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Banoffee Trifle with Candied Bacon

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DIFFICULTY: 4 of 5 (5 being hardest)

Banoffee Trifle is a layered dessert of vanilla custard, Candied Bacon, crushed shortbread cookies, fried bananas, toffee caramel, and chocolate ganache. You can totally make this at home. The layering makes it look awesome in a glass dish. Serve it with coffee and your friends will think you’re badass.

Korean Barbecued Pork Bulgogi

DIFFICULTY: 3 of 5 (5 being hardest)

If you’ve never eaten at a Korean barbecue restaurant, you gotta go. It’s fun. You grill your own strips of marinated meat, then add whatever spicy, sharp, and crunchy accompaniments you like. The requisite spread usually includes kimchi, pickles, chiles, and lettuce leaves to wrap it all up. Beef is most common but there are pork versions too, which I like better. To simplify the dish, I pan-sear thin slices of pork shoulder and turn the accompaniments into a sort of slaw that you wrap up in the lettuce. You could brush a little hoisin in there before you roll it up, or squirt on some sriracha. Use whatever condiments you have or none.

Olive Oil–Poached Shrimp with Cucumber and Radish Salad

DIFFICULTY: 2 of 5 (5 being hardest)

This dish works best as an hors d’oeuvre, but it could be a light lunch too. It’s incredibly beautiful to look at and it can be made ahead in stages, so it’s perfect for entertaining. The shrimp are essentially confited, which in French cooking means that they are poached and temporarily preserved in fat. Here the fat is

Sage-Battered Mushrooms with Cheddar Funduta

DIFFICULTY: 3 of 5 (5 being hardest)

This dish just works. Oyster mushrooms are great fried because they stay nice and firm. To keep the mushrooms from getting greasy, I use a thin, tempura-style batter that fries up fast and super-crisp. For something creamy, the fonduta acts like a classier version of ranch dip (it’s always good to have something creamy with fried

Oven Roasted Chicken

DIFFICULTY: 1 of 5 (5 being hardest)

A roasted chicken can be incredibly satisfying when it’s done the right way. It can be equally disappointing when it’s done poorly. My goal is to make sure the bird, come hell or high water, stays juicy and flavorful. So I separate the skin from the meat and slather it with flavored butter. I like