Category Archives: Lunch & Dinner

Bowled Over

“Timid and shy and scared am I, of things beyond my ken,” sings Leisl in The Sound of Music.  I was painfully shy when I was little, and blushed every time I watched the rainy gazebo scene. I blushed even more furiously when I played Leisl to Ricky’s Rolf (Ricky had a crush on me and I despised him for it) at the end-of-the-year pageant in 1985. I was five years old.

Twenty-five years later, “timid” and “shy” are not words I would use to describe myself. I’d say Fräulein Maria lustily singing “I Have Confidence” provides a better illustration. Or maybe the scene where Captain Von Trapp finds Maria plunged into the deepest of curtseys in a ballroom of imagined guests.

Next weekend, my two-sizes-too-small kitchen will become a one-pupil-culinary school. I told my soon-to-be student to cook with confidence and above all, with an aim to pleasing herself. The Michelin inspector isn’t coming to dinner. Cook and eat what you like! And if things don’t turn out, so what? Clean up and give yourself a Do-Over (i.e. a reliable and satiating meal, like pizza with sausage and banana peppers).

Last weekend I was craving soy sauce and sticky rice, so I pulled this recipe together. I didn’t have a final product in mind, but this is what the craving turned into. Good things happen when you go with the flow.

Serves 4 to 6
This would be really good with a fried egg on top. Sriracha can be found in the international or Asian foods aisle at most supermarkets—you’ll recognize it by its tomato-red color and rooster logo. Glutinous rice is short-grained and sticky, but if you can’t find it, use long-grain white rice, such as Carolina, or pick up a few containers at your neighborhood Chinese or Thai restaurant.

For the Rice
2 cups water
1½ cups glutinous or long-grain white rice
¼ teaspoon salt

For the Steak
1½ pounds flank steak
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, grated or minced
1 teaspoon Sriracha
4 teaspoons vegetable oil

For the Vegetables
1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch thick slices
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon light or dark brown sugar
4 cups shredded Napa or regular cabbage
2 medium carrots, grated
4 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup cilantro leaves
8 ounces enoki mushrooms (optional)
½ cup dry-roasted peanuts, finely chopped or crushed

For the Spicy Mayo
½ cup mayonnaise
2 to 3 teaspoons Sriracha
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon light or dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon fish sauce (optional)

– Bring water to boil in a medium sauce pan. Add the rice and salt and boil until most of the liquid has evaporated and you can see small bubbles bursting on the surface of the rice. Immediately reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff the rice with chopsticks or fork and serve.

– Cut the flank steak lengthwise into 3 long strips. Cut each strip in half crosswise to make 2- to 2.5-inch long steaks. Whisk the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and Sriracha together in a medium bowl.  Add the steaks, making sure they’re evenly submerged in the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour.

– Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until the oil begins to smoke. Add half of the steaks and cook until deep brown on both sides; 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer steaks to a plate and cover with foil. Repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons vegetable oil and steaks.

– Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar in a small bowl. Add the cucumber slices and toss to coat.

– Whisk together the mayonnaise, Sriracha, soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, sugar, and fish sauce in a small bowl.

To assemble:  Place about ½ cup rice in a deep bowls or soup bowls. Slice the beef and divide evenly among plates. Arrange cucumbers, cabbage, carrots, scallions, cilantro, and mushrooms (if using) around rice and beef. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve with spicy mayo.


Huitlacoche or (equally tricky to pronounce) cuitlacoche is a black, bulbous fungus that grows on corn. It looks revolting and distantly related to The Blob, so I can only assume that some poor Aztec thousands of years ago must have been either starving or being subjected to punishment when he first tried it. Famished daredevil or criminal, whoever was the first to eat it made a wonderful discovery. Sometimes referred to as smut, huitlacoche has also picked up a swankier moniker: corn truffle. Smut or truffle, huitlacoche is earthy, velvety, and intensely rich. In Mexico it’s sold canned at the grocery store (often with chiles and onions), but lucky for you, you don’t have to book a ticket to the D.F. to get it — simply order a few tins on Amazon with your next book or DVD purchase. It’s surprising, unexpected, and luxe layered in a quesadilla, stuffed into fried squash blossoms, wrapped inside crêpes, or tossed with pasta.

Serves 2

8 ounces linguine or spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1 (10-ounce) box cremini or button mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (215 gram / 7.5 ounce) can huitlacoche, chopped
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese
4 scallions, thinly sliced

– Bring 4 quarts water to boil in a large pot.

– Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and ½ teaspoon pepper and cook until onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes.  Add mushrooms and sauté until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute,

– Stir in the huitlacoche and cream and simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper.

– Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve ¼ cup pasta cooking water, drain pasta, and add to huitlacoche sauce in skillet. Toss to coat, adding reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time if necessary. Serve in bowls and top with sliced scallions.

Sunday Not-So-Fun Day

Eating is an emotional activity. We all know the clichéd pint of ice cream in a woman’s clutches can mean only one thing: she’s having man trouble. A complex carb binge fills the vacuum of an impossibly frustrating workday. Chicken soup soothes the soul, etc. etc. For me, slipping on my yellow polka-dot apron and making (rather than eating) food is the best antidote to a poisonous mood.

Sunday evenings I typically shut down at around 3:00 or 4:00pm, especially during the fall and winter when it’s so freakishly dark I begin to wonder whether the apocalypse is at hand. I rarely venture out on a Sunday night, preferring to stay home and pout because the next day is Monday, and Mondays stink. But even in the drippiest of moods, I manage to peel myself off the couch to make dinner. On this week’s menu: roasted beets, sautéed beet greens, spiced nuts, and even apple-prune braised pork and cream of carrot for the next day. Now, don’t you think Negative Nancy deserves a gold star?

Serves 2
Serve salad alongside seared or grilled chicken breast. Extra lovely with a wedge of soft, peppery cheese like Constant Bliss.

For the Spiced Nuts
Spiced nuts can be made up to a week in advance and stored in a Ziploc bag.

1 large egg white
1 tablespoon water
2 cups walnuts or pecans
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon coriander
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon salt

– Preheat oven to 300 degrees and adjust a rack to middle position.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

– Whisk egg white and water together in a medium bowl.  Add the nuts and toss to coat. Whisk the remaining ingredients together in a separate medium bowl.  Add the nuts and toss until well-coated with sugar mixture.

– With a rubber spatula, spread the nuts out on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the nuts are crisp and fragrant, about 45 minutes.

– Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and cool completely. Break nuts apart with your hands and store in a Ziploc bag.

For the Beet Salad
Warning! If you have latex gloves, use them, as the beets will stain your fingers. You might want to wear an old t-shirt, too. You’ll only need 3 roasted garlic cloves; use the remaining garlic cloves as a spread on crusty buttered bread.

1 bunch beets with greens attached (4 to 6 golf ball-sized beets), beets scrubbed and greens thoroughly washed
1 head garlic
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 orange
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees and adjust a rack to middle position. Trim the greens from the beets, discard the stems, and coarsely chop the greens. Trim off the part of the beet that looks like a rat tail. Wrap the beets individually in foil, place them directly on the oven rack, and roast until fork-tender, 1 to 1 ½ hours. Cut off the top quarter of the head of garlic. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil, cover with trimmed top, wrap in foil, and roast alongside the beets.

– When cool enough to handle, unwrap the beets, peel, and cut them into ½-inch-thick slices. Unwrap the garlic and squeeze out 3 cloves. Reserve beets and garlic in separate bowls.

– Peel the orange with a sharp paring knife, making sure to remove the rind and the white pith.  Working over a bowl, cut between the membranes to remove the orange segments. Reserve the segments and squeeze the juice from the orange.

– Add vinegar and mustard to the bowl with garlic and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil and whisk to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper. Toss beets with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the mixture.

– Heat 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette in a large skillet and sautée the chopped greens until wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to colander set over large bowl. Drizzle with orange juice.

– Arrange the wilted greens, sliced beets, and orange segments on plates. Garnish with spiced nuts and serve.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

I’m always on the lookout for ingredients that’ll cover up chicken breasts – i.e. my least favorite thing to eat other than tripe – and the ketchup-prune preserve sauce I glazed that meatloaf with a few days ago was a pretty convincing disguise. Shred your leftover chicken and make a sandwich for lunch the next day. Inspired, I know. And yes, of course, there’s bacon in it.

Serves 4 (or 2 plus leftovers)
You can substitute apricot jam for the prune preserves.

1 cup ketchup
½ cup prune preserves or jam
¼ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 bacon slices, coarsely chopped
2 medium onions, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, halved crosswise

– Whisk the ketchup, preserves, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, vinegar, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl; set aside.

– Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer bacon pieces to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon; reserve. Pour the bacon fat out into a bowl; reserve.

– Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat to the now empty skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the onions, remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Cover and continue cooking until completely softened, about 5 minutes more.  Transfer the onions to a bowl.

– Add an additional tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat to the now empty skillet. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook, skin-side down, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onions to the chicken. Pour the sauce over the chicken and onions, cover, and cook on medium-low heat until the chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes (temperature should read 160˚F). Transfer the chicken to a platter and cover it loosely with foil.  Increase the heat to high and simmer the sauce until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir any accumulated chicken juices to sauce and pour over chicken. Sprinkle with reserved bacon and serve.

I Feel Like Chicken Tonight

Arroz con pollo means chicken-and-rice, but the colorful flavors and ingredients of the popular Nicaraguan dish are lost in this very literal translation.  Also called arroz a la valenciana (probably a nod to Spanish colonizers and paella) arroz con pollo is a mixture of the title ingredients, plus ham, sausage, pimento-stuffed olives, capers, peas, carrots, and bell peppers. Topped with a generous grating of Parmesan cheese and often served with buttered toast, it’s one of my favorite things to eat; maybe it’ll become one of yours, too.

Serves 8 to 12
This is a somewhat involved recipe, but it makes piles of food; great for a big family, a casual dinner party, or days’ worth of leftovers. The recipe can be easily cut in half if the yield seems excessive.

Some shortcuts: Rather than cooking carrots with rice, add 2 cups of frozen peas-and-carrots to the mixture.  Buy a rotisserie chicken and low-sodium chicken broth instead of poaching your own fresh chicken pieces.

For the Chicken:
4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces or 1 4- to 5-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 large onion, peeled and cut into wedges
1 green bell pepper, seeded and quartered
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 teaspoons black peppercorns

– Place chicken pieces in large soup pot or Dutch oven. Season with salt and cover with cold water (chicken should be submerged 2 inches). Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until chicken is cooked through (temperature should read 160˚F), 30 to 35 minutes.

– Transfer chicken to large bowl. When it’s cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin and bones and shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. The chicken may be poached one day in advance: To store, add 3 cups broth to shredded chicken, cool to room temperature, cover with plastic, and refrigerate.

– Strain broth and reserve. Discard solids.

For the Rice:
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups long-grain white rice
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups chicken broth

– Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan.  Add the onion and salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in rice, carrots, and tomato paste. Add broth and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until most of the liquid has evaporated and you can see small bubbles on the surface (see How to Make Rice).  Reduce heat to lowest setting, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff rice with chopsticks or fork and remove from heat.

For the Arroz con Pollo:
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces Lil’ Smokies or Kielbasa sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green or red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup ketchup
Shredded chicken (see above)
¼ pound deli ham, chopped
1/3 cup capers, drained
1/3 cup pimento-stuffed olives, sliced
1 ½ cups frozen peas
Cooked rice (see above)

– Melt butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add sausage and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate.

– Add onion and bell pepper to now empty skillet and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Add tomato paste, chicken, ham, capers, olives, peas, and rice, stirring to combine thoroughly. Cook, stirring occasionally, to allow flavors to meld, 10 to 15 minutes.  Season to taste with salt.

– Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and white buttered toast.

What’s Up, Doc?

With the chill of autumn comes the inevitable drip, drip, drip of the rain. And the nose. Vegetable soups are perfect to fend off the outdoor and head cold; hardy, healthy, and, if you add a few warm spices like ginger and pepper, hot enough to clear up those sinuses.

Makes 5 to 6 cups
The honey in this recipe enhances the carrots’ sweetness, while the vinegar adds acidity for balance. This soup pairs nicely with peppery arugula. Ginger has a slow burn, so pass on it if you’re planning on serving this to kids. For a vegetarian option substitute chicken broth with vegetable broth.

For the Ginger Almonds:
2 teaspoons butter
½ cup slivered or sliced almonds
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger

– Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and salt and cook, shaking pan continuously, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in ginger and cook until nuts are coated and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to plate and reserve.

For the Honey-Pepper Yogurt:
1 (6-ounce) container Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon pepper

– Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until serving time.

For the Soup:
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
Salt and pepper
4 to 5 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup cream (optional)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

– Melt the butter in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, carrots, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook over medium heat, covered and stirring occasionally, until the carrots begin to soften, about 15 minutes.

– Add 4 cups of the broth and simmer over medium-low heat until the carrots are completely tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the honey, vinegar, and cream (if using).

– With a ladle, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree in batches until smooth. Transfer pureed soup to a soup tureen or second pot. If you prefer a thinner soup, stir in some of the remaining broth until you achieve desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

– Ladle the soup into bowls and top with yogurt and almonds.

Mom! The Meatloaf!!!

Now don’t go around spreading this, but every time Wedding Crashers is on TBS, I have to watch it. And at least once a day, the opportunity to quote Chazz comes up… “What is she doing back there? I never know what she’s doing…HEY MOM! The meatloaf! We want it now! THE MEATLOAF!!!” It never gets old.

I would imagine Chazz’s mom’s meatloaf is of the nightmare variety: compact, dried out, packed into a loaf pan. Maybe topped with a squirt of ketchup.  This genre of meatloaf – the bad kind – has been around for ages, and we’ve all had to swallow it down (with difficulty, no doubt) at some point. Why meatloaf keeps making it to the table in such pitiful format is puzzling, but I come bearing glad tidings! Meatloaf can be delicious! Meatloaf can be something you want to eat! Meatloaf doesn’t have to be made in a loaf pan!

Meatloaf really is better when it’s not squeezed into a pan. Thus contained, the beef juices ooze out and create a Jacuzzi-like environment for the meat, which results in a rubbery rectangle of boiled beef. Yuck. But, unfettered and free, the meatloaf develops a nice crust, which contrasts with juicy, tender beef.  I’ve experimented with a few flavor variations, but recently tried a Gourmet version, which incorporates bacon and prunes. You’ll love it.


Serves 6

For the Glaze
1 cup ketchup
½ cup prune preserves
¼ cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

For the Meatloaf
1 cup fresh bread crumbs (from 2 slices firm white sandwich bread)
1/3 cup whole milk
6 slices bacon, chopped
½ cup pitted prunes, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
Salt and pepper
1 ½ pounds ground beef chuck
½ pound ground pork
2 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

– Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and middle positions and heat oven to broil. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

– Whisk the ketchup, prune preserves, brown sugar, vinegar, and pepper flakes in a small saucepan.

– To make the panade, mash breadcrumbs and milk together in a small bowl; set aside. Process 4 slices bacon and prunes in food processor until finely ground; set aside. Melt butter in medium skillet. Add remaining 2 slices chopped bacon, onion, garlic, and celery and cook until vegetables are softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire, vinegar, allspice, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 ½ teaspoons pepper.

– In a large bowl combine the panade, bacon-prune paste, vegetables, beef, pork, eggs, and parsley and mix thoroughly with hands. Transfer mixture to prepared baking sheet and shape into a 9- by 5-inch oval. Brush meatloaf with about ¼ cup of glaze and broil until well browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

– Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and transfer meatloaf to middle rack. Bake until temperature registers 160 degrees, 35 to 45 minutes.  Remove meatloaf from oven, slide onto serving platter or carving board, and let rest 20 minutes.

– While meatloaf rests, bring sauce to a simmer over medium heat and cook until slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Serve sauce with meatloaf.

Social, Party of One

This bright tomato bruschetta with white bean spread is a snap to make: a perfect starter for a summer dinner party.

Or for an evening in when it’s just you and a marathon of bad TV (Miami Social, anyone?).

Serves 4

4 large, ripe tomatoes
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing bread
1 garlic clove, minced
8 slices Italian loaf bread (sliced  ¾ to 1 inch thick)
1 cup basil leaves

– With a small paring knife, remove the cores from the tomatoes. Cut them in half and, with a small spoon or melon baller, scoop out seeds. Chop tomatoes into ¼ inch-thick chunks and place in colander over bowl or in sink. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and toss. Allow to drain for 10 to 20 minutes.

– Meanwhile, combine 3 tablespoons olive oil with minced garlic in large bowl.  Heat grill to high and evenly brush both sides of each slice of bread with additional olive oil. Grill bread until toasted and marked, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to platter. (Alternatively, heat a panini press and grill bread until crisp and golden).

– Pat tomatoes dry with paper towels and transfer to bowl with garlic oil. Chop the basil leaves (do this last minute to keep them as fresh and flavorful as possible) and toss with tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

– Spread toasted bread with white bean spread (recipe follows) and top with tomatoes. Serve.

Serves 4

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans
2 tablespoons cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper

– Drain and rinse beans in a colander. Shake to remove excess liquid and transfer to a food processor.

– Add oil, garlic, and lemon juice and purée until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

– Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with pepper and drizzle with additional oil.

You can make the bean spread up to 2 days ahead: Store in an airtight container and cover the top with about 1/8” of olive oil to prevent it from forming a crust. Save the leftovers for more bruschetta or use as a dip for crudités.

Dear Cindy,

I’m very hesitant to post this recipe. I “heart” Korean barbecue, but other than liking it, I know nothing about it. I found a KBBQ beef recipe on Gourmet, made some changes, and basically took the “BBQ” aspect of it by making it in the oven. It was tasty, I swear. Maybe we can have some of the legit stuff next time I’m in LA?  xoxo

Serves 2

For the Salad
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
½ head iceberg lettuce, cored and shredded
1 small cucumber, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced  ¼” -thick
½ cup whole cilantro leaves
4 scallions, white and pale green parts thinly sliced(reserve these for beef), green tops thinly sliced

– Whisk soy sauce, vinegar, oil, and brown sugar together in small bowl.

– Toss lettuce, cucumber, cilantro, and scallion greens (tops only — see beef ingredients) together in large bowl.

– Continue with beef portion of recipe.

For the Beef
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
2 strip steaks (1 to ½ pounds total), thinly sliced

– Place a rimmed baking sheet on oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat to broil.

– Whisk first 7 ingredients and reserved scallions (see salad ingredients) together in medium bowl. Add meat and toss to coat evenly. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

– Open oven and carefully place preheated baking sheet on cooling rack. Spread beef out in single layer and immediately return to oven. Broil until beef is caramelized and lightly charred, 6 to 8 minutes.

-Toss salad with vinaigrette and serve with beef.


Summer has been reluctant this year, so when the sun does shine, I scramble up to the roof deck for a much-needed dose of vitamin D. The building I live in has outfitted the deck with some patio furniture and grills, and though I mocked the electric grills (the look like open-faced toaster ovens), I succumbed the other day and made turkey burgers for dinner.

Serves 4

Smoked paprika imparts a smoky barbecue flavor on otherwise bland turkey meat. Serve burgers with tortilla chips, hot sauce (such as Valentina brand), and sour cream or mayo.

For the Burgers
1 pound ground turkey
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ small onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
4 hamburger buns

– Combine ground turkey, salt, and pepper in medium bowl.

– Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add smoked paprika and cook until the onions are evenly coated and the paprika is fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the onion mixture to a bowl and allow it to cool slightly.

– Add onion mixture to the ground turkey and mix just until combined. Divide turkey mixture equally into 4 portions and shape into ¾”- to 1”-thick patties. Make a shallow divot or indenation in the center of each patty.

– Heat grill to medium-high. Cook burgers until nicely charred on each side and cooked through (temperature should register 160˚F on an instant-read thermometer), 4 to 5 minutes per side.

– Brush buns with remaining tablespoon oil and grill until warmed through and marks appear, about 2 minutes. Transfer to plates and top with burgers.

For the Scallion Guacamole
Remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeño if you are sensitive to heat. Pickled jalapeños and a tablespoon or 2 of the pickling brine are a nice substitution (or addition) here.

3 ripe avocados
¼ small onion, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
1 cup cilantro, chopped
6 scallions, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper

– Split avocados, remove pits, and spoon flesh out into a medium bowl. Add following 6 ingredients and mash coarsely with a fork. Season with salt and pepper to taste.