I've been cooking quite a bit lately, cozying up to the heat of my oven and the warmth of hearty meals shared with close friends and family. Some recipes are old—my favorite butternut squash and fennel soup and a classic pecan pie—but most are new. I tried, for the first time, the Canal House's lasagna, a recipe that is well worth the time and provides glorious leftovers for any small household (I will definitely be using the ragù for a pappardelle bolognese). I changed up our weekly taco night with braised beef brisket. Pulled apart with the tines of a few forks, it became the filling for the very best birthday tacos. And I made pesto out of carrot tops, which I slathered over thick toasts and topped with tender roasted carrots. It surprised everyone, becoming the talk of the party, along with April Bloomfield's sumptuous banoffee pie.