Shaved Asparagus and Radish Salad

In a pinch, I’m a sucker for slicing ‘em up raw. No, not a raw foodist, and yes, hate it when restaurants charge $15 for a plate of a few slices of freshly shaved zucchini or mushrooms drowned in olive oil and call it something like “carpaccio” because I know they only sliced maybe a fifth of one zucchini or just one mushroom to make a whole plate of these delicate little slivers. I know it because I can also … Read More

Live Below the Line: The $1.50 Meal Challenge

I’m happy to be back in my own kitchen after a whirlwind trip to the West Coast and other fun adventures in new cookbook-launch land. In fact, just the day after I arrived home, I found myself in my kitchen—though not cooking just for one, but for friendly reporters from the Epoch Times’ new food website, EpochTaste. What a thrill to get to show ‘em the lay of the land. But for now it’s back to the quick basics routine, and I’m equally thrilled to … Read More

Popcorn Mushrooms with Fried Basil

There’s a street food that everyone’s obsessed with in Taiwan, and it involves boneless nibs of chicken marinated in five-spice, battered and crispy-fried, dusted with white pepper, and tossed with fried basil leaves. How can you improve upon this irresistible snack? You can’t, really. But you can take the same formula and make other foods irresistibly tasty, too. And one ingredient that works very well with it is juicy chunks of king oyster (or trumpet) mushrooms. At least, that’s what … Read More

Persian Chicken Barley Soup (Soup e Jo)

Barley. How did we come to this? Just about the only times I encounter the ancient grain, long a staple of the Western diet, are in beer. And though we’ve been rekindling old fires with farro, spelt, and quinoa, barley seems to be left out of the next-wave appreciation, thanks to its containing an ancient boon, gluten.

Soft-Scrambled Eggs and Spinach on Toast

Soft-scrambled eggs are my new butter. They’re my new ricotta. They’re my new avocado smeared onto toast, so in fashion today. How exactly do you soft-scramble eggs to a creamy, curd-like consistency? Softly. And slowly. It’s about as easy said as it is done.

Lemony Pasta with Mushrooms and Fried Kale

These cold, tough months of winter, I’m always in the mood for a warm bowl of pasta. But marinara sauce can get tiresome, and it looks like we’ve got a long winter still to go. So I made this simple pasta with garlic, mushrooms, and crispy slivers of olive oil-fried kale. I had it as leftovers next, and its flavors had really combined and popped. The oil was deep-green from absorbing that kale. It had also absorbed that lemon, softening … Read More

Pizza Frittata

It’s a mashup that keeps to the same cuisine: pizza, and a flattish beaten-egg dish topped with anything you like (frittata). Who didn’t try to forge pizza with a toaster oven and whathaveyou at home when growing up? English muffins and French bread are a favorite pizza pasttime. I remember spooning stuff from a jar of “pizza sauce” onto halved bagels and English muffins for these after-school snack purposes growing up. Looking back, I’m not sure why the sauce should have … Read More

Turnip Gratin

Someone recently asked me what the difference was between scalloped potatoes and potatoes au gratin. The best answer is that “scalloped” simply means that the potatoes are thinly sliced, as in discs. And “au gratin” means, roughly translated, “with grated things.” No, those grated things don’t have to be pieces of cheese, necessarily. It could be small, grainy crumbs of bread as well. Many French and Italian gratins don’t feature any cheese, but they are baked with crispy stuff atop … Read More

Green Curry Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

I wonder why egg salad hasn’t had a dramatic revival in recent years. With the re-embrace of eggs from a health perspective (not to mention its being an eggcelent protein for economy’s sake), it seems eggs can do no harm poached, fried, or hard-boiled on even the finest restaurant plates. But egg salad? Perhaps the pale-yellow deli standard could use a little perk.

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