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Kerri Conan

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How to Make Hot Sauce

I’ve been making hot sauce every year for around 20 years​. Besides a glove, all you need is a blender, a pound or so of fresh chiles, sea salt, and a quart of cider vinegar. And even though it’s not peak chile season, there are plenty of varieties available year round and nothing will pick up winter cooking like a fresh batch.

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Replace White Rice and Bread with Oats? Absolutely.

Though oats are best known in their creamy and thick incarnation as the ubiquitous breakfast porridge, lately we’ve been pushing them far beyond that. They’re perfect for lunch or dinnertime pilafs, grain bowls, and stuffings, with results as far away from breakfast as you can imagine.

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Oat-y Meatloaf (or Meatballs)

Say goodbye to crumbly and dry. Oats soaked in warm milk hold everything together and deliver incredible richness.

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Chicken and Oats

A modern one-pot classic, scented with saffron or smoked paprika (just like traditional chicken and rice), then spiked with lots of vegetables.

Pasta with Cauliflower and Oat Crumble

Think toasted and garlicky breadcrumbs are versatile? After one batch of this topping, you’ll be making extra to sprinkle on everything.

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One-of-Everything Pasta Frittata for One

It’s amazing how much pasta this isn’t. The finished frittata is a perfect little lunch with a salad or sliced tomatoes. Or to up the ante you could add another egg. And the quantities are easily multiplied for more servings. Just use a larger skillet.

Spaghetti Purple

Marinara you know: Ditto fresh tomato sauce. Now imagine the same concept with blueberries. Then try it.

Lemongrass Burgers

These hamburgers are from one of Mark’s favorite books, The Best Recipes in the World. I recently made them with ground chicken, and they were spectacular. His point from the original is a clue: Of all the powerful ingredients in these burgers — lemongrass, shallots, garlic, chile, and fish sauce, none survives the cooking as well as the lemongrass, whose distinctive scent and flavor override all the others, reducing them to bit players.

Is This the Year We Ditch the Bowl?

Decades of eating from a bowl eventually dug me into a deep rut. It happened slowly, spoonful by spoonful, until one day about a month ago I stared into the abyss that was my meal and realized: This is a volcano of food dripping hot lava and I’m eating it with a shovel. And the thing about bowl dishes is, after you bust in and stir it all up, every bite is the same.

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Roasted Roots with Fork-Smashed Beans

Roasting root vegetables is great; they brown without turning to mush. Bean seasonings are up to you. Use chopped ginger instead of garlic, or za’atar, chili powder, or a curry instead of the Italian blend. Or simmer the beans in a splash of coconut milk instead of oil. There’s a vegan choice here, too. If you prefer to mash the vegetables in the pot, go for it, though this technique gives a variety of textures and looks pretty cool.

Porridge on a Plate

Whole grains cooked into porridge—and by “porridge” I mean more soupy than stiff—works shockingly well on a plate. And it gives you a broad canvas for scattering sweet or savory accents and stir-ins. The directions below work with oats (rolled or steel cut), quinoa, millet, coarse cornmeal, cracked wheat, buckwheat groats or kasha, short-grain brown rice, or mixed-grain ground hot cereals.

Chicken Soup Salad with Leaf Cups and Bottled Sauces

Deconstructing leftover chicken soup—or any brothy soup, actually—gets you liquid to use for whatever and solids to make a surprising and amazing salad. This recipe describes how to spruce things up for a lovely cold plate for one. Simply multiply the recipe for more servings. Turkey, seafood, or vegetable soups are other options to consider. You could also turn the salad into a sandwich or tacos or toss it with cooked rice or grains or drained beans.

Stewed Vegetables with Over-Easys

The beauty of cooking vegetables in tomato sauce is that you control how “stewed” they are. And if you’re like me, that changes every time you make them—though generally I say the softer the better. For this recipe I’m going with escarole. Other choices to cook the exact same way: eggplant, fennel or celery, green beans, cabbage, or other greens like kale or collards.

The Ultimate Holiday Cookie Recipe Swap

We’ve got some. You’ve got some. Let’s share. Here are six tastes to kick off our first cookie recipe swap, including Crumby Fruitcake Cookies, Holly’s Oatmeal Cherry Pecan Cookies, and Vegan PB&J Bars.

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Crumby Fruitcake Cookies

Between the vats of stuffing and the holiday charcuterie boards, you’re likely to have bits and pieces of leftover good bread these days. Sock them away in the freezer for these cookies. They’re less polarizing and 100 times easier than fruitcake, only with the same vibe. (Still scrunching up your nose? Use chopped chocolate or dried fruit instead of the glazed holiday fruit.)

Holly Haines’s Oatmeal Cherry Pecan Cookies

I’ve made this cookie no less than 10 times in last two weeks, and let me tell you how it’s the oatmeal cookie of my dreams — crispy edges; chewy centers; a nice hint of spice from the cinnamon and a surprise hit of cardamom that makes you say “oh, what’s that?”; lots of dried cherries because why choose raisins when cherries are right there; and candied pecans for crunchy moments.

Vegan PB&J Bars

Like all good peanut butter cookies, these dairy- and egg-free versions are super peanutty, with just the right balance of chew to crunch — all in a fudge-like bar. A jam glaze is festive for the holidays, or any time you want a spin on peanut butter and jelly. Or try scattering the tops with small bits of chopped chocolate or roasted peanuts before baking.

Sparkly Coconut Snowballs

Easiest. Cookies. Ever. That’s what Mark says about his macaroon recipe—which essentially this is, only they’re shaped in small balls and rolled lightly in demerara sugar for wintertime merrymaking. These cookies are also quite versatile: Use up to five cups coconut for something lighter and chewier, or replace some or all of the coconut with nuts (see the variation.)