For some reason, I seldom make couscous in cold weather, except when I cook a long-simmering tagine, for which couscous is the best possible base. I can't explain why, but I think of couscous more as a summer mix-in. It's quick to prepare (the instant variety, that is) and light, yet provides body to vegetable dishes and salads. In this recipe for couscous with shrimp, avocado, tomato and mint, the couscous fills in the little spaces in between, and it absorbs a bit of the lemon dressing that pulls everything together. It's a perfect picnic main course that you can make several hours ahead, and you can prepare some with shrimp and some without, for your vegan friends. Lemony couscous with shrimp, avocado, tomato and... Read more →


What does it take to make a really great sandwich? Not much, but the secret to greatness is that each element must be the very best version of itself. For this steak sandwich with spicy harissa-lime sauce, start with good bread, a baguette or ciabatta loaf. Soft, leafy lettuce. Steak, any cut you like, grilled just the way you like it. (I use flank steak, which cooks quickly and slices easily.) And a good slathering of this simple yet spectacular sauce, made with real mayonnaise, which is the key to this sandwich. That's it. That's all you need. Steak sandwich with spicy harissa-lime sauce From the pantry, you'll need: mayonnaise, harissa, lime, fresh black pepper. Serves 4; can be multiplied. Ingredients 1/4 cup mayonnaise 1... Read more →


Turkey burgers, the lighter and leaner cousin of hamburgers, always need a helping hand to keep them from drying out and turning to hockey pucks on the grill. You can blend some grated zucchini with the meat, or add yogurt, as I do in my turkey meatballs, or try a different strategy as I've done here. For this burger, I put the cheese inside, and tucked in some diced green chile peppers, too, because there was plenty of room. Canned green chiles are not very spicy, but you can use half the amount if you prefer. While the grill is hot, throw on some onion rings, and pile those on the burgers with slices of juicy tomatoes. And if lots of cheese is your thing,... Read more →


My friend Lucia married her sweetheart, Sandy, a couple of weeks ago, and when people marry in midlife, it's always a happy affair. The celebration, a potluck, demanded a festive and elegant contribution, and for that, nothing fit the bill better than Chicken Marbella. With all of the extra bits of ingredients out on the kitchen counter, and a few leftovers in the fridge, I mixed up this gorgeous salad, and it was a total winner, wedding-worthy in its own right. If you're a fan of rice and beans, or of Chicken Marbella, you'll love this salad, because it marries the two dishes. Use leftover cooked rice, canned beans, a little bit of chicken breast (or store-bought rotisserie chicken), and lots of olives, capers and... Read more →


This season, I'm grilling greens. Not just the typical asparagus and zucchini, but the leafy greens usually reserved for salads. Cabbage and bok choy and kale. And now, lettuce. Something wonderful happens to greens on the grill. They get warm and a little bit smoky, and they taste sweeter, too. Chop your grilled greens and add them to salads like this grilled lettuce salad with tomato, cucumber, bacon, cheese, and a creamy dressing. Or use them as wraps, replacing tortillas or rice paper wrappers. For something new at your next barbecue, toss your greens with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, and throw them on the grill. You're going to love it. Grilled lettuce salad with creamy Dijon dressing From the pantry, you'll... Read more →


This is my summer of thighs. No, not my thighs, the ones I don't want to show in a bathing suit: I'm talking about chicken thighs. My freezer runneth over with packages of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. (Consider yourselves warned.) If you are reading this in the morning, you could be eating this for lunch or dinner. The grilled chicken requires a quick marinade, made from ingredients you probably always have in the pantry (and can buy at the regular grocery store). And once cooked, the chicken tastes good hot or cold, which makes it a great make-ahead dish for summer entertaining. If you don't have a grill, go ahead and cook this under the broiler. I love to serve the chicken sliced and wrapped... Read more →


When it comes to revisiting old recipes, things don't always work out the way I plan. A post from 2008 needed updating with new photographs -- easy enough -- but when it came time to make the recipe, I realized that this was another case of how my cooking style and tastes have changed. Perfect for the broiler or grill and ideal for Meatless Mondays (and vegan friends), this tofu and asparagus dish with a rich, salty hoisin and sesame sauce bears slight resemblance to the original. I've simplified the number of ingredients, and eliminated the noodles, which I seldom eat these days. The grill lends a slightly smoky taste to the tofu, which is lovely but not entirely necessary if, like me, you don't... Read more →