Beet Tartare

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Okay, I know the words “beet tartare” don’t exactly make your mouth water. But hear me out. This dip/side dish/whatever-you-want-it-to-be is a cacophony of textures and flavor. Try this if you’re sick of the same old winter roasted vegetables. It’s so good I eat it by the spoonful.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound baby beets, trimmed, scrubbed
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 2-ounce jar capers, drained
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled cherry peppers (or similar)
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 400F degrees. Wrap beets in a few layers of foil, place on rimmed baking sheet, and roast until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool. Using paper towels, rub skins to remove and cut beets into 1/4-inch pieces.
  2. Heat garlic, capers, and oil in a small skillet over medium, adjusting heat as needed to keep oil at a simmer, until garlic is golden and capers have burst, about 8-12 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a small heatproof bowl. Turn garlic and capers out onto paper towels; set oil aside.
  3. Mix beets, shallot, cherry peppers, mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt, and 2 teaspoons reserved oil in a medium bowl to combine. Cover and let sit 45 minutes to marinate.
  4. Just before serving, stir chopped parsley and half of fried garlic and capers into beet mixture. Scoop beet mixture onto a platter or bowl and top with remaining fried garlic and capers, and additional parsley.

Broccoli with Black Garlic Vinaigrette

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Remember when black garlic was all the health food rage? I loved the trend because black garlic tastes just like seer torshi (Iranian pickled garlic), except it doesn’t take a literal decade to make. It’s a little harder to find black garlic these days but it’s worth it, especially for this broccoli salad that you’ll want to eat straight out of the bowl.

The vinaigrette makes more than you’ll need, but that’s okay, because you’ll want to put it on everything. Think of it as a seer torshi dressing.

Ingredients:

For the black garlic vinaigrette:

  • 2/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms 
  • 1/4 cup black garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated garlic 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For the broccoli:

  • 4 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil, divided
  • Labneh (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons salted roasted sunflower seeds
  1. Make the vinaigrette: combine vinegar, 1/3 cup boiling water, and mushrooms in a small heatproof bowl; cover. Let stand, covered, at room temperature until mushrooms are soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender; add black garlic, brown sugar, grated garlic, and salt. Process until finely chopped, about 30 seconds. Add the olive oil and process until smooth, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.
  2. Make the broccoli: Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Add broccoli to boiling water, and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer broccoli to ice water, and let stand until cool, about 1 minute. Drain well. Place broccoli on a clean kitchen towel; let stand until ready to use.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Place half of broccoli in skillet, and cook, without stirring, until very caramelized and deeply charred on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip florets over, and cook until charred, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and remaining broccoli florets.
  4. Toss broccoli with 1/3 cup black garlic vinaigrette and season with additional salt to taste. Spread labneh, if using, on a serving platter, and top with broccoli. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

Garlic-and-Herb Mashed Potatoes

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These mashed potatoes couldn’t be any easier to make thanks to a secret ingredient: Boursin cheese. Yes, I know, it’s not the healthiest ingredient, but potatoes are a vegetable so the whole thing cancels itself out. It’s creamy, it’s garlicky, and it’s way too easy to eat straight out of the pot.

This recipe makes enough for 10 people, so halve it unless you want leftovers for days.

Garlic and herb mashed potatoes
Ingredients:
  • 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks 
  • 12 cups water 
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste 
  • 2 cups garlic-and-herb spreadable cheese (such as Boursin) (from 3 [5.2-ounces] packages), at room temperature 
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, warmed 
  • Black pepper, for garnish 
  1. Place potatoes in a large pot. Add 12 cups water; bring to a boil over high. Add salt, and reduce heat to medium; simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.
  2. Place potatoes back in the pot and mash with a ricer. Add cheese and milk; fold until smooth. Season to taste with salt and garnish with pepper.

Twice-Baked Loaded Potatoes

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Do me a favor and look past this incredibly unflattering photo of the most delicious potatoes. Filled with aged cheddar, Gruyere, sour cream, and chives, they’re buttery, they’re creamy, and they’re super indulgent.

Ingredients:
  • 4 russet potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 cup grated aged cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 slices turkey bacon, cooked and cut into 1/4″ strips
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  1. Heat oven to 450F degrees. Put potatoes on a baking sheet and bake, turning occasionally, until tender, about 1 hour. Transfer to a rack and let cool slightly.
  2. Halve potatoes lengthwise and scoop out insides with a spoon into a medium bowl, leaving 1/4″ of the outer layer of potato and skin behind; transfer empty potato halves to a baking sheet. Combine scooped potato insides, 1/2 cup each cheddar and Gruyere, and sour cream, butter, chives, parsley, Tabasco, Worcestershire, and bacon and season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into potato halves and sprinkle with remaining cheese and the paprika.
  3. Bake until cheese is browned and bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Braised Tuscan Kale

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Take a ton of kale and cook it slow and low with olive oil and garlic. The velvety result is nothing short of alchemy. This makes a perfect (and healthy) side to any wintry meal.

Braised Tuscan kale

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 12 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 1 quart chicken stock or bone broth
  • 4 pounds Tuscan kale
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat oil in a wide pot over medium-high heat. Add fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, garlic, and anchovies; cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add stock; bring to a boil. Add Tuscan kale and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until leaves are somewhat wilted, 4–5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, covered, until very tender, 40–45 minutes more.