Szechuan Miso Noodles with Crispy Shallots

It’s miso noodle time again, friends. If you’ve been with me on this blog for some time, you may have already come across my miso noodle fandom, in the form of these garlicky, life-changing, miso butter noodles. They are one of the most popular recipes I’ve ever written, which makes me believe the world must need more miso noodle recipes. Well, this one delivers – big time. Richness? Check. Acidity? Check. Heat? CHECK. A crispy, fried garnish? CHECK!!

Szechuan miso noodles in pan
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How to make eggplant taste good

TL;DR: Add a delicious sauce and roast the heck out of it.

Eggplant haters of the world, this one’s for you. I know you’re out there because a) I’m one of you and b) there are countless articles on the internet explaining why eggplant is the worst with recipes dedicated to all the people who hate it. But, despite the drama surrounding eggplant and its gross, bland, bitterness, it is possible to make this vegetable taste good. (Fact check: eggplant is technically a berry -*eye roll*.) All you need is some umami-loaded oyster sauce, a little sesame oil, and a generous drizzle of sambal oelek. And while we’re at it, you might as well throw in some broccoli, red onions, and fluffy jasmine rice to make it a Sweet and Spicy Vegetable Bowl. Trust me, you will be hungry enough for a meal once you get a whiff of this eggplant business roasting in the oven.

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Giant Dinner Salad

Giant Dinner Salads: if you know, you know. When the mood strikes, they can be your one-way ticket to total satisfaction, in a leafy-green kind of way. (Looking at you Charred Corn Salad and Steak and Apple Salad😘.) If you’re familiar with this blog at all though, you’re aware there will be more than just greens in this salad bowl. In my on-going saga of “more is always more”, we’re adding farro, cheese (Parmesan is good but manchego is great), smoked almonds, sliced pears, and dried cranberries to this towering pile of good-for-you greens. Also, this Giant Dinner Salad features thinly sliced chicken breast. But, you are welcome to leave that out for a meat-free situation and things will still be delicious.

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Beef and Beer Stew with Cheddar Dill Scones

Here’s the thing. I’m all about healthy food and vegetables. And, I can even get behind using up all the odds, ends, and scraps of your plant-based delights in the interest of maximizing nutrients and such. But, I’m also veeeeery into super-cozy comfort food, and that’s what we’re dealing with today. This Beef and Beer Stew with Cheddar-Dill Scones is semi-quick-cooking (when compared to traditional beef stew, anyway), super-flavorful thanks to a beer-infused beef stock, and the whole shebang is topped with flaky, cheesy, herby scones. Yes, yes, and yes.

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Squash and Country Ham Hand Pies

Listen up, friends – it’s fall! Ok, it’s been fall ever since this epically delicious mac and cheese found its way into our mouths and hearts. But in this moment, fall means cozy, savory hand pies stuffed with an earthy butternut squash and salty country ham filling. And did I mention the pastry is loaded with toasted pecans? Yup. Fully channeling autumnal North Carolina goodness here.

hand reaching for one Squash and Country Ham Hand Pie
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Caramelized Onion and Bacon Mac and Cheese

Every once in a while a meal is created that you just want to curl up in bed and snuggle with. This is that meal. Macaroni and cheese already falls squarely in the comfort food category but when you add sweet caramelized onions and salty, smoky bacon to it… It’s a real situation. You might be thinking, “Nah, that sounds too rich for me,” to which I would say, “Get real. It definitely is not.”

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Homemade Sweet Corn and Jalapeno Ravioli

Ok, are you all familiar with the amazingness that is homemade pasta? It’s in its own category of greatness, especially when you stuff it with ricotta, goat cheese, basil, and little pops of fresh sweet corn and spicy jalapeno. Come on – sweet, spicy, herby, and creamy? These are words I live my life by. And honestly, the texture of homemade pasta is just unbeatable. Once you try it, you’ll never look back. (Except when you feel lazy and just want a bowl of buttery spaghetti out of a box. I feel you.)

Homemade Corn and Jalapeno Ravioli
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Coffee-Rubbed Smoked Pork Butt

In northeastern North Carolina, and several other parts of the country, summer really isn’t summer without smoked pork. That said, neither is fall, winter, or spring. This kind of cooking is a ritual and usually carries some subtext of a super relaxed afternoon, day-drinking, and some good company. The day before we made this Coffee-Rubbed Smoked Pork Butt, I’d been writing an article for Mashed about adding coffee to your steak rub. I couldn’t get the dang idea out of my mind, except I wanted to test it out on pork. So after some thought, I added ground coffee to Bon Appetit’s very basic 4-3-2-1 Spice Rub. Immediately, I knew it was all my luscious little pork butt needed. The rich, roasty, slightly bitter flavor of the coffee married perfectly with paprika, salt, sugar, and cayenne. The only thing left to add was a little smoke.

Coffe Rub Spice Blend
Coffee Rub Spice Blend
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Pasta with Fresh Tomato Butter Sauce

In honor of this very delicious tomato season, here is another fresh tomato recipe! This one comes in the form of a light, buttery sauce coating thin spaghetti, garnished with bunches and bunches of fresh basil, and a little grated Parm (if that’s your style). Ya’ll. It’s so good and perfect and easy. I made it for lunch the other day and I’m not usually someone who drags out a pan and lights up the stove for lunch. But these fresh, juicy tomatoes were calling my name.

chopped tomatoes in a bowl
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Fresh Tomato Basil Tart

The sun and the rain and the air have been really good to us on the OBX this summer and we have tomatoes for days. And basil is growing like a weed! I am reluctant to cook fresh garden tomatoes too much. Considering how sweet and juicy they are, it feels like a vegetable crime. But sometimes, an idea comes along that’s too good to resist and splaying these fresh tomatoes out all over a buttery, flaky tart dough showered with tons of fresh basil seemed like the best possible move. It’s like summertime on a plate. If the tomatoes in my tart picture look too round and uniform to have been homegrown by me, you are correct. I bought these from the farmer’s market because mine weren’t ripe enough yet. But, a week or so later, I proudly swung in from the garden with these beauties! Some of whom are definitely destined for another Fresh Tomato Basil Tart. Or, maybe this buttery tomato pasta? TBD.

fresh tomatoes on a kitchen towel
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