetness and acidity. A bit of coconut oil stirred in before serving added a rich finish.
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Bryan visits Boise’s famed Basque block to learn about the culture—and how to make some of the most popular Basque dishes.
This butternut squash chili features bold spices, garlic and ginger, and aromatic coconut milk.
Our chili gets its silky body from a combination of blended peanuts and squash, which we roasted with chopped onions until both the squash and the onions started to char around the edges, giving the soup an incredible backbone of flavor. We pureed a portion of the roasted vegetables with the dry-roasted peanuts for a rich, smooth base to our soup. We sautéed sweet bell pepper and spicy jalapeño and briefly bloomed the warm spices before adding in the liquid. A combination of diced tomatoes and coconut milk made a creamy but bright broth, and nutty quinoa added heartiness and a subtle pop of texture.
Simple broiled salmon glistens with a sweet pepper jelly glaze.
Dressing the kale in step 1 gave the hearty greens time to soften while we cooked the salmon.
Want sweet, velvety beets without the wait? Micro-steam them.
Beets are very dense, so roasting whole ones can take up to 2 hours (not including the time it takes for the oven to preheat and for the beets to cool before peeling). Instead, we peeled and cut the beets into small chunks and microwaved them in a covered bowl with a small amount of water. Peeling them before cooking cut out the wait time for them to cool. Cutting them into pieces exposed much more surface area so they cooked faster, and cooking them in the microwave (as opposed to on the stovetop) caused water molecules inside the beets to boil rapidly and intensely, so they cooked through in less than 30 minutes. Beets work well in any side dish, particularly in a salad with greens and nuts. Instead of tossing the components together, we used the yogurt as an anchor for the other ingredients by thinning it with lime juice and water, spreading it on a platter, and topping it with lightly dressed beets and greens as well as toasted pistachios for crunch.
Our method for frying onions delivers ultrasavory Mujaddara.
Mujaddara is a hearty one-dish vegetarian rice and lentil pilaf containing large brown or green lentils and crispy fried onion strings. For the pilaf, we found that precooking the lentils and soaking the rice in hot water before combining them ensured that both components cooked evenly. We pare down the typically fussy process of batch-frying onions in several cups of oil to a single batch of onions fried in just 1 1/2 cups of oil. The trick: removing a good bit of the onions’ water before frying by tossing them with salt, microwaving them for 5 minutes, and drying them thoroughly. In the end, you have a delicious mujaddara dish with the perfect blend of rice and lentils with crispy onions.
It takes more than just cider to get rich apple flavor into the pork.
To adapt this recipe for a slow cooker, we chose fatty pork butt as our cut. We had to make sure that the sauce, which often turns out watery and bland in the slow cooker, tasted concentrated and flavorful. Our solution for a rich and complex sauce was to cut back on some of the cider used for braising and to add apple butter, onion, garlic, and fresh thyme. Rather than searing the pork before braising it, we rubbed it with salt, pepper, and brown sugar so that it browned slowly during the long cooking time. When the pork was tender, we removed it from the slow cooker and let it rest on a carving board before slicing it. We stirred more apple butter and a splash of cider vinegar into the braising liquid to give the sauce extra apple flavor and brightness. Before serving the sliced pork, we poured some of the sauce over the top and sprinkled it with fresh chives for a nice visual contrast and a mild oniony pungency.
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Who says nachos can’t be dinner? These are loaded with seasoned ground beef and pickled jalapeños.
We made a simple microwave cheese sauce, so you don't even need to turn on your oven to make these easy nachos.
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