Vegan Pad Thai

This is a nice, simple make-at-home dish that will satisfy your Thai take-out fix without the need for too many specialty ingredients. Did I mention it’s vegan? But it doesn’t have to be. See tips below for some easy ways to beef it up (ha!).

The star of the show in this Food & Wine recipe (in my humble opinion) are the noodles. They are nice and chewy and the perfect vehicle for the yummy Sriracha sauce, which has a nice spice, alongside the salty umami of soy sauce and sour-sweet of the tamarind paste. You get great, fresh flavor and crunch from the carrots (make sure you don’t overcook!), scallions and bean sprouts. And the peanuts are the perfect, nutty finish. I went back for seconds on this one!

TW’s Tips

  • To non-vegan-fy this recipe, add stir-fried pieces of chicken, shrimp or beef or a chopped up fried egg
  • Other easy additions: tofu, stir-fried cabbage,
  • I wanted a bit more sauce than the recipe made — I recommend doubling the recipe
  • Garnish with lime wedges and squeeze over right before serving
  • Adjust the heat at the table with more Sriracha or sambal/chile paste

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound dried pad Thai rice noodles (banh pho)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind paste (available from Indian, Asian and Latin markets)
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha or chile-garlic sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups julienned carrots (from about 3/4 pound carrots)
  • 4 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup ground roasted peanuts

Directions

Put the noodles in a large bowl and cover with very hot water. Let soak until just pliable, about 15 minutes (or according to package directions). Drain the noodles in a colander, shaking off any excess water.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce with the brown sugar, tamarind paste and Sriracha.

In a large nonstick wok or skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the garlic, shallots and carrots and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the noodles and scallions and stir-fry until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Add the sauce and stir-fry until the noodles are evenly coated and the sauce has thickened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the pad Thai to a platter. Garnish with the peanuts and bean sprouts and serve.

Sri Lankan Dal With Coconut and Lime Kale

On a cold night, this dal is just what you’ll need to warm up. Not only is it warm and delicious, it is FULL of great flavor. The lentils get spice from serrano chiles (I amped it up a little with more than the recipe called for) and ginger, alongside the traditional coconut, garlic, cinnamon and cardamom flavors that you’ll find in dal.

My favorite part of this dish is the super flavor-packed kale that you heap on top. It is sauteed with mustard seeds and mixed with some of the onion/garlic/serrano mixture that forms the base of the dal, and hit with lime at the end. It gives just the right hit of acid and freshness from the greens, to offset the comforting lentils.

TW’s Tips

  • If you don’t have cardamom pods, replace with a teaspoon or so of ground cardamom.
  • It’s worth it to use coconut oil instead of olive or vegetable when sautéing for this recipe. It adds a much different undercurrent of flavor that you shouldn’t miss out on!
  • Make sure you taste and salt the dal well to really bring out the flavor.
  • If you like spice, add an extra chile!

Enjoy!

Sri Lankan Dal With Coconut and Lime Kale

Ingredients

  • 1 pound red lentils
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 small white onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¾ inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 green finger chiles or Serrano chiles, stemmed and finely sliced
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 large bunch kale (about 9 ounces)
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 7 ounces (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) canned coconut milk
  • Yogurt, for serving
  • Rice, for serving

Directions

Wash the lentils in a strainer in cold water until the water runs clear, then place in a medium bowl, cover with water and set aside. Bash the cardamom pods with the side of a knife so they crack open.

Put 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil into a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and cloves. Fry for a minute, then add the onions. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are browning and soft. Add the garlic, ginger and green chiles and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove a third of the mixture from the pot and set aside. (Leave the cinnamon stick behind.)

Drain the lentils and add to the pot, along with the turmeric and 4 1/4 cups of hot water. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once they are boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft and creamy.

While the lentils are simmering, chop the kale into thin strips and discard the thicker stems. Put the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil into a lidded frying pan (keep the lid off for now) over medium heat and, when hot, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to pop, add the reserved onion mixture and fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the kale, shredded coconut and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Stir-fry for 1 minute, add 1/4 cup of hot water and put the lid on to steam the kale for 2 minutes, or until soft and tender. Add the lime juice and stir.

When the lentils are soft and creamy, add the coconut milk and remaining salt and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from the heat, and pick out and discard the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick. To serve, ladle into bowls and divide kale over the top. Serve with a side of yogurt and rice.

Oven Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms and Thyme

If you’re looking for a little comfort food tonight given the frigid temps we’re experiencing, this recipe is a great one. Polenta is totally under-appreciated in my opinion. Not only does it cook super fast, if seasoned correctly it’s absolutely delicious, and it’s incredibly versatile. You can serve it with stew on top, as a side dish, with eggs for breakfast, as . a replacement for mashed potatoes…so many options.

This recipe from Bon Appetit uses it as a main dish, topped with crispy, crunchy, meaty roasted mushrooms with thyme. Hard to believe, but I had never roasted mushrooms before — I usually just saute on the stovetop. This method gives them such a nice flavor and texture, it’s going to be my new go-to.

The polenta is nice and creamy and cheesy, and the mushrooms are hit with a splash of vinegar at the end for the perfect balance of acid against the umami of the mushrooms.

TW’s Tips

  • The polenta cooks through in the oven versus the stovetop, so make sure you use an oven-safe pot (i.e., no plastic handles, or cover them securely with tin foil).
  • We selected a variety of different mushroom types, including shitake, cremini and lion’s mane, which were delicious! Pick something you’ve never tried before.
  • Sea salt at the end adds a nice crunch.
  • Garnish with Parmesan and thyme.
  • As mentioned in the recipe, don’t crowd the mushrooms in the pan, or else they will steam versus roast. It will give them a totally different texture and taste.

Enjoy!

Oven Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms and Thyme

Ingredients

  • 1½ lb. mixed mushrooms (such as crimini, shiitake, oyster, and/or maitake), torn into 1″ pieces
  • 4 sprigs thyme, plus leaves for serving
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 4 oz. Parmesan, finely grated, plus more for serving
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • Flaky sea salt

Directions

Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 325°. Combine mushrooms, thyme sprigs, and garlic on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season generously with kosher salt and pepper; drizzle with oil. Toss to coat mushrooms, then spread out in an even layer. (Make sure not to crowd the mushrooms on the baking sheet; otherwise, they’ll steam instead of getting crispy.) Transfer to upper rack in oven and let mushrooms roast while you prepare polenta.

Bring 4½ cups water to a simmer in a large ovenproof saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butter and a generous pinch of kosher salt and whisk to melt butter. Gradually add polenta, whisking constantly. (Gradually incorporating the polenta into the water is key to preventing clumps.) Return mixture to a boil, immediately cover pot, and transfer to lower rack in oven. Bake polenta, shaking baking sheet with mushrooms occasionally, until polenta is tender, 25–30 minutes.

Remove polenta from oven. Crank up oven temperature as high as it will go (but don’t broil). Continue to cook mushrooms until crisp around the edges, 5–10 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, carefully uncover polenta and whisk vigorously, scraping bottom of pan, until polenta is smooth and thick. Gradually add 4 oz. Parmesan, whisking constantly until melted and incorporated; taste and season with more kosher salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm over low heat while mushrooms finish roasting.

Remove mushrooms from oven; drizzle with vinegar. Toss to coat; let cool slightly.

Divide polenta among bowls and top with mushrooms, thyme leaves, sea salt, and more Parmesan.

Sheet-Pan Chicken With Potatoes, Arugula and Garlic Yogurt

IMG_0664I love a good sheet pan meal, and this one really delivers. The chicken and potatoes are coated in an awesome, spicy sauce, and everything crisps up beautifully in the oven. Plating it with arugula and herbs adds the perfect amount of freshness, and the yogurt dip and squeeze of lemon over the top is just the bit of sour and acid you need to cut through the richness. This NYT Cooking recipe is one I’m going to go back to again and again!

TW’s Tips

  • Use whatever bone-in parts of the chicken you like best. This calls for thighs and legs which I love, but if you’re a white meat eater, you can do that too.
  • If the skin isn’t crisping quite right, use the broiler at the end — just be careful, it works quickly!
  • Serve with a green vegetable — I chose broccoli.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • 1 ¼ pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes, halved and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons harissa (or use another thick hot sauce, such as sriracha)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest (from 1/2 lemon)
  • ⅓ cup plain yogurt (do not use Greek yogurt)
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 ounces baby arugula
  • Chopped fresh dill, as needed
  • Lemon juice, as needed

Directions

Combine chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together harissa, cumin and 3 tablespoons oil. Pour over chicken and potatoes and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine leeks, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange chicken and potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 15 minutes. Toss potatoes lightly. Scatter leeks over pan. Roast until chicken and potatoes are cooked through and everything is golden and slightly crisped, 25 to 30 minutes longer.

While chicken cooks, place yogurt in a small bowl. Grate garlic over yogurt and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon yogurt over chicken and vegetables in the pan. Scatter arugula and dill over mixture. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice and serve.

Salmon with Anchovy Garlic Butter

I took a break from vegan cooking last weekend to make this delicious, flavor-packed dish. Anchovy tends to freak people out for some reason, but the truth is, it’s such a great umami-rich ingredient. It adds awesome flavor and a little goes a long way. Alongside garlic, capers and lemon in this delicious butter sauce, it’s a star, and dresses up a perfectly cooked salmon to make it dinner-party worthy. I served this over Israeli couscous, an awesome grain-slash-pasta, cooked in vegetable stock for some extra flavor. You can also use chicken stock. TW’s Tips
  • Cooking the fish on high heat on the stovetop creates quite a bit of smoke, so get your hood on high. Make sure the pan is really hot before you add the fish, otherwise it won’t crisp the way it should.
  • After reading some of the comments on this recipe, I took their advice and opted for a lower temp and slightly longer cook time in the oven. I did convection 200 degrees for 15 minutes, and the fish came out perfectly cooked and super moist.
  • Once you remove the fish from the pan, spoon out most of the sauce but keep some and quickly wilt some spinach in it to serve as a side dish.
This is totally delicious and super fast as well. Enjoy!
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 1 fat garlic clove, minced (or 2 small ones)
  • ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (6- to 8-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers, patted dry
  • ½ lemon
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for serving
Directions Heat oven to 400 degrees. [See tip above: I recommend a lower temp.] In a small bowl, mash together butter, anchovies, garlic, salt and pepper. In a large ovenproof skillet, melt about half the anchovy butter. Add fish, skin side down. Cook for 3 minutes over high heat to brown the skin, spooning some pan drippings over the top of the fish as it cooks. Add capers to bottom of pan and transfer to oven. Roast until fish is just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and add remaining anchovy butter to pan to melt. Place salmon on plates and spoon buttery pan sauce over the top. Squeeze the lemon half over the salmon and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve.

Curried Chickpea Lentil Dal

My husband has been eating a mostly vegan diet (gasp!) for several months now, and although I’m not vegan and never will be, I’ve been eating vegan dinners with him almost every night. We love to cook and eat together, and honestly, I don’t miss the meat! What I DO miss are some of the great flavors you just don’t get (or are more difficult to get) from vegan food, like — my favorite — cheese. So, I’ll sprinkle parmigiana on my pasta and goat cheese in my salad to get those tastes. What I’ve learned over the past few months is that there are some excellent vegan dishes out there. It’s definitely more difficult for me as a cook, and I’ve been cooking much less as a result because it’s harder to find recipes, it takes more time to plan and it’s obviously limiting. But I’m giving it a go!

This recipe is a fantastic vegan dish — a dal made of lentils and chickpeas, flavored with coconut milk and curry, spicy ginger and garlic. It’s bursting with flavor with some good spice as well from the cayenne pepper. Last night we curled up with bowls of this and watched the Red Sox win the World Series (yeah!).

My favorite are the toppings. Freshness from cilantro, an awesome mustard seed turmeric oil, a chutney made from sweet raisins, onion and lime juice, toasted coconut and spicy sliced chiles (we used jalapeños we had on hand). There’s a lot going on, and it’s delicious! I especially loved the mustard seed oil. I’m not quite sure how to describe the taste — it’s a little smoky and toasty, a little spicy and pungent. It adds an awesome layer of depth.

TW’s Tips

  • Instead of using dried chickpeas, I used canned. I realized too late that I didn’t need to add all the water called for in that case, so I added additional chickpeas and lentils in to thicken it up. If you use canned chickpeas, add just a cup of water, and combine with the next step (adding coconut milk and lentils). If it gets too thick as you go, thin it out with water.
  • The recipe calls for adding two whole heads of garlic with the top third cut off. The recipe calls for plucking them out — feel free to press out the cloves into the dal — that’s what I did! They’re nice and sweet.
  • Any type of lentil will work, though this calls for red.
  • Serve over rice with pita or naan on the side to sop up the goodness.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

Mustard Seed and Turmeric Oil

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp. ground turmeric
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt

Cilantro-Raisin Chutney

  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped golden raisins
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro stems
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Stew and Assembly

  • 3 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 2 heads of garlic, top third removed
  • 1 3″ piece ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. curry powder
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1½ cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained
  • 2 13.5-oz. cans unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1½ cups split red lentils
  • Store-bought unsweetened toasted coconut flakes, thinly sliced Fresno or serrano chiles, and/or cilantro leaves (for serving; optional)

Directions

Mustard Seed and Turmeric Oil
Cook oil and mustard seeds in a small saucepan over medium-low, swirling often, until mustard seeds start to pop. Remove from heat and stir in turmeric and cayenne. Season with salt; let cool.

Do Ahead: Oil can be made 1 day ahead. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Cilantro-Raisin Chutney
Mix shallot, raisins, cilantro stems, lime juice, and oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Do Ahead: Chutney can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Stew and Assembly
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Cook onions and garlic, cut side down, and ginger, stirring onions and ginger occasionally, until onions are translucent and garlic is golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Add curry powder and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chickpeas and 5 cups water, stirring to release any bits stuck on bottom of pot; season with several pinches of salt. Bring to a simmer; cover with a lid, leaving slightly askew so steam can escape. Cook, adjusting heat to maintain a very gentle simmer and skimming foam from surface as needed, until chickpeas have swelled about 50 percent in size but are still crunchy, 25–30 minutes.

Add coconut milk and lentils to pot; season with more salt. Return to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until chickpeas are tender and lentils have broken down to form a thick broth, 30–35 minutes. Pluck out and discard garlic heads (don’t worry about any cloves that may have escaped into stew). Taste and season with more salt if needed. Ladle dal into bowls and serve with toasted Mustard Seed and Turmeric Oil, Cilantro-Raisin Chutney, coconut, chiles, and/or cilantro as desired.

Do Ahead: Dal can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.

Peruvian Roasted Chicken With Spicy Cilantro Sauce

This chicken is awesommmmmmme. Marinating it overnight makes for super flavorful meat (garlic. chile. soy sauce. oh my!). But the real winner here is the sauce. I could drink this stuff straight. I put it on everything in sight! The base is cilantro, jalapeño and feta, with a little garlic, lime juice, chile paste and spices. Whip it up in the blender — it’s got some serious heat to it, and so much flavor!

This is another great recipe from NYT Cooking. I made some roasted potatoes alongside, which I couldn’t resist dipping in cilantro sauce as well. The classic taste of roast chicken still gives you the home-y feel, but the sauce takes it to another level.

TW’s Tips

  • Adjust the heat of the green sauce down (by seeding and scraping out the jalapeño peppers) or up (by keeping the seeds and ribs intact. Careful — it’s spicy).
  • Make sure you get a good crisp on the chicken skin. Drizzle with oil as it calls for and if it still needs more crispiness when you’re almost done, broil it for a few minutes at the end.
  • If you particularly like certain chicken parts (thighs, breasts, legs) feel free to modify and use them instead of sticking to the whole chicken called for in the recipe
  • The dip would also be great with vegetables, on sandwiches, with chips…

Enjoy!

Peruvian Roasted Chicken With Spicy Cilantro Sauce

Ingredients

FOR THE CHICKEN:

  • 6 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste or another chile paste such as sriracha or sambal
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon aji panca paste or 1 teaspoon pasilla chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 (3 1/2- to 4 1/2-pound) chicken, halved (see Note) or 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 3 to 4 jalapeños, seeded and diced
  • ¼ cup/1 ounce crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice, more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or basil
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ tablespoon aji amarillo or other chile paste (see headnote)
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Lime wedges, for garnish

Directions

For the marinade: In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, soy sauce, aji amarillo paste, lime juice, aji panca paste, mustard, cumin, pepper and salt.

Add chicken halves, turning to coat them all over with marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange skin-side up on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil.
Roast until skin is golden and chicken is cooked through, 35 to 45 minutes (if using chicken parts, remove the breasts after 25 to 35 minutes). Remove fro

m oven and let sit, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes before serving.

While chicken is roasting, make the sauce. In a blender, blend cilantro, jalapeños, feta, garlic, lime juice, oregano, salt, mustard, aji amarillo paste, honey, and cumin until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in oil until mixture is emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt or lime juice or both.

Carve the chicken and serve with the sauce and lime wedges on the side.