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
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.
I remember when eggplant, like portobello mushrooms, was more or less encountered as a substitution for meat. This often occurs in dishes like eggplant parm, deep-fried so as to give it more texture, or when smothered in sauces, like a thick curry, obscuring the quivering, greyish-purple stuff that it is. But I think eggplant is great when prepared with some meat, as its spongey flesh absorbs flavors readily, making it easy to use less of the actual meat in question. And it’s a good way of enjoying eggplant—seeing, … Read More
Summer comes as a sudden burst in New York City, a gushing declaration of heat, humidity and sun. Like a blast of fireworks or a Memorial Day hibachi grill, the heat is suddenly on for the long haul — no more stalling, sputtering, or beating around the bush. “Coffee” becomes cold brew; shoes become sandals; parties become barbecues; ramen becomes chilled noodles. This is science, and who am I to fight it?
It’s not as crazy as it sounds. You get one meaty duck leg (or two, perhaps from a whole duck that you want to separate the breasts from for a finer entrée another time), and then you roast it until it’s weak at what was once its knee-joints. Then you add it to some white wine and stock-enriched tomatoey sauce and let it cook until it’s melting to the touch even more.
Gong xi fa cai! It’s Chinese New Year, and for many — as in more than 25% of the world’s population — that means cooking or just eating a huge amount of home-cooked foods to celebrate. I can’t think of a better time to not eat out in New York. But the eve of the Year of the Monkey 2016 happened to coincide with another great tradition in the US (albeit less than a quarter of the world’s population): the 50th … Read More
They’re made of pork, but these meatballs are nicknamed “Lion’s Head” in Shanghainese cuisine, because they’re usually made in gigantic proportions. Larger than a baseball, that is. But I was going to a holiday party — and I had just been to a holiday party — where bite-sized morsels were precursory. So I shrank the homestyle comfort food to size. That doesn’t mean they’re any less delicious, though.
Congee, like fried rice, is an essential leftovers vehicle. This soupy sister-meal can incorporate bits of whatever you have on hand—and the week after Thanksgiving is prime time for having somesuch cooked delicacies on hand indeed. No matter what your cravings were for that last Thursday in November, they’re sure to be quite different now, a few days past the holiday, with leftovers to burn in the fridge still. (Especially if you’re fond of collecting others’ leftovers, too, like #Dukarcass.)
Sometimes you just need that combination of cool refreshment and savory satisfaction. I think that’s when chicken salad comes in handy. It’s a casual summer treat, but it usually only comes about once you’ve had your fill of both types of extremes—too many cold, vegetable-based meals one day, and a whip-cracking, bulldozing heavy meal with meats or poultry another. I guess what I’m saying is that leftover, roasted chicken salad with crisp vegetables in a sandwich is that perfect yin-yang of summertime eating.