Now that the Thanksgiving hubbub has died down, let’s take a moment of lovely calm before we fall headlong into the flickering fray of Hanukkah-Solstice-Christmas-Kwanzaa-New Year’s. In our house, I’m declaring the next two weeks to be family cozy time, the three of us snuggled up on the couch watching pirates and vampires after fuss-free, satisfying dinners.
Our go-to in such times is my red lentil soup, a chunky purée with lemon and cilantro and just a touch of cumin. It freezes perfectly, so I make a double batch, letting its savory scent suffuse the kitchen as it bubbles away. Then I bring the coziness by serving steaming bowlfuls with crusty bread and a big salad.
Red Lentil Soup
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For a heartier, meatier soup, Alexa Weibel’s chicken and rice soup with ginger and turmeric is brimming with chicken, nubby brown rice and floppy crescents of baby bok choy. Inspired by creamy rice porridges like Chinese congee and Filipino lugaw, it’s soothing and full of invigorating spice.
Noodles also make my short list of beloved comfort foods, including Sue Li’s Taiwanese meefun, a stir-fried rice vermicelli with baked or smoked tofu and a generous dose of white pepper. In her vegetarian take, Sue substitutes dried shiitakes for the usual dried shrimp and adds eggs for heft, which mingle in the pan with the shredded cabbage and carrots. Serve it warm or at room temperature, at the table or on the couch (pirates and vampires optional).
In the intermission between holidays, I like my foods on the lighter side. Ali Slagle’s pan-seared ranch chicken calls for lean chicken breasts marinated in a zesty, herb-spiked Greek yogurt mixture that doubles as the sauce. It would make a delightful, healthful meal right now, especially served with kale tabbouleh on the side.
For dessert, a bowl of fudgy oat milk chocolate pudding is still plenty rich, but without the full-on butterfat of holiday desserts past and future.
Speaking of sweets: Our special Cookie Week newsletter kicks off on Wednesday. Make sure you’re on the list!
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