Cheddar-Cauliflower Gratin

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Do me a solid and ignore how #uglydelicious the photo of this cauliflower gratin is. Really, the picture doesn’t do it justice. Tender cauliflower is coated in a gooey, cheesy bechamel and topped with crunchy panko for the ultimate winter side dish. This dish is heavy on the cheese, but also, like, vegetables. Win-win!

Cauliflower gratin

Ingredients:

1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 medium cauliflower heads (about 4 pounds total), cut into florets
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon butter, divided
3/4 cup flour
4 cups whole milk, warmed
8 ounces aged sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
7 ounces Dubliner cheese, shredded (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup panko
1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a large pot over high. Season with 1/4 cup salt. Add cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain cauliflower and set aside.

2. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium. Gradually whisk in flour. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in warm milk. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in cheddar, Dubliner, pepper, nutmeg, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt until smooth.

3. Transfer cauliflower and 5 cups cheese sauce to a large bowl; stir to coat. Spoon mixture into a 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Pour remaining 1 cup cheese sauce over top. Bake in preheated oven until edges are bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Place melted butter, panko, and Parmesan in a small bowl; stir to combine. Sprinkle panko mixture over casserole, and bake until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.

Cinnamon-Spiced Sweet Potatoes

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This holiday side dish couldn’t possibly be any easier to make. Flecked with brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and lots of butter, these slightly caramelized and not-too-sweet come together in about five minutes, which is a good thing since you’ll probably be busy cooking, eating, and uh, eating some more.

Cinnamon-spiced sweet potatoes

Ingredients:

4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces and lengthwise into 1-inch wedges
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, to taste
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Place sweet potatoes in a baking dish. Sprinkle sugar, salt, cloves, and cinnamon over sweet potatoes. Dot with butter. Bake in preheated oven, turning every 15 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender and liquid is syrupy, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes.

Hot and Sour Silken Tofu

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This Sichuan-style dish is inspired by a Fuchsia Dunlop recipe that comes together in a matter of minutes. The silky-soft tofu and salty, crunchy dry-roasted edamame pair addictively well together. Eat this on its own or with rice. Either way it’s perfect on a chilly day.

Hot and sour silken tofu

Ingredients:

Salt
11 ounces silken tofu
1 teaspoon Chinkiang vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons chicken stock
2 teaspoons chili oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons sliced green onions
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped Sichuan preserved vegetable or kimchi
1/2 cup dry-roasted edamame

1. Bring a saucepan filled with five inches of lightly salted water to a boil. Gently add the tofu and simmer gently until warmed through, about five minutes. Set aside.

2. In a serving bowl, mix together the vinegar, soy sauce, chicken stock, chili oil, sesame oil, 1 tablespoon green onions, garlic, and 1 tablespoon preserved vegetable.

3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tofu to a serving bowl and break it up into large chunks. Scatter with the remaining preserved vegetable, green onions, edamame, and serve.

Heirloom Tomato Galette

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Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe, this garlicky, flaky tomato galette is one of my favorite ways to capture our summer produce. The puff pastry was made by hand here, but if you’re short on time feel free to use store-bought. Just make sure to salt the tomatoes thoroughly; otherwise, you’ll end up with a soggy galette. And nobody likes a soggy galette, amirite?

Heirloom tomato galette

Ingredients:

2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons salt, divided
3/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 ounces firm cheese (such as Asiago, cheddar, or Gouda), grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 egg, beaten
Pepper
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

1. Pulse flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.

2. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; drizzle with vinegar and 1/4 cup ice water. Mix with a fork, adding more ice water by the tablespoonful as needed, until a shaggy dough comes together. Turn out onto a work surface and lightly knead until no dry spots remain (be careful not to overwork). Pat into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill at least 2 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Toss tomatoes, garlic, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Let sit 10 minutes (tomatoes will start releasing some liquid). Drain tomato mixture and transfer to paper towels.

4. Unwrap dough and roll out on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper to a 14″ round about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer on parchment to a baking sheet. Scatter cheese over dough, leaving a 1 1/2 inch border. Arrange tomatoes and garlic over cheese. Bring edges of dough up and over filling, overlapping as needed to create about a 1 1/2 inch border; brush dough with egg. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper. Chill in freezer 10 minutes.

5. Bake galette, rotating once, until crust is golden brown and cooked through, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly on baking sheet. Finely grate zest from lemon over galette; sprinkle with chives.

Eggplant, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad

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This Middle Eastern-inspired salad is peak summer: buttery eggplant, juicy tomatoes, and crispy cucumber are bound by a cooling and tangy yogurt dressing. The best part? It’s so much easier to make than it looks.

Eggplant, tomato, and cucumber salad

Ingredients:

2 Japanese eggplant, sliced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 cucumber, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons Greek or Middle Eastern-style yogurt
Salt
Pepper
Chopped parsley, for garnish

1. Preheat the broiler: brush the eggplant slices with the vegetable oil and cook over high heat, turning once, until golden and tender. Cut slices in half.

2. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, and coriander. Season with salt and pepper. Add the warm eggplant, mix, and chill for at least 1 hour. Add the cucumber and tomatoes. Transfer to a serving dish and spoon the yogurt on top and garnish with parsley.