If the food (read: cookies) is the best part of the holidays, the second-best must be the presents. Especially those presents that make cooking easier, or just plain fun. If you have some new toys to play with in the kitchen — an air fryer, a pressure cooker or a powerful new blender to replace that old one with only two working buttons — we have recipes for you, starting with Eleanore Park’s brilliant air-fryer salmon. “Salmon cooks perfectly in the air fryer,” Eleanore explains, “because the device’s circulating high heat keeps the fish moist and crisps skin-on fillets.” More air-fryer must-makes: crispy cubes of tofu, perfect baked potatoes and everyone’s favorite game-day snack, chicken wings.
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Sarah DiGregorio’s beef stew — dark and subtly sweet from stout beer and maple syrup — can be made in either a slow cooker or a pressure cooker. Her five-star chipotle chicken pozole can also be made in either appliance; here’s the slow-cooker version, which is made with bone-in chicken legs (the pressure-cooker version, with a much shorter cook time, goes boneless). You can find these and many more recipes in our slow-cooker and pressure-cooker collections.
And if you’re taking a brand-new blender for a whirl (sorry), Naz Deravian’s açaí bowl is a bright, delicious way to start your day. Go wild with the fruits and toppings — this is definitely an “eat first with your eyes” situation.
On to more analog meals for your trusty (or maybe new!) Dutch oven: Kay Chun’s sticky coconut chicken and rice is a comforting one-pot dish of fragrant coconut rice infused with aromatic ginger, garlic and scallion. Also requiring just one pot — and equally rich and complex in flavor — is Zainab Shah’s masala black-eyed peas, which spruces up two cans of beans with Kashmiri red chile powder, cumin seeds and garam masala.
Lastly, here’s Ali Slagle’s baked potato soup, a brilliant excuse to capitalize on accouterments if we ever saw one. Ali includes instructions for turning those russet potato skins into crispy strips to top your soup, along with the suggested (but, let’s be real, requisite) sour cream, shredded Cheddar and chopped scallions. If one of your new toys is an immersion blender, you can use it here to purée the soup to a velvety smoothness. Otherwise, you can use a good ol’ potato masher for a satisfyingly chunky texture.