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: Beef Stir-Fry with Snap Peas and Steamed Rice
Game Plan: Prep all of the ingredients for the stir-fry, including marinating the beef in step 1. Start cooking the rice. Once the heat under the rice has been turned to low (step 3), cook the stir-fry.
For Stir-Fried Beef with Snap Peas and Red Peppers, we start with full-flavored flank steak and marinate the beef in soy sauce to ensure that each slice is well seasoned. To get the best browning, we cook the stir-fry in batches in a wok or large skillet. Aromatics such as ginger and garlic are added at the last minute to prevent them from scorching. Steamed White Rice is soft enough to soak up savory sauces, yet sticky enough to pick up with chopsticks. Rinsing the grains removes some of their surface starch and starting the rice in boiling water provides enough agitation to release the remaining starch, resulting in just the right amount of stickiness.
The Best WoksAfter years of preferring nonstick skillets to woks for making stir-fries, we decided to take a fresh look at this traditional pan.
Dinner 2: Yogurt and Meatball Soup with Shaved Celery Salad
Game Plan: Start by prepping and cooking the soup. Use any unattended cooking time to prep the ingredients for the salad. Toss the salad right before serving.
Madzoon ov Kofte is a hearty Armenian soup featuring small beef meatballs, bulgur, pasta, and chickpeas. The soup is finished with yogurt and an egg yolk for a rich, silky consistency. A garnish of cilantro and Aleppo pepper–infused melted butter gives the soup color and a hint of spice. Shaved Celery Salad with Pomegranate-Honey Vinaigrette is a fresh, light salad that employs both celery ribs and celery root. The combination of sweet-tart pomegranate seeds and rich, salty Pecorino Romano cheese boosts the flavors and textures of the celery parts.
The Best SaucepansThe saucepan is a kitchen essential, used to make everything from soup to custard. Which is best?
Dinner 3: Spanish Tortilla with Bibb and Arugula Salad
Game Plan: Prep the tortilla ingredients and start cooking the potatoes (step 1). As the potatoes cook, prep the salad ingredients and make the dressing. Once the fully cooked tortilla has cooled for 15 minutes, toss the salad and serve.
For a melt-in-your-mouth Spanish Tortilla with Roasted Red Peppers and Peas that isn’t too greasy, we reduce the oil to a mere 6 tablespoons (some recipes call for twice this amount). We also use moderately waxy Yukon Gold potatoes instead of starchy russets, which tend to fall apart in the pan. To flip the tortilla, slide it out of the pan and onto a plate, then place another plate on top of the tortilla before inverting it and sliding it back into the skillet to cook the second side. Our Bibb and Arugula Salad with Pear and Goat Cheese calls for a combination of peppery arugula and soft, buttery Bibb lettuce. Thin slices of subtly sweet pear incorporate easily with the greens. Pepitas add crunch, while soft, pungent goat cheese contributes richness. We use lemon juice as the base of the dressing because it pairs well with the sweetness of the fruit.
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