We can’t think of anything more versatile and delicious than these tomatoes. Eat them by themselves, over rice, tossed with pasta, as a friend for fish, underneath steak, baked with eggs, and spooned next to squash.
Like cucumber, watermelon loses much of its spirit when subjected to heat, so I almost never recommend it any way other than cold and raw. I’ve made an exception here because more people need to know about the wizardry that happens when watermelon and pork cook slowly together. Everybody who eats this will think the watermelon is tomato. Everybody.
Cookbook author and cooking teacher Rick Rodgers’s immediate family isn’t too large (he has two brothers, also excellent cooks), but his extended family is very big. His great-grandmother had nine children, and his maternal grandmother had seven, so, many relatives show up for the family reunions that occur on an irregular basis. “We often use my mom’s birthday as a reason for us all to get together—last year it was thirty-five hungry people. Spareribs are the favorite main course. My method grew out of a necessity to serve everyone.” Rick says that he prefers big,meaty spareribs to baby backs because he can get more servings from the spareribs. He also recommends having many filling side dishes as a way to keep everyone’s plate filled and to cut down on the work required by the person attending the grill.
Bright, refreshing, sweet, and tangy, these cucumbers work just as well next to (or inside) a hearty winter sandwich as they do at a summer barbecue. Any leftover cucumbers will keep well for a few days in the refrigerator, but they will continue to give off liquid; just drain it off and add another squeeze of fresh lime juice before serving.
You can’t deny yourself a good potato – fact! Especially if it is a potato salad that has the added goodness of nuts, lentils and greens. You simply can’t go wrong.
This is one amazing steak. It’s simple to prepare and you get maximum flavor in a short period of time. Flank steak is a lean cut, so be careful you don’t overcook it; medium-rare is ideal.
Fresh Pacific halibut is a seasonal splurge. It needs very little to enhance its flavor—in fact, it’s almost a sin to fuss too much with it. I like to prepare it simply: pan-seared until golden and crisp with a quick sauté of sweet, garlicky cherry tomatoes on the side. Depending on how long you cook the tomatoes, they can be firm and fresh or soft and jammy. I usually aim for somewhere right in between, but they’re delicious either way.
If you’ve never had a bánh mì, it is a Vietnamese sandwich, typically made with salty-sweet marinated pork. It’s tangy, too, from the pickled radishes and carrots, and spicy from the jalapeños. It’s all of my favorite flavors housed between a crusty baguette. I’ve turned this classic sandwich into a lighter, plant-forward salad, fusing in a Tex-Mex avocado crema as the dressing. The honey–soy sauce roasted chickpeas, used in place of the pork, are good on their own as a snack. This salad takes a bit of work when done in a single breadth, but most of it can be made ahead, like the Quick-Pickled Radishes and Carrots, the croutons, and even the Avocado Crema. When prepped in advance, dinner takes no time at all to throw together and tastes this good.
It might seem a hassle to roast the fennel and tomatoes separately, but it does make things easier when you come to assemble this, as each element stays intact and keeps its shape.
Smashed cucumbers, or pai huang gua, is a Sichuan dish that is typically served with rich, spicy food. We started with English cucumbers, which are nearly seedless and have thin, crisp skins. Placing them in a zipper-lock bag and smashing them into large, irregular pieces sped up a salting step that helped expel excess water. The craggy pieces also did a better job of holding on to the dressing. Using black vinegar, an aged rice-based vinegar, added a mellow complexity to the soy and sesame dressing.