Recipes

grilled pizza

Before we snuck a grill onto our balcony one glorious day last May, I would regularly show up at friends-with-grills homes with prepared pizza dough and a few toppings in the summer; I love grilled pizza so much that I’d feed a crowd just to get my fix. It was one of the first things I made when we bought our own. The benefits of cooking pizza outside are manifold. With heat circulating all around the pizza and the dough resting on open grates instead of a flat tray, I find that you can get more texture — crisp on the outside but staying stretchy within — and flavor — charred spots that will immediately remind you of your favorite brick-oven pizzeria, without heating up your apartment, pretty much the last thing any of us want to do in the summer. Plus, it’s really quick. Once your dough is purchased or prepared, you could be eating your pizza in 10 minutes; not bad for a homemade dinner after a long day.

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Recipes

best hot fudge sauce

There are a lot of good reasons to put two small jars of homemade hot fudge sauce in your fridge in approximately 10 minutes and possibly forever:
• Hot fudge sauce is the easiest thing on earth to make, and absolutely nothing from a squeeze bottle compares. Not even the stuff at local ice cream parlors, even the kinds that boast about ingredient origins and write their menus on chalkboard walls, are the same. I’m still grumpy about the time I was a gazillion months pregnant ordered hot fudge sauce and someone poured chocolate syrup over my ice cream. I resisted, however, waddling back there and showing them how to make it correctly. I’m sorry I do not behave as well with you.

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Recipes

easy drop berry shortcakes

A couple weeks ago, and because I admittedly ask my husband to pick up strawberries on his way home far more often than I have an exact “agenda” for them besides, you know, breakfast, lunch, and dinner — I made the strawberry shortcake recipe in the archives. These famed shortcakes — my version is adapted from Claudia Fleming and Russ Parsons, but this same approach was favorite by James Beard and more, I suspect they all hung out together — are unique in that instead of using eggs or just egg yolks, they use the yolks of two hard-boiled eggs. This allows the yolks to do their wonders (golden color, velvety texture) without ostensibly toughening the dough. It’s all very sound. It tastes very good. And it is the reason that I make shortcakes approximately once every four years.

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Recipes

stovetop americanos

Last December, I announced to I’m sure at least ten thousand well-deserved eye rolls that after 10 years of food blogging and one (now two!) cookbook I had finally learned how to make coffee. I mean, yeah, it was melodramatic. I, too, can scoop whatever the Maxwell House can says into the filter and press the on button, as I did most weekend mornings as a kid. What I meant was that I had figured out how to make the coffee I most liked to drink and spent too much money on at coffee shops these days, and I had found this delight with the simplest old-fashioned thing, a stovetop espresso maker.

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Recipes

crispy spiced lamb and lentils

I made these lettuce cups on a whim for dinner last night and I’m so glad I did because I could see them going immediately into a regular rotation. I don’t know about you, but I think ground meat is underrated in the quick dinner category and am always looking for more things to do with it. This cooking technique, in which you flatten it out in a very hot pan and cook it until it’s browned and crisp on both sides, is like the best part of a Fake Shack Burger, amped to 12. I’m pretty sure, like the time I discovered the crispy egg and could not stop talking about it, I’m only going to want to cook it like this for now on.

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Recipes

grilled pepper and torn mozzarella panzanella

This salad is not here to break the internet. Even among my friends, roasted sweet red peppers seem to be a perplexingly hard sell, although I hope all roasted pepper resistors are not basing their impressions on the jarred ones — those slippery things shouldn’t even rank. Because it’s the year 2017, I’m sure at least half of the people we know at any given time aren’t eating bread, so that’s not going to go over well either. I’m not sure why people — even my own father — loathe capers, but I bet I will soon find out. I understand that lots of people don’t like onions, even marinated and grilled lovelies, in salads. I know we all agree on mozzarella, at least. (Phew.)

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Recipes

the red and black

For many Junes, this was my favorite cocktail. Yes, I realize that I sound particularly like a weird food writer person and not a person who lives among other people because most normal, sane people do not have a favorite cocktail for each month of the year, even if you agree with me — you do, right? –that a Perfect Manhattan is the ideal way to warm up on the first cold September day and a Porch Swing is the most refreshing way to endure a sultry July afternoon, but hear me out: this is squarely June or the weeks leading up to it because it’s a celebration of strawberries, so we might as well wait until they’re overripe the moment you turn your head and muddle them in a glass.

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Recipes

strawberry graham icebox cake

I have expressed in the past — oh, one, two, three, four, five, or perhaps 500 times — my adoration of cakes where the layers are thin and many and you have my word that one day, I will get to all of them so please tell me about your favorite here and now. For many years, I fiddled with ways to make cake layers thinner and thinner until I probably exasperated everyone, so it was just in the nick of time that I realized if I began with cookie-ish layers (say, soft macaroons or icebox cookies the size of cakes), and filled them with something fluffy that would soften them into “cakes” (whipped cream and its variants), it got easy enough that we could make them more often, which, after all, is the goal. Cookies aren’t limited by the number or size of your cake pans. Cookies can break and still stack into an excellent cake.

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