Blog Posts by Food52

  • The Easiest Couscous Risotto with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

    Every week on Food52, Caroline Wright creates simple, civilized recipes for Food52 that feed four -- for under $20, in under 20 minutes.

    Today: Caroline shares an unexpected pantry staple -- and a recipe to use it in.

    Risotto from Food52

    Passata -- puréed tomatoes, usually uncooked -- is one of those ingredients that I always keep in my pantry, and I'm surprised that it isn't more common. It lends that bright, tangy flavor of the quickest sauces made from summer tomatoes, so it feels special, somehow, to eat it on a cold winter's day.

    This recipe is a pilaf masquerading as a risotto, using the swiftly simmered Israeli couscous pasta in lieu of rice. The result is warm and comforting, reminiscent of a fine risotto and ripe tomatoes.

    Couscous Risotto with Tomato, Oregano + Mozzarella

    Serves 4

    1 1/2 cup passata (from a 24-ounce bottle)
    2 cups chicken broth
    6 sprigs fresh oregano, divided
    2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
    1 cup Israeli couscous
    1 garlic clove, chopped

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  • Grapefruit with Vanilla-Honey and Coconut

    Each Thursday on Food52, Emily Vikre shares a new way to love breakfast -- because breakfast isn't just the most important meal of the day. It's also the most awesome.

    Today: Emily serves up fresh grapefruit with honey butter and toasted coconut.

    Grapefruit from Food52

    'Tis the season of good intentions, of swearing you'll keep a diary this time and be nicer to your in-laws, of renewing gym memberships and doing juice cleanses. There are few things that get my nose more out of joint than "cleanses." I'll spare you my lecture -- though I swear it's a really riveting lecture, full of trenchant observations and vehement pronouncements -- and just say that the idea that we can or should cleanse to somehow make up for eating badly all the rest of the time seems to me symptomatic of a culturally-disordered attitude toward food. Clean food and indulgent food aren't actually opposites, and I think we should take an approach toward food that is always thoughtful or intentional regardless of the season.

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  • Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins with Flaxseed

    Food52 editor-in-chief Merrill Stubbs' baby Clara has quite the appetite -- and it's all Merrill can do to keep up. Armed with her greenmarket bag, a wooden spoon and a minimal amount of fuss, she steps into the fray.

    Today: Blueberry, oatmeal and flaxseed muffins.

    My child is a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast. She goes for a wide variety at lunch and dinner: stews, pasta, bean soups, chicken any old way, and most things that grow in the ground -- with the notable exception of potatoes that haven't seen the inside of a deep fryer.

    More: Clara likes these oven fries.

    But for over a year, Clara wouldn't eat anything for breakfast except for toast with butter and yogurt. Maybe with a piece of fruit on the side. Hoping to switch things up a bit, we tried oatmeal (along with every other type of hot cereal), pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs with cheese, strata (which she'll happily eat for lunch or dinner). She'd have none of it.

    She may not have been

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  • A Fresher, Better Hot and Sour Soup

    Every week on Food52, Senior Editor Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that are nothing short of genius.

    Today: A Chinese restaurant classic strips off its winter coat, and you get the post-holiday soup you've been waiting for.

    Joanne Chang's Hot & Sour Soup from Food52

    Hot and sour is what we hanker for when we're chilled and worn -- or when we've eaten 8 kinds of potatoes in a week -- but it rarely lives up to its name.

    Let's blame the cornstarch. Restaurants and recipes inevitably use it as a thickener, and we accept this without asking why. (What's our problem?) Yes, cornstarch plumps up the broth, but in doing so puts a hazy, viscous layer between us and the sour, spicy sting we crave. Flavors go muddy and dim, like listening to Les Mis with cotton balls in our ears.

    Flour, Too
    Luckily, Joanne Chang has never been shackled by everyone else's expectations (at Myers + Chang, she makes genius scallion pancakes out of pizza dough). Her mother's version of hot and sour got her off to a good start: "No cornstarch,

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  • Dinner Tonight: Broiled Oysters + Sugar Steak with Bourbon

    It's the day after New Year's Eve, people. And whether you're staying in on the couch or heading out to celebrate the first day of 2014, you deserve a solid dinner. You deserve to toast the new year, to begin with a real meal. And what a better way to kick things off than with steak marinated in bourbon and sugar -- with oysters on the side? All done under the broiler, all done in less than an hour? It's a no-brainer, really.

    Grilled (or Broiled) Oysters with Cilantro Lime Butter by melissav

    Broiled oysters from Food52

    Makes at least 2 dozen oysters

    1/4 cup butter, softened
    1 teaspoon Sriracha
    2 teaspoons shallots, finely minced
    1 tablespoon lime juice
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    2 teaspoons cilantro, minced
    oysters on the half shell

    1. Mix the butter with the shallots, sriracha, lime, salt, and cilantro. Let set up in the fridge. It doesn't have to set up completely but it should be more solid than liquid.

    2. Meanwhile, heat the grill (or broiler) until very hot.

    3. Toss

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  • The Best, 5-Minute Smoked Salmon Appetizer

    Every week on Food52, contributor Tom Hirschfeld features his stunning photography and Indiana farmhouse family meals.

    Today: With good smoked salmon on hand, you can have an impressive appetizer ready in 5 minutes flat. Here's how.

    Last summer, my mother asked me to make cupcakes for the June birthdays. We have several in June and, in order to make it easy, we celebrate them all at once. Nevertheless, I forgot to make the cupcakes and I was on my way to the party when I remembered. "Oops," or as Vivian, my daughter who never misses an opportunity to repeat a cuss word, noted from the back seat, "Oops" was more like a cuss word or three.

    >> RELATED: Round out your menu with 7 effortless crostini.

    While I live in the country, I don't live too far from civilization, and in truth the grocery is only a few minutes away. This would be fine if I didn't dislike their cupcakes; they are always coated in blue icing, a color blue that doesn't exist in nature. Lynnie goes

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  • 6 Recipes to Ring in the New Year on a Budget

    Cooking on the cheap shouldn't mean minute rice and buttered pasta every night. With a little creativity and a little planning, Gabriella Paiella of Food52 shows us how to make the most of a tight budget -- without sacrificing flavor or variety.

    Today: Ring in the New Year on a budget.

  • Hand-Formed Parmesan Tater Tots

    Frozen tots get a major overhaul in this recipe for made-from-scratch tater tots featuring Parmesan and garlic (and only 3 other ingredients!).

    Okay, sure, tater tots aren't exactly the most highbrow of foods. But, just because they aren't the fanciest doesn't mean they aren't delicious. We all (hopefully) have had at least one perfect batch of tater tots -- golden, crispy, and seasoned to perfection.

    >>RELATED: How To Make Potato Gratin Without a Recipe

    Unfortunately, more often than not they are decidedly disappointing -- watery potatoes loosely held together by a soggy crust. Maybe if you're lucky you'll get a sprinkle of salt. Thankfully, the art of making the perfect tater tot from scratch is not esoteric. It's actually surprisingly simple.

    >>RELATED: Get the Recipe for Homemade Sriracha

    Bake some potatoes, shred them on a box grater, and stir them up with some Parmesan cheese, roasted garlic, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Then hand form them into nuggets and bake them into crispy

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  • How to Make Hot Chocolate Without a Recipe

    At Food52, we love recipes -- but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don't always need a recipe, you'll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.

    Today: Food52's Managing Editor, Brette Warshaw, shows how to make hot chocolate from scratch -- with any chocolate and dairy you've got.

    Hot Chocolate from Food52

    You have probably been making hot chocolate without a recipe for your entire life -- because for many, hot chocolate can mean dumping a few scoops of some mix (or a packet of Swiss Miss) into a mug, adding a few glugs of milk, and heating the whole thing in the microwave. Making hot chocolate from scratch was something you probably didn't even think to do -- because if you did think about it, you'd realize how truly simple it is.

    I was one of those mix-people, until I ran out of mix -- and, using the odds and ends of chocolate found in my pantry, made hot chocolate myself. My winters have never been the same.

    >> RELATED: Easy Chocolate Crostini With Olive

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  • Dinner Tonight: Pasta E Fagioli + a Negroni

    You might be thinking, "that is not dinner." Most of you are probably thinking that. Or you're thinking, where are the greens? Where's the substance? The stuff? Well, hear us out. It's Christmas, which means that you're probably a little tired, and you're rationing out your energy. So what you need, really, is a strong drink and a bowl of Pasta e Fagioli. Never had it before? Pasta e Fagioli is like SpagettiO's 10 years later, after a semester in Italy. It's comforting and simple and requires minimal focus while you're making it, which is really just our way of saying that you should make the Negroni first.

    Pasta e Fagioli

    Serves 8

    Beans

    • 3 cups dried white beans (canellini or great northern)
    • 1 sprig fresh sage
    • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
    • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    Soup

    • 8 strips of bacon, diced (can omit and use 2 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil)
    • 3 celery stalks, diced
    • 2 carrots, diced
    • 3
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