Every week, Executive Food Editor Keith Dresser pairs each main dish with a side to give you a complete, satisfying dinner without the guesswork. Look for the game plan section to learn tips on how to streamline your kitchen work so dinner comes together quicker.
Dinner 1: Crepes with Ham and Egg with Green Beans
Buckwheat Crepes with Ham, Egg, and Cheese, or Galettes Complètes, is a classic Breton dish that pairs buckwheat crepes with salty ham, nutty Gruyère cheese, and a runny egg. We assemble four filled crepes on a rimmed baking sheet and bake them in a hot oven, streamlining the usual approach of cooking them individually on the stovetop. For Green Beans with Sautéed Shallots and Vermouth, we first blanch the beans until they are tender-crisp. Then, to flavor the beans, we sauté thinly sliced shallots in butter until golden brown and finish with a splash of herbal vermouth.
Measuring SpoonsEight sets, 41 spoons, many runs in the dishwasher, and umpteen jars of herbs: We took the measure of measuring spoons, demanding accuracy, comfort, and sturdiness.
Dinner 2: Thai Hot and Sour Soup with Napa Cabbage Slaw
Guay Tiew Tom Yum Goong (Thai Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp and Noodles) contains generous amounts of shrimp and rice noodles—along with oyster mushrooms and cherry tomatoes—in a highly aromatic broth bursting with hot, sour, salty, and sweet flavors. We create vibrancy by smashing galangal, scallions, lemongrass, makrut lime leaves, and Thai chiles to release their flavorful oils and then simmering them in store-bought chicken broth. Napa Cabbage Slaw with Snow Peas and Mint offers a more tender, delicate texture and a sweeter flavor than traditional green cabbage slaw. To avoid a bland, watered-down slaw, we make a potent dressing with a high ratio of vinegar to oil. After tossing the cabbage with the dressing and letting it sit for about 5 minutes, moisture from the cabbage dilutes the dressing slightly, so the slaw reaches the perfect level of bright acidity.
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Dinner 3: Shrimp and White Bean Stew with Green Leaf and Radicchio Salad
To give our Garlicky Shrimp, Tomato, and White Bean Stew a full seafood flavor, we make a quick concentrated stock with the shrimp shells and use it to simmer the beans. To season the shrimp and keep them plump and juicy, we brine them briefly, add them late in the cooking process, and then reduce the heat so they gently simmer. Plenty of basil provides herbal freshness; lemon juice and zest contribute acidity and aroma. Our Green Leaf and Radicchio Salad uses a combination of soft, mineral-y green leaf lettuce and bitter, crunchy radicchio. Sweet, peppery grapefruit and grassy fennel both counteract the bitterness of the radicchio and add brightness. Parmesan cheese contributes richness that helps round out the flavors.
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