Making kebabs from ground beef presents an opportunity and a problem. They can be boldly flavored from within by mixing spices and herbs into the meat. But getting them to stay put on skewers is tricky.
Braised sausages and lentils are classic French comfort food, and by streamlining the recipe, we bring it out of the countryside and squarely into the weeknight rotation.
Many traditional recipes make a fuss out of an otherwise simple meal, often boiling the lentils and sausages separately, then assembling them together for a final bake.
In some areas of the country, especially the South, sweet potatoes make regular appearances at the end of the meal, yet for many of us elsewhere, it’s a surprise to encounter them in dessert form.
As the first European gateway to China, Macau became the center of Portugal’s massive maritime empire in the East. You can still taste the resulting mix of flavors.
Egg-custard tarts, salt cod with garlic, and baked duck rice often are on the menu, though so are galinha à Africana (African chicken), Chinese steamed pork buns and Indian coconut curry.
Building a good grain-based veggie burger is a challenge, not only for flavor, but also because they tend to fall apart.
So instead we tried a seed — quinoa, to be specific — and were delighted with the results.
In her cookbook “My Two Souths,” chef Asha Gomez added an intriguing twist to the classic chocolate cookie — Nutella. It was an innovative way to introduce nutty flavor to an otherwise straightforward chocolate cookie dough.
Slathering sauces or seasonings over a chicken before roasting may produce a beautiful bird, but it can deliver lackluster flavor. That’s why we prefer to season a chicken under the skin.
Sliding spices and aromatic seasonings under the skin boosts flavor by putting the ingredients in direct contact with the meat.
One of the iconic dishes of West Africa, jollof rice is vibrantly colored and heavily spiced. And it reflects how cultures across continents blend with delicious results.
It began in the ancient Wolof Empire, the first society in Africa to establish trade with European powers in the 1400s.
Outside the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, a woman in a headscarf slaps a ball of dough between her formidable hands and stretches it over the dome of a large saç griddle.
She sprinkles half of the paper-thin dough with chewy white cheese, a tangle of bitter greens and a crumble of spiced beef.
Japanese udon noodles are all about the chew, but it’s hard to replicate the texture with what’s available in American markets.
Fresh udon is hard to come by. So for this recipe from our book “Milk Street Tuesday Nights,” which limits recipes to 45 minutes or less, we needed a solution for more widely available dry udon.
Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, begins on Sunday evening (Sept. 25), and the people in my house would get pretty ornery if I skipped the holiday's traditional brisket or kugel.
Even when they are tasty, creamy pasta sauces can be unappealingly heavy. A few bites and you’re done.
Luckily, a lighter solution lies in peak season for sweet corn, whose high starch content can create a creamy sauce without having to resort to using cream.
Tuscany’s solution for stale bread, panzanella, is just the start of salad solutions for stale bread. Throughout the Middle East — where fresh, thin flatbreads dry out even faster than foccacia — there’s a greener, crunchier cousin of panzanella: fattoush.
One of our secret ingredients to build flavor fast is miso. As an umami base, it helps balance and unify sweet and sour notes in everything from chicken to pasta, even cookies.
It goes particularly well in a sweet-savory marinade for grilled skirt steak, amplifying the meat’s beefiness and balancing the sugars in Asian chili-garlic sauce.
Sometimes the best way to change the way you cook is to not cook at all.
For some weeknight meals, we grab a cooked rotisserie chicken from the supermarket, which allows us to focus on loading up the shredded meat with flavor.
It’s time to stop thinking about the difference between sweet and savory spices. Many cooks around the world don’t make such a distinction.
In Greece and Turkey, for example, tomato sauce comes spiked with cinnamon, and in Mexico, fruit salad is sprinkled with cayenne pepper.
For weeknight cooking, we love seared fish since it usually cooks in half the time as chicken or other proteins. But it’s a fine line between cooked and completely dried out.
So for this recipe from our book “Milk Street Tuesday Nights,” which limits recipes to 45 minutes or less, we made three choices to ensure succulent seafood every time.
Weeknight ease married to plump texture and briny sweetness. It’s why shrimp is one of our staple go-to dinner solutions. Simply stir-fry a few aromatics and spices until fragrant, toss in the shrimp, and dinner is on the table in 20 minutes.
The star of maque choux, one of the classic dishes of Louisiana’s Cajun country, is fresh summer corn. Naturally sweet kernels are in delicious balance with a savory mix of vegetables and crawfish. But it can veer to the heavy side, thanks largely to the addition of cream.
Each November in Sardinia, purple crocus blossoms blanket the rolling fields. It’s a striking sight against a lush green backdrop. Those same flowers also provide what locals call “red gold,” or saffron.
For a sophisticated summertime dessert, it’s not always necessary to reinvent the wheel. A classic ice cream sundae will hit the spot with the right toppings.
It’s partly what we had in mind when developing this recipe for a sesame oat crumble in our book “Milk Street Tuesday Nights,” which limits recipes to 45 minutes or less.
One of the best ways to build flavor is layering, or using one ingredient in two ways or at different stages of cooking. Using the zest of a lemon in cake batter, for instance, while using the juice in a citrusy glaze.
A summery fruit salad and spicy pork tenderloin might not seem the most natural pairing — until you consider the precedents of pork chops with apple sauce and Italian prosciutto with melon.
Truth is, cooks have been pairing sweet fruits and savory meats for centuries.
For this year’s Fourth of July cookout, update long-held traditions with globally inspired flavors — starting with the burger.
This recipe from our book “COOKish,” which limits recipes to just six ingredients without sacrificing flavor, is loosely based on a Filipino “chori” burger.
For a fast and easy warm-weather salad on the Fourth of July, it doesn't get better than Watermelon Feta.
According to Google Trends, searches for watermelon and feta cheese salads have spiked every July for more than a decade.
Dan Rinaldi, a firefighter in Providence, Rhode Island, leaned on his state's fresh seafood for this dish. He says battered squid tossed with hot cherry peppers is a great representation of where he lives and of his Italian roots.
Thin cuts of steak such as flat iron and hanger are great for weeknight meals because they’re full of flavor and cook up fast. But a flavorful spice rub and quick marinade easily elevate the meat to a meal worthy of a special occasion.
Spiralizing zucchini into “noodles” often translates into a wan and watery dish, a poor imitation of the pasta it attempts to emulate. Generally, it’s better to let an ingredient shine on its own merits.
Street vendors cross East Asia scrunch small pieces of meat onto skewers and baste them over hot coals with a sweet and savory sauce. Amid the sizzle and aromatic puffs of smoke, the sauce thickens to a luscious glaze, and — importantly — the meat cooks up fast.
Western cooks too often go too light on fresh herbs, treating them more as garnish than flavoring. We prefer the Thai approach, which uses ingredients such as basil, mint and cilantro by the fistful.
Tomatoes may get more attention, but throughout Italy, lemon also often finds its way into pasta.
Along the Amalfi coast, ring-shaped calamarata pasta is paired with clams, parsley, garlic and fried strips of a sweet local lemon.
Peru’s lomo saltado is fusion cooking at its easiest and most approachable, a quick stir-fry of soy-marinated beef, tomatoes and hot peppers that reflects the country’s cultural — and culinary —influences, from Incan farmers to Chinese immigrants.
There are two camps of Mother’s Day celebrators: those who like nothing more than a lavish brunch/lunch/dinner at a restaurant, and those who hope for a homey celebration enjoyed while wearing a pair of fuzzy slippers.
Surprise Mom — if you can — with this elegant but kid-friendly dessert for Mother’s Day.
This treat, from our book “COOKish,” which limits recipes to just six ingredients without sacrificing flavor, takes just 20 minutes and can be tucked into the back of the freezer up to a week in advance.
In the riot of colors and smells that is Cape Town, South Africa, we found a vibrant one-pot chicken and vegetable dish that turned our idea of what a curry is on its head. From a distance, this Cape Malay curry reads Indian, or maybe Indonesian, but get closer and it distinguishes itself as uniquely South African.
J. Kenji López-Alt has written a new cookbook with handy tips, fascinating asides and some 200 dishes all related to the wok. One recipe in “The Wok” is for a version of mapo tofu that is similar to what he ate growing up, though instead of plain ground beef his mom would use the dish as an opportunity to use up leftover dumpling filling.
Classic risotto is made with starchy medium-grain Italian rice, such as Arborio or carnaroli. It is toasted then cooked, sometimes slowly, over low heat as broth is ladled into the pan in stages. While the liquid absorbs, the cook stirs, stirs and keeps stirring.
There are lots of classic dishes for Easter dinner: rack or leg of lamb, baked ham, Easter Bread, asparagus sides. But no one wants to miss dessert on a holiday, so make it a good one!
Carrots often make an appearance at Easter in some guise, often as a side dish.
Think of the classic French sauce gribiche as a dolled-up egg salad. But instead of adding mayonnaise to hard-cooked eggs, the eggs are mashed with bold ingredients like capers, mustard and herbs to a creamy consistency.
An unusual jar of honey and a ripping hot sheet pan were the keys to remaking what too often can be a forgettable side dish — roasted carrots.
First, the honey. We’ve seen our fair share of infused varieties, everything from ginger and saffron to lavender and matcha green tea.
Evidence of French colonial rule is dotted throughout Vietnam, particularly in the cuisine. Coffee, butter, roasting and beef are all French legacies, even if the coffee comes loaded with sweetened condensed milk and the beef is stir-fried with soy and fish sauces.
The secret to a great fried rice is all in the leftovers.
Freshly cooked rice often results in a soggy, gluey dish because it continues to cook as ingredients are added to the pan. But chilling previously cooked rice changes its starches, yielding light, separate grains.
Kale salads may be all the rage, but served raw, the sturdy green can be off-puttingly tough. So we looked at its cousin, cabbage, for clues on how to tame the texture without cooking it.
Kimchi and sauerkraut recipes use a salt massage to soften leaves, and we were pleased to find the same technique does wonders for the texture of kale.
Travel to the far north of Italy and the terrain gets rougher, the weather colder, and the pastas more rustic. For centuries, buckwheat was one of the few grains hardy enough to survive in Valtellina, a small valley in the shadow of the Alps, and it shows in the food.
In Tunisia, partiers and laborers line up during the pre-dawn hours for the same thing — steaming bowls of lablabi, a hearty soup of chickpeas and stale baguette that tastes so much better than it sounds.
It’s been a bit since the traybake crossed the Atlantic from Britain, where a host of cooking personalities popularized a technique that combines big flavor and weeknight convenience onto one pan.
But for the uninitiated, meat and vegetables are placed on a baking sheet along with some seasonings, then go into the oven together.
An excerpt and recipe from “The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook” by Lisa Steele (Harper Horizon, 2022):
Chocolates may be the easy route for a last-minute Valentine’s Day, but there’s still time to pull off a quick homemade chocolate dessert. It’s pudding, but with a sophisticated twist from the Middle East.
Tamarind remains a bit of a mystery to most cooks in the United States, but its sweet and sour pulp is appreciated by cooks from its native range in tropical Africa to India, Mexico and beyond. The pods resemble a long, bulbous peanut, but the flavor evokes some combination of lemons, dates and apricots — which makes it a powerhouse ingredient packed with flavor.