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Crunchy Microwave Shallots

This microwave method of making crispy fried shallots to use as a garnish caught my eye just after I first tried to make mujadera, which was a bit too complex for a weekday lunch. The mujadera calls for caramelized onions, which take time, but Chrissy Teigen’s microwave shallots are done in under 10 minutes. They’re great on khichdi, and I can’t wait to try a similar method for making crispy garlic.

Total time: 10 minutes

Garlic-Ginger Paste

This is a game-changer, especially when you’re trying to get a meal together fast, or when you are working on an already-involved recipe and could use a shortcut that doesn’t compromise on flavor. Prepare this garlic-ginger paste in advance, portion it in an ice cube tray, and freeze it. Then just pull a cube or two out of the freezer whenever a recipe calls for freshly grated garlic and ginger, and you’ll be your own food prep hero. You’re welcome.

Total time: 20 minutes

Caramelized Onions

Great caramelized onions require slow cooking over medium heat. It takes an hour or more, but the time spent is worth it if you’re looking for a great topping for burgers or pizza.

Yield: 1/2 cup Total time: 1 hour

Day-Before Gravy

I’ve been searching for a gravy recipe I can do ahead of time, since by the time I have the turkey and sides ready to go on the holiday table, I’m usually too frazzled to successfully turn the pan drippings into gravy.

This one uses bacon drippings and tamari as a savory flavor base, and can be made the day before a holiday feast.

Yield: 2 cups Total time: 1 hour

Tomato Gravy

Tomato gravy is a Southern staple, but isn’t part of my Southern family’s heritage. It may be time to change that.

This roux-based sauce of tomatoes and cream is delicious served with biscuits, fried chicken, and even mashed cauliflower.

Yield: 2 1/2 cups Total time: 15 minutes

Quick-Pickled Red Onions

The rosy pink color and delicious tang of these pickled onions makes them the perfect topping for barbacoa tacos, sandwiches, or salads.

Yield: 2 cups Total time: 45 minutes

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

Thinly sliced onions cooked in a slow cooker in olive oil, butter, thyme, and salt, develop a deep golden brown color and sweet flavor, and are perfect on top of pizza, chicken, or burgers.


Poultry Pan Gravy

Every holiday bird deserves a side of homemade gravy.

Yield: 2 cups

Old Bay Dipping Sauce

This delicious concoction of butter, Old Bay, and shallots was the best thing to come out of “The Lobster Incident.” We don’t plan to bring home another live lobster again, but this sauce is perfect with any kind of grilled shellfish.

Yield: 1 cup Total time: 20 minutes

Khanh’s Bacon Jam

This savory jam of cooked bacon, onion, chipotles, Mexican chocolate, and coffee is really something special.