Gyeran bap is a lifesaving Korean pantry meal of fried eggs stirred into steamed white rice. In this version, the eggs fry and puff up slightly in a shallow bath of browned butter. Soy sauce, which reduces in the pan, seasons the rice, as does a final smattering of salty gim, or roasted seaweed. A dribble of sesame oil lends comforting nuttiness, and runny yolks act as a makeshift sauce for the rice, slicking each grain with eggy gold. (You can cook the eggs to your preferred doneness, of course.) This dinner-for-one can be scaled up to serve more: Just double, triple or quadruple all of the ingredient amounts, using a larger skillet or repeating the steps in a small one.
Tinga is a Pueblan dish of braised chicken or pork in a chipotle, tomato and onion sauce, traditionally served on crisp tostadas and finished with toppings like crema, avocado and shredded lettuce. Some versions braise the meat directly in the sauce, while others call for chicken or pork that’s already been cooked to be warmed in the sauce. (Some variations include chorizo, too.) The dish is widely popular because it’s affordable and versatile, and tastes complex even though it is easy to make. For this slow-cooker adaptation, the bulk of the cook time is hands-off braising. Fresh corn is not traditional in tinga, but it’s delicious, adding pops of sweetness and a flavor that echoes the corn tortillas or tostadas. Add one chipotle for a mild spice level or three for a more intense result.
Sometimes you just want a big bowl of pasta with butter and Parmesan. Starchy, silky and salty, it’s always good — and practically foolproof. To make it a little more grown up, just take it one step further: Brown the butter. When you slide the butter into the skillet, let it cook until the milk solids turn a toasty brown. It adds a rich, nutty flavor that makes the dish a bit more sophisticated with very little extra work.
A staple dish throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, tostones are crisp, flattened plantains that are often served as appetizers and side dishes. Unlike sweet maduros, which are made with very ripe, almost black, yellow plantains, savory tostones are made with unripe green plantains. Tostones are fried twice: The first fry sears the cut sides of the plantains, establishing a base layer of color; the second fry ensures that every edge is golden and crunchy. Tostoneras, wooden tools designed to create the perfect tostone shape, come in handy here, but a flat-bottomed cup will do just fine in its place.
This cozy dessert from Sara Mardanbigi and Edgar Rico, the owners of Nixta Taqueria in Austin, Texas, is a take on sholeh zard, a loose, heavily spiced Persian rice pudding Ms. Mardanbigi grew up eating. It also borrows influence from the Mexican arroz con leche of Mr. Rico’s childhood. Their take is warm and smoky with black cardamom and saffron, velvety from egg yolks and butter, and has a savory finish. It calls for arborio rice instead of the usual basmati to add a slight chew, and strawberry powder instead of rosewater to provide similar floral notes with a punch of acid.
The rules are simple: buy boneless cuts (they cook evenly), thinner steaks (they cook through on top of the stove), dry them well (to maximize crust), then salt and sear them in an insanely hot, preferably cast-iron pan. The recipe here is a radical departure from the conventional wisdom on steak, which commands you to salt the meat beforehand, put it on the heat and then leave it alone. Instead, you should salt the pan (not the meat) and flip the steak early and often. This combination of meat, salt, heat and cast-iron produces super-crusty and juicy steak — no grilling, rubbing, or aging required.
A bistro basic that the critic Bryan Miller brought to The Times in 1988 with the help of Pierre Franey, this luscious roast of pork comes from the kitchen of Adrienne Biasin, who for years ran a homespun and legendary restaurant in Paris, Chez la Vieille. The meat is first browned over the stovetop to sear in the moisture, then braised slowly in onions and milk. The pan juices are set aside to form the base of a gravy, and the roast is finished in the oven. It takes some time, but is beyond easy to make, and pairs well with a glass of Beaujolais and dreams of travel. (Sam Sifton)
This weeknight-friendly version of the French classic — chicken with 40 cloves of garlic — has half the amount of garlic, because a slow cooker doesn’t get quite hot enough to mellow out 40 whole cloves. This dish cooks on high for three hours, but you can lengthen the cook time to six hours using the low heat setting. In that case, cut the garlic further to 15 cloves, because it may taste a bit stronger when cooked at that lower temperature. The beans end up pleasantly soupy, in a sauce rich with chicken juices and wine. The herbs stirred in at the end impart a welcome freshness. This is best served in shallow bowls, with good bread on the side.
Bright and earthy flavors complement each another in this easy dish in which cooked beans are tossed with lemon zest, olive oil and cayenne, and roasted sweet plantains are coated in a brown sugar, ginger and lemon glaze. Go with ripe plantains for this recipe, yellow and spotted with large black dots. You’ll need your oven's broiler setting to help caramelize the sugary coating on the plantains, and to char the scallion garnish. This dish is the perfect breakfast topped with a jammy egg, a quick lunch over a bed of fresh greens, or a satisfying side to roast chicken.
When a recipe for a seasoned snack mix first appeared on the back of the Chex cereal box in the 1950s, people went crazy for it. Years later, a Google search for the recipe yields more than two million results for various riffs, from savory to spicy to sweet. Many call for tossing the dry ingredients with the wet, then letting the mix dry on paper towels, but baking it at a low temperature yields crisper, more flavorful results. Hot sauce gives this version a bit of a kick, but if you don’t like heat, you can leave it out. View this recipe as a template to tweak as you see fit: Use crunchy, roasted edamame or green peas in place of the nuts, substitute Thai red curry paste or Sriracha for the hot sauce, or double up on whatever ingredients you like best. Keep the dry-to-wet ratios the same and you can’t go wrong.
These sugar cookie bars, which are adapted from “American Girl Cookies,” are happiness in a 9-by-13 pan. The addition of cream cheese in the batter makes them very tender and slightly tangy, a perfect counterpoint to the sweet buttercream frosting. You can, and should, experiment with frosting colors and use sprinkles with abandon. Whatever you do, do not overbake these beauties. When testing for doneness, you want a few moist crumbs to cling to the toothpick.
If cheesy mashed potatoes became a cozy soup, it would be this. It’s rich but not excessive, hearty but not heavy, and spiked with a little chili powder and some garlic to liven it up. The homemade pickled jalapeños give this a bright tang that perks up every creamy bite. Quick and easy to make, the jalapeños are leagues better than anything in a jar, and leftovers are excellent in sandwiches or scrambled into eggs.
In this quick and spicy weeknight noodle dish, sizzling hot oil is poured over red-pepper flakes, orange peel, crunchy peanuts, soy sauce and sesame oil. While you brown the ground chicken, the mixture sits, and the flavors become more pronounced and fiery. Tossed with soft noodles and browned chicken, the bright chile-peanut oil shines. If you crave something green, throw in a quick-cooking green vegetable when you break up the chicken in Step 3. You can also swap the chicken with ground pork or beef, or crumbled tofu.
Bright with lemon and herbs, and packed with hearty greens, this highly adaptable soup can be either light and brothy or thick and stewlike, depending on your preference. Smashing some of the beans to release their starch will give you a thicker soup that’s almost worthy of a fork. To keep it on the brothy side, add a little more liquid and leave the beans intact. Either way, it’s a warming, piquant, one-pot meal that’s perfect for winter.
Curry powder is stirred into this braise only during the last minute of cooking, delivering a bright hit of spice on top of the paprika and turmeric mellowed into the slow-simmered chicken. This dish from “Burma Superstar” by Desmond Tan and Kate Leahy (Ten Speed Press, 2017), needs time on the stove but not much attention, and gets even better after resting in the fridge, making it an ideal weeknight meal that can last days. There’s plenty of coconut milk broth to spoon over rice or noodles. At his restaurant, Burma Superstar in Oakland, Calif., Mr. Tan also serves this with platha, a buttery, flaky Burmese flatbread, for dipping.
This recipe came to The Times from Marti Buckley Kilpatrick, who adapted it from Dol Miles, the pastry chef at Frank Stitt’s Bottega restaurant in Birmingham, Ala. Ms. Kilpatrick describes the cake as an ugly frog of a confection, but promises that anyone willing to bet a kiss on its excellence would be amply rewarded. The interplay of coffee, black pepper and cloves is subtle but powerful, and results in a deeply flavored, moist confection that comes together quickly. It’s just delicious.
Bacon browns and crisps evenly in the oven without the hassle of flipping slices on the stovetop, while eggs can oven-fry alongside for perfect sunny-side-up runny yolks and tender whites. The oven’s encompassing heat helps egg whites set on top before the yolks start to stiffen. Make sure to have the eggs sit at room temperature before cracking them into the hot pan: It ensures they’ll cook quickly and evenly.
Many modern cooks have never learned to fry. We are convinced that fried food is unhealthy, unpopular and messy. But Norman King, a lifelong Southerner, a registered dietitian and a food editor at Southern Living magazine set out to change that. In “The Way to Fry,” he offers both a guide to proper deep-frying technique, and a terrific recipe for crunchy, juicy fried chicken. While at first glance the recipe may resemble every other fried chicken you’ve ever seen, the differences lie in the precise instructions, ensuring chicken that’s cooked through, golden and crisp. A little bacon fat is an option for flavor.
If coziness has a fragrance, it’s the aroma of red wine simmering on the stove with citrus and spices (and a little brandy for a bit more zing). Choose a red wine that isn’t bone-dry—a little fruitiness is just fine here. I like the inexpensive Zweigelt from Erdenlied for this, which conveniently comes in 1-liter bottles.
Use cast-iron cookie stamps to leave imprints on this beautifully textured shortbread, which is flavored with tangy orange and lemon zests. The stamps, which are available online, are a fun way to shape and decorate cookies without much effort. (Don’t be afraid to be generous with the flour, on the cookie balls and on the stamps themselves, shaking off excess so you still get a clean imprint.) But if you don’t have stamps, you can roll and cut the dough using a simply shaped cutter, or roll the dough into a log for slice-and-bake cookies.
This elegant, bright pasta dish comes together in about the same amount of time it takes to boil noodles and heat up a jar of store-bought marinara. The no-cook sauce is a 50-50 mix of ricotta and Parmesan, with the zest and juice of one lemon thrown in. That’s it. To make it more filling, add peas, asparagus or spinach in the last few minutes of the pasta boiling, or stir in fresh arugula or watercress with the sauce in Step 3. It’s a weeknight and for-company keeper any way you stir it.
Pork and beans are cooked together in a slow cooker for mutually beneficial results (If you don't have a slow cooker, you can do it in a pot in the oven.) As the pork shoulder and barbecue sauce braise in the oven, the sauce soaks up the pork juices while the pork tenderizes. Then, beans are added to soak up the deeply concentrated sauce. The recipe uses store-bought barbecue sauce enhanced with the smoky heat of canned chipotles in adobo and brown sugar, which helps glaze the pork. Because every barbecue sauce is different, taste and adjust yours as needed. (For a more acidic sauce, add apple cider vinegar with the beans, or you can increase the sweetness with added sugar.) To serve, slice the pork or shred it into pulled pork.
This super-simple beef stew features spoon-tender chunks of beef and a sauce that gets a deep, dark flavor from stout beer and maple syrup. The recipe calls for carrots, parsnips and potatoes, but feel free to swap in similar quantities of other root vegetables, like turnips and rutabaga, cut into large pieces. But do make sure to avoid precut stew meat from the grocery store, which is often unreliable and cut too small. A chuck roast that you cut yourself is a far better option. You can also make this on the stovetop or in the oven: Season the meat with salt, then sear it in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over high heat in a Dutch oven. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir to combine, cover and simmer on low (or in a 325-degree oven) for 2 to 3 hours until the meat is very tender and move on to step 2.
Brisket is the Zelig of the kitchen. It takes on the character of whoever cooks it. In the early part of the 20th century, when ''The Settlement Cook Book'' reigned supreme in American Jewish households, recipes for savory briskets of beef with sauerkraut, cabbage or lima beans were the norm. As tastes became more exotic, cranberry or barbecue sauce, root beer, lemonade and even sake worked their way into recipes. Here, Coca-Cola is the secret ingredient, along with ginger. The result is sublime and the dish only improves if it's cooked a day in advance of serving it. However, you can prepare and serve it the same day, if you'd like, though you may want to use a fat separator to strain the fat from the finished sauce.
The success of a BLT hangs in its balance of salt, acid, lusciousness and crunch. This version is perfect, with a generous swipe of mayonnaise on each slice of toast, followed by a drizzle of olive oil, tomatoes marinated in red wine vinegar and salt, butter lettuce leaves and thick-cut bacon. Squash this closed and eat while the bacon is still warm. BLTs are often associated with summer, but the vinegar here coaxes flavor and brings brightness to hothouse tomatoes, turning it into a sandwich for all seasons.
Reminiscent of breakfast but masquerading as dessert, these pops are made with Greek yogurt or Icelandic skyr, which are thicker and creamier than regular plain yogurt. Pick whichever you enjoy the most, but make sure it’s plain and unsweetened.
In this recipe, Korean grilled barbecue meets Bolognese, the classic Italian meat sauce. Ground beef is simmered in a sauce that starts with a traditional base of sautéed onion, carrots and celery, to which scallions, garlic, ginger and soy sauce are added. As the sauce cooks, the flavors of the tomato paste and soy sauce meld, creating a deeply salty-sweet mixture, while the addition of chopped mushrooms provides depth and complexity. Be sure to use egg pasta here as the richness contrasts nicely with the sauce.