Naomi Pomeroy’s roast beef browns beautifully because she adds sugar to the mustard-seed crust, which helps the meat caramelize. The salsa, made with roasted tomatoes, is a great, healthy sauce, though you can serve the beef with a drizzle of balsamic instead.
“Chicken might be my overall favorite meat for feeding a crowd,” Kristin Kimball says. She sometimes roasts it with Indian spices she picks up on her biannual trips to Manhattan—like the curry in this one-pan recipe of yogurt-marinated chicken with butternut squash and brussels sprouts.
This sweet-and-sour spinach side dish gets its satisfying flavor from the combination of honey and sherry vinegar that’s drizzled on top. It’s relatively light, which makes it a great addition to a hearty menu.
Steve Corry loves to toss roasted beets with the complex sherry vinegar that Taylor Griffin imports from Spain. To help mellow the vinegar’s tang, Corry reduces tangerine juice to a syrup and adds it to the dressing. Inspired by peanut brittle, he candies marcona almonds to give the salad crunch. The nuts are fantastic on their own.
For this vegetable side, chef Tory Miller’s local gin source is Death’s Door Spirits in Madison, Wisconsin, a distillery that uses wild juniper berries harvested on Washington Island in Lake Michigan. “I love that they pick all those juniper berries by hand up in Door County,” he says.
Influenced by his Turkish-American wife, Meltem, Scott Conant spices up his silky potato soup with Turkish red-pepper paste (biber salcasi), made from sweet and hot peppers. Look for the paste at Middle Eastern groceries, or use harissa instead.
When presenting their lemony smoked-fish salad, chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo spread out the colorful ingredients—avocados, grapefruit, radishes, arugula and chunks of smoked trout—on plates. For a garnish, the pair ingeniously bake the smoked-trout skin until it’s crisp, then break it up into shards.
Neuroscientist Mini Kahlon learned to love communal eating at family dinners in Chandigarh, India. Her bright avocado salad is delicious with her Indian-spiced dish, for a fabulous combination of cool and spicy, crunchy and creamy.
Most veggie burgers are a pale imitation of the all-beef original, but even with ordinary black beans in place of Rancho Gordo Midnight beans, these robust patties with roasted red pepper spread are moist and delicious. The spread doubles as a fantastic dipping sauce for French fries.
As a young man shopping in Boston's North End, a historically Italian neighborhood, chef Peter Pastan would watch customers at his local Italian market ask for the prosciutto skin. He had no idea what they did with it. Today he cures his own meats at his restaurants, then uses prosciutto skin to flavor and thicken soups like this tomatoey fresh shell bean soup. While the skin is optional here, it's easy to obtain—sometimes for free—from delis and meat counters.
“In our house, stracciatella was a catch-all,” Tom Valenti says about this simple, rustic soup. “We started with good homemade stock and added whatever was around: beans, leftover sausage, shredded chicken.” With a few truffle shavings, this soup can be dressed up for a dinner party.
Judith Tirado, Michael Mina’s late mother-in-law, always prepared cioppino—the San Francisco seafood stew that owes its origins to fishermen from Italy’s Ligurian coast. “She’d spend a whole day infusing the broth with basil and tomatoes,” Mina recalls. Now he carries on the tradition by making her hearty, briny recipe, full of crab, shrimp and clams.
Alison Attenborough and Jamie Kimm always make borscht around the holidays. One year, they had roasted fennel left over after a day of food styling and decided to add it to the soup pot; they’ve been making borscht with fennel ever since. They like their soup really sweet and sour, but you can adjust the vinegar and honey to your taste.
This vibrant dish, layered with arugula, bright white slices of ricotta salata and strips of salty serrano ham, is the sort of composed salad that Suzanne Goin uses to showcase seasonal ingredients. Another of her favorite winter salads is made with blood oranges, dates and Parmesan cheese.