Posts in Ali's Recipes
How to Lighten up Your Tailgate

I'm VERY into sports if being 'into sports' can mean being very into making the food that comes with watching sports or tailgating. Getting the food right for a sporting event can be a sport unto itself, and one I take as seriously as everyone seems to be taking the game.

As much as I love a many-layered dip and wings, I also always like to have a light, bright option to offset some of the heavier food people might expect. But you want something hearty enough that it won't wilt during a long afternoon - and it's especially great if it's quick to make. And it's an extra bonus if vegetarians feel like they have a main course option that doesn't alienate meat eaters who are just looking for flavor.

Sometimes a lot of ingredients are right in front of our eyes, and that's what I love about this pickled beet and lentil salad with tahini lemon dressing. You can easily buy the sesame goodness of tahini at any grocery store; find canned lentils to save yourself a cooking step; and I use Aunt Nellies pickled beets to add acidity and depth without the long process of roasting and pickling the beets yourself. So what you end up with is a surprising and filling vegetable dish that requires no cooking. The sesame and lemon of the dressing match perfectly with the earthy beets and you have a dish that will make you the tailgate hero with little to no work. Find a sport that can give you that kind of outcome!

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The Most Summery, Simple (And Healthy!?) Popsicles Around

In the summer, for me, everything is about berries. There is nothing purer and sweeter than a summer strawberry and it can feel like a replacement for any other sweet treat unto itself. So when I know I am not ready for the sugar high of my beloved gelato I turn to these popsicles. They are as easy as turning on the blender and they have the added touch of turmeric to give them a little more depth. They are quick, perfect, sugar-free bites of summer. What more could you ask for!?

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Vinegar and Herb Pork Butt Is the Bright Dish You Need

If you caught me on Dr Oz today you’ll have seen me demo’ing a recipe for pork butt in a segment on the best cheap cuts of meat. And while it’s true that pork butt is one of the best values it also happens to be one of the most flavorful cuts around. It just requires a bit of low and slow cooking, although the prep is as easy as could be - or if you are a fan of the instant pot it is even easier,since you could make it in less than an hour.

But this recipe is packed with flavor - lots of herbs and lots of vinegar make a bright delight ready to take on any occasion.

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Bring It! on the Today Show

I started my career as a Page at NBC - yes, if you've seen 30 Rock it's just like Kenneth the Page, but with a little bit more real work involved! So I was so thrilled to get to have a little bit of a homecoming and share two of the recipes from Bring It! on The Today Show this week. 

We wanted two pastas perfect for summer entertaining so we did the Red Wine Pasta and the Pesto Vinaigrette Pasta

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Shrimp Butter is Your New Best Friend

So few things in life can make almost anything better. But I think shrimp butter really can. It is basically a sauce that can be made easily but elevate any type of dish. Spread it on toast in the morning or make a fancy-seeming pasta at night for guests. Make a tomato sandwich spread with shrimp butter or put it in a bowl of rice and take it to the next level. There are very few things that shrimp butter can't do. And you know what makes it even better? It takes less than 10 minutes to make.

I grew up with variations on shrimp butter since in the Lowcountry of South Carolina there are few things more prevalent than shrimp. But I also saw a version in Normandy that knocked my socks off. So this aims to be the in-between - a Southern staple but that still tries to be as light and bright as possible.

This is also great in the freezer - keep it on hand and then whip it out when you have guests. Trust me, no one will think you didn't plan ahead.

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The Easiest Blueberry Jam Ever

So if you follow me on social media you might have noticed in the last week that I was in Rhode Island and was mildly obsessed with blueberry picking. It's one of my favorite activities because it's a soothing task that somehow also yields pounds upon pounds of blueberries - how could that not be a winning combo? 

I made a ton of pies and pancakes and just about a million handfuls of blueberries on their own, but of course when you pick tons of fruit there is nothing better than jam. 

Now, you all know I love to make things as simple as humanly possible because I'm incredibly lazy. But jam is one of those things I have never understood the insanity around. Everyone wants to make it more complicated. Pectin! Canning machines! Special ingredients! I say screw all of that and make it as easy as possible.

This recipe is my classic because it takes the least amount of work and ingredients but still tastes like a glorious batch of summer. Blueberries are perfect for this kind of jam because they get jammy pretty naturally. If you do want a slightly less cooked version you can add pectin. But if you're like me and you don't make a ton of jam at home then this is a simple solution that will suddenly make you feel like a home cooking superstar. The truth is that great in-season fruit makes excellent jam without much else, so don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

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The Sweet, Salty, Crunchy Steak

Sometimes one recipe leads to another. In testing out last week's bhel puri recipe I started to imagine another place where that sweet, salty and crunchy combo can balance out: a steak. Why not add a bit of sweetness and tartness with some tamarind? And instead of rice puffs why not just let rice krispies do the trick and add a bit of crunch to the otherwise heaviness of a steak?

This recipe has only four ingredients but they work some serious magic. Tamarind adds the perfect compliment to brighten up everyone's favorite meat and the drizzle of crunch on top makes it irresistible. 

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The Hazelnut Chocolate Cookies That Will Make You Forget Nutella

So I try to not eat any processed food in my house but sometimes it is hard. There are some products that are so delicious they defy explanation. I feel like nutella fits into that category. It's an ooey gooey spread that can add delight and flavor to almost anything. But it's also a long way from eating something 'real'. So I set out to find an alternative.

Really it's pretty simple if you're just looking for the flavors. Just combine hazelnuts and good chocolate. Easy peasy. The vehicle is really only needed so far as to keep it together. Sure, the ooey gooey is a great option but what about just a plain ole cakey cookie? 

Enter the Hazelnut Chocolate Cookies. They are addictive, not too sweet, and a crumbly texture that makes them hard to put down. Instead of trying to liquefy everything it leans into the texture of both the hazelnuts and the chocolate. You're tasting both so fully rather than hiding behind a whole lot of processing. 

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