Braised Endive

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It was just a small rectangle on the cheese plate at The French Laundry; a single bite of braised endive to complement the other elements on the plate (apricot, a square of pistachio cake, a sour ale gastrique).

But that single bite stayed with me. It was memorable because endive, which is normally bitter, becomes remarkably sweet when it’s cooked. Not entirely sweet, though; the flavor is complex–which is why braised endive has a place on the menu at such a distinguished restaurant. The surprise is that it’s really easy to make at home.

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Pan-Fried Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Garlic and Mustard

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Every year, Craig’s dad, Steve, makes the most amazing prime rib for Christmas dinner (see here) and every year I help out the best I can, usually volunteering to make a side dish. Last year I made a gratin but this year, since mashed potatoes were already on the menu, I offered up a vegetable. At my request, Craig’s mom (Julee) bought me a bag of Brussels sprouts from the grocery store and when the dinner hour grew close, I opened their refrigerator and pulled out a bevy of ingredients to help in my enterprise.

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Sexy Cabbage Sexytime

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Let’s face it, cabbage is a tough sell. Even though it’s what makes coleslaw coleslaw and it’s a crunchy companion to a fish taco, most people associate it with their grandmother’s boiled cabbage fouling up the air with its death-like aroma. That’s why I’m titling this post Sexy Cabbage Sexytime because the other night, I came up with a way to cook it that’s so terrific, so genre-shifting, it’ll forever change the way that you think about cabbage.

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Persimmon Cranberry Sauce

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I love cranberry sauce. You can keep your stuffing, your gravy (blech!), as long as you give me my cranberry sauce, I’m happy.

What’s astonishing to me about cranberry sauce is how insanely easy it is to make. The idea that people open a can of that gelatinous mound of cranberry goop is mind-blowing to me. If you buy a bag of cranberries (and Ocean Spray pretty much has them in every grocery store this time of year) and add them to a pot with sugar and a splash of water, turn up the heat, you’ll have a cranberry sauce in five minutes. It’s really that simple.

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Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash and Apples

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If there’s a time of year to break out Molly Stevens’s new Roasting book, this is it. Thanksgiving dinner is all about roasting. If you deep-fry your bird, you’re missing out on one of the great aspects of Thanksgiving–the lovely aroma of a slow-roasting bird wafting through your house or apartment. Keeping in the spirit of roasting, your side dish should be roasted too. That’s why butternut squash is a good choice.

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What You Can Do With A Kaboucha Squash

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At the farmer’s market, when I bought those chanterelles, I also spied a Kaboucha squash. It’s a pretty squash, as you can see from the picture; the kind of thing that you might use to decorate your kitchen in the fall. (And here in Los Angeles, where things aren’t so autumnal, I can use all the help I can get.) Only; if you just used the Kaboucha to decorate, you’d be missing out on its great flavor.

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Chicken Fat Fried Potatoes

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It occurred to me last Thursday that one of the best recipes in my repertoire isn’t even something that I consider a recipe. It’s a thing that I’ve done for years and years–I talked about it in my video “How To Roast a Chicken”–and, yet, when I look at it by itself, separate from the main event, this thing that I do is pretty extraordinary. And that’s cutting small potatoes in half and placing them cut-side down around a whole chicken before it goes into the oven.

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Roasted Carrots, Radishes & Jerusalem Artichokes

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When it comes to roasting vegetables, the question shouldn’t be: “What vegetables can you roast?” The question should be: “What vegetables can’t you roast?”

Last week, I had some leftover carrots, radishes and Jerusalem artichokes from the farmer’s market (and, sidenote: whoever says the farmer’s market is more expensive than the regular grocery store hasn’t purchased carrots, radishes, or Jerusalem artichokes there before…they’re cheap!) and, as a side for a roast chicken dinner, I decided to roast ’em all in the same oven.

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