Pot Roast

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When I think pot roast, I think Americana, I think 50s sitcoms and a beleaguered housewife who intones: “Oh, darn it, I burnt the pot roast!”

It’s not a dish that I ate much growing up, eating–as we did–most of our meals out. My first real pot roast memory, actually, comes from Atlanta. I ordered pot roast at one of my favorite, kitschy restaurants there–Agnes & Muriel’s–and got very sick afterwards. I don’t blame Agnes & Muriel’s, but I did blame pot roast. I avoided it for years.

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Food52

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Amanda Hesser’s. I’ve been cooking her recipes–from her vanilla bean loaves to her carrot fennel soup–for as long as I’ve been cooking, really. Which is why I’m so delighted that Amanda and her friend Merrill Stubbs have joined our ranks here on the world wide web. Check out their new site Food52: a fun, interactive recipe resource that allows you to submit recipes, vote for recipes and help shape an actual cookbook that’ll be published at the end of a year. I really love the videos of Amanda and Merrill cooking together (like this one of them cooking fish): it’s refreshing to discover that the authoritative voice behind the New York Times Magazine food section is just a normal person like you and me. With an incredibly nice kitchen.

Easy Biscuits

It’s a good thing to know how to make biscuits. I mean, at what point of the day would you say “no” to a hot buttermilk biscuit, fresh from the oven? The answer is: “No point of the day, Adam. I would eat a biscuit any time.”

I’m right there with you, imaginary person. I love biscuits and I try to make them whenever I can, especially on Sunday mornings when I send Craig to the store to buy eggs. “Buy some buttermilk too,” I often say because, really, if he buys buttermilk, I have everything else I need to make biscuits. To make fresh biscuits all you need is butter, buttermilk, flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt. Everything else is technique.

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Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli

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Remember that broccoli post I posted a few months ago? The Best Broccoli of Your Life? It kind of took the world–or, rather, the web–by storm. To prove it, do a Google search for “best broccoli recipe” and marvel at the #1 result. If Google says it’s the best broccoli recipe, then it has to be, doesn’t it? Just like if you Google “best food blogger,” my blog… what? WHAT? Get Google on the phone right now!

I think so many people liked that recipe because it resulted in broccoli with a texture and a flavor few of us were familiar with. Crispy, caramelized broccoli? Not that mushy, frozen stuff? Plus all that lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, and Parmesan cheese; it was kind of hard not to love that broccoli. It’s the kind of recipe that’d be difficult to improve upon; that is, until you add shrimp.

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Katy’s Pizza

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Pizza god Adam Kuban of SliceNY and Serious Eats had this to say the last time I made pizza: “AmGour: I love ya and all, man, but you gotta spread that dough out thinner!”

A thin crust, it turns out, is the sine qua non of perfect pizza. The great pizzas of New York–Di Fara, Franny’s, and Una Pizza Napoletana–all have relatively thin crusts that don’t overwhelm the other pizza elements. But, I must confess, when I’m at home making pizza my goal isn’t to recreate these laudable thin-crust pizzas; my goal is to recreate my friend Katy’s pizza, from the days when she lived close by in Atlanta.

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Greatest Hits

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It was easy to pick out my biggest disasters–they sort of speak for themselves–but how to narrow down five years of food blogging to just a few favorite recipes?

The truth is that I can narrow it down pretty easily because there are two specific recipes that are all-time greats; so great, I make them at least once a month. The first is the picture you see above: Cavatappi with Sun-Dried Tomatoes. I gleaned the recipe from my favorite TV Chef, Lydia Bastianich, and it’s just one of those recipes with singular ingredients–sun-dried tomatoes, red chile flakes, garlic, cannellini beans–that, through the process of being cooked together, become a beautiful whole. Added to cavatappi noodles, which look like Slinkies made of eggs and flour, it’s a squiggly, scrumptious feast. Topped with cheese, it gets even better.

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Baked Red Kidney Beans with Chorizo

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Is cheating on a recipe like cheating on a test? I wondered that as I made the “Red Kidney Beans Baked with Chorizo, Chilli, Garlic, and Olive Oil” from Simon Hopkinson’s sequel to “Roast Chicken & Other Stories,” “Second Helpings of Roast Chicken.”

Simon, or Mr. Hopkinson (that feels more appropriate), calls for dried kidney beans in his recipe “soaked in cold water overnight.” I have a philosophy about recipes that call for dried beans soaked in cold water overnight: I hate them! Who plans a recipe the night before? I mean, ok, there’ve been times I knew I was having guests the next day where I made a cake ahead or marinated meat ahead, but I’ve never soaked beans ahead. I just refuse to do it; I use canned beans instead.

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