Nettle Risotto with Green Garlic and Taleggio

Nettle Risotto with Green Garlic and Taleggio

Stinging nettles aren’t just for stumbling into with painful consequences. We’ll show you how to use the leaves safely to make a delicious and super healthy nettle risotto. Flavored with green garlic and Taleggio cheese, this is a knock-out Spring dinner. But don’t worry if you don’t have nettles and green garlic, you can make it with spinach and regular garlic too! 

As a kid growing up in a vaguely-rural part of England, I quickly learned that if there was one plant that resisted your attempts to live peacefully with nature, it was the stinging nettle. Wherever it was most fun to run around in the woods, that’s where they lurked. If there was a perfectly tempting blackberry bramble by the side of the road, you could bet your last Rolo that there’d be a patch of nettles right in front of it. Children and nettles existed in a sort of uneasy symbiosis. We would fall into them, and they would sting us … actually, that’s not really a symbiosis, is it, it’s just how both nettles and children tend to work.

We were always encouraged to grasp the nettle! (meaning, just go for it, and it probably wouldn’t sting you, which was a lie). I wonder if many childhoods would have been changed for the better if we’d been encouraged to eat the nettle instead.

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Grilled Eggplant Parmesan with Roasted Tomatoes, Burrata and Garlic Herb Breadcrumbs

A Light, Grilled Eggplant Parmesan with Roasted Tomatoes and Burrata

We love a good cocktail around here, but more often than not, when we’re looking for a drink to pair with our food, we choose wine. Both of us love the versatility of rich red varieties: making Grilled Steak With Blue Cheese Butter? Red wine is the perfect choice. Having friends over for cheese and charcuterie? Red wine is a must. Hosting a holiday Pork Roast? Yup, you know what to serve with it. As soon as we tasted this wonderfully fruity and spicy Mullan Road Cellars Red Blend, we knew we wanted to drink it with something grilled. We decided to take inspiration from one of our favorite classic dishes, Eggplant Parmesan, and lighten it up for summer. To bring it out into the sunshine, if you will. 

Campari and cherry tomatoes for roasting

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Tahini Sauce With Lemon and Garlic

Tahini Sauce With Lemon and Garlic

Silky smooth and packed with flavor, Tahini Sauce with Lemon and Garlic is absolutely essential on falafel but delicious on so much else. It’s bright and tangy and as creamy as sauce with no cream (or any dairy) can be. 

Pretty much now considered an essential recipe, our Tahini Sauce is based on the version in Michael Solomonov’s wonderful cookbook, Zahav. Don’t be alarmed by the whole head of garlic used in the sauce; like some kind of magic trick, blending the whole, unpeeled cloves with lemon juice neutralizes the formation of allicin, which is the chemical responsible for garlic’s harsher flavors. The resulting sauce is delicately garlicky, with almost no pungency.

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Phyllo Pot Pie with Creamy Chicken, Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard

Phyllo Pot Pie with Creamy Chicken, Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard Tender chicken, caramelized onions and Swiss chard in a creamy garlic sauce, topped with a blanket of buttery, flaky, ultra-crisp phyllo dough. This is comfort food pretty enough for the fanciest dinner party, but tasty enough for a relaxed family meal. 

(Note: This would also be a great way to use up leftover Thanksgiving or holiday turkey. Chop or shred the cooked leftovers and fold into the sauce and vegetables before adding the pastry top.)

I think it was probably about 12 years ago that my mom bought us our first piece of really good cookware, a 5-quart Le Creuset dutch oven. At that point, we were still using a cheap, thin-gauge pan set I had bought in college, which burned pretty much anything that got near it, even if the oven wasn’t on. Being the weirdo that I am, I even remember the first thing I made in it, Duck Leg Ragu. I remember it, not because it was particularly amazing, but because while I was cooking it, something miraculous happened … The bottom of the pan didn’t scorch before the duck had browned. There wasn’t a blackened ring of sauce in the exact same shape as the burner. It was a red-sauce miracle!  That’s when I realized that investing in a few items of really special, well-made cookware was much better than having a crappy set of pans in every size. Since then, our special collection has slowly grown, and I love each piece. We cook a lot (I know you’re shocked) and I use these skillets, fry pans, and grill pans almost daily. The great thing is, well-made cookware lasts for generations so if you have kids, tell them whoever helps in the kitchen inherits the good stuff.

Phyllo Pot Pie with Creamy Chicken, Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard
Super crispy phyllo tops a comforting, creamy chicken stew.

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Marinated Goat Cheese with Garlic and Thyme

Marinated Goat Cheese with Garlic and Thyme

For an almost effortless way to a more interesting cheese platter, marinate fresh goat cheese in olive oil with herbs and spices. Use it as a topping for crackers, a spread for sandwiches, or crumbled into salads.

Tangy and creamy, fresh goat cheese (also known as chèvre) is delicious right out of the package, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get creative with it. Marinating it in extra-virgin olive oil with flavorings like garlic, thyme, fennel seed, and lemon peel infuses it with flavor. It can be used the way a regular goat cheese would: crumbled in salads, spread on a warm baguette as part of a sandwich, or, our favorite, served simply with crackers.

Marinated Goat Cheese with Garlic and Thyme
Garlic, lemon peel, pink peppercorns, red chili flakes, bay leaves and fennel seed

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Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders with Garlic-Herb Yogurt Dip

Crispy Oven-baked Chicken Tenders with Herb Yogurt Dip

Crispy, crunchy oven-fried chicken tenders might look like kid food, but these are packed with enough flavor to keep the grown ups just as happy. We serve them with a garlicky, lemony, herb-packed yogurt dip. 

If someone took a quick glance at our blog, they might get the impression that we’re fancy people. We are not. Prime example: Matt’s desert island dish is probably butterscotch pudding (the kind made from a packet, mind you). And mine is probably tater tots. Yes, frozen potato nuggets, baked on a tray. See? Not fancy. 

Yes, we like to cook up some nice grub but it’s mostly simple stuff, just made (hopefully) with good ingredients and a little technique. Same goes for this recipe, our crispy, crunchy baked oven-fried chicken tenders.

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