I’m just mad about saffron. And saffron’s mad about me, lately. For the last three Saturdays, I’ve been helping out my pal Andrew Gottlieb with his new pop-up food business, Tapas Shack, which serves paella among other Spanish delights at Brooklyn Flea’s Smorgasburg. I have pinched saffron into wide, open paella pans until my hands turned a not-so-mellow yellow hue. And I’m not stopping at rice with my current saffron streak. After seeing the first, juicy orbs of peaches for … Read More
Have you done some spring cleaning of your old recipe ideas? I mean, turn over a new leaf in the way you see ingredients and process how you might prepare them? I’m always looking to evolve from my gut instincts on what to do with a certain familiar food, for better or for worse (sometimes, the simplest, most instinctual answers are best). But spring seems especially fitting for turning that equation on its head, and coming up with a new … Read More
Never pass up the chance to buy rhubarbs whenever you can. Even if you only have the means or capacity to get a few stalks. You don’t have to make a whole pie; and you can always put them up as a jam. So bright and tart-tasting, easy to prepare, and limited to a short window of spring, rhubarb is worth the risks of getting creative with — or adding to whatever you’re making anyway.
When no longer firm enough to enjoy fresh, bananas take on dramatic flavor that carries far. It’s like a second career as a lounge singer instead of receptionist. Pocked with brown age spots on the peel, the overripe flesh is perfect for mashing up into a smoothie, or baked good. But one way to increase the sweetness — even of underripe fruits — is to caramelize it on a pan. That’s what I’ve done with these bananas, before folding it … Read More
A crackly, crunchy, creamy custard with an unexpectedly nutty flavor is just what we needed to revive dessert time. You can’t go wrong with an old-fashioned, egg-based custard in any flavor — chocolate, say. But if you’re looking for something with East-West appeal, this classic flavor in Asian desserts makes a great twist.
Now you can have your apple and pumpkin pie in one. The crust? The baked peel of a squash half holding it all, and a crunchy, oat-based crumble top. There’s no rolling, not much mixing, and not much peeling and chopping, either. And you might be inspired to stuff and bake more things inside hollowed miniature, less-conventional winter squashes, too.
I’ve been learning about all sorts of things tea lately; did you know that matcha derives from the words mo cha, to grind tea, in Chinese, and that doing so was customary during the Song dynasty? The practice fell out of fashion in China afterwards, but has continued in Japan, where tea drinkers can whisk up a frothy cup of jade-green matcha from the finely milled powder of green tea leaves. And thanks to its being so refined, bakers and … Read More
A simple conceit, and a refreshing new dessert. This ice cream flavor takes its inspiration from the combo we often see in baked goods. But this whole category of sweet treats simply doesn’t weigh up to ice cream (or gelato) in my humble opinion. Here, the custard base is lemony and luscious. The poppy seeds add specks of surprising texture that pop, and get stuck in your teeth. And it all goes down cool and smooth, perfect for summer.
I had an I-Can’t-Believe-I-Made-That moment when this cake slipped out of the new bundt pan. Its surface was like a helmet of crisp, melted sugar; it hit its final destination of a plate with a slight spring. A wave of warm, buttery caramel, with citrus and spruce filled my nostrils. It looked like an Art Deco sculpture of sorts. It was a real moment of victory. And I can’t wait for it to happen to you, hopefully, too.
I love Asian ice cream, milkshake and flavored tea flavors, but so often they’re sad, powdered relics of the real stuff. The pale green “honeydew” makes me miss the juicy, floral freshness of the real fruit, slushed up, that I’d get in Taiwan. Bright lilac “taro” flavor just plain is not. Although I may never have enough sun to grow fresh, tropical fruit and coconuts here, one flavor I don’t see the need to place in artificial form, anywhere, is … Read More