When a reader, Jeanne, asked for a good pasta dish, I decided to show her how to create it from scratch. Sure, making pasta by hand requires elbow grease and a good rolling pin, but you’ll be surprised at how simple, cheap, and tasty it is. If an Italian grandmother can do it, so can you! Because fresh pasta is so wonderful, the sauce doesn’t need to be complicated. I love this with tomato sauce and a little cheese or the chorizo and white bean ragu.
John, the reader who introduced me to the silky magic of this avocado milkshake, lives in California, where avocados are often less than a dollar. If you can find a similar deal, whip up a batch of these! If your avocado isn’t quite ripe, a bit more lime juice will bring out the flavor.
These shakes are even better if you use “coconut milk beverage,” almond milk, or rice milk instead of regular milk. Each adds a little of its own flavor to the drink.
My friend Raffaella comes from a huge family and fondly recalls making dumplings with her sisters growing up. (Her brothers just ate them.) Dumplings are a great way to use up veggies that don’t look fresh anymore. Minced inside a dumpling, they come back to life! I’ve provided a couple of ideas here, but as with so many recipes, the filling is up to you. If you mess up and it comes out bland, just dip the dumpling in soy sauce or chile sauce and you’ll still be happy. Or if you’ve made peanut sauce or spice oil lately dip in those.
If budget allows and you want to save time, see whether your grocery store has pre-made dumpling wrappers, usually in the freezer section or Asian aisle. They come round or square and might be called gyoza or wonton wrappers, but any will work.
On a hot day, this is all I want to eat. Or a cold day honestly. When I use the spice oil or peanut sauce it really warms me up. This is my kind of lunchtime comfort food. Cold but spicy food is refreshing and delicious in the summer. If you have some spice oil on hand, be sure to add it. It’s like a simple and cheaty version of Dan Dan noodles that way.