Butter-Glazed Carrots

Butter-Glazed Carrots

I am trying to grow in gratefulness in my life. My husband has pointed out that I spend a lot of time moping about things that went slightly wrong rather than taking joy in all the ways I am blessed.

So let’s rumble, November: 30 days of thankfulness.

Day 1: Thankful for sweet friends who share deeply from their hearts. Thankful for cool weather and autumn leaves.

Day 2: Thankful for the bright, contagious smiles of my children. Thankful for the way Jake fake giggles at Caitlin to try to make her laugh (it’s so weird but so sweet).

Also thankful for Jacques Pepin and his butter-glazed carrots. These carrots put all other carrots to shame. They are so good—I really can’t rave about them enough.

Don’t be fooled by the name “glazed carrots,” people, because these are not mushy or overwhelmingly sweet like so many carrots by that name. They have just the barest of buttery, gingery sauces, with a hint of fresh garlic and grassy parsley and a crisp but not crunchy bite. The word that comes to mind is luscious.

Bring these to Thanksgiving and they will definitely be a hit!

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Toasted Marshmallow Rice Krispie Treats

Toasted Marshmallow Rice Krispie Treats

You really shouldn’t be surprised by what I’m about to tell you.

After all, I have a long, illustrious history as a picky eater. I know it’s mind-boggling that a person could hate fruit and all fruit-flavored things, donuts, fried stuff in general, tea, the flavor of honey and maple syrup, but it’s all true. Plus, the real reason I became a vegetarian (you know…aside from hoping to become healthier) is just that I don’t like meat.

So you really shouldn’t be surprised:

I have never liked Rice Krispie treats.

When I went off to college and discovered that not all Rice Krispie treats were Scotch Krispies, I simply avoided them in the dessert line. While all my friends would stampede toward the sweets on a day that Rice Krispie treats were available, I would meander around and grab an extra bagel (please and thank you, freshman 15…).

It should also not surprise you, then, to learn that I have never made Rice Krispie treats before.

But last week my husband drove off with our grocery cart and came back with two bags of marshmallows, a box of Rice Krispies, and a glint in his eye.

And do you know what? When I was trying to decide how to make peace with the Rice Krispies and marshmallows, I found a recipe that used brown butter and toasted marshmallows (um, nom!). At first I felt a little mean, deviating from the standard. I knew what Dave really wanted.

But these treats are really good! Still classic, with that stretchy, crunchy, almost-too-sweet marshmallow flavor, but also caramel, a rich hint of toasty brown that…might…actually…make me reverse my anti-Krispie stance.

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Prosecco-Poached Salmon

Prosecco-Poached Salmon

Do you know what the definition of craziness is? It’s when you do the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

Let’s be honest: I have a preschooler and a baby, so my behavior may often seem quite insane, if you are watching.

But this amazing salmon marks an end to one particular crazy thing I’ve been doing for years! You see, for years I have been trying to make this perfect salmon poached in apple cider. It sounds amazing, right? Perfect for Fall! But it’s so sweet. It’s genuinely weird. And yet every year as the leaves start collecting on the ground I whip out the same recipe and take another whack at it.

Crazy.

But this month, as I was making plans to go buy some cider from my local pumpkin farm and hop on my regularly scheduled crazy train, I happened to find a recipe that made me breath a huge sigh of relief. Because prosecco!

It just sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Poaching salmon in a fizzy broth of sparkling wine and shallots! And let me tell you, it was absolutely perfect! Everything I’ve always dreamed poached salmon could be.

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Quinoa and Chickpea Tortilla Soup

Quinoa Chickpea Tortilla Soup

When I was a kid, my mom used to make this amazing white chili. It was a football season/New Year’s Eve tradition for us.

My brother and I totally loved it, because we always ate this chili with a mountain of Cool Ranch Doritos (old school flavors are best, baby) and an avalanche of shredded cheddar cheese on top. I remember my dad crushing the chips into little shards with his big bear hands, like they were nothing, and piling them into our bowls.

One of the great tragedies of being a vegetarian now is that for years, I haven’t had that chips-in-my-soup experience.

Until I stumbled across a vegetarian recipe for tortilla soup!

This soup is so tasty, and it just gets better and better with time. I actually recommend eating it left over (is that weird?) because the flavors keep building.

Just like the nostalgia.

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Lemongrass Coconut Noodles with Mushrooms and Tomatoes

Lemongrass Coconut NoodlesWhen my mom comes to visit, I get kind of excited.

For obvious reasons! She’s the best!

But also because her visits pull me out of my dinner ruts. She doesn’t eat wheat or dairy, so sometimes I have to get really creative to make meals that we can all enjoy! (We eat a lot of Asian cuisines.)

I was a little skeptical about this pasta at first, because I don’t typically love savory coconut without its best friends chili and curry. When I tasted the broth halfway through, I heaved a great sigh of disappointment that it was weird and bland despite its bursting tomatoes and lemongrass.

But dinner must go on (the natives were hungry), and so must I. And much to my surprise, after I added in a generous splash of lime juice and fish sauce, the boring and vaguely sweet coconut sauce turned into this amazing, tangy, practically drinkable concoction.

A symphony of flavors.

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Rainbow Baked Eggs

Rainbow Baked Eggs

As you may be aware, my husband and I have radically different food tastes.

If he could eat whatever he wanted for the rest of his life, he would be staring down a long succession of barbecues, charcuterie, spicy chicken wings, corned beef and cabbage, anything that goes well with rice (basically all Asian cuisines, especially dishes that are spicy and beefy and porky), Irish black tea, buckets of cola, mountains of fresh fruits covered in sugar to make them super juicy. I’d wager you would find nary a vegetable on the list, unless it appeared incidentally with the meat.

I, on the other hand, would be wolfing down cheese pizza by the pie, any dessert that has chocolate in it (especially cookies, brownies, ice cream, cake, tarts…oh my gosh, sweet tooth), butter, cheese, bread, buttery cheesy bread, salmon, crab cakes, ripe tomatoes, toasted nuts, Riesling, gallons of black coffee…and let’s throw in some salads for good measure. Because as much as I would love to eat nothing but foods half held together by butter, I definitely spend hours each week obsessing over how to eat more vegetables and be more healthy.

As you may imagine, this can make dinner time a little stressful (and it’s one of the reasons we love to eat out: to each their own!).

Thank God for eggs.

Seriously, thank you, God, for eggs. Because without eggs, Dave’s and my taste buds might have to declare war on each other.

And because of these eggs, I have a favorite little memory tucked away: Dave came home from work the day after I made these colorful eggs for the first time, and he announced: “All day long I was craving bulgogi. And then I realized that I didn’t want bulgogi. I wanted more of the eggs you made last night!”

(Cue victorious fist pump. Dim lights. End scene.)

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Buttermilk Syrup

Buttermilk Syrup

Our family has started a weekend breakfast tradition.

It’s fairly surprising, actually, given my husband’s general apathy toward keeping traditions AND his venomous hatred for the morning…but on Saturdays, bright and early, when I holler up the stairs that pancakes or French toast are ready, he immediately appears and we have a special family breakfast!

Jake likes to help me cook. And set the table. And fetch Daddy. He’s a wonderful kitchen helper!

The only trouble with this delicious tradition is that I don’t actually care for maple syrup on my pancakes. For a while, this really made me resistant to Saturday morning breakfast tradition, until I realized that I had a grand opportunity to try all kinds of delicious syrups and spreads. What a great excuse to eat sugar for breakfast!

This buttermilk syrup is absolutely amazing. Don’t let the weird name (or the fact that it essentially looks like melted butter) throw you off: it is actually the simplest, most delicious liquid caramel you will ever make. The flavor is light and the syrup is thick and creamy. Pour it over your French toast with some butter and dig in! I dare you not to run your finger around the plate to lick up the excess when breakfast is over.

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Stovetop Elotes (Mexican Street Corn)

Stovetop Elotes

A few weeks ago, a friend told me about this amazing way to eat corn on the cob.

At first, I was only half listening…unlike most people, I don’t get too excited when ears of corn start to overflow from farmer’s stands or grocery store aisles. It’s just corn.

But, as she told me about this corn, my ears perked up. You put mayonnaise on corn? What? (You know how I always like things that sound too weird to be true…)

I got just curious enough to buy a few ears and let them sit in the fridge for a week. But my grill is not currently at my house. And it’s always raining anyway. And mayonnaise on corn can’t be doing anyone any nutritional favors.

Finally, mostly in an effort not to waste the corn I had already bought, I decided to “grill” my corn on a cast-iron pan on the stovetop. As I licked the spoon after stirring together what turned out to be the. most. delicious! sauce in the whole entire world, I knew I would never be satisfied with corn any other way.

Make this corn. There are no more excuses. You must make elotes.

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