Author: Matthew Simon Cavalletto

Breakfast Potatoes

These make a great accompaniment for eggs. Use yellow or red potatoes, like Yukon Gold, not the brown russet potatoes. Cut them into uniform-sized chunks, like 1/2″ x 1/2″ x 1″ or thereabouts. (The exact size isn’t critical, but avoid having a mix of big chunks and little bits, because you want them all to

Roasted Squash

A brief version of this recipe appears in Autumn Salad with Roasted Squash, but this vegetable is so delicious I figured it was worth calling out separately. Purchase a medium or large butternut squash. Set the oven to 400-425°. Set out a large baking tray or roasting pan, optionally lined with a piece of baking parchment.

Kettle Corn (Sweet Popcorn)

This is best prepared in a stovetop popcorn popper; if you don’t have one, you can use a light saucepot with a snug lid and a handle that allows you to shake it vigorously while heating. Ingredients: • 1/4 cup vegetable oil • 1/4 cup popcorn • Scant 1/4 cup sugar (3-4 oz) • 1

Mulled Wine (or Cider)

A traditional cozy warm drink for winter. Ingredients: A bottle of red wine — to your taste, but not expensive — or replace this with a quart of traditional apple cider, or home-brewed hard cider. An orange. A handful of fresh cranberries, blackberries, or similar if available (optional garnish). Mulling spices: you can use an off-the-shelf

Garlic-Balsamic Mushrooms

[I rarely serve mushrooms on their own, but this preparation is worth making an exception for. — Matthew] Start with at least a pound of mushrooms, remembering that they will shrink substantially when cooked. Any common type of fresh mushroom can be used; most recently I used a mix of cremini, portobello, and shiitakes. Cut

Roasted Brassicas

Roasting is an easy way to prepare any of the stalky brassica varieties, including broccoli, cauliflower, broccoflower, broccolini, and so forth. Preheat an oven to 400° or so. Prepare a baking sheet or shallow metal roasting pan. (Optionally lining it with foil or parchment simplifies cleanup.) Cut the brassicas into florets. (Broccolini stalks are so

Basic Hot Sauce

Heat a knob of butter in a skillet on medium-high heat. Slice and sauté a large purple onion and a large handful of fresh chili peppers along with their seeds (washing your hands afterwards). When those are soft, clear a space in the middle of the pan and add a whole head’s worth of garlic

Dumpling Dipping Sauce

I am definitely not a master of East Asian cuisines, but anyone can steam up some red bean buns and pan-fry a few dumplings, at which point it helps to have a little dipping sauce to dunk ’em in. Here are the proportions Piglet has been using recently: 6 Tbps soy sauce 4 Tbps seasoned

Ginger Jubilee Cookies

This was the surprise winner of this year’s Christmas baking: a dense cookie with a rich flavor, suitable for dunking in coffee or nibbling with your after-dinner adult beverage. Adapted from Joy of Cooking. In a double boiler, over simmering water, mix 2/3 c honey, 1 c sugar, and 2 oz butter. When combined, thoroughly


I wish I had known twenty years ago that we could have home-made focaccia as often as we wanted and with just fifteen minutes of effort. Start by making a basic no-knead bread dough: this step takes less than ten minutes. In a large bowl, mix three cups of all-purpose flour, a teaspoon and a