My Vassar classmate and friend Neile Miller's an amazing cook, and these are recipes you'll want to make again and again, either together or to mix and match with other menus.
Roasted Chicken Shawarma
From Sam Sifton's Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma in the New York Times
2 lemons, juiced
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon turmeric
A pinch ground cinnamon
Red pepper flakes, to taste
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
HOW TO MAKE IT
Combine the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl, then whisk to combine. Add the chicken and toss well to coat. Cover and store in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
When ready to cook, heat oven to 425 degrees. Use the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to grease a rimmed sheet pan. Add the quartered onion to the chicken and marinade, and toss once to combine. Remove the chicken and onion from the marinade, and place on the pan, spreading everything evenly across it.
Put the chicken in the oven and roast until it is browned, crisp at the edges and cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to rest 2 minutes
Scatter the parsley over the top and serve.
Roasted and Carmelized Sweet Potato Quarters
3 large sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon crushed red-pepper flakes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup Greek-style yogurt
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, approximately 2 limes
2 scallions, both green and white parts, trimmed and thinly sliced, for garnish
HOW TO PREPARE IT
Heat oven to 425. Cut the sweet potatoes lengthwise into 4 wedges per potato. Put them in a large bowl, and toss them with the honey, ½ tablespoon of the crushed red-pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so, tossing once or twice to coat, as the oven heats.
Transfer the potatoes to a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and then bake until they are deeply caramelized around the edges and soft when pierced with a fork at their thickest part, approximately 30 to 35 minutes.
As the potatoes roast, combine the yogurt, lime juice, and remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl, and whisk to combine, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
When the potatoes are done, transfer them to a serving platter, drizzle the yogurt over them and garnish with the remaining red-pepper flakes, the scallions, and some flaky sea salt if you have any.
Tahini Dirty Blondies
MAKES 8″ x 8″ TRAY
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean extract
1 cup tahini (sesame) paste
black sesame seeds
white sesame seeds
Maldon Sea Salt
Pre-heat oven to 325˚F. Prepare an 8″x8″ pan by spraying with cooking spray and lining it with parchment. Leave an over-hang for easy removal.
In a large bowl, sift the flour and combine with the salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar and brown sugar. Add the eggs and whisk until homogenous. Add the vanilla bean paste and tahini paste and mix again until combined.
Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and fold until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spread evenly.
Garnish with black and white sesame seeds. Transfer the pan into the oven and bake for 22-23 minutes for a very gooey blondie or 26-28 for one that is more baked through. Allow to cool!
Garnish with Maldon Sea Salt and cut into 16 pieces. Enjoy!