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Sichuan Send-the-Rice-Down Chopped Celery with Ground Beef

It’s been one of those weeks where I haven’t felt like making dinner. I’m pretty sure it happens to all of us. It’s been hot, which makes standing over a hot stove unappealing. And I’ve been tired and distracted by other projects. When dinner time rolls around, I’ve been feeling limp and listless, like this celery …

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Vietnamese Flank Steak with Citrus-Mint Cabbage Salad

It is officially spring. But official spring never feels like the spring that exists in my imagination. The mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful spring with green shoots and sun peaking through rain and warm breezes and new beginnings. Official spring in Chicago is something altogether different. It is one day in a series of false starts. It is …

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Savoy Cabbage Gratin, meltingly tender comfort

If one wants evidence that cooking is an alchemical process, one need look no further than this rich, savory puddle of a gratin that once was a head of savoy cabbage. Savoy is the frilly, ruffled member of the cabbage family. Its leaves are more tender than green or red cabbage, and its flavor is milder and …

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The Martinez, a cocktail with Old Tom Gin

It’s happy hour, which means it is time to talk about cocktails. Today we have the Martinez. This particular cocktail is one of my standbys. The Martinez is an old drink, a predecessor to the familiar Martini, made with Old Tom gin, a style of gin popular in the 19th century that predates the London …

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Sweet and Spicy Korean Cauliflower

For much of my life, I was largely indifferent to cauliflower. It was something I might pick from a veggie tray if the carrots and cucumbers were gone. Raw, it was Bunnicula’s broccoli, sort of crunchy and faintly bitter. It was, I guess, okay. I felt similarly about steamed cauliflower. It was milder and softer. It was fine. …

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