Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “spare” in several ways: “to refrain from attacking or reprimanding with necessary or salutary severity,” in one; “to relieve of the necessity of doing or undergoing something <spare yourself the trouble>” as another; or “to use or dispense frugally — used chiefly in the negative <don’t spare the syrup>” as yet one more. Yet it’s the second category of the sixth definition for the word that I think “spare ribs” are most akin to, that it’s “to have left over … Read More
I had a spectacular tapas dish a long while back, of chorizo braised with cava, a Spanish sparkling wine. The key ingredient was really garlic — loads of it — which, in combination with the spicy sausage links enveloped the whole room with its pungent aroma. I don’t have cava around today, but I’ve noted that many similar tapas make use of Spanish hard cider (or sidra), another common effervescent alcoholic beverage. So I brought the whole thing home by … Read More
Here’s my new take on a standard beef stir-fry with vegetables over rice. I like to use a good cut of good, grass-fed beef to its fullest, and I love the tenderness of a rare-cooked steak, whose drooling juices contribute to the rich flavors of ample marbling (aka fat). Here, I’ve taken a decent cut (sirloin) of really good, pastured beef and added one other benefit: a light marinade for flavor and texture, in the style of a Chinese stir-fry.
Probably one of the last foods I hear talked about what when talking about Thanksgiving are turnips. It’s probably one of the last foods you’ll hear about, period. But it’s something I see in so much variety this time of year at the farmers market, and looking into the turnip’s many virtues, this is not so surprising. They’re an exceptionally useful and easy crop, adaptable to many climates and types of soil, and able to be left in the ground … Read More
No need to reach for a jar of Asian plum sauce now that the stone fruits are in season. These juicy slices cook down quickly to a jammy sauce that’s much more tangy and refreshing. Smothered on tender chunks of chicken, with a splash of soy sauce, it’s savory and satisfying, too. I’m now convinced that the old sweet-and-sour stir-fry routine must have been prompted by fresh plums.
Why settle for sad tomatoes shipped in from somewhere it wasn’t ripened on the vine just because you’re craving a sandwich? We all love a juicy slab of beefsteak tomato at its peak of flavor on bread, but it ain’t going to happen in the spring. Fortunately, there are plenty of ingredients in their prime now, and with a little imagination — and acceptance — you may just forget the bloated, blood-red things even exist.
I was enjoying the crisped bits of skin on a perfectly roasted chicken one day when it struck me: the salty, roasty, umami-rich flavor was almost like red miso. Why not try using this as a marinade next time? It was an a-ha moment that went all too well, the first time around. I can’t wait to experiment with it some more.
Does anyone remember “buddy burgers” from Burger King? I think that this retired menu item from the fast-food chain must have appeared sometime in the mid-to-late 1980s. As little kids, my brother and I enjoyed the novelty: two little hamburgers attached by virtue of a conjoined bun. I didn’t really have a taste for hamburgers then, but we liked pulling them apart and each getting a burger (for what that was worth). Here I’ve revamped the memory by making two … Read More
This past Sunday marked a collision of occasions, not the least of which being the eve of Chinese New Year. But it was also the day of a major football game, a pre-Superbowl Sunday, you might say. Most important, and the one I chose to celebrate: it was Karol’s finger-food potluck birthday party. I think this dish could have satisfied the crowds at gatherings for all three.
Stop. I know what you’re thinking. It’s one of three things: What in the world is this funny lump of meat stuffed inside a strange, puffy bun? Or, You just copied the pork buns made famous by Momofuku Noodle Bar, and put cilantro and peanuts on top! Or finally, Hao che! You just made Taiwanese gua bao at home! Good for you.