The Joy of Noodles (and an improvised Zha Cai Rou Si Mian recipe)

When my mother first came to the US from Taiwan, she found the food here a little difficult to embrace. Except for spaghetti. Slurping up long, slippery strands of pasta was a familiar sensation that became the entry point for appreciating more American foods. Only spaghetti wasn’t exactly all-American. Or it wasn’t considered so then, at least. But now today, more and more Americans are slurping up bowls of Asian noodle soups, from soba to ramen to pho.

San Bei Ji Wings (Three Cup Chicken Wings)

posted in: Meat & Poultry, Recipes | 3

For the cookbook release of The Food of Taiwan, I threw a number of dinners and edible events. This was served at one of them, a pub menu-themed makeover of some classic Taiwanese dishes. Other dishes included clams braised with beer instead of rice wine with garlic, chilies and basil, and the famous Taiwanese “hamburger” or gua bao in a grilled slider bun instead of steamed bun. When Superbowl Sunday rolled around the other week, I thought of making a sticky-sweet … Read More

The #ImmigrationIsTasty Recipe Roundup: Join Us on Presidents’ Day

Spaghetti was seen as exotic in my grandparents’ day in age. Hummus was strange and vegan-centric when I was in college. Guacamole grossed a lot of Americans out a few decades ago. I don’t need to point out that they’re now proud staples of the American diet. But just imagine what our plates would look like if we had closed the door on immigration years ago. 

Vegetarian Turnip Cake with Shiitake Mushrooms and Fried Shallots

The Lunar New Year is upon us—tomorrow marks the start of the Year of the Rooster. This is my year. I’m a rooster, and if you’re familiar with the Chinese calendar, you could deduce that I will be turning 24, 36 or 48 this year. I’ll let you figure it out. In Chinese horoscope theory, it’s supposed to be an unlucky year for you when it’s your year. Funny, it seems that it’s been unlucky for a lot of folks … Read More

Roasted Squash, Broccoli & Lentil Salad with Raspberries

File this under Stupidly Simple Seasonal Salads with A ‘Lil Bit of Something Cray-Cray and Not-So. And that’s a pretty good general formula for making a tasty, cheap, healthy and hopefully delightful meal. The cray-cray-not-so in question here are the raspberries, since they’re A) Not in season in my part of the world and B) Not usually found in savory bean or grain salads even if they were. But for some reason I woke up one morning recently thinking about raspberry … Read More

Goulash for 2017

posted in: Recipes, Soups & Stews | 0

It’s the start of a bright new year. And what bright, yet wintery dish to ring it in but a paprika-stained stew that’ll feed for many cold nights to come? I have no hard-and-fast rules or resolutions for 2017, but lately I’ve been plagued with wanting to cook things that I know are delicious, comforting, warming and cozy, but don’t get enough time to make so often. Hungarian beef goulash is one of those things.

Caramelized Onion and Kale Soup, French Onion-Style

Weekends are a time to put things on the back burner. I mean that literally, of course. It’s a time to slowly melt a great pile of onions to sweet, sticky bliss, bubble a pot of marinara sauce, or make chicken stock for the sake of good cooking sometime else. Sometime less languid than the weekend.

10 Gifts NOT to Give the Cook on Your List (2016 Edition)

posted in: Ruminations | 0

Each year commences with another load of food and cooking trends. And each year, people who like to cook are given them. I discovered that this topic—what NOT to give a cook for the holidays—unleashes a real torrent of pain amongst foodies. When I Facebook-asked friends what they’d like to see on the list recently, the post went on for a dizzying thread of some 80+ responses. That’s a lot of angst about bad gift-giving. So let’s be helpful to the gifters out … Read More

Octopus with Shaved Fennel and Orange

So, it’s my birthday this week. I’ve officially passed the threshold of being in one’s “early” thirties—but so what, right? There is infinite time to live and learn, make and do things, all of them incredibly new and infinitely, excitingly and fresh and different. I cooked octopus for the first time last month. It wasn’t exactly the first, if you count helping other cooks over their shoulder and doing-by-seeing, but it was a first for my own kitchen. Chefs of any … Read More

Curried Sweet Potato Dumplings

The All-American meal is upon us: Thanksgiving. Apple pie, turkey and cranberry sauce; mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing. I have always been intrigued by this holiday meal because even though I was born and raised in America, none of these things were really familiar to my palate except for once a year, on Thanksgiving. (A phenomenon also discussed by Andrew of the blog Beyond Chinatown, who compiled some great interviews on the Chinese American Thanksgiving here.) But as I’ve learned through the years, … Read More

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