Apple Cider and Rum Cocktail

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Since last year, this batch cocktail has become my new go-to every winter holiday. Easy, refreshing, and not too sweet, it’s a hit with everyone. And even though the holidays are over, it’s still cold and bleary outside, so let’s be real: we need something to hold us over until the skies are sunny again.

Apple cider and rum punch

Ingredients:

1 cup dark rum
1 cup sweet vermouth
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
1/4 cup simple syrup
8 dashes Angostura bitters
1/2 red apple, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
3 strips orange zest, thinly sliced
1 12-ounce bottle French hard cider

1. Combine rum, vermouth, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters in a pitcher. Add 1 1/2 cups ice and stir until ice has mostly melted and cocktail is cold. Stir in apple slices and orange zest; gently stir in cider.

2. Divide cocktail among ice-filled glasses and garnish with more apple slices.

Cauliflower Larb

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Okay, okay. I know this larb isn’t even remotely authentic, but these days I sort of want to larb everything. Chicken larb? Check. Lamb larb? Check. And this cauliflower larb is surprisingly delicious, albeit much lighter than its meaty counterparts. Make this for a light lunch or dinner — you won’t miss the meat.

Cauliflower larb

1 head cauliflower, cut into large florets with some stalk attached
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 Thai chiles, finely chopped
1 4-inch piece lemongrass, tough outer layers removed, finely chopped
4 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup sticky rice
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup chopped mint
Salt
Sliced Persian cucumber and Bibb lettuce, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Toss cauliflower with oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and well browned, about 50 minutes. Let cool slightly; chop into pea-size pieces. Transfer to a large bowl. Add chiles, lemongrass, lime leaves, fish sauce, and lime juice; mix.

2. Meanwhile, place rice in a small skillet and set over medium heat. Toast, shaking pan frequently to keep rice moving, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate; let cool. Grind in spice mill to a powder similar to cornmeal.

3. Toss green onions, cilantro, mint, and toasted rice powder into cauliflower mixture; season with salt. Serve with cucumber and lettuce to make lettuce cups.

Butternut Squash and Chicken Chorizo Hash

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Sick of butternut squash yet this season? Me neither. But seriously, it doesn’t have to be all butternut squash soup all day. Transform the humble squash into a powerhouse with this hash, decked with meaty chorizo and brightened with lime. And put an egg on it, obvs. Breakfast is served.

Butternut squash and chicken chorizo hash

2 tablespoons (or more) olive oil
8 ounces fresh chicken chorizo
1 pound butternut squash (about 1/2 of a medium squash), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
Salt
Pepper
4 eggs
Lime wedges and cilantro leaves, for serving

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high. Cook chorizo, breaking up into small pieces, until browned and cooked through, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon; reserve skillet with fat.

2. Add butternut squash and onion to reserved skillet and cook over medium-high, adding more oil if needed and stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in chorizo and season with salt. Squeeze a lime wedge over and top with cilantro.

3. In the meantime, heat remaining tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Fry eggs sunny-side up until whites are cooked through and yolks are still runny, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Divide hash among four plates and top each with an egg. Serve with additional lime wedges for squeezing over.

Som Tam with Green Beans

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Salty, sour, and a little bit sweet, this Thai-inspired salad is a pinch to make and goes perfectly with all manner of grilled meats (or even on its own, really). I tried many variations of long bean salads in Chiang Mai a couple of years ago and the peanut and lime-flecked ones similar to this one remain my favorite.

Som tam with green beans

Ingredients:

1 garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 anchovy, minced
1 bird chile, minced
Pinch of sugar
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 pound green beans or long beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths

1. Place the garlic, salt, peanuts, anchovy, chile, and sugar in a food processor and process to a paste. Transfer the paste to a bowl and stir in the lime juice and fish sauce. Add the chopped tomatoes and green beans, mix, and serve.

Creamy Chickpeas with Eggs and Proscuitto

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It’s the middle of winter and you want something decadent for a weekend breakfast, but it’s too cold and rainy and let’s face it — depressing, to go out. Spring is but a few weeks away but until then, you need something to cheer you up. Adapted from Bon Appetit, I made this easy one-skillet brunch one morning when it was blissfully sunny enough to sit outside and take in the vitamin D. If you stare hard enough, the egg sort of looks like the sun. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I served this with Iranian barbari bread to soak up the creamy tomato sauce, but any flatbread will work just fine.

Creamy chickpeas with eggs and proscuitto

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 sprig rosemary
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 cup heavy cream
Salt
Pepper
2 eggs
4 thin slices of prosciutto
Flatbread, for serving

1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium. Cook garlic and rosemary, stirring frequently, until garlic is golden brown and rosemary crisps up slightly but isn’t browned, about 30 seconds for rosemary and 2 minutes for garlic. Transfer rosemary to a plate.

2. Add chickpeas, tomato paste, and paprika to skillet and cook, stirring often, until coated, about 2 minutes. Mix in cream, season with salt and lots of pepper, and bring to a simmer.

3. Crack eggs into chickpea mixture and season them with salt. Cover and cook until white parts of eggs are set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and drape prosciutto around eggs. Crumble rosemary on top. Serve warm with flatbread.