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.

Mozzarella, Anchovy, and Caper Pizza

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I love anchovies but avoided them on pizza for years because, well, I grew up watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and if there’s one thing Michelangelo taught us, it’s that anchovies on pizza are gross.

As it turns out, Michelangelo was totally wrong. Anchovies are the salty-savory umami bomb your pizza needs, and this simple pizza is proof of that. Add a handful of briny capers and you’ve got yourself the perfect casual weeknight dinner.

Mozzarella, anchovy, and caper pizza

Ingredients:

Olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small handful basil, leaves picked
1 14-ounce can tomatoes, whole or pureed
Salt
Pepper
10 anchovy fillets packed in olive oil, drained
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed and drained
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
8 ounces mozzarella
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 pound pizza dough

1. Make the tomato sauce: Heat a medium saucepan, add a splash of olive oil and the garlic and gently cook. Once the garlic has turned lightly golden, add the basil, the tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, mashing the tomatoes until smooth (if whole), then set aside.

2. Add the anchovies to a bowl with the red pepper flakes, the capers, two teaspoons olive oil, the lemon juice, and mix. Let the anchovies sit in the marinade for 15 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 425F degrees, roll out the pizza dough, and transfer to a oven-safe pizza pan.

4. Depending on how saucy you like your pizza, smear 4 to 6 tablespoons tomato sauce over the pizza base. Scatter torn up pieces of mozzarella over the top. Lay on the anchovies, scatter over the capers, and sprinkle with a little parsley. Drizzle with the leftover marinating oil and cook until crisp and golden, about 15 to 17 minutes.

Arugula and Cashew Pesto with Brown Rice Spaghetti

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This dish is really all about the pesto. Serve it with pasta, slather it on bread, eat it by the spoonful — it doesn’t matter. Here, the spaghetti is merely the vehicle by which to eat the pesto: creamy, peppery, with just a hint of garlic and cheese.

Arugula and cashew pesto

Ingredients:

4 cups baby arugula leaves
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
12 ounces pasta

1. Bring roughly 2 quarts of salted water to a boil. Blanch arugula for about 30 seconds or until the leaves become bright green. Drain arugula into a colander and run cold water over them. Press leaves to remove excess water and let drain.

2. Meanwhile, bring a pan to a medium heat, add cashews and a pinch of salt, making sure to move the pan around to prevent the cashews from burning. Toast until you begin to smell a nutty aroma and the cashews have turned lightly golden. Remove from pan and let cool.

3. Place arugula, cashews, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese in a blender and process until smooth.

4. Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente. When pasta is ready, strain and immediately toss with a little olive oil. Add pesto and serve garnished with grated Parmesan cheese.

Tomatoes with Bagna Cauda and Chorizo

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Things seemed a little iffy when I started making this salad, adapted from a Food & Wine recipe. What business did anchovies, mayonnaise, Chinese sausage, dill, and tomatoes have on the same plate? I made some adjustments (turkey chorizo instead of Chinese sausage, the addition of yogurt to lighten the mayo, less oil) and you know what? This is one of the most delicious things I’ve made all year.

Make this recipe when tomatoes are at their peak, and make a lot. This salad is a cacophony of flavors in the best way ever.

Tomatoes with bagna cauda and chorizo

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup minced garlic

2 tablespoons butter

2 anchovy fillets, minced

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Salt

1/2 pound Mexican-style turkey chorizo
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/4 cup finely chopped chives

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

1/4 cup finely chopped dill

1/4 cup finely chopped mint

1/3 cup Kewpie mayonnaise
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice

6 to 8 tomatoes, cut into wedges


1. In a medium saucepan, cook the olive oil, garlic and butter over moderate heat, whisking frequently, until the garlic 
just starts to color, about 
5 minutes. Whisk in the anchovies and cook, whisking, until the garlic is golden, 5 minutes more. Transfer the bagna cauda to a heatproof medium bowl and let cool slightly. Whisk in the crushed red pepper and let the bagna cauda cool completely, stirring occasionally. Season with salt.


2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high and add the chorizo. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chorizo is browned and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo to a medium bowl.

3. In a small bowl, mix the chives with the parsley, dill and mint. In a medium bowl, whisk the Kewpie mayo with the yogurt, lemon juice and 1/4 cup of the mixed herbs. 
Season the herbed dressing with salt. 


5. Spread the herbed dressing on a platter. Arrange the tomatoes on top. Spoon the bagna cauda on top, then sprinkle with the chorizo, and remaining mixed herbs. Serve at room temperature.

Avocado and Tomato Salad with Soy Vinaigrette

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Creamy avocadoes, crisp cucumbers, and juicy tomatoes: this salad celebrates a California summer in all its glory. Adapted from an old Sunset magazine, use the best quality avocados and tomatoes you can get your hands on here. Freshness makes all the difference.

Avocado and tomato salad with soy vinaigrette

4 Persian cucumbers, sliced 1⁄4 inch thick
1 or 2 medium tomatoes, cut into slices
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 avocados, halved and sliced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
Kosher salt

1. Arrange medium tomato slices and cucumbers on a serving platter, followed by cherry ­tomatoes and avocado slices.

2. Whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, and apple cider vinegar and drizzle over salad.

3. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and salt to taste.