Do you soup swap? Whether it's an informal trade with a neighbor, or a more organized Soup Swap party with a group of friends, making and sharing soup is as comforting as a pot of soup itself. The basic idea of soup swap is that you exchange quart-size containers of soup with general appeal (everyone does not love borscht, as it turns out), that can be frozen for enjoyment throughout the cool weather months. It's great fun to make something you know will nestle into a friend's freezer, to be pulled out and savored on a chilly evening. For my next swap, I wanted to create a make-ahead-and-freeze bean soup with neither tomato nor hot pepper in any form. This turkey, red bean and cabbage... Read more →

There are buckwheat noodles, and there are buckwheat noodles, and if you follow a gluten-free diet, you know what I mean. Some brands contain wheat flour as well as buckwheat; some contain yam or sweet potato; several brands are 100 percent buckwheat. I think they all taste so similar that, unless you have celiac disease, you can cook with them interchangeably. Read the labels when you shop at Asian markets; by law, ingredients must be listed in English on packaged foods sold in the United States. Soba noodles make a perfect backdrop for sauces with citrus, and here it's lime that provides the tart balance to the earthy buckwheat. My friend Sarah gave me a gorgeous yellow cucumber, as well as mint from her community... Read more →

For someone who suffers from appetizer anxiety like I do, these little bacon, lettuce and tomato skewers couldn't be easier. The only cooking is the bacon, and you actually have to undercook it to be able to thread it onto the skewers. And, who doesn't love a good BLT? I love to serve these little bites with wasabi mayonnaise, which really packs a punch, and adheres somewhat to the spirit of a traditional BLT sandwich. You can mix up any dipping sauce you like, with mayonnaise as the base. Instead of wasabi, try adding Sriracha sauce, or some of the adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers. Don't want spicy? How about stirring some basil pesto into your mayo, or garlicky Green Goddess salad... Read more →

FACT: Bacon makes everything better. It doesn't take much bacon to perk up any recipe, especially something as fundamentally bland as rice. And kids are more likely to eat a bowl of rice with vegetables if it also has easy-to-spot pieces of bacon bobbing here and there. In this recipe, bacon lends its salty, smoky notes to an already-rich risotto. After rendering the bacon fat in the pot (or the electric pressure cooker, which is my preferred way of cooking risotto these days), you remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and return it to the pot after the rice is done. The rice cooks in the rendered bacon fat, plus a little bit of olive oil. Broccoli, stirred in after the rice finishes, benefits... Read more →

The calendar tells me that soup season has arrived, but even without the calendar, I feel it in my bones. Cooler temperatures, dry air, a few leaves changing color here and there: it all spells soup. After the humid heat of summer, I'm finally willing to turn the stove on again. To get my soup-making juices flowing, I raided my pantry a couple of weeks ago to create a pot of tomato soup with a spicy kick. The tomato base combines canned chopped tomatoes, red sofrito, and mild red enchilada sauce. Rice gives the soup body, and you can omit the added jalapeño pepper if you want a milder soup. As is, this soup is vegan and gluten-free, but I'd never discourage you from topping... Read more →

Every parent fantasizes about the perfect vegetable dish, the one children will adore and eat without protest (and ask for seconds). Maybe, just maybe, this cheesy broccoli brown rice will be that dish for your family. Maybe not, but I guarantee you will lick the bowl clean, even if your kids don't. This is a great base dish. For vegetarians, it's hearty enough to be a main course. Stir in some leftover rotisserie chicken, or grilled shrimp, to stretch it into an easy weeknight dinner for the whole family. The cashews on top are completely optional, but add a nice crunch. I make the whole recipe in my rice cooker, which is a small three-cup model, because it's just so much easier to make brown... Read more →

Comfort food, plain and simple. Even though this skillet supper of turkey sausage, potatoes, mushrooms and peppers might look like cold weather food, when you need it, you need it. And I needed it a couple of weeks ago, on one of the hottest days of the summer. I can't explain why, but as I stood, sweltering, over the stove, the aroma coming up from the pan made me happy, and that's what comfort food is supposed to do. My supermarket carries several brands of smoked lean turkey sausage, which is fully cooked, and I'm sure yours does, too. Choose your favorite for this dish. Add more potatoes, or more sausage, or more mushrooms, whatever you like. Proportions are not terribly important, as Julia Child... Read more →