Smoky lentil soup gets depth, flavor without meat

This Dec. 18, 2017 photo shows lentil soup in Bethesda, Md. This dish is from a recipe by Melissa d'Arabian. (Melissa d'Arabian via AP)

Rich bean soups are classic winter comfort food. They are filling, healthy, and inexpensive, making them a worthy addition to the menu rotation. The downside to dried bean cookery is the time it takes to soak and then cook beans. Canned beans are a reasonable substitute, although they cost more than three times the price of their dried, bagged counterparts.

Dried fruits and cognac shine as a fruit compote

This undated photo by chef Elizabeth Karmel shows a dried fruit compote. Fruit compote, also known as stewed fruit, is a combination of dried plums, apricots, cherries and a tiny bit of minced crystallized ginger, that stays good in the refrigerator for a very long time. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Karmel)

Fruit compote — or stewed fruit — is an old-fashioned thing that seems just right for right now.

Indoor plant watering

I recently purchased some new indoor plants. I have not been very successful growing indoor plants. One of my friends says I overwater and another one tells me I underwater. How often should I water my plants?

Pair carrots with harissa for a bright dish

This Dec. 11, 2017 photo shows a North African carrot and chickpea salad in Bethesda, Md. This dish is from a recipe by Melissa d'Arabian. (Melissa d'Arabian via AP)

I first tasted harissa when I was 19, and I traveled on a lone adventure to Tunisia after spending a semester abroad in France. I browsed the open markets, with their appealing drapey white cotton clothing - I wore billowy pants from that trip for years to follow.

Delicious chicken and rice in a pressure cooker

This Nov. 29, 2017 photo shows an under pressure quickie chicken and rice in New York. Whether you make the Spanish staple, Arroz con Pollo or make up your own version, it is soul-satisfying and perfect for the cooler weather. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Karmel)

Chicken and Rice is having a moment. Whether you make the Spanish staple, Arroz con Pollo or make up your own version, it is soul-satisfying and perfect for the cooler weather.

Serve petite beef filet for a holiday dinner

This Nov. 29, 2017 photo shows a prosciutto and red pepper stuffed petite filet in New York. The filet is made with a petite beef filet and stuffed with prosciutto, pesto and roasted red peppers. (Sara Moulton via AP)

Want to serve a fancy roast for Christmas dinner without breaking the bank? Try a petite beef filet. Cut from the shoulder, long and thin, and weighing between 8-10 ounces, the petite filet looks like a mini tenderloin of beef — one of the priciest and most popular of roasts. But it’s much less expensive and more flavorful than the tenderloin. And tender, too.

Are your indoor plants hungry?

Used or spent coffee grounds being used as natural plants fertilizer

How long has it been since you fed your indoor plants? Because of lower light levels and shorter days, indoor plants grow more slowly during winter months and therefore use less fertilizer. However, plants do need regular fertilization for best growth.

A berry tart in under an hour

This Dec. 4, 2017 photo shows an orange and raspberry tart in Bethesda, Md. This dish is from a recipe by Melissa d'Arabian. (Melissa d'Arabian via AP)

During the holidays, we could all use a fantastic tart recipe in our hip pockets. Tarts are a perfect festive end to any dinner party, and they make a lovely gift for a neighbor. If the thought of making homemade crust intimidates you, or if you just prefer not to take in so many fat calories densely packed into a sheet of pastry, stick with me.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies are a holiday treat

This November 2017 photo shows chocolate peppermint cookies in New York. The main ingredient here is 1 1/2 pounds of chocolate, which guarantees an intensely chocolate-y flavor. The cookie’s base is made of a combination of unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate. (Sara Moulton via AP)

If, like me, you’re a fan of dark chocolate peppermint bark at Christmastime, you’re going to love these cookies. Your friends and family will, too. But you’ll have to plan ahead because the batter is so soft it needs to chill overnight before scooping.

Winter Greens, Apple, Cranberry Salad

This October 2017 photo shows a winter green salad with cranberries and goat cheese in New York. This salad comes together in 20 minutes, and is a bowl of vibrant color and texture that seems anything but a postscript to the menu. (Mia via AP)

When it comes to planning a holiday spread, a salad is often an afterthought. Stately roasts, crowd-pleasing potatoes and sultry pies tend to grab the spotlight, and by the time we think, “Oh, yeah, we should probably have a salad,” a bag of mixed lettuces and a container of cherry tomatoes might be all we have the mental bandwidth for.

Pages

ADVERTISEMENT

Subscribe to