Toasted almond broth and asparagus turn ravioli into a light springtime dish

Heidi Swanson knows the feeling. Her latest book, “Super Natural Simple,” comes “from a busy time in my life,” she writes. She and her husband, Wayne Bremser, moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles while she was working on the book, and they bounced from one Airbnb kitchen to another while looking for a home. Then the pandemic happened, and last fall her mother died and her father fell ill shortly thereafter. “I came to realize that this is actually the only time to write a book like this,” sh

These udon noodles in a simple soy broth are simply irresistible

A cook and food writer who ran a salad delivery business in Sydney before moving to the United States, McKinnon is the author of the best-selling cookbooks “Neighborhood” and “Family.” In “To Asia, With Love,” she wanted to more squarely address her experience as someone born in Australia to Chinese-immigrant parents. “The way I cook is, in many ways, third-culture cooking, a cross-pollination of ideas and techniques that are grounded in my Chinese heritage, yet greatly influenced by growing up

Kung pao tofu is a spicy, tingly celebration of Sichuan cooking

One of the many things I love about Shiue’s book: She demonstrates such deep respect for international traditions yet doesn’t shy away from applying her own touches. She has roots in several cultures — she grew up on Long Island with Taiwanese parents, studied in New England, lived in Singapore for a year in college, married a man from Trinidad, externed at a Moroccan restaurant, and has done fieldwork in China’s Sichuan province. And by including so many culinary influences in her book, she is,

Jacques Pépin’s vegetable soup recipe is satisfying, simple cooking at its best

Pépin, 86, can slice and dice with the best of them — I’ve seen him turn garlic and salt into a paste in mere seconds, using nothing more than a knife — but he also is refreshingly fond of shortcuts. He’s demonstrated countless timesaving techniques on his many public-television shows, including my favorite series, “Fast Food My Way,” and its follow-up. In his latest cookbook, “Jacques Pépin Quick & Simple,” an update of an earlier work, Pépin continues spreading the gospel of effective cooking

Charred butternut squash and a lemony garlic dressing remind us how good a kale salad can be

Ten years ago this spring, I had my first raw kale salad, or at least the first one that made me sit up and take notice. It was at Animal restaurant in Los Angeles, and I was ambivalent about eating there. After all, I was close to dropping the “almost” from my “almost vegetarian” identity and worried that my only options would come with bones attached. Instead, I managed to steer clear of the animal parts and was easily able to focus on some of the most vibrant vegetable dishes I had come across in a restaurant. At the top of the list was the salad, unassuming on arrival — a giant pile of shredded, dark, glossy greens in a shallow bowl — but transcendent on first bite. The kale was sliced so thin the pile was wonderfully fluffy, grounded by the crunch of breadcrumbs, and lemony, chile-spiked dressing punched through the slight bitterness of the greens. I couldn’t eat it quickly enough.

A vegan tortilla soup with mushrooms, black beans and all your favorite toppings

Eddie Garza says his tortilla soup is an easier version of the one his grandmother made when he was growing up in South Texas, with one significant swap: He uses mushrooms instead of chicken. But if you know (and therefore love) tortilla soup, you know that the chicken is really not the star, anyhow. The way I see it, there are two stars — the broth and the toppings you stir into it. The most important of the latter is the tortillas (so important the soup is named for them), which add body and heft the way, say, noodles or rice would. They go on crunchy, and that keeps them from losing their texture and falling apart when you stir them in.

Cabbage wedges go from side dish to dinnertime star with high heat and a hearty sauce

A blast of heat transforms cabbage. What was crisp and crunchy turns silky, what was grassy and fresh turns sweet and nutty. All this can happen with the fewest of other ingredients — just oil and salt, really — and you’re left with either a great side or something you can incorporate into so many other dishes. With further treatment, though, you can transform cabbage again. All it takes is a smart topping or sauce to promote it from bit player (albeit an interesting one) to dinnertime star.

Cheesy and curried, this cauliflower bake might just turn around the haters

Sometimes when someone tells you they hate a particular food that you love, do you ever think, “I bet I could change your mind”? Often, of course, their resistance goes way back to childhood, seeming immovable and maybe even illogical. But sometimes you can make sense of the issue with some gentle questioning and formulate a theory (if not an actual plan) for how it might be overcome. Many people I know who hate beets, for instance, once had them mushy out of the can but have been swayed by a proper roasting that leaves the root vegetable barely tender, potentially leading to, say, a beet and citrus salad dressed with a hazelnut vinaigrette.

Give leftovers a rest with this sticky hoisin broccoli and noodles for two

With all this cooking we’re doing day in and day out, leftovers can be such a blessing, especially once you join the Tamar Adler school of thought. If you haven’t read her book “An Everlasting Meal,” it gets its title from the idea that pretty much everything you make can lead into the next thing you make, deliciously blurring the lines. But every now and then there’s a break in the chain. You make so much of a stew that you can’t seem to transform, eat or freeze it fast enough to keep some of it from spoiling. Or you finally cry uncle when faced with yet another unlabeled jar containing two tablespoons of a vinaigrette you don’t even remember whisking together. This is especially a challenge for solo cooks, as I know from living (and writing about) the subject for so long. But I’ve been cooking for two for several years now, a

My new favorite take on tempeh: Pan-fried with snow peas, lemongrass and a sticky-sweet sauce

I’ve marinated it, fried and glazed it, baked it in a creamy mushroom sauce and even grated it for a vegan twist on Bolognese. But Lee’s take, a traditional dish she learned in central Java, was the first time I’ve paired it with one of Indonesia’s other great culinary gifts: kecap manis, a dark soy sauce that gives it a touch of sticky sweetness. Lee has ties to London, where she lives; Australia, where she grew up; and Indonesia, the land of her father. I’ve never been to the latter two place

Follow this formula to make a velvety soup in your Instant Pot using any vegetables you have on hand

Perhaps the biggest change has been at lunchtime. I rarely, if ever, cooked for desk lunches. When I was on top of my meal planning, I might earmark leftovers to take to work, but more often than not, the question I asked by about noon every weekday was: Where am I getting takeout? I wasn’t alone: More people purchased lunch out of the house than any other meal in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We won’t know how 2020 fared in this survey for another couple of years, but it s

This smoky white beans and Brussels sprouts dish is good with canned beans, but ethereal with dry

There’s no shame in opening a can of beans. That might be a surprising statement coming from someone who wrote an entire cookbook extolling the virtues of beans of all varieties, especially when cooked from dried, but the fact is, I put canned beans right up there with canned tomatoes as one of the world’s great convenience products. Few other vegetables packaged this way compare; the less we say about canned beets or mushrooms, the better.

Vegetarian wontons are a delight to eat in this light, fragrant soup

Wan, a third-generation Cantonese chef in Leicester, England, uses scallions and ginger — “two of the holy trinity of Cantonese cooking” (the third is garlic) — to make a simple broth rich and aromatic. The filling comes together from spinach, mushrooms, tofu, plus more scallions and ginger (along with white pepper), pulsed in a food processor. The only tricky part is the wonton forming, but all it took was a few watches of a quick how-to video starring my friend Andrea Nguyen, author of “Asian

All the Best Cookbooks to Gift in 2020

A new cookbook can be a wonderful, personal gift, which is why we love to give and receive them, especially during the holidays. We've cooked our way through many new cookbooks this year, and have recipes bookmarked in many more to try in 2021. If you're looking for a cookbook to gift this holiday season, these are just some of the titles Food Network staffers can't get enough of. Not only to do they cover a wide range of topics like bread-baking basics to comfort food upgrades, they’re also so full of new and delicious dishes that even the littlest of chefs will be excited to find one peeking out of their stocking.

Crisp on top and cheesy throughout, this butternut squash and apple gratin belongs on your fall table

Every fall, I sample as many apple varieties at the farmers market as I can manage. My goal: Find the most flavorful, naturally — but also the absolute firmest, too. Nothing makes me sadder than biting into a mushy apple, and therefore nothing makes me happier than finding one so firm I worry, if only for a second, that I might damage a tooth in the biting. (I never have, thankfully.)

10 Of The Best Cookbooks In 2020

2020 has been a banner year for home cooking. From the early pandemic days of stocking up on pantry staples (more dried beans, anyone?) to our collective obsession with sourdough starter and bread-making, finding comfort in our kitchens has been a reliable constant in an otherwise disorienting year. Fortunately for those of us spending more time making dinner than ever before, 2020 has also been a particularly exciting year for cookbook releases. From books that allow us to travel the world wit

I’ve Used This Cookbook More Than Any Other This Year

I need to get something off my chest: I used to be prejudiced against beans. In all honesty, for most of my life, I’ve associated them with something to be thrown into a burrito as extra filling, or refried as part of taco night, or, I have to confess, as the main subject of a schoolyard rhyme, and that was about it. But this year, beans became my favorite food. Maybe it was because in February, I stocked my pantry full of Rancho Gordo Heirloom varietals (the best beans out there). I still had
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