Since the holidays, I’ve heard a lot of people remark, in awe, that somehow it’s still winter. Which is ironic because winter only started in late December. But I get it: In the northeast, it’s been cold for a while, and the cold gets tiring.
My answer to this, as it is to most things, is food. Cozy breakfasts, cozy lunches, cozy dinners, and a cup of tea in hand at all times. Below are five dishes to warm you up for the week.
All best enjoyed while wearing thick socks.
Most muffins are just individual-sized cakes without frosting, which is great on some days, and not enough to get you to lunch on others. Our Test Kitchen’s Best Apple Muffins are inspired by a Joanne Chang recipe that hinges on oats and whole-wheat flour. We threw in Greek yogurt, lots of apple hunks, and just enough cinnamon and ginger to feel like a hug. If you don’t eat all of them in one go, keep the rest individually wrapped in the freezer, throw one in your bag on the way out the door, and pop it in the microwave at work.
There are those people who remember to soak dried beans on a Tuesday night, only to come home from work on Wednesday, bring them to a simmer, and patiently wait. I am not one of those people. I am hungry, very hungry, as soon as I get home. Which is where recipes like this—Stewy White Beans With Escarole, Garlic & Sizzled Rosemary—come in handy. Canned beans get zhuzhed up with some of my favorite ingredients and the whole thing cooks for 20-something minutes, not upwards of an hour. Yes, please.
Of course you can dress a salad with nothing but olive oil and vinegar—and, between us, most nights that’s exactly what I do. But! When I do take the extra few minutes to make a jar of dressing, to keep in the fridge throughout the week? Those are good weeks. Those are weeks when I feel like, Yeah, I am taking care of myself! Yeah, I do have my shit together! Yeah, everything is working out! This Creamy Vegan Dressing is next on my list. I love how it leans on nutritional yeast for umami, then goes hard on the spunky ingredients, like black pepper, Dijon, and lemon juice.
I’ve been meaning to make two chickens by cookbook author Alison Roman for awhile. (And I will! Someday! Soon!) The first, a vinegary, olive-y number, went viral in her New York Times column. The second comes by way of her latest book, Nothing Fancy—Sticky Chile Chicken With Hot & Sour Pineapple. Since this book is about having people over, the yield is generous, for six to eight people. I’ll chop that in half for a night in with my cat and Netflix. (No, I won’t feed my cat the spicy chicken.) https://food52.com/recipes/82027-chile-chicken-with-pineapple-recipe
Soup is my favorite desk lunch, not just because it’s nourishing and filling, but because you can make 16 portions almost as easily as you can make one, and you can freeze these in pint containers. Then, you win a big prize (a sense of accomplishment). This Split Pea Soup for a Winter’s Day just caught my eye—it’s been a community favorite for almost 10 years. “This is perfection,” SaraMarsh said. “My family loves this soup,” Cathy W. said. “This is a terrific soup!” Keg72 said. And that’s just a few of them.
So, I finally started watching Cheer—you, too? Maybe if enough of us binge-watch it during the Super Bowl, next year’s big game will actually be a cheer competition.
I’m still reading The Best American Food Writing 2019, which led me to Mark Binelli’s essay on salty licorice, which had me shaking my head in wonder and howling (cackling?) with laughter in bed. Apologies to my husband, who was trying to sleep, but you’re welcome to you. It’s a complete joy.
What are you cooking and watching and reading these days? Let me know; I love to hear from you.