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Learn the Best Ways to Clean and Prepare Mussels

I love cooking mussels at home because they are both quick and easy to do. Really the ultimate fast food dish. My favorite mussel recipes are a comforting cross between a soup and a hearty hot meal. Once you master the basic preparation, you can easily add a few different ingredients to create your own new variations. Be sure to serve with plenty of toasted bread for dipping into the flavor-packed broth or even try serving with French Fries.

Turmeric and Ginger Mussels photographed by Francois de Melogue

How to Clean and Debeard Mussels

It is important to only clean the mussels within an hour of cooking them. Tap any open mussels on the counter…

Set aside a weekend afternoon to make this perfect winter dinner

An oval casserole dish of gnocchi gratin garnished with crispy sage leaves.
An oval casserole dish of gnocchi gratin garnished with crispy sage leaves.
Photo: Aya Brackett

If you’re in the Northeast and Midwest, you’re likely slogging through days that include snow, sleet, and grey skies. In other words, it’s the perfect weather for comfort food dishes.

This one is a bit of a project: Since gnocchi are known to be ornery, the key to getting pillowy lightness with these Italian dumplings is to add only enough flour to bring the dough together. The first thing you’ll notice with this dish is probably the rich sauce, then you’ll bite into the sublime dumplings. You’ll want to make this over the weekend.

Gnocchi Gratin

Makes: About 4 servings
Time: About 2…

It may also change your mind about tofu

Photo: Burcu Avsar & Zach DeSart

Earlier this year (I believe it was just before quarantine set in) we did a sort of tofu primer, with an eye towards encouraging those of you who are anti-tofu or tofu agnostic to give this polarizing ingredient another chance. In doing so, I neglected to include the recipe that many people have told me was their gateway drug: kimchi-tofu soup.

Now that it’s basically winter, a dish like this — warm, comforting, highly flavorful, and done in 25 minutes — is a lot more than just a friendly vehicle for tofu; it’s borderline essential. The main ingredient is kimchi…

A vegetable recipe with a little beef

Shallow bowl of beef stew with large chunks of potato, garnished with chopped parsley.
Shallow bowl of beef stew with large chunks of potato, garnished with chopped parsley.
Photo: Mark Bittman

When it comes to eating, many of us like to start the year off on whatever we consider to be the “right foot.” For me, the “right foot” means cooking dishes where animal products recede into the background while plants take center stage. Not just in January, but always.

It’s a style that presents infinite opportunities. Finding myself with a pound of stew beef and a pantry full of (mostly) root vegetables, I decided to put the pressure cooker to work and produce a beef-and-root-vegetable stew that would stretch that pound of meat to serve 10 or 12 rather than…

Shit! What’s For Dinner?

Dishes to look forward to this week

A drawing of a grain bowl.
A drawing of a grain bowl.
Illustration: Elsma Ramirez

While tomorrow is a day many of us are looking forward to (and are downright relieved about), we can’t help but feel anxious post-insurrection, as we approach a staggering 400,000 lives lost since March, and a litany of other things that provoke worry. Let’s hold onto hope and find strength for the work that’s cut out for us.

Meanwhile, we still have to eat. This week, we’ve got make your own grain bowls, macaroni and cheese, and of these roasted chicken ideas, we’re into the cumin, honey, and orange option.

Grain Bowls

Makes: 6–8 servings
Time: 10 minutes to more than an hour…

Shit! What’s For Dinner?

Quick and easy winter dishes

A bowl of mussels
A bowl of mussels
Photo: Shyman/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Winter is always “the darkest season,” but this one more than most. While what we decide to cook and eat usually can’t make our problems disappear, it can soothe us, center us, fortify us, or consume our attention in welcome ways, even if only for a few minutes. For anyone in need of something to cook this week or beyond, here are five ideas that have been bouncing around my head (and my stove). For the most part, they’re simple, quick to make, don’t require any exotic or supremely expensive ingredients, and are, most importantly for the dark days ahead…

Breathe some life into cooking routines

Bookshelves full of cookbooks.
Bookshelves full of cookbooks.
Photo: Melissa McCart

Raise your hand if you’re tired of cooking. I’m trying to pull inspiration from my colleagues Daniel, Kerri, and of course, Mark, but I have to say, like the rest of the cook-at-home universe, I’m fishing for how to recharge and to feel as committed about cooking at home as I was in March.

In some ways, this is timely, since I’m guessing, like you, I’d like to support our favorite restaurants as the government has left them for dead. But that’s for another post. …

Braised rabbit takes us back to northwest Italy, decades ago

Braised rabbit leg with soft white polenta. Photos: Ed Schneider

Years — decades — ago Jackie and I visited the Valle d’Aosta in north-western Italy. It’s a beautiful mountainous area where all the road signs are in both Italian and French (take a look at the map), but, as best I can recall, the cooking was pure Italian, at least at the hotel-restaurant where we spent the night. I’ve written about this — and indeed about the ingredients used in today’s rabbit legs — and I won’t tell the same story again when you can read it here.

On our trip, we’d encountered this set of flavors — juniper, rosemary…

Shit! What’s For Dinner?

Unfussy basics for the start of 2021

Photo: Suzy Allman for the New York Times

Happy New Year. We would hope it’s a given that 2021 will be a marked improvement from last year. Now let’s get cooking. We’ll start with a terrific what-to-do-with-pasta-leftovers that’s actually worth planning for — pasta frittata. It’s portable, it’s endlessly versatile, and it’s practically foolproof. Substitute almost any cheese for the parmesan (or leave it out altogether) and toss in any cooked vegetable or meat: Make it your own. As for the chopped salad, this is perfect as a hearty side or a light meal — plus 8 possible additions. …

Send off this abominable year with fancy, lazy, or vegan dishes

Black Board showing “(Bye) 2020, (hello) 2021” written on it by white chalk.
Black Board showing “(Bye) 2020, (hello) 2021” written on it by white chalk.
Photo: Carmen Martínez Torrón/Moment/Getty Images

We’re a few days away from officially ushering out one of the worst years many of us can ever remember. In theory, that’s cause for celebration, but it’s not as if any of this will go away when the clock strikes midnight. I guess that’s my way of saying that I really have no idea what kind of New Year’s Eve any of you are up for this year.

What I do know is that, one way or another, you’re going to have to eat something. Maybe you want to channel a whole bunch of anxious energy into cooking for…


Food from every angle: From Medium x Mark Bittman

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