Creamy Tahini and Harissa Beef

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Think of this easy one-dish meal as a deconstructed pita sandwich, except crunchier, saucier, and more delicious. Adapted from Bon Appetit, it’s not an authentic recipe by any means but the combination of creamy tahini and spicy harissa will earn a spot in your regular dinner rotation.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 6 green onions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup harissa
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 8-ounce bag pita chips
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped herbs (such as parsley, cilantro, or mint)
  1. Whisk tahini, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup room temperature water in a small bowl until smooth; set tahini sauce aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high. Cook red onion, white parts of green onions, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and golden brown in spots, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add harissa, remaining 3/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 cup water. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until harissa is slightly darkened and oil beads on surface, about 5 minutes. Add beef and 1/2 cup water and cook, stirring often to break up meat, until water is mostly evaporated and beef is cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in green parts of green onion.
  4. Spread half of reserved tahini sauce on a platter; spoon beef mixture over. Top with a handful of pita chips and remaining tahini sauce, then herbs. Gently mix to barely combine. Serve with more pita chips for scooping or dipping.

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.

Weeknight Turkey Curry

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I can’t really categorize this dish: it’s a little bit South Asian, a little bit East Asian, a little bit American. It’s comfort food, though, and an easy one at that. Make this when you’re trying to clear out your pantry, serve over rice, and you’re golden.

Ingredients:
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons avocado oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey (or beef)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 5 teaspoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Madras curry poweder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 ounces Japanese curry sauce mix (such as House Foods Vermont Curry or S&B Golden Curry)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups cooked rice and kimchi, for serving
  1. Pulse onion, carrots, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add turkey, salt, and season with pepper. Cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, 6-8 minutes. Add onion mixture and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in butter, then sprinkle flour over and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add curry powder and turmeric and cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  3. Mix in soy sauce and fish sauce. Pour in broth and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits. Reduce heat and simmer occasionally, until slightly thickened, 8-10 minutes.
  4. Stir in curry sauce mix and simmer, stirring often, until gravy is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream and remove from heat.
  5. Serve curry on top of rice in serving bowls and with kimchi on the side.

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.