What We're Cooking This Week

Our January Recipe of the Month (& More Dishes to Make This Week)

January  4, 2020
Photo by James Ransom

Welcome to What We’re Cooking This Week, a weekly love letter from our recipe developer Emma Laperruque, all about what the Food52 team is cooking and craving off-hours (with a few snacks for thought, too).


I recently added three recurring events to my calendar—12 p.m., 2 p.m., and 5 p.m.—all entitled “Stairs!” This is just what it sounds like: I go to the stairs, walk from our floor to the top of the building, walk back down, and return to my desk.

Apparently this is supposed to improve my balance and make me live longer. But the more obvious benefit is: It gets me away from my desk, which is something I’m bad at doing myself, and clears my head, which is another thing I’m bad at.

For what it’s worth, this is not a New Year’s resolution. If it were, I’d probably say something like, “Stairs every day!” But that wouldn’t last. And then, as soon as I missed one—and I will miss one—I’d scrap the whole thing. The worst part about New Year’s resolutions, whether it’s stairs or yoga, weeknight dinners or meal prep, is that they’re usually all-or-nothing. And all-or-nothing usually leads to...nothing.

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Top Comment:
“Last time I checked they had a full ten years and the years start at one, not zero. New decade starts in about 360 days and change. Keep up the great work - just don't fall prey to pop culture group thinking! ”
— David K.
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So here’s to: stairs as much as I can. If I miss one, there’s always a next one. Whatever your 2020 resolution is, I hope you keep at it—you know, even after you screw it up.

Olive Oil–Braised Chickpeas

Meet our newest Recipe of the Month: olive-oil braised chickpeas, by way of Joy the Baker, one of our longtime favorite blogs. It’s chock-full of everything I want to eat right now: chickpeas, capers, feta, thyme, so much olive oil. Food52er Sarah Jampel added even more good stuff, like chile flakes, olives, and lemon wheels (oh yes). Serve with bread or grains, like quinoa, farro, or bulgur—or toss the whole shebang with pasta. Whatever you do, let us know when you make it with #f52rotm, and we’ll do the same.

Marinated Tofu Sandwiches

“I’ve been really into tofu these days!” Senior Editor Eric Kim told me. Eric! Same. It’s hard not to be when we have these shiny-new marinated tofu steak sandwiches from columnist Rebecca Firkser. To yield a chewy-meaty texture, Rebecca freezes the tofu first: “Frozen (and then defrosted and cooked) tofu takes on a decidedly unique texture that makes for excellent chow.” The extrovert marinade (honey! vinegar! paprika! ginger!) doesn’t hurt either.

Chicken for Family Dinner

My husband and I recently moved to a suburb in New Jersey that just happens to be a 10-minute drive from my parents and grandma. Every Sunday, we get together for dinner—one week their house, next week ours, and so on. Which means I'm always on the hunt for hands-off dishes. Say, this highly-cozy, very-Genius chicken gratin with cream, Gruyère, and white wine (just add in a bread loaf, big salad, and done). Or this apple cider–braised chicken that's tangy-sweet thanks to vinegar.

Bean Soup for the Soul

“This cozy bean soup from cookbook author, Meike Peters, checks all the boxes: earthy, creamy borlotti beans; sturdy, vegetal curly kale; super-flavorful broth (I like Better Than Bouillon here); and a silky poached egg on top,” Managing Editor Brinda Ayer told me. “When the yolk bursts, it thickens and rounds out the otherwise clear soup in a magnificent way. But the best part? It takes about 20 minutes to make, start to finish.” Talk about a ripe way to use all the dried beans I got for my wedding.

Chocolate, Meet Avocado

I like chocolate, chocolate likes avocado, avocado likes me? Something like that. Think of avocado less as a topping for toast or dip for chip, more like cream—buttery and rich. In Hannah Bronfman’s no-cook chocolate mousse, it yields dessert as fluffy as a Round Boy. And in dark chocolate avocado truffles, it mimics cream for an almost-ganache. It’s too hard to pick, so we’ll just have to try both.


On the Side

New year, new Good Reads reading challenge. I was one book shy of my 2019 goal (26 books), which means: Try, try, try again. 26 books in 2020! Do share recs in the comments—I’ll share one back.

My yoga instructor Adriene just launched a new 30-day challenge. One of her other 30-day programs is what sparked my four months (and counting!) streak. I can’t recommend it enough.

What’s your not-resolution resolution? Let me know below.

Talk soon,
Emma

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Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.

23 Comments

Amy G. January 8, 2020
Love the recipes and the book recommendations here! Recent books I've read and liked: Long Bright River, The Fountains of Silence, American Spy, Circe, This Tender Land.
 
Amy L. January 7, 2020
Favorite reads this year:
Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Born A Crime by Trevor Noah
Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Educated by Tara Westover
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
 
tia January 6, 2020
I got to 52 books this year, I think. It would be a lot higher if amateur (unpublished) fiction counted, though! Some of my favorites this year: _Because Internet_ by Gretchen McCulloch, all of the Murderbot books (they're hilarious and charming, I promise), and Ann Leckie's _The Raven Tower_.

I was VERY surprised by the directions that _The Cruel Prince_ and it's sequels went. Pleasantly so. Those were fun reads, though I'm not sure they'll have any staying power.
 
Tricia January 5, 2020
I LOVE the Lekue pens from y’all! Great for drizzling on top of tacos, enchilladas, etc. Had to drag my Texas roots to Wyoming with all the Tex-Mex! Two of these makes for 1 for savory & 1 for sweet! Sweet!
 
Darlene B. January 5, 2020
My non-resolution resolution: Don't read Facebook comments. More often than not, doing that one thing tends to raise my blood pressure. Also, trade time on Facebook for time doing recipe research.
 
Danielle January 5, 2020
New year...maybe some new recipes? The ones you’ve included are great, but I’d love some new ideas.
 
Eric K. January 5, 2020
Hi Danielle,
Here are our latest! More coming up very soon. :)
https://food52.com/recipes/search?o=newest&tag=test-kitchen-approved
 
elizabethmoore January 5, 2020
My kids loved your meal, please keep sharing more delicious recipes.
CakeBox
 
Sue S. January 5, 2020
Walking UP stairs is wonderful. But the orthopedic surgeon who works on your knees in the future will tell you that walking DOWN is the WORST thing for your knees. :) Take care of your knees. Believe me, you will miss them when they are gone!
 
Heather O. January 5, 2020
I just set my goodreads' goal for 2020: 75 books. I hit 78 in 2019. Some of my favorite reads from 2019: Daisy Jones and the Six, To the Bright Edge of the World, The Disappearing Earth, The River, The Institute, The Farm, Queenie, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna, and Mrs. Everything.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. January 6, 2020
78?! I'm in awe.
 
Heather O. January 6, 2020
Reading is my life's passion. I am a professor of literacy so I better practice what I preach! :)
 
Gail January 5, 2020
I've been with Adrienne everyday(multiple videos each day) since July! I think she's going BIG this year!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. January 6, 2020
That's amazing! She's the best.
 
Ruth January 5, 2020
I'm reading The White Album by Joan Didion. It's a book of essays. Her delight in the intricacies of language is delicious!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. January 6, 2020
Love her, but haven't read that one yet! Thanks for the rec.
 
BJGBK January 5, 2020
Yay! Yoga with Adriene!
 
Lisa M. January 5, 2020
Emma, I too have challenged myself to read 26 books on the Goodreads site. One down, 25 to go. Try Where The Forest Meets The Stars. Read it one afternoon.
 
David K. January 5, 2020
Thank you for the recommendation - will check it out.
 
Lisa January 6, 2020
I'm going to shoot for 30 books this year on Good Reads. I'm always looking for recommendations on books to read, This one looks great. Thanks
 
Author Comment
Emma L. January 6, 2020
Thanks for the rec, Lisa, and good luck with your goal!
 
David K. January 5, 2020
Nice posts! Thank you. Been a long time follower. No new decade, yet. Last time I checked they had a full ten years and the years start at one, not zero. New decade starts in about 360 days and change. Keep up the great work - just don't fall prey to pop culture group thinking!
 
Ashley T. January 5, 2020
So interestingly, for mathematical calculation purposes a decade would start with a year ending with 1, but historians broadly characterize decades as the years ending with 0 to ending with 9. It might not make mathematically logical sense, but for practical and cultural purposes, 2020 is the beginning of a new decade.