High on my running mental list of must-try restaurants sits A.O.C., Suzanne Goin's oft-praised wine and small-plates spot. Until I score a reservation, I'll sate my appetite for her elegant fare by cooking my way through The A.O.C. Cookbook, out today. Flipping through the glossy pages, it was hard to pick a place to start, but it's safe to say I chose wisely with her meat-heavy salad of speck — a smoky cured meat — apples, and arugula. Rather than a green salad garnished with speck, this appetizer is more speck garnished with arugula, straddling the line between salad and charcuterie plate (it is, in fact, from the charcuterie section of the book), making it a great option for satisfying your inner carnivore. Hungry? Try the recipe for yourself.
When my family friends came to visit and I began making brunch, they told me I had to try making "maple pecan bacon."
"Say what?" I asked. The ingredient list seemed pretty feasible, so instead of baking two sheet trays of plain-Jane bacon, I tried out their verbal recipe.
It's essentially equal parts brown sugar and crushed pecans sprinkled over maple smoked bacon and baked in the oven until the sugar caramelizes over the bacon, like candied bacon.
This stuff hits all the right notes: sweet, roasted, fatty, nutty. You'll wolf down three pieces or more in seconds, I assure you. Go ahead and plan to double the recipe. You won't be sorry.
Confession: I didn't eat salads until I was way into my teens. The reason? I never found them filling and was typically bored after a few bites. It wasn't until I tried a Cobb salad, filled with all sorts of hearty ingredients, that I changed my mind about leafy green meals.
The rainbow spread of toppings in a classic Cobb include bacon, tomato, egg, blue cheese, avocado, and shredded chicken, positioned neatly over a bed of romaine lettuce. While any dressing, from creamy blue cheese to balsamic vinaigrette, will complement the salad, my favorite way to eat it is with a tart red-wine vinaigrette, which helps cut through the rich flavors.
If you're not yet acquainted with larb, a Thai meat- and herb-based salad that simultaneously manages to hit salty, sour, spicy, sweet, and savory notes, then it's about time your paths crossed. If you're already a fan — as nearly anyone who's tried it is — you may notice that this version is a bit atypical, primarily in the method of meat prep. Most larb is based around ground meat, but my favorite Thai restaurant's must-order duck version features bite-size chunks of roast duck, burnished, luxuriously fatty skin and all, and since my first bite, I've become a steadfast convert.
This recipe reflects that, but with a slight nod to more user-friendly ingredients, swapping chicken thighs for the duck (feel free to sub duck if your market stocks it). Either way, it's a tantalizing dish that brings a taste of Thailand to your dinner table in a flash. Get the exceptional and exotic recipe.
Ever since I was first introduced to roasted bone marrow, it has been a must-order appetizer — if I see it on the menu, my mind is almost unimpeachably made up — but until I tried my hand at cooking the trendy dish, I had no idea how easy, enticing, and accessible bone marrow can be to make at home.
To say that making this recipe was a revelation is a major understatement. Truly, the most challenging (and not terribly difficult at that) step is procuring the bones. I found mine at the butcher counter at Whole Foods, though this required calling slightly ahead of time to make certain they had enough in stock, and to ensure that the bones were cut to my specifications. If this buttery appetizer is up your alley, try your local butcher. All it takes is a short phone call to see if they can wrangle up a few pounds of bones to brighten your meal (and day). Trust me: it's worth the extra step.
During Winter months, I feel particularly uninspired by salads. I need my starch — and my steak, too. That's what led me to create this Asian noodle salad with flank steak: it's hearty enough to keep you satisfied, even on the coldest of nights, but it's a nice departure from a warming but heavy meat-and-potatoes meal.
The star of the show is the flank steak, which can be substituted with ahi tuna or tofu if you want to avoid red meat. The key to making fantastic, umami-rich steak is to give it enough time to marinate: the beef soaks up the salty, gingery flavors, plus fibers in the meat make room for ginger, garlic, and coriander. Pair the beef with al dente rice noodles and fresh lettuce and herbs, and there's no chance of walking away from this salad hungry.
It is so ridiculously easy and delicious to braise a whole chicken that I do it almost every week, just to have on hand for last-minute meals. I've posted my recipe for chicken braised in coconut milk before, but not some of the other variations I play around with, so hopefully this post will round things out.
If you've made the coconut milk version, you know that a braised chicken achieves a silkiness in texture that a roasted chicken just doesn't achieve. It's almost obscene the way it falls apart into a pile of intensely-flavored goodness, ready to eat as is or perfectly happy to sit in the fridge for a few days getting better and better (that's why I make one so often).
The recipe — and her favorite variations on it! — when you keep reading.
I took this picture after...6 pm! That is so outstanding I can barely contain myself. It's been a long, dark winter in Minnesota and while it's still cold as hell, with a thick blanket of dirty snow covering everything (the color of despair as my Twitter friend @ChefSpencerGray called it, perfect), there is light. Lalalight!
If you've ever doubted the deliciousness of dark, leafy collard greens, OnSugar blogger Fresh Tart is here to reassure you with a new recipe. Try it, and you'll never feel the same way about collards ever again!
I've been meaning to post this recipe since the holidays, when I brought this dish to my aunt Mary & uncle Bruce's house for Christmas Day. Time flies . . .
Actually, time doesn't fly in Minnesota between December and March, so I'm not sure what my excuse is. But no matter, here it is.
Collard greens, for you (we) northerners, require longer cooking than say Swiss chard, spinach, or kale. But that's what makes collards amazing - a slow simmer allows them to bathe long enough in smoky, porky broth to emerge . . . smoky and porky. And meltingly tender.
Irresistible. Doubters, trust me.
Get the recipe when you keep on reading.
I posted this recipe a few weeks ago at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly magazine.
Here's a light, refreshing take on the familiar chicken skewer. While the chicken marinates in wine, heat the grill and chop the cucumber, olives, and herbs. Grill the skewers, grill some bread brushed with olive oil, serve with the rest of the bottle of wine you opened for the marinade.
That's pretty much it.
Use the same marinade for pork or fish — you'll find it's fantastic. Finely dice other combinations of vegetables (or fruits) and herbs. Keep it simple. Always finish with a drizzle of excellent olive oil.
This is how to eat in the summer. Agree?
For her recipe, keep reading.