Cooking is quickly becoming one of my favorite ways to relax when I’m not on the road. It’s an excuse to listen to podcasts, fine-tune a skill, get creative with ingredients, and save a bit of money. But, what I love about cooking is that it’s often so much about who shared the recipe with you, and where you first enjoyed it. I wanted to pay it forward and share a few favorite recipes with you, so here goes…
Emily’s Simple Egg Poaching Technique
When Emily and I lived together, we often had lazy weekend mornings where we’d chat while making a big breakfast, using up whatever was in the fridge. One of those mornings, she taught me how to make crazy-simple poached eggs. It’s changed the way I eat breakfast. Nowadays, here’s a typical morning:
- Step one: Put on NPR One or a podcast, the key to cooking (obviously).
- Step 2: Boil 2 inches of water in a saucepan over high heat, plus a slog of vinegar. While you’re waiting, crack two eggs into two shallow bowls (or measuring cups, or mies dishes, whatever works). Brew tea. Empty the dishwasher.
- Step 3: Once the water is boiling, off heat. Gently lower the eggs into the hot water. Cover with lid. Tell Siri, “Set a timer for four minutes.”
- Step 4: Put toast in toaster.
- Step 5: After four minutes, enjoy your tea, buttered toast, and perfectly poached eggs.
- Step 6: Some mornings, I also eat half an avocado, because avocados are awesome.
I started doing this routine in early 2015, about six months before I left Boston. I’ve continued this routine and it provides a lot of consistency to my life where there otherwise would not be. Mentally, it’s a nice way to clear my head and start the day. It’s also a lovely reminder of the fun times I had with Em while we lived in Cambridge :)
Lori’s Ship’s Biscuit Revelation
My friend Lori knows more cookbooks and recipes than anyone I know. Last spring, she pointed me to Food52’s Genius Recipes cookbook, where every recipe showcases a “unique” cooking technique. The recipe she highlighted was “Ship’s Biscuit,” which features this weird and wonderful way of cooking an egg:
Let the pan heat up, and don’t move the eggs until the whites begin to set. Using a rubber spatula, move the whites around the pan to help cook through, while keeping the yolk unbroken. When the whites fluff up and are almost completely set, remove from the heat and fold the yolks into the white. The residual heat should cook the whites through and leave the yolks soft.
I loved it the first time I made it, and highly recommend the recipe (and cookbook!). It also looks beautiful…
Browned Butter, thank you Test Kitchen
The two best things that came out working at America’s Test Kitchen were the people I met (some of my closest friends are from there), and learning to cook. Of the many, many techniques I picked from the Test Kitchen, one of the best ones for baking is browning butter. Every time I make browned butter chocolate chip cookies or browned butter rice krispie treats, I never have any leftovers because my friends devour them all. The desserts feature a rich, nutty flavor, which become even more pronounced when topped with sea salt.
Jeannette + Tyler’s White Bean Chili
Every year I go on a ski trip with a big group of friends. It’s my Christmas – my happiest vacation of the year. And, because everyone makes a meal on the trip, I usually leave the weekend with a stack of new recipes to try. This year, Jeanette and Tyler whipped up a big batch of Giada’s White Bean Chili, which I loved. I’ve made the recipe twice since, and it’s the perfect winter dinner — it’s a one pot dish, it’s full of veggies, and it’s great for leftovers. (I’ve been subbing in turkey for chicken, and it’s still awesome).
Amy and Sam’s Northern Lights cocktail
Amy likes to call this cocktail “the drink that gets Steph drunk,” which is true :) On New Year’s Eve 2011, Amy and Sam brought over this devilish concoction after convincing the bartender at Craigie on Main to share the recipe with them (here it is, in Gourmet’s archives). It includes this insanely expensive but deliciously smooth spirit called Douglas Fir Eau De Vie. The drink is amazing, and Amy and Sam made it again at this year’s ski trip. Five years later, I still haven’t learned to imbibe this drink responsibly!
Want more? Other recipes I’ve enjoyed lately…
- Real Simple’s Ricotta Meatballs, perfect for preparing early or storing as leftovers. The Cook’s Illustrated meatball recipe, which my friends Eric and Elaina made for last year’s ski trip, is also incredible (but more time consuming).
- Blue Apron’s Quinoa Salad with Date vinaigrette was super healthy and yet still featured complex flavors. My co-worker Chris Hardie got me started on Blue Apron and I’ve truly enjoyed it because it introduces me to new recipes. Other Blue Apron hits: Dan Dan Noodles, Chicken and Udon Noodle Soup, Spinach and Creamy Barley
- America’s Test Kitchen’s Slow Cooker Revolution is one of my favorite cookbooks of all time. Every recipe is foolproof and amazing. The best recipe in it is the Thai Chicken Soup, which I’ve made probably over a dozen times and still love.