Pantry Dinners

I love to play in the kitchen, but I also love easy meals. Get pantry-based recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
As much as I love to play in the kitchen, even I have days when I want an easy meal. But most people who eat my easy meals can’t believe food this good can be so easy. The secret is in what I’m emphasizing all month: a well-stocked basic pantry.

Some of my favorite easy meals developed from flavors I fell in love with while exploring other countries and cultures. My freezer always holds a bag of frozen shrimp, often destined for the grill. But on rainy, freezing, or just plain lazy nights, a cast-iron skillet and oven broiler fill in beautifully. Add some oil, a couple of spices, and a lot of garlic, and the meal brings back memories of Spanish tapas bars and gambas al ajillo. If I cooked up a pot of beans earlier in the week, or have a can stashed on the shelf, I can sip wine, think fondly of Italy, and have a surprisingly filling vegetarian or vegan pasta on the table in less than 30 minutes.
Learn to make Spanish Shrimp in Garlic Oil and Smashed Bean Pasta

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Feel-Good Soup

Soup is the ultimate comfort food. By planning ahead, you can have it in a flash—even when you’re sick. Get Hot and Sour Broth Base and Soup recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Soup is the ultimate comfort food. It warms you from head to toe, even reaching fingertips wrapped around a warm bowl or mug. It can be pleasantly light or satisfyingly filling. You can load it with your favorite ingredients and flavors, and it makes brilliant leftovers. What’s not to love about homemade soup?

Some days, the answer is, “That I have to make it.” When you’re sick, soup can make you feel better, but not if you have to get out of bed, gather and chop the ingredients, and monitor the pot. When I’ve got a bug, I crave hot and sour soup. But one of my favorite recipes, Padma Lakshmi’s Hot and Sour Tomato Broth with Shrimp from Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet, requires specialty ingredients and effort. So I’ve developed a version can be frozen as a broth base. The essential work can happen long before you want the soup. When you’re under the weather, you can simply defrost and mix it into homemade stock. On healthy days, you can fill it out to create a full meal for everyone at the table.
Learn to make Hot and Sour Broth Base and Soup

Falafel

The trick to perfect home-made falafel is in the beans. Get Raw-Chickpea Falafel and Lemon–Tahini Sauce recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
If you’ve made falafel at home and been disappointed, you’re not alone. You might think you need special equipment, or some secret ingredient, or years of experience. The truth is far simpler.

I’ve tried many falafel recipes, and the results were so unsuccessful that my go-to “recipe” was dried commercial mix rehydrated with pureed soft tofu. The from-scratch problem was always moisture: cooked chickpeas, whether prepped at home or poured from a can, always made the falafel mixture too moist. I’d add binders, like flour or breadcrumbs, but these made the falafel too dense and doughy. Then I stumbled upon a falafel recipe that calls for rehydrated but uncooked beans. On my first attempt, the texture and density issues were gone. Practice led me to develop a flavorful, crisp, vegan falafel perfect for stuffing in Sourdough Pita Bread with a range of condiments and easily frozen for quick meals.
Learn to make Raw-Chickpea Falafel and Lemon–Tahini Sauce