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 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
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.
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
Here’s a preview to a much more delicious post to come, one that actually uses the preserved lemons in a recipe. But it’s always nice to dig deeper into the ingredients of a recipe, especially when they might seem exotic and elusive at first. If you’ve ever tried Moroccan food, you’ve probably come across this singular ingredient in a tagine with chicken. I’ve made many renditions of the dish using just fresh lemons in lieu of hunting down the proper stuff, and … Read More
Summer’s a good time for a ‘mezze meal.’ With so many vegetables in season, you can easily pull together a colorful assortment of stuff to dip and mix from a plate with pita. This isn’t a very elaborate version of what that could be—try a colorful assortment of lots of salads and sides for a casual dinner party—but it hits the spot, and fills you up in all the right ways, making you feel both healthy and satisfied.