This comes together in about the time it takes to order takeout, and is miles more nuanced than your average Chinese restaurant's sweet and sour sauce. Ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, and rice or cider vinegar are boiled together with water (though pineapple juice makes for a tasty tropical twist), and thickened to the perfect dipping consistency with a little cornstarch slurry. Serve this with egg rolls, wontons, rangoons, and whatever other fried foods you want to perk up. Feel free to add some heat to the sauce with minced ginger, garlic, or chiles (or all three).
A roasted boneless leg of lamb makes an impressive centerpiece for your table, but this recipe is easy enough to pull off any time. A classic gremolata perfumes the lamb; the mixture of garlic, lemon, and parsley holds its own against the strong flavor of the meat.