Easy Weeknight String Beans

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The name of the game on a weeknight, as far as I’m concerned, is “big results, minimum effort.” Recipes that meet that criteria are few and far between, but when you hit on one (like the roasted broccoli, for example) you’ll never forget it.

Meet your new string bean side. You won’t need your old recipes anymore, because all you have to do is memorize this one. It’s pretty flawless.

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Rice Salad with Olives and Pine Nuts

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The smartest food bloggers rave about the recipes they post in the first paragraph so you’re positively dying to click ahead and read the rest. Me? I kind of do that, but I also can’t help being a truth-teller. So yesterday, I was honest when I said that I loved the Franny’s Toasted Almond Gelato recipe I made, but I also said it tasted–just very slightly–like snot. Now I’m here to tell you about a rice salad that I made from Staffmeals (quickly becoming one of my most-used cookbooks) that I enjoyed, but not fully, mostly because of how I cooked the rice.

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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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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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What To Do With Jerusalem Artichokes

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The Jews have an expression: “Next year in Jerusalem!” The idea is that next year, whatever we’re doing or celebrating, we’ll do it in Jerusalem, the place where all Jews should aspire to someday go. (I do aspire to go there some day, though I think Rome may be higher on my list, if only for the pasta.)

Why do I bring that up here? I needed some kind of intro to a post about Jerusalem artichokes and that seemed as good a way to start as any. This post actually has nothing to do with Jerusalem, the city in Israel; it has to do with those knobby little tubers that you may have seen recently at the farmer’s market.

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Potato Puree

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Please ignore the short rib in the above photo and focus on the cloud of white beneath it. That, my friends, is what we in the cooking industry (or the food blogging industry) call a potato puree. It’s a blend of riced potato innards (Yukon Gold & russets), two sticks of butter, heated cream and milk.

We owe this recipe to Suzanne Goin and her “Sunday Suppers at Lucques” which caused us some consternation two weeks ago when it almost killed us with melted plastic.

But my friend Jimmy was coming over for dinner last Sunday and I wanted to impress: so I turned to page 301 for Suzanne’s “Braised Beef Short Ribs with Potato Puree.” The rib recipe was fairly typical: brown in oil, aromatize with onion, carrot and celery, and deglaze with red wine and stock (plus, here, port and balsamic vinegar). The end result was scrumptious and comforting in this cold weather, but my heart belonged to the potato puree.

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