If a fire escape is the closest you come to a backyard, it shouldn’t stop you from smoking. Former CHOW.com Senior Food Editor Jill Santopietro says that turning your wok into a smoker doesn’t take much effort. All you need is aluminum foil, a round cooling rack, and finely ground wood chips, available online or at hardware stores or some cooking supply stores. If you don’t have wood chips, you can use a 1/2 cup kosher salt, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup rice, and 1/4 cup oolong tea leaves mixed with 2 tablespoons water for more of a tea smoke. Indoor smokers take note: Open your windows and remove your smoke detector (but don’t forget to put it back when you’re done). Find plenty of smoking recipes and other tips here!
A simple but delicious version of Japanese ramen, this soup starts with pork cooked to perfect tenderness in the crock pot, with garlic, ginger, leeks, mushrooms, and onions rounding out the flavors. The noodles are cooked separately just before serving, then the shredded pork and fragrant broth, with a little soy and sesame oil added, are ladled over top. A soft boiled egg makes a great garnish, as do shredded scallions or chopped baby spinach. Add some chile oil or Sriracha if you want to spice things up.
Easy Pie Crust
Homemade pie crust really elevates your desserts (and savory tarts and quiches too), and isn't as hard as you might think, especially if you use a food processor to make the dough. Even if you don't roll it out exactly evenly or press it in to your pie plate perfectly, the buttery taste and flaky texture will more than make up for any cosmetic imperfections. Give this easy pie crust recipe a try next time you bake -- and if you want to use it for a savory dish, just leave out the sugar in the recipe.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Softened vegetables, including onions and bell peppers, amped up with spices like chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne, form the base of this tortilla soup. Chicken broth and tomatoes are added, along with soft corn tortillas that meld into the liquid to make a hearty, thick meal. Finally, shredded chicken is stirred in, and everything is garnished with crunchy tortilla strips, sour cream, shredded cheese, and scallions (avocados, pickled jalapeños, and cilantro would all work too).
French Chocolate Macarons with Chocolate Ganache
No lie: macarons can be fairly finicky to make, in that they might spread into uneven shapes or form dark spots on their tops -- but even if they're not as beautiful as bakery specimens, they will still be delicious. The smooth chocolate ganache filling sandwiches the light, chewy-inside, delicately-crisp-outside chocolate macarons together, for a classic French dessert you shouldn't be afraid to try making.