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.

Classic Spring Rolls

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These are my OG, been-making-them-since-I-was-thirteen, classic spring rolls. Adapted from the legend himself (Martin Yan, obv), this is the spring roll recipe I still find myself going back to. They’re a bit of work but oh-so-worth it. I recommend Menlo brand spring roll wrappers for the crunchiest exterior.

Classic spring rolls
Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 ounces dried bean thread noodles
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 3/4 pound boneless chicken

Marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 20 spring roll wrappers
  • Avocado oil for shallow-frying
  1. Soak mushrooms in warm water to cover until softened, about 15 minutes; drain. Trim stems and thinly slice caps. Soak bean threads in warm water to cover until softened, about 15 minutes; drain. Cut bean thread noodles into 4-inch lengths. Combine mushrooms and bean thread noodles in a large bowl and add remaining filling ingredients; mix well.
  2. Cut chicken into thin slices, about 2 inches long. Combine marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Add chicken and stir to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Place a wok over high heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon oil, swirling to coat sides. Add chicken and stir-fry for about 5 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the chicken mixture and add to the bowl with the filling and mix.
  4. To make each spring roll, place a wrapper on work surface with one side facing you. Place 3 tablespoons filling in a band along base of wrapper. Fold bottom over filling, then fold in left and right sides. Tightly roll up to completely enclose filling.
  5. Heat oil (enough to be 1-inch deep) in a wok or frying pan to medium-high. Shallow-fry spring rolls, a few at a time, and cook, turning carefully occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Eggplant with Crispy Shallots and Fish Sauce-Lime Vinaigrette

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It’s eggplant season! Adapted from chef Joe Ogrodnek, this buttery, savory, and lime-heavy eggplant dish is one of my new favorites. I could eat this all summer.

Ingredients:

4 medium Japanese eggplants (about 1 3/4 pound)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the dressing:
6 tablespoons hot water
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup fresh lime
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon grated garlic
1 serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 (2-inch) piece lemongrass stalk, halved lengthwise and smashed
1 makrut lime leaf

Additional ingredients:
1/4 cup torn fresh basil, cilantro, and or mint, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
1/4 thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup toasted chopped peanuts
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 teaspoons crispy fried shallots
2 teaspoons fried garlic

1. Cook the eggplant: Working in batches, sear the eggplants in vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high until browned on all sides and tender. Set aside to cool slighly.

2. Whisk together 6 tablespoons hot water and sugar in a small bowl until sugar dissolves. Whisk in fish sauce, lime juice, ginger, garlic, and chile. Add lemongrass and lime leaf.

3. Cut eggplants in half lengthwise (do not cut all the way through).

4. Place eggplant on a serving platter. Stuff eggplants evenly with herbs, radishes, and red onion. Drizzle 2 tablespoons dressing over each stuffed eggplant. Top evenly with peanuts, scallions, fried shallots, and fried garlic. Sprinkle with additional herbs. Serve warm or at room temperature.