Torn Cabbage Salad with Apples and Pecorino

This dish is part-recipe, part-stress therapy. When I served it as part of a baby shower brunch recently, people kept coming up to ask me a) Was that raw cabbage? and b) How did you cut it? You don’t cut it, I told them. You have to roll up your sleeves and tear it with your bare hands, which I demonstrated by air-tearing. It’s a lot of fun.

Winter Squash Wontons, Two Ways

A good gourd goes a long way. So does a package of wonton skins. Both ingredients have been known to travel afar, to unlikely juxtapositions and international cuisines. So when you’ve got a lot of them, it’s tempting to try em a number of ways. But how do you know—before you’ve tried it—whether two seemingly disparate ingredients will go together in one dish?

Paccheri Pasta with Green Puree and Peas

The tournament is on! The contenders? You versus Harvest Season, in a game of you trying to cook and eat up CSA veggies, garden veggies, or veggies that looked too good not to pick up at the farmers market before the next batch swarms into your kitchen. Because it’s summer, and that means everything looks good, and is plentiful (and relatively cheap). So it’s easy to have too much of a good food during summer harvest season.

Granola with Ginger, Almonds and Hemp Seed Hearts

I’m not much of a granola-eater unless I get around to making it myself. Something about most store-bought granolas, crackling with sugar like crisp toffee, makes the whole eat-healthy endeavor seem fruitless. But I do love some oats, nuts and other whole grains and whatnot in the morning. And the fact that you can use any combination and ratio of them when you’re making granola yourself.

Chilled Potato, Leek and Parsnip Soup with Asparagus

Recipes are a lot more flexible than you may think. Soups are especially welcome to additional ingredients, adaptable to changing seasons, and open to subtractions in the case of allergy or just preference. I’m of the opinion that in most cases, a recipe is a mere guideline for a certain idea rather than a strict set of instructions. And as such, I usually don’t follow them too closely. But to indulge one early-morning’s random obsessions about vichyssoise, I cracked open Julia Child’s Mastering … Read More

Carrot Salad with Cumin, Mint and Preserved Lemon

Good winter carrots are like a good idea left alone for a while as it silently, snugly, digs deeper. At least, I think this is what happens with ideas that I leave beside for a whole season—or year perhaps. They develop and grow more legs—or roots—as time goes by, so that when you’re ready to finally pull them up, they’ll be more matured and robust. Even if you did not consciously think about them.

Spiced Cauliflower and Coconut Quiche

Blooming heads of brassica make such a large, lovely impression that I’m not sure why they’re not kept intact when serving more often. They do take a while to cook—especially in the case of dense, crunchy cauliflower. It’s like a small planet of fiber. You can save an hour by cutting pieces down to equal size before roasting (and that is the preferred thing to do with cauliflower, to bring out its natural sugars and crisp its peaks with texture). But, … Read More

Spicy and Sour Tomato Lentil Soup (Rasam)

This week marks the publication of my friend Chitra‘s cookbook, Vibrant India. If you’ve been reading this blog a while—or if you just like home cooking as much as I do—you may have found that cheap, healthful, and seasonal are some essential beacons to guide everyday recipes. And Chitra’s home cooking—and, hence, her cookbook—have these traits in spades.

Savory Celery Root and Apple Hand Tart

posted in: Pies, Recipes, vegetarian | 2

The taste and scent of celery root offends some, and this I had not known before. To me, the cleaned bare root looks, smells and tastes fairly innocent at first, then slowly creeps more complexity. The herbal, vegetal nuances are beguiling, surprising and intriguing to me. And combined with the sweetness of apple and the dairy richness of butter, it’s pure harmony.

Vegetarian Turnip Cake with Shiitake Mushrooms and Fried Shallots

The Lunar New Year is upon us—tomorrow marks the start of the Year of the Rooster. This is my year. I’m a rooster, and if you’re familiar with the Chinese calendar, you could deduce that I will be turning 24, 36 or 48 this year. I’ll let you figure it out. In Chinese horoscope theory, it’s supposed to be an unlucky year for you when it’s your year. Funny, it seems that it’s been unlucky for a lot of folks … Read More

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