foodFood & Drink

4 Decadent Comfort Foods to Enjoy Before Salad Season

by Caitlin Kelch

kesme asi served with hot red pepper and croutons fried in butter

The weather has been skirting the edge of 60 degrees here in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia this past week, which is just plain strange. February should be the month where we’re cozied in watching it snow outside, but instead, I’m counting the days I have left to make all of the comfort food I can before salad seasons arrives. Hopefully March will actually come in like a lion so I can enjoy a lot more biscuits, dumplings and foods that just feel like home. These four recipes have been on my rotating winter menu for a few years now, and thankfully, our food editor Kristina’s chocolate chip cookies can be enjoyed any time of year with a tall glass of cold milk.

bits of dough are fried in butter to create 'croutons' which are added to the noodle and lentil soup

First up is a rich Turkish soup from Kars, a province in Turkey’s far northeast, made with tomato and green lentils and called Kesme Aşi. The “comfort” comes in the form of thick homemade noodles and the crispy croutons that are sprinkled on top (seen in the pan above).  If you love a one-dish meal, this will satisfy you! It can also be made vegan-friendly with some minor adjustments. Our recipe for Kesme Aşi comes from food and travel journalist Robyn Eckhardt and editorial/commercial photographer David Hagerman who live in Penang, Malaysia and travel to Turkey often in search of delicious street food.

Click through for Kristina’s favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, the best biscuit recipe ever! I’ve even included Julia Turshen’s turkey meatball recipe which, while definitely comfort food, takes on the lighter side of the traditional meatball so you can ease your way into a spring menu. –Caitlin

kesme asi served with hot red pepper and croutons fried in butter

Just look at those thick noodles! You can find Robyn and David’s Kesme Aşi recipe here.


Here in West Virginia, country ham on a good biscuit is a very special treat for those of us who don’t indulge in either on a regular basis. This classic buttermilk biscuit comes from a family recipe that Carrie Morey, owner of , was kind enough to share.

Carrie named her shop after her mother (Callie White) and now ships her delicious biscuits across the nation through her website. If baking isn’t your thing, order some up! You can get the full instructions to make these heavenly treats right here. Carrie and her team are hard at work at their Charleston, South Carolina kitchen below.


In the spirit of enjoying comfort food — but moving to a lighter version — I’m including my new favorite meatball recipe, courtesy of Grace’s wife, Julia Turshen. Her cookbook, , has provided my daughter and I with so many memorable meals in the last six months. These meatballs have the flavor of a North African merguez (lamb sausage), but Julia has substituted turkey in this recipe for a lighter taste.


Get Julia’s meatball recipe right here and don’t forget the yogurt sauce — it’s divine.


Last, but not least, our food editor, Kristina, turned me on to her favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe back in 2014 and it’s been my family’s favorite ever since. The recipe originates from Rachel Grisewood, previous CEO and founder of Manna From Heaven and the Sydney Biscuit Company, who Kristina had the pleasure of interviewing years ago.

Should you have the taste for sweets this weekend, make these delightfully simple cookies! Get the recipe here.

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