Roast Beets with Pistachio-Yogurt Sauce

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These marinated and yogurt beets are like a modern take on mast-o laboo, which is an Iranian appetizer of chopped beets and tangy, thick yogurt. Think mast-o laboo deconstructed, with the addition of pistachios for an even creamier sauce to foil the vinegar-flavored beets with.

Roast beets with pistachio-yogurt sauce

Ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds small red beets, trimmed

4 thyme sprigs

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

3 teaspoons salt, divided

1/4 cup orange juice (from 1 orange)

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3/4 cup roasted pistachios, plus 1 tablespoon chopped pistachios for garnish
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1. Make the beets: Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Toss together beets, thyme, 1 teaspoon oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a roasting pan. Spread beets in pan; pour 1/2 cup water into pan. Cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven until beets are tender, about 1 hour. (Larger beets will take longer to cook.) Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350F degrees.

2. Remove beets from pan; let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel each beet to remove skin; discard skins. Cut beets into quarters. While beets are warm, transfer to a large bowl. Add orange juice, vinegar, remaining 1 teaspoon oil, and 1 teaspoon salt; toss to coat. Let stand 15 minutes. Toss beet mixture; taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Set aside until ready to serve.

3. Make the pistachio yogurt: Spread pistachios evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350F degrees until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor; pulse until finely chopped, about 10 times. Add warm water; process until mixture is the consistency of chunky peanut butter, about 1 minute. With processor running, gradually drizzle in olive oil until mixture is mostly smooth and spreadable, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a bowl; fold in yogurt and 1 teaspoon salt.

4. Spread yogurt sauce on a serving platter; top with beets. Garnish with chopped pistachios.

Kashk-Braised Goat and Chickepea Soup (Boz Ghormeh)

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Kashk is an Iranian dairy product similar to sour cream, made from the leftovers of cheese making. It’s tart and creamy, providing a welcome contrast to rich, meaty dishes. Its essential in dishes like ash-e reshteh and also boz ghormeh, a regional specialty of Kerman in south-central Iran.

In this #uglydelicious meal-in-a-bowl soup, goat is braised with chickpeas, a hearty serving of seasoned kashk and topped with garlicy, tarragon-inflected croutons made from Iranian naan-e sangak flatbread. In a pinch, you can substitute the goat for leg of lamb and you can substitute the sangak with lavash or pita.

Kashk-braised goat and chickpea soup

Ingredients:

For the goat:

3/4 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in water with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda overnight, drained, and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, sliced, plus 1 or 2 cloves garlic, grated
1/3 cup tarragon leaves, chopped, or 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1 1/2 cups liquid kashk
1/2 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water

For the croutons:

1 sangak bread cut into 1-inch squares
1 clove garlic, grated
1/2 cup tarragon leaves
2 teaspoons olive oil

1. To cook the goat: Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat and saute the onions until beginning to turn golden. Add the goat and continue to saute until onions are golden brown. Add salt, pepper, turmeric, cumin, 3 cloves of sliced garlic, tarragon, chickpeas, and saute for 2 minutes.

2. Pour in 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally until the meat and chickpeas are tender.

3. In a small saucepan over low heat, add the kashk, remaining 1 clove grated garlic, and saffron water, and give it a stir. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, taking care not to let the kashk come to a boil.

4. Once the goat and chickpeas have finished cooking, add the kashk mixture to the dutch oven. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

5. To make the croutons: Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Spread sangkak on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and add the garlic and tarragon. Drizzle oil over the bread and toss to coat. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, until the bread is toasted.

6. Serve the soup in individual bowls and top with a few croutons. You can also serve this soup with a fresh herb platter of sabzi khordan on the side.

Crab cakes with Basil-Jalapeno Aioli

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Dungeness crab seasons ends this week, but there’s still time to get in one more crab recipe before it’s over. This crab cake recipe features corn, basil, and jalapenos, making it a perfect bridge between cold weather and warm weather cooking. Serve these as an elegant appetizer or as a light dinner alongside salad.

(Looking for a more classic crab cake recipe? I got you.)

Crab cakes with basil-jalapeno aioli

Ingredients:

For the crab cakes:

3 teaspoons unsalted butter
4 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound Dungeness crab meat
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1 egg
3 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
Pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal

For the aioli:

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
2 teaspoons capers, drained and chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt
Pepper

1. In a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the green onions and garlic. Cook and stir for 3 minutes or until softened. Place the mixture in a large bowl. Add the crabmeat, corn, bread crumbs, egg, mayonnaise, mustard, parsley, and pepper to taste; mix well. Divide the mixture into 12 portions and form into 1/2-inch-thick patties. Place the patties on a plate and chill for 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together all of the aioli ingredients and set aside.

3. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons butter and the oil over medium-high heat. Dredge each crab cake in the cornmeal, turning to coat evenly. Sear the cakes for 5 to 6 minutes per side or until golden brown. Serve crab cakes hot with Basil-Jalapeno Tartar Sauce.

Roasted Potatoes with Paprika

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Even though it’s spring, it’s still cold enough outside that I’m wearing sweaters and craving all manner of roasted goods. These roasted potatoes have become my go-to: sprinkled with savory herbs, it’s the crispy duck fat coating that makes these potatoes special. It’s worth seeking out a jar of duck fat for your cooking: a little bit goes a long way in adding a layer of richness and umami.

Roasted potatoes with paprika

Ingredients:

4 pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes

2 teaspoons salt, divided

2 tablespoons duck fat, melted
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder


1. Preheat oven to 450F degrees. Place potatoes in a large pot and add water to cover by 1 inch. Season with 
1 tablespoon salt and bring 
to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and let stand until cool enough to handle.


2. Arrange potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Place a heavy plate on potatoes and press down gently to slightly crush potatoes without breaking them apart. Drizzle potatoes with half of the melted duck fat; turn potatoes to coat.

3. Roast potatoes in preheated oven until bottoms are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and 
drizzle with remaining melted duck fat; turn potatoes to coat. Return to oven, and roast until crispy and golden brown, 25 minutes.


4. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Sprinkle with vinegar, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt; toss to combine. Place potatoes on a platter and serve.

Chickpea and Kale Frittata

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I love frittatas because they’re basically an entire meal in one skillet. I grew up with frittatas (or kuku, as they’re called in Farsi): herb frittata (kuku sabzi), potato frittata (kuku zibzamini) — you get the picture. But chickpeas? That’s something new. It works beautifully here, along with a healthy serving of kale.

Chickpea and kale frittata

Ingredients:

12 eggs
1 1/2 cups chopped parsley (basil works well here too)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons curry powder (I used a mix of Madras and Jaffna curry powders here)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 bunch kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Whisk eggs, parsley, sour cream, red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl until no streaks remain.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add chickpeas and curry powder and season with salt. Cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes.

3. Reduce heat to medium, add onion, garlic, and remaining teaspoon oil to chickpeas in skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and starting to brown, about 7 minutes.

4. Add a handful of greens and tablespoons. water and cook until slightly wilted. Continue adding greens a handful at a time, letting them wilt slightly before adding more, until all greens are wilted, about 5 minutes total; season with salt. Let cool slightly.

5. Return pan to medium-low, pour in egg mixture, and cook, stirring eggs and swirling pan often, until edges are just set (texture should be like a very soft scramble), about 5 minutes. Transfer to oven and bake frittata until puffed slightly and center is just set, about 15 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes and serve.