Alexandra's Kitchen

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The BEST Banana Bread? Right this way.

Lunch

Soup season has officially arrived, bringing with it bowls of warm, comforting goodness, smells that permeate the house, the nourishment we crave on chilly days, and blisters to our little, out-of-practice fingers. This parsnip pear soup is perfect for this time of year. // alexandracooks.com

Parsnip & Pear Soup | Also, How to be a Better/More Efficient Soup Maker This Winter

There is something so good about this simple quesadilla, about tasting each element — the smoky peppers and sweet onions, the bright cilantro, the creamy, melty Jack. As with pizza, less is more with quesadillas — a thin layer of ingredients is best. Before serving, I love stretching open the cheese-locked layers and dropping in spoonfuls of sour cream. // alexandracooks.com

Roasted Poblano, Onion, and Jack Quesadilla

A bowl of roasted tomato and bread soup aside homemade bread and a spoon.

Roasted Tomato and Bread Soup (Pappa al Pomodoro)

This no-mayo chicken salad is made with a simple dressing of olive oil and vinegar with big, plump pieces of chicken, lots of herbs, and a nice bite in the dressing. It's another nice no-mayo salad to serve at a summer gathering or to bring to a potluck. And there's only one thing to keep in mind while making it: less is not more. Don't be afraid to heap on those herbs. // alexandracooks.com

Chicken Salad with Olive Oil & Herbs

This sandwich bread can be made entirely with whole wheat flour, but I like using a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flours, which produce a soft, light, and sturdy loaf, one that appeals, most importantly, to both toddlers and adults alike. // alexandracooks.com

Walter Sands’ Soft Sandwich Bread

A bowl of broccoli-cauliflower salad.

Cauliflower, Broccoli & Pepita Salad

In this campanelle dish, a warm anchovy-caper-olive oil sauce dresses the pasta first; then a splash of lemon juice and reserved cooking liquid thin out the sauce ensuring it coats the pasta nicely; finally chopped hard-boiled eggs and greens complete the dish to make an impromptu, deeply satisfying dinner. // alexandracooks.com

Campanelle with Hard-Boiled Eggs, Capers & Watercress

Croque madame — croque monsieur topped with a poached egg — on a cutting board.

Croque Monsieur (Croque Madame) with Poached Eggs

A bowl of white bean and escarole and sausage soup.

White Bean, Escarole & Sausage Soup

Charred eggplant produces a creaminess without the help of oil, and the charring moreover imparts such a nice smokiness to the eggplant's flesh. Some sort of flatbread or grilled bread is a must with each of these preparations, and if you happen to have some za'atar in your pantry, the aromatic spice mixture complements the eggplant so nicely. // alexandracooks.com

Burnt Eggplant with Za’atar Flatbread

When it's too hot to cook, turn off the oven. Nothing could be more refreshing than this cool summery soup — green grape and cucumber gazpacho — and spicy-sweet-crunchy salad: quinoa with mango, lime and ginger. // alexandracooks.com

Cucumber & Green Grape Gazpacho | Quinoa Salad with Mango, Lime & Ginger

Pissaladière/Focaccia: What to Do With Past-Prime Lahey Pizza Dough

In this soba noodle salad, both the tofu and noodles are dressed with the same ginger and garlic soy-based dressing. It's a great dressing to use with any number of Asian noodles, but it excels in one area in particular: complete tofu domination. // alexandracooks.com

Soba Salad with Marinated Tofu, Mint & Scallions

For Gabrielle Hamilton, the success of this prosciutto and arugula sandwich relies on a delicate balance, "the perfection of three fats together — butter, olive oil, and the white fat from prosciutto or lardo." Served on (faux) ciabatta bread, it's delicious. // alexandracooks.com

Three Fats on Faux Ciabatta

soba noodles with peanut dressing

Soba Noodles with Peanut Dressing

A simple dressing of olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice with just a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes works best in this quinoa salad, both complementing quinoa's flavors while not oversaturating its delicate texture. // alexandracooks.com

Quinoa with Walnuts, Radishes & Spring Onions • How to Cook Quinoa Properly • Fair Trade Quinoa

a baked ham and cheese croissant

Smoked Ham (or Prosciutto) & Cheese Croissants

What to do with those Radishes …

3 Simple Tartines: Mushroom; Radicchio & Gorgonzola; Fresh Ricotta // Plus A Few More Ideas for Oscar Night

Toast with Hard Boiled Eggs & Bagna Cauda // Also, Walnut Bread

Loaded with vegetables — carrots, potatoes, onions and cabbage — a little bacon and a touch of cream, this cabbage soup is definitely hearty, best served on a cold winter day with crusty bread and nothing more. For me, it's the dill and caraway seeds that make it unlike any other I have tasted, the caraway seeds in particular imparting a lovely yet subtle flavor. // alexandracooks.com

Paul Steindler’s Cabbage Soup and A Peasant Bread Follow-Up

This pomegranate salad recipe comes from the book Turquoise by Greg and Lucy Malouf, which my aunt introduced to the family last winter when she served this stunning salad at a dinner party. The myriad textures and sweet-salty-hot dressing make this salad irresistible. // alexandracooks.com

Green Olive, Walnut & Pomegranate Salad; Thanksgiving Day Recap

It's dishes such as this that make me understand (almost) how people can be vegetarian. In In this slow-cooked kale, kale is blanched first, roughly chopped and then sautéed over low heat for thirty minutes in olive oil with onions, garlic, rosemary and chile de árbol. It's almost black and slightly crispy when finished. It is sweet and addictive. // alexandracooks.com

Suzanne Goin’s Slow-Cooked Kale ( & Stuffing)

The amazing recipe for a classic grilled cheese sandwich calls for crisping country white bread slices in a skillet on one side before topping them with cheese and sautéed shallots. The open-faced halves finish cooking in the oven before being pressed together into a traditional sandwich. This simple technique produces such a brilliant result: perfectly golden bread flanking perfectly melty cheese. // alexandracooks.com

The Best Grilled Cheese