Weeknight Cooking

9 Regional Dishes to Make Dinner Better, Says Nicholas

April 11, 2013

Every other Thursday, we bring you Nicholas Day -- on cooking for children, and with children, and despite children. Also, occasionally, on top of.

Today: Nicholas is off this week doing things for his new book! So we're revisiting the best of his regional dishes, near and far. They'll make dinner better.

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If you find yourself stuck in a dinner rut, let Nicholas lead you out. Before long, you'll be running to the pantry to check if you have a few drops of sesame oil left, or a tin of fish to save the day

Although a few of these dishes may require ingredients you're not all that familiar with (Tianjin preserved vegetable, we're coming for you), the result will be more than worth the effort -- or you can skip them and go the extra mile next time around. From Burma to Italy, and back to the U.S., these dishes will instantly upgrade your weeknight repertoire.

Bagna Cauda: Dressing for Dinner

bagna cauda


Sweet-Sour Short Rib Stew


Sichuanese Dry-Fried Green Beans


Eggplant Dip with Yogurt (Borani-e Bademjan)

eggplant dip 


Lemongrass Ginger Patties


Yogurt Soup with Cucumber and Walnuts (Tarator)



Tomato-y, Yogurt-y Shakshuka


Dinner in a Bottle: Lo Soi

lo soi


Corn Chowder

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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I'm the author of a book on the science and history of infancy, Baby Meets World. My website is nicholasday.net; I tweet over at @nicksday. And if you need any good playdoh recipes, just ask.