We all have one. You know, a recipe that you’re probably a little ashamed of, either because it is unglamorous or unhealthy (or both). Candied Apple Dip is one of those recipes I wish I didn’t know existed. Because, quite simply, it is absolutely delicious, even if it is just plain wrong.
Last September I signed up for a wheel-throwing ceramics class thinking I would be able to make a set of dinner plates. I had big plans to write a piece about my experience: a photo of a stack of serene white plates, a little wabi-sabi of course, not perfect, but complete, heavy and unique. I knew there would be some bumps along the way, but I fully expected to succeed and have a great story to tell. My enthusiasm came from a sense of being lifted up as I answered a call from the pottery angels, three friends in particular who surround me, and gently nudged me to learn to throw.
When I was in my 20s I decided to live alone, finally, after sharing homes and apartments with an ever-changing stream of roommates. That first year in my solo apartment was the genesis of my desire to learn how to cook well. I knew how to follow a recipe, but I realized there’s so much more to becoming a cook at ease in the kitchen. I remember staring at a pile of brown and wilted vegetables in my fridge and thinking how recipes are nothing more than the gleaming tip of the iceberg, shiny and alluring, but not signaling the many demands they make on a cook: how to shop, how to plan, how to make the most of the ingredients in your fridge and pantry every single day.
There were a few recipes that got me through those early days of starting to acquire the 95% of kitchen knowledge that isn’t found in recipes. No matter how empty my fridge, I always had eggs, lentils, and spices, and maybe you do too. If so, this is the simplest weeknight meal — homey and comforting.
This is how you win friends: make them homemade peanut butter cups. Peanut butter plus chocolate is always a winning combo, of course, but peanut butter cups are really the ne plus ultra of what the duo can accomplish. Made from scratch, they seem almost magical — how did that creamy peanut butter filling get in there? But it’s not magic! In fact, it’s quite simple.
Over the month of October, our friend Tara Mataraza Desmond has been sharing smart, delicious side dishes with us, each one paired with one of our favorite fall meals. I don’t know about you, but I welcome this help as sometimes I stall out after choosing a main dish. What goes with pizza? (Fiery Kale, as it happens.) Or chili? (Apple Cabbage Slaw, a riot of color for your table.)
Here are five side dishes Tara shared with us, paired with mains from The Kitchn. Come on — roast chicken (and roasted butternut squash) are calling your name.
Among the surprises in my first year of being gluten-free has been my growing enjoyment of raw desserts. I love how simple they can be to assemble and often find them more texturally satisfying than gluten-less baked goods. These raw spiced pumpkin cupcakes are filled with autumn goodness and yet are free of many allergens like grains, dairy, eggs, nuts, and refined sugar. And did I mention they’re topped with coconut vanilla icing and ginger date caramel?!