Paula: When the guy behind the seafood counter tried to steer me away from halibut, explaining that he would avoid that variety for the grill, I smiled politely and purchased two big fillets. Folks are intimidated to grill varieties of white fish like sea bass, cod, or halibut, because they’re delicate and leaner than oiler fish such as tuna, swordfish, and mahi mahi. (The fear being that the former will dry out and/or fall apart when flipped). But there’s an easy remedy preparing white fish over a bed of charcoal: sizzle the fish in a preheated cast iron skillet with a drizzle of olive oil and a few aromatics, and don’t bother flipping it.

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Paula: One of the silver linings of an enforced quarantine is cooking, of course. For the last few weeks (months? How long has it been?), there’s no need for recipes that promise dinner in a flash. Full days at home offer the pleasure of, say, tending a fire for a long smoke or a stovetop simmer. After cooking through a world tour of dried beans (black, pinto, lentils, cannellini!) I pulled out a bag of Rancho Gordo Hominy.

If you’ve only ever used canned hominy, friend, you are missing out. The canned variety has a gummy, slightly rubbery texture. Dried hominy that you cook flowers, like popcorn, when it’s fully cooked and gives the posole a rich corn flavor. Once the hominy is cooked, this recipe comes together with basic pantry ingredients, a cooked chicken (you can even use a store-bought rotisserie) and any mix of garnishes you please.

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Scott: What’s for dinner? I need an idea.

Paula: “Have the lambs stopped crying, Clarice?”

Scott: Yikes! I’ll take scary lamb burger references for $100, Alex.

Paula: Sorry, couldn’t resist. It’s burger night at our place and these lamb burgers are fantastic--crowd pleasers for sure. I love keeping them simple, topped with thinly sliced feta cheese, onions, and a final slather of sauce so the meat’s distinctive flavor shines. However, no one would complain if you added juicy slices of beefsteak tomatoes, lettuce, or whatever else puts a skip in your step. If you want to step up your condiment game, spike up the mayo with finely chopped rosemary, garlic, or lemon zest.

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Paula: Do you know the difference between ragu and Bolognese? There isn’t one! Technically they’re both defined as a full-bodied meat sauce, often enhanced with wine or cream. Bolognese sauce is named after the northern Italian region Bologna, where it’s a staple. I went with Bolognese for this recipe because, you know, alliteration. My point is: full-bodied meat sauce.

Scott: I love the idea of using a smoked shoulder (or butt) as the meat component of this robust sauce. The smoke acts like an extra ingredient to kick the flavor up a notch.

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