By Freya Bellin
As we approach the end of winter, I must express gratitude for carrots, one of the few vegetables still in season this time of year. Perhaps it is their seemingly eternal availability that causes us to overlook them, or their presence in our elementary school lunchboxes, but carrots are truly the kind of vegetable that can be made special with a little help. The mix of garlic, ginger, and scallion in this recipe enlivens the sweetness of the roasted carrots. By pouring hot oil over the seasoning mix, you create a quick and simple sauce, melding together the flavors of each component and lightly cooking the scallions for a sweeter, milder onion taste. You might even have all or most of the ingredients needed on hand, especially carrots, which will stay fresh and crisp for a long time in the fridge. I found I needed less oil than called for, so go light on it and add more as needed. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.
Makes: About 6 servings
Time: About 45 minutes
Corn bread is indispensable, especially to a vegetarian diet, where its full flavor and slightly crunchy texture are welcome at any meal. And few dishes deliver so much for so little work. Recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
Makes: About 3 dozen cookies
Time: 40 minutes
Another not-too-sweet cookie (perfect for glazing), only this time a hint of saffron gives the cookies a gorgeous gold color, and their cakey texture will remind you of an elegant vanilla wafer. The olive oil is a fresh-tasting alternative to butter, even if you’re not looking to cut down on saturated fat. Recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
Makes: 12 medium or 8 large muffins
Time: About 40 minutes
The only real difference between muffins and other quick breads is the pan you bake them in. But those little muffin cups allow for a lot more potential variation, depending on what you do at the last minute before baking.
Anything goes when it comes to varying this master recipe. See the variations below for more ways to spike the recipe. Recipe from How to Cook Everything.
I’m giving away copies of the new How to Cook Everything iPad App, one every day until new year’s eve. Just sign up for the newsletter (look to your left) to enter the running. I’ll pick an email address at random and send you the App.
Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes: 3 to 4 dozen
Time: About 30 minutes
These should really be called chocolate chunk cookies because that’s what’s called for in this recipe. (The chocolate chips available in every grocery store are disappointing at best and barely chocolate at worst.) For the most delicious results, buy a bar of good-quality chocolate (any kind except unsweetened; semisweet is traditional), chop it up, and mix it into the dough.
The just-released How to Cook Everything iPad App is spectacular (and I can say that since I didn’t develop it!). It’s something neither I nor anyone else could have dreamed of when I was first working on the book in the mid-90s.
To celebrate the launch I’m officially kicking off “The 12 Days of How to Cook Everything,” a countdown of the 12 most-voted-for HTCE recipes (based on an ongoing voting feature embedded in the App), one-a-day until new year’s eve.
It’s fascinating to me to see the recipes that people search for and come back to again and again: If you have any all-time favorites, post them in the comments section below, or just vote for them on the App.
Jim Lahey’s No-Work Bread
Throwing a holiday party sometime soon? Forget store-bought crackers and try these.
How’s this for an easy Thanksgiving dessert? (Use apples or pears instead of berries.)
By Freya Bellin
This dish is wonderfully flavorful, blending sweet-tart apples, nutty brown rice, and spicy coconut curry. As promised, it really is hands-off, and the results are fantastic. By cooking the dry rice before adding liquid it becomes extra nutty, plus it gets well coated with the curry- and ginger-infused oil. The coconut milk is subtle but crucial to the creaminess of the dish, and the shredded coconut adds a nice toasty element throughout. Once mixed in, give the apples some time to soften up—they will cook significantly and taste best when warmed all the way through. You can certainly play around with variations on this recipe, maybe swapping out the apples for raisins or pineapple, or some combination. Try topping it with plain Greek yogurt for extra creaminess.
I did some improvising with the cooking technique in this recipe, and instead of using an oven-proof pan, I cooked everything in a large skillet up until it was ready for the oven. At that point, I transferred it to a small glass Pyrex dish and covered it with aluminum foil. The dish still came out great, so don’t be deterred if you don’t have the right cookware. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.