While we can call the year 2020 a lot of things, we can most definitely call it the year of home cooking. It was the year of sourdough baking, home canning and swap cooking when recipe ingredients were wiped out from store shelves, at least for a time, and we learned to make do without. We (hopefully) learned to waste less food and make more from our pantries, including what to do with all those beans.
Looking ahead to 2021, I’ve gathered some recipes that should start the New Year right, including a bit of lighter fare for the post-holiday mode, some citrus to brighten the palate and a few comforting dishes we all yearn for during colder months, even without an ongoing global pandemic.
This Salad with Endive, Radicchio, Blood Oranges and Avocado comes from a friend and cookbook author who lives on Martha’s Vineyard. Susie Middleton is a former editor at Taunton’s Fine Cooking magazine and has written many cookbooks, including one of my favorites called Fast, Fresh and Green (Chronicle, 2010). It’s filled with mouthwatering recipes and terrific tips for making more of your vegetables and I highly recommend owning a copy.
Susie’s recipe for Gingery Fried Rice with Broccoli encourages adaptation with whatever veggies you have on hand. I’d call it a perfect recipe for broccolini, which is a tasty cross between standard broccoli and a leafy cousin, often called Chinese broccoli.
Another recipe you might want to try with broccolini is this Charred Broccoli Chopped Salad that offers a creamy cashew dressing, sans dairy. Dress it up with creative toppings as suggested.
Citrus pops up again here with Butter Lettuce Salad with Pistachios and Orange Crème Fraiche Dressing. Orange segments give you that juicy burst and chopped pistachios add texture and nutty flavor.
In wintertime I’ve always got the soup pot on the stove and this recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Soup makes homemade soup super easy. The veggies roast on a lined sheet pan, you then plop them into broth on the stovetop to simmer, then whiz in a blender for a silky-smooth and comforting hot lunch.
This vegetarian dish for Mahogany Mushrooms is another winner from Susie Middleton (see above), especially over completely hands-off oven-roasted polenta. (And you can’t go wrong by stirring a cup or so of grated cheese into the polenta at the end of cooking!)
My new favorite recipe for a weeknight supper is Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Lentils and Tehina Sauce. I highly recommend either buying a jar of preserved lemons or making your own to top this dish. Traditionally used in Moroccan cooking, preserved lemons add a lemon piquancy to salad dressings, seared chicken, fish, veggies, even potatoes, plus pasta and more. They keep up to a year in the fridge and can also be made easily by hand—all you need are lemons, salt and a clean Mason jar. (Follow this recipe for preserved lemons and in a few short weeks you’ll have your own secret ingredient.)
Once you have some preserved lemons on hand, try this simple recipe for Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons.
Keep your wintertime dinner plate looking colorful with this recipe for Sweet Potatoes with Maple Crème Fraiche. If you prefer, yogurt or vegan cashew dressing makes a good swap here for the more rich crème fraiche (and for crème fraiche, you can buy it or make simply by combining equal parts heavy cream and sour cream).
Here is one last plug for broccolini (or broccoli!) in the totally comforting Chicken Broccoli Orzo Bake with Lemon and Feta—and best of all, it only uses one pan for a one-dish supper.
This comforting Baked Rigatoni with Lamb Ragu calls for ground lamb but you could easily substitute ground beef. It’s not a traditional Italian ragu but this New York version will do just as well when it comes out of the oven, hot and bubbling with melted cheese.
One more call for savory citrus dishes, try this Salmon with Garlic and Lime. The spicy sauce would do equally well on chicken or tofu if you prefer.
Switching over to the sweet side of life, but following my winter cravings for fresh citrus, try this juicy Fresh Oranges with Caramel Ginger; wonderfully sweet and sour, it makes for a lovely light dessert.
To end this winter’s recipe roundup, here are two desserts that offer both comfort and a touch of nostalgia, evoking those good ol’ days from the past (like just last year!), as well as the good days that are sure to come again. Enjoy this recipe for silky Butterscotch Pudding and another for Maple Pudding Cake—and be sure to put a big dollop of whipped cream on top. You’ve earned it.
Happy cooking, and happy 2021!
Genie McPherson Trevor is the founding editor of Edible Rhody magazine, a quarterly food journal that celebrates the local, seasonal bounty of Rhode Island. Edible Rhody is a member of Edible Communities, the James Beard award-winning publishing group with over 80 local Edible magazines in print across the United States and Canada.
To subscribe to Edible Rhody, please visit www.ediblerhody.ediblecommunities.com