Maple-Turkey Bacon Popovers

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Looking for a carby, sweet-and-savory side dish for your holiday meal this year? I got you. These popovers are easier to make than they look, and they taste oh-so-decadent: airy and eggy and glazed with a healthy brushing of maple syrup (our household is, after all, partly Canadian).

You can use regular bacon here but I love turkey bacon. Really. Don’t @ me.

Maple-Turkey Bacon Popovers

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped turkey bacon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
1/4 cup maple syrup, plus more for brushing
4 eggs, at room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high and cook chopped bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 7 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Allow drippings to cool in skillet; pour into a small heatproof bowl.

2. Add 2 tablespoons melted butter to drippings; stir to combine. Spoon 1 teaspoon drippings mixture into each cup of a 12-cup large muffin pan. Place pan in oven to heat, being careful not to let the drippings burn.

3. Stir together flour and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together milk, maple syrup, eggs, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large bowl. Gradually whisk flour mixture into egg mixture until nearly smooth; fold in bacon. Transfer batter to a large spouted measuring cup.

4. Carefully remove hot muffin pan from oven. Pour batter into muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full. Bake in preheated oven until popovers are puffed and golden brown, about 18 minutes. Lightly brush tops with additional maple syrup. Remove from pan and serve.

Crepes with Caramelized Bananas, Whiskey, and Walnuts

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These sweet and sticky bananas are begging to be piled atop fresh crepes for a decadent weekend brunch. Fortified with whiskey and walnuts, this dish is a pinch to make, especially if you cook the crepes ahead of time.

Crepes with caramelized bananas, whiskey, and walnuts

Ingredients:

One quantity crepes from this crepe recipe (minus the dark chocolate sauce)
2 tablespoons avocado or other neutral oil
5 bananas, peeled and halved lengthwise
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup whiskey (bourbon works well here)
1/2 cup walnuts

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bananas, cut side down, and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the top. Cook bananas until heated through and sugar is melted, about 5 minutes. Add whiskey and flip bananas over. Add the walnuts and cook until the bananas are caramelized and the whiskey has reduced to a syrup. Serve over crepes.

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.