Five Weeknight Dinners That’ll Make Your Week Better

Some of you may know that my husband Craig is a director. Last week he went back to work, directing four episodes of our friend Ryan O’Connell’s Emmy-nominated Netflix show Special. The protocols on set are intense, as they should be during Covid. Craig gets tested almost every morning, he wears an N95 mask all day, and when he gets home after a thirteen hour day he’s super tired because of all the extra rigamarole Covid’s causing.

That’s where I enter the picture. I remember one of the first cookbooks that I ever bought was Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess and, even though I have my own work to do during the day (I have a few projects in the works!), at night I’ve blossomed as a true domestic diva. Here are the five dinners that I made last week each night that Craig came home from work. They certainly made our week better, maybe they’ll help with yours.

Continue Reading

Cap Off Your Summer with Caponata

Okay, we have a week left of summer and I’m milking it for everything it’s worth. Right now I have peaches ripening in my fruit bowl and I’m going to make peach ice cream, probably the last ice cream I’ll make for a while. It’s not that summer truly ends here in L.A. — if anything it keeps going and going and going — but at some point, as a seasonally-focused home cook, you’ve gotta embrace the calendar. So right now it’s tomato salads galore; next week it’ll be pumpkin bread.

And a great transitional dish? Caponata. “What’s caponata?” you ask. Think ratatouille with the dial turned up to eleven. Instead of a bunch of stewed summer vegetables, you have deeply browned eggplant, earthy celery, briny capers, and then red wine vinegar, sugar (yes, there’s sugar), and white wine. It’s sort of like an eggplant pickle but also an eggplant salad and also an eggplant condiment.

Continue Reading

My New Favorite Fall Salad

IMG_6178

Sometimes there’s a salad that you like, but don’t love, and then you change a few things about it and suddenly it’s your new favorite salad. That’s what happened with this salad, a familiar combination of apples and fennel and walnuts and golden raisins and arugula. It’s one you can probably find in my archives and that recipe in my archives is good but not great. This one is great. What’s the difference?

Continue Reading

Roasted Squash & Fennel Soup

IMG_0263

Dealing with expectations is a tricky endeavor for every cook, whether at home or at a four-star restaurant.

Granted, the four-star chef has a harder time: diners at a four-star restaurant expect impeccable service, pristine surroundings, and food at the cutting edge of what food can be. At home, things are a little different. You don’t have to make a streak of sauce on the plate with the back of a spoon, you don’t have to scrape crumbs off the table with a crumb-scraper, but if you’re going to serve something familiar, as I did recently with Butternut Squash Soup, it better be the comfortingly sweet version that everyone knows and loves. Sad to say that this one, which comes from one of my favorite cookbooks ever, Suzanne Goin’s “Sunday Suppers at Lucques,” isn’t.

Continue Reading

Zite with Onions, Sausage & Fennel

IMG_1.JPG

It’s a big heaping mess, but boy is it good. The recipe comes from “The Silver Spoon Cookbook,” a birthday gift from Matthew my show’s director and a book that’s called Italy’s version of “The Joy of Cooking.” This specific recipe comes from the special back section where Italian chefs offer up their own favorite dishes and is it any surprise that the chef whose recipe I fluttered to first was Lydia Bastianich? Her Cavatappi with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Cannellini Beans is an Amateur Gourmet staple–we eat it here at least once every two weeks. Plus, the recipe she offers up in this book–ziti with onions, sausage and fennel–is something I’ve seen her make on her show and it’s a naturally enticing combination.

You saw the end result on this week’s FN Dish and let me tell you, it was tremendous. The fat from the sausage enriches the pasta, the fennel and onion add a lovely sweetness, and then you douse the whole thing with cheese. It’s a crowd-pleaser, and definitely something to make before it gets warm outside. Here’s the recipe…

Continue Reading