Simply Recipes

Classic Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

Classic Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

For years, iceberg lettuce got a real thrashing from chefs who thought of it as tasteless and nothing but texture. What’s wrong with great texture?

Cut up a head of iceberg for a classic wedge salad, add blue cheese dressing, smoky bacon, and a few cherry tomatoes, and even the worst kitchen snobs will change their minds!

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Blueberry Slump

Blueberry Slump

When it’s blueberry season, all thoughts (at least at my house) turn to pie or cobbler. Except when it’s so hot outside the asphalt is melting and the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven.

Enter the New England classic—Blueberry Slump! (or Blueberry Grunt if you’re from some parts)

A slump is made entirely on the stovetop, no need to heat the kitchen with your oven. Into a pot go blueberries, lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar, which you heat until the berries are bubbling.

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Make-Ahead Feta and Spinach Breakfast Wraps

Make-Ahead Feta and Spinach Wraps

This post is brought to you in partnership with Frigo® Cheese.

These cheesy spinach and feta breakfast wraps make life easy, whether you are serving them at a big potluck brunch or just for your family during the week.

Frigo’s tangy Feta Cheese and spinach are such a classic and irresistible combo – doubly so when paired with the soft scrambled eggs in this recipe. The wraps are so quick to assemble, though you can also make them up to two days in advance and reheat in the oven or microwave. What’s not to love?!

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Lemon Blueberry Scones

Lemon Blueberry Scones

I’ve made so many variations of these scones over the years that I can’t even remember which ones were first! The basic dough is extremely adaptable, and I love coming up with different fruit, spice, and glaze combinations depending on the season.

For this early summer version, I just folded fresh blueberries right into the dough, then topped the scones with a puckery-sweet lemon glaze.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

There were two major influences on this recipe: the Nestle Toll House back-of-the-package recipe (which I think we can all agree is pretty much The Standard as far as chocolate chip cookies go) and a recipe from Christina Tosi’s cookbook Milk Bar Life.

It’s thanks to Christina’s recipe that I discovered the wonders of this one special ingredient that makes all the difference.

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How to Make Fluffy Gluten-Free Biscuits

Gluten-Free Biscuits

Flaky, buttery, sky-high biscuits are one of life’s simple joys. When I learned that I would need to be gluten-free for rest of my life, biscuits were one of those simple joys that I was not willing to give up. So, I set to working on gluten-free biscuit recipes!

Over the years, I’ve made some truly awesome gluten-free biscuits, but of all those biscuits, these may be my favorite.

In developing this recipe, I used every trick in the book to make my gluten-free biscuits just as good as the gluten-y ones I remember. All those tricks came with a big payoff!

Gluten-Free Biscuits

3 Tips for Mile-High Gluten-Free Biscuits

  • Replace the buttermilk with sour cream and a touch of heavy cream. This results in a light texture, a very tender crumb, and a lovely flavor.
  • Treat the biscuit dough like a pie crust. Work with very cold butter and cold hands. Also, turn and fold the dough to create distinct flaky layers.
  • Bake the gluten-free biscuits in a cast iron skillet with very little room in between each biscuit. The biscuits have almost no room to expand sideways and must puff up high instead. I like using a 9-inch cast iron skillet.

Since this recipe is made entirely by hand, if your hands tend to run warm, soak them in cold water for a minute, then dry them thoroughly before mixing.

Speaking of mixing, I find the best way is to rub the butter and flour between your fingers making a motion that mimics snapping.

Also, don’t skimp on the resting time when making these biscuits. Gluten-free flours benefit greatly from resting since they can take longer to hydrate than wheat flour. Also, working with very cold, well-chilled dough makes those biscuits even flakier.

Gluten-Free BiscuitsThis combination of techniques and ingredients produces a biscuit that is flaky, buttery, and slightly tangy. They are a complete pleasure to eat on their own, drizzled with honey, or topped with strawberries and whipped cream, shortcake-style.

If you’d like to use this biscuit for a savory recipe, like biscuits and gravy or a pot pie, just reduce the sugar to 2 teaspoons.

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Grilled Marinated Flank Steak

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak

Flank steak is a lean, somewhat tough but flavorful cut of beef that benefits from the tenderizing effects of a marinade. It is best cooked medium rare and thinly sliced at an angle across the grain of the meat.

Prepared this way, marinated, cooked quickly at high heat, thinly sliced, flank steak practically melts in your mouth. This recipe calls for grilling the steak, but if you don’t have a grill, you can prepare the steak on a large cast iron frying pan as well.

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Shrimp with Olives, Tomatoes, and Orzo

Shrimp with Olives, Tomatoes, Orzo

Shrimp lovers! Have you ever tried shrimp with black olives?

It’s one of those master flavor combos which I’m sure chefs have known about for years, but I discovered by accident the other day when I happened to have some cooked shrimp and canned olives in the fridge and I took a bite of each. Wow, so good!

Here’s the recipe that evolved from that serendipitous moment—a quick and easy dinner with shrimp cooked in a fresh tomato, garlic, caper, and olive sauce, tossed with orzo pasta and chopped arugula.

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Pressure Cooker Potato Salad

Pressure Cooker Potato Salad

Elise’s Dad makes an awesome potato salad. The salad is studded with lots of crunchy chopped vegetables, and the simple dressing (just mayo, mustard, and pepper) is perfect. As far as the ingredients go, there isn’t a whole lot to improve upon!

The classic stove-top method works just fine, of course, but I couldn’t wait to convert this classic recipe to be made in the pressure cooker!

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Mediterranean Chickpea Bowls with Tahini Sauce

Mediterranean Chickpea Buddha Bowls

While I love all the various flavors and spices found in Mediterranean food, one of the things I find that like most about this cuisine is the way textures, colors, and even temperatures are often combined a single dish.

I’ve made these vegan and gluten-free bowls in this same spirit. They showcase some of my favorite Mediterranean ingredients all in one bowl, like spiced chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes, and tahini, as well as an awesome mix of hot and cold, crisp and creamy!

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Make-ahead Frittata Squares with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Feta

Frittata Squares with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Feta

Think of frittata as an Italian cousin to the French omelet, with a few notable differences.

Instead of folding the omelet around the filling as the French do, Italian frittatas mix the eggs and filling together from the start and then bake them together in one dish. It’s a little like an open-faced omelet that can feed the whole family!

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Sous Vide French Dip Sandwiches

This recipe is brought to you in partnership with ChefSteps. ChefSteps is having a sale for $30 off both the new edition of the ChefStep’s Joule sous vide immersion circulator and their flagship Joule through Wednesday, May 31, 2017 — go check it out!

It seems like a magic trick: take a cheap, tough cut of beef, like a top round roast or a chuck roast, cook it for twenty-four hours without peeking, and Abracadabra! Now it’s suddenly filet mignon.

But it’s not magic — this is sous vide cooking!

For the past few months, I’ve been playing around with Joule, an immersion circulator from ChefSteps used for sous vide cooking, and I have slowly found myself won over by this new way of cooking. Have you ever heard of sous vide cooking? Or tried it yourself?

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Oven-Roasted Salmon, Asparagus and New Potatoes

Sheet Pan Salmon with Asparagus and New Potatoes

My dad pulled out a favorite recipe from his collection of decades old Food & Wine magazine to make and share with “the people on the website.”

A “discussion” then ensued between the rental units for at least half an hour along the lines of “What do you mean this is a favorite recipe? You always told me you didn’t like salmon.” “What are you talking about? I used to make this all the time.” “You’ve never made it in this house!…” and so on and so on.

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Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

Fudgy Brownies

My mother often made these brownies on the spur of the moment. She’d see a bunch of kids in the house, and an hour later, she’d offer all of us a treat. “Let’s have a bite of brownie!” she would announce, and proceed to hand out small, warm squares.

I have no doubt that this recipe came from the back of a box at some point, but I only have the small index card she wrote in her beautiful penmanship. It’s a simple formula: chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, and flour, all stirred together in one pot.

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Spicy Grilled Chicken Tacos

Spicy Grilled Chicken Tacos

We have a family motto and it is this: Everything goes better in a tortilla.

Any and every kind of leftover can go inside a warm tortilla, usually with a healthy dose of pickled jalapenos. I can always sniff out a late-night snacker when the aroma of tortillas heating in a hot pan on the stove comes wafting through the house.

Today’s tacos are more purposeful – a deliberate meal instead of a secretive midnight snack!

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Baked Vegetable and Cream Cheese Wontons

Baked Vegetable and Cream Cheese Wontons

Making dumplings is a big tradition in my family. When I was young, my mother would wake me up early on Sunday mornings to make dumplings with her and my grandmother. We would spend an hour or two filling and shaping dumplings, and then cook them for brunch for the rest of the family.

It was a lot of work, but I always got first dibs on the freshly made dumplings!

Now that I live away from my family, I still try to keep that weekend dumpling-making tradition alive.

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Chia Pudding with Blueberries and Almonds

Blueberry Almond Chia Seed Pudding

Have you ever tried chia seeds? They’re nutrient dense, fiber rich tiny seeds of the chia plant that expand when you soak them in liquid to something like tapioca, but with really small pearls.

You can add them to smoothies for extra protein and fiber, or let them soak for a while and plump up to make an easy dairy-free pudding.

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Greek Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce

Greek Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce

Up your burger game and be the hero of your next barbecue with Greek lamb burgers and homemade tzatziki!

I season these lamb burgers with some of Greece’s most-loved flavors – like garlic, dried lemon peel, and oregano – before grilling them up and serving them on toasted buns.

I like to set out a little buffet of Greek-inspired toppings near the grill for everyone to help themselves. Some of my favorites are fresh tomatoes, lettuce, feta, red onion, and of course, that tzatziki.

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Cooking Advice From Mom

Alice Bauer in her kitchen

Updated from the archives with new photos, first posted in 2008 when Elise’s mom was 73, she’s now 82. Happy Mother’s Day!

Years ago I was asked to write about what I’ve learned from my mother about cooking. Since at the time I was living with my parents and cooking with my mom almost every day, this wasn’t a difficult exercise. I’m still learning from her, though now occasionally she learns something from me too. 😉

My mother is one of those intuitive cooks in the kitchen. Having raised six kids, she doesn’t follow recipes anymore. If you watch her while she cooks, the timing just appears to happen seamlessly.

Whereas I’m best at making one dish at a time, mom can coordinate a whole meal for 8—a main course protein, one or two veggie sides, a starch, and a salad—without getting remotely flustered.

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Potato and Broccoli Curry

Potato Broccoli Curry

Years ago, when I asked my friend Arthi for her favorite curry recipe, she gave me this sauce, which she adjusted to make what I call her “supermarket” version. That meant I could grab the ingredients at my local market without a special trip to her Indian grocery.

I love this sauce! It’s rich, but there’s no cream. It’s spicy, but not too hot. When it’s done cooking, you want to eat it with a spoon.

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Watercress Salad with Strawberries and Feta

Watercress Salad with Strawberries and Feta

Spring has finally arrived, and with it the appearance of longed-for exhilarating spring flavors. Like strawberries!

Once you have savored these fresh, ripe berries for breakfast, in a pie, and in a bowl covered with cream, you’ll start looking around for other ways to use them.

Might I suggest this simple, yet beautiful, spring salad?

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Pork Tenderloin with Figs and Olives

Pork Tenderloin with Figs and Olives

This recipe is brought to you in partnership with The California Olive Committee.

Looking for ideas for a special dinner? Consider pork tenderloin! It’s terrific for entertaining. The challenge is that because tenderloin is such a lean, tender cut of meat, it can easily be over-cooked and dry.

You can address this in a couple of ways. The most important thing is to not overcook the pork. Pork tenderloin can quickly go from perfect to overdone, so use a meat thermometer, pay attention and pull the meat from the heat when it gets to the right internal temperature.

Another thing you can do to help keep the moisture in the meat is to marinate the tenderloin in a lightly briny solution. Ideally, a sweet and salty marinade will not only infuse the meat with flavor, but will also act as a gentle brine to help the tenderloin retain moisture as it cooks.

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Fish Stew with Ginger and Tomatoes

Fish Stew with Ginger and Tomatoes

One spring at friend’s house on Cape Cod, I found a lot of fresh ginger in the fridge. My friend’s husband had just stopped by the local fish market, so I combined the fish and ginger with a can of tomatoes to make a quick and easy spring stew. We absolutely loved the results.

The fresh ginger won’t knock you over the head with its intensity in this stew. It adds warmth and its distinctive gingery flavor to the pot, but it’s a fairly subtle flavor.

The fish is still the main star – which it should be, considering how expensive seafood is!

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Chicken Florentine Pesto Pasta

Chicken Florentine Pesto Pasta

Dear chicken Florentine. I like you. I like your spinach and your cream sauce.

But honestly? I don’t love you. You’re missing a little pizzaz.

So, I would like to introduce you to my friend pesto pasta.

You kinda need that punch from the pesto’s garlic, basil, and Parmesan.

Now we have the makings of love. Go forth and multiply.

Recipe and photos updated, first published 2011

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Shrimp Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Shrimp Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Whenever I have friends over for dinner, I love making a batch of Vietnamese-style spring rolls to serve as appetizer.

Unlike Chinese-style deep fried spring rolls, these Vietnamese spring rolls are very light and fresh. You wrap thinly sliced vegetables, cooked shrimp, and fresh herbs in a neat rice paper package. They’re the perfect pre-dinner snack!

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Sheet Pan Chicken with Asparagus and Potatoes

Sheet Pan Chicken with Asparagus and Potatoes

If you’re feeling grateful for spring and eager to put fresh spring vegetables on your table, pull out your favorite sheet pan and make this simple supper.

Start with new potatoes, super-sweet onions, sliced lemons, and aromatic sprigs of lemon thyme. Roast them all together on your sheet pan until they’re tender, then add the chicken pieces. Continue roasting, and wait until everything is close to done before scattering the asparagus all around the pan.

It’s a clever way of making an entire meal at once, and you don’t even need a sauce because you’ll have chicken juices in the pan to spoon over the meat. Your trusty sheet pan does it again!

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Turkey Meatball Soup with Spinach and Orzo

Turkey Meatball Soup

These baby meatballs are so cute you’ll fall hard for them. Use your hands to mix them in a bowl with a little Parmesan and some parsley – you’ll feel like an Italian nonna!

Once shaped, the meatballs go into a soup with orzo and lots of baby spinach. It’s an easy, hearty meal that everyone will love.

Turkey Meatball SoupMeatballs were traditionally made with scraps of meat, often pork or beef, and stale bread. They were a make-do meal for people who had little.

Today, most of us just buy ground meat at the store whenever a craving strikes. But meatballs are still an economical meal, especially when mixed with whatever sandwich bread or leftover dinner rolls need using up.

Turkey Meatball SoupI like to quickly sauté the meatballs to brown their outsides, but you can skip this step if you’re in a hurry. Then, just cook them in chicken broth along with the orzo and spinach. A dusting of grated Parmesan added at the end brings out the flavor of the cheese in the meatballs and adds to the scrumptious tastes in your bowl.

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Salmon Avocado Poke Bowl

Salmon Avocado Poke Bowl

The first time I ever ate raw fish was when I was about ten or eleven years old. I was at a Japanese buffet, and my mother told me to eat only the expensive foods so we would get our money’s worth, which meant seafood and sashimi. Of course, I didn’t particularly enjoy raw fish, but being the dutiful daughter, I heeded her advice.

It wasn’t until I started eating poke bowls a few years ago that I warmed up to the idea of dishes with raw fish!

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Rhubarb Fool

Easy Rhubarb Fool

There’s no fool like a rhubarb fool, and now is the time for it. The arrival of rhubarb in the market always cheers me. Spring is here!

This British dessert goes way back — we’re talking about a few hundred years — and it was originally made with custard and pureed fruits, most notably gooseberries.

I’ve lightened it up with whipped cream instead of the custard and swapped the gooseberries for seasonal rhubarb. It’s an easy-peasy dessert for a weeknight dinner or a spring party!

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Creamy Asparagus Soup

Creamy Asparagus Soup

When spring arrives and asparagus are in season, they are hard to resist, right? Those green soldiers salute us as we enter the produce section of the market, challenging us to make good use of them while we can!

Here is a fresh and easy asparagus soup that makes delicious use of our seasonal asparagus. The base is just onions, a little garlic, lots of chopped asparagus, broth (either chicken or veg), and chopped fresh parsley.

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Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Have you ever made hot cross buns?

They’re an Easter tradition, a soft, slightly sweet, spiced yeast roll speckled with currants and often candied citron.

They’re marked with a cross on top (hence the name), signifying a crucifix, and are typically served on Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday.

Hot cross buns are a rather old English tradition, dating back to the Saxons who marked buns with a cross in honor of the goddess Eostre, the goddess of light, whose day of celebration eventually became Easter.

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Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus

Whenever I’m in the mood to give oven-roasted asparagus a little pizzazz – for Easter brunch or Mother’s Day, for instance — I wrap thin slices of prosciutto around the asparagus spears. This is such an easy way to make the roasted asparagus look fancy!

I also love how the salty flavors of the prosciutto complement the subtly sweet flavor of roasted asparagus.

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Easy-Peel Hard Boiled Eggs in the Pressure Cooker

Easy Peel Hard Boiled Eggs in the Pressure Cooker

Like many of you, I abandoned the dream of finding one surefire method for making consistently perfect hard boiled eggs some time ago. After trying a few too many “foolproof” tricks with spotty results, I relegated easy-peel eggs to the same category as unicorns and cheap airfare: nice to fantasize about, but if they were truly real, you’d think we’d have heard about it by now.

But that’s the thing about myths — just when you’ve thrown your hands in the air and walked away, something new comes along to rekindle your hope. Like Fox Mulder, we want to believe.

For me, that something new was my pressure cooker and a friend’s improbable suggestion that I try using it to make a batch of eggs. Just like that, the dream was alive again.

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How To Make French Crêpes

How To make Crepes

For a dish that seems so fancy, crepes are surprisingly easy to make at home. After all, they are just thin pancakes – but oh, what pancakes!

The ancient origins of crepes are found in Brittany on the coast of France, where their popularity spread to make them one of today’s most beloved national dishes. Crepes can veer sweet or savory with plenty of filling options for either.

Forget about intimidating chef skills or fancy equipment. Crepes require only patience. Once you get the hang of making them, there is no stopping you.

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Asparagus Quiche with Fontina Cheese

Asparagus Quiche

There’s a bakery near my house in Boston that makes a quiche with the most wonderful smooth and creamy filling. Every time I ask the owner for her recipe, she shrugs and says something about having made it this way forever. She has no intention of telling me more.

But I figured it out! If you want an exceptionally creamy filling in quiche, use all heavy cream.

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Spring Minestrone Soup

Spring Minestrone

Welcome spring with this savory soup from Hank. ~Elise

Minestrone is one of my favorite soups, and it is infinitely malleable with the seasons. This version celebrates springtime, when fresh, new vegetables begin to show up at the market.

I know to make this soup whenever I can get asparagus, artichokes and peas all at the same time. These vegetables form the backbone to the soup.

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Flank Steak Stir Fry with Asparagus and Red Pepper

Flank Steak Stir Fry with Asparagus and Red Bell Pepper

This Flank Steak Stir Fry is perfect for a midweek meal when asparagus are in season. It’s easy enough to make and everyone raves about it!

When it comes to stir-fry, it’s all about the prep. The dish itself cooks up so quickly that you need everything prepped and ready to go before you start adding the elements to the hot pan.

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Easy Lemon Pudding

Easy Lemon Pudding

This lemon pudding couldn’t be easier. It’s made with just four ingredients: whipping cream, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

All you do is warm everything up, then let the pudding set. It’s like magic.

Elegant, simple, and with a velvety texture that is positively dreamy, this lemon pudding is perfect for Easter dinner, Mother’s Day brunch, and everything in between.

No one needs to know it only took you 15 minutes to make.

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