Ughhh… I am not recommending you go into making this for the first time late on a Wednesday night. Ughhh… Of all the finicky nonsense that plagues much of gourmet, frou-frou, highbrow cooking, why this common street food snack so ridiculously delicate a process? I’ll chalk it up to two major things: my inexperience with the ingredients — the rice (or “vermicelli”) noodles and the rice wrappers — and with how to handle them. How wet can the wrappers get … Read More
Squiwers? Skewidders? Sigh — this dish is not the most beautiful-sounding word combination in the English language, and I guess it’s just going to stay that way. As for its appearance, it’s up to you how beautiful they look. If you ask me, that succulent tangle of tentacles, cooked to just a slight crisp at the curlicue tippy tips, kind of makes me swoon.
Beware, I’m about to make an indie rock reference (or is it too oldschool to be indie?): Anyone remember the song, “Swordfish” by the Dead Milkmen? Its lyrics essentially consist of the chorus, “I believe in swordfish/He believes in swordfish,” and it tells you nothing of swordfish except for the fact that everyone believes in something, and he believes in swordfish. Understandably so, as it would now seem.
Okay, so you won’t get any points from the 100-mile diet club with this recipe, since okra is grown in the South and the shrimp I got in Chinatown was caught or farmed probably in… the South. But you will have enjoyed a classic southern combination while satisfying your craving for spicy Thai basil stir-fry. Which is a gastronomic feat of very trifling importance bordering on nonsense. It’s Friday…
Moms love French food. Soufflés make her sparkle. Provençal sounds like a good name for a kid to her. Bistros are her preferred bar. The allure of this country’s culinary je ne sais quois can might coincide with a vast generation clued in to its mysteries and virtues by a tall, warbly-voiced, and ever so ladylike American named Julia Child. Then again, my dad knows much more about The Way to Cook than my own mom, who’s never dabbled in … Read More
Wild local fish like flounder, stripers and bluefish are in season — all good stuff, in my opinion, to steam whole, Chinese style. This weekend as I was gathering ingredients for a 6-person dinner party, I familiarized myself with another: the wild local porgy. A small fish by nature (not many grow over 6 lb, according to this fact sheet), its mild, sweet flavor lends itself well to a light preparation such as steaming. Once cooked, its flesh was moist … Read More
They say that good, fresh fish should be served simple, with little preparation. I guess they haven’t tried these yet. It’s like the perfectly seasoned seared salmon fillet in one light, fluffy, flaky cake. The picture doesn’t do it much justice, I’ll admit, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
I watched Jacques Pepin make a dish on public television that was so appealing for a cold weeknight, a casserole of pasta baked with peas, corn and diced French ham in a simple beschamel with cheese sprinkled on top. He put it in the broiler–one of the most overlooked part of your kitchen, according to Mark Bittman–to brown a warm, cheesy crust on the top, and voila! Gooey and liquid inside, contrasting crisp. Countryish warm fuzzy feelings abound.