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
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
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
It’s taken a week and a cathartic dinner party with good friends to come around to writing this post. But believe it or not, it was going to be the next Reason For Not Eating Out even before the election one week ago. The stress of not knowing how that was going to go was almost too much to bear doing anything besides cooking, you see.
It is strange seeing winter squashes beside watermelon at the farmers market. Eggplant and enormous turnips. Sweet corn and cabbage. Winter and summer mixed with colorful abandon—that’s what early fall is for. I couldn’t resist plunging for the pumpkins and winter gourds while picking up some tomatoes, too. We won’t have the latter in-season in the Northeast for much longer, but it’s a warm welcome to squash season, having the best of both worlds.
Beet salads. I have to admit that I used to think of rendering fresh beets into smooth, juicy, orbs of crazy magenta was such a taxing chore that I reserved cooking beets for pre-determined occasions. A special side dish, for a special purpose. It’s taken me maybe eight years to understand that cooked beets—and the endless beet salads that can be made from them—are one of the simplest, easiest things to prepare, and to keep on hand. And when you … Read More
Old people eat dumplings. Babies eat dumplings. Big people, little people, smart people, silly people, black, white, Asian, Hispanic—all people eat dumplings. It’s a phenomenon that I experienced early on, when my mom brought pork and chive potstickers for the elementary school “bake” sale. Everyone—teachers, parents, kids—ate them with gusto. “Dumplings are magical,” said a judge/organizer for the 13th Annual NYC Dumpling Festival last Saturday in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. That’s all there is to it.
Here’s another notch to add to a wall of recipes that includes the Cheeseburger Dumplings, Buffalo Chicken Dumplings, Broccoli Cheddar Dumplings, Apple Brown Sugar Dumplings, and the Hot Dogpling—stuff you don’t normally see in Asian pan-fried dumplings, or potstickers. Quintessential as they might seem in hindsight (my friends and I certainly feel that way after gobbling up panfuls of these pizza dumplings last night), they’re recreations of favorites in the name of dumpling fun. And fun is what’s on the menu … Read More
My grandfather, father and brother all went to Cornell University, for very different things. My grandfather for Pre-Med. My father for Asian Studies. And my brother for a double-major in Music and Computer Science (hello, Asian blood now in the family). Going to my paternal grandparents’ place in Upstate New York in the summertime growing up usually involved a platter of grilled chicken with Cornell sauce.
Every time I lacto-ferment something and it turns out well I breathe a huge sigh of relief. Home picklers out there, you feel me, too? Seriously, a few moldy “sauerkraut” experiments or squishy, pukey cukes all play into the glory that is the perfect peck of pickles when it does happen right. And right it did happen most recently, with a jar of cucumbers that were left to sour over a hot summer week.