Octopus with Shaved Fennel and Orange
There are infinite creatures and culinary creations—cook them up!
Curried Sweet Potato Dumplings
Not candied yams, but curried.
Leftover Turkey Chili
An easy way to use up those picked-apart birds.
Congee with Shredded Turkey, Shiitake Mushrooms and Ginger-Scallion Sauce
Yet another vehicle for your leftover bird!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Oranges, Pistachios & Pomegranate
A colorful fall side perfect for holidays.
Green Bean Casserole with Shaved Delicata Squash Crust
An updated classic.
Brown Butter Sage Apple Pie
A slightly savory, herbal touch to a classic.
Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
After adorning your home with apples & winter squashes, puree them into a lovely soup.

Latest Blog Posts

Octopus with Shaved Fennel and Orange
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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... Read More

Curried Sweet Potato Dumplings
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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... Read More

Reason For Not Eating Out #62: To Soothe in Stressful Times
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It’s taken a week and a cathartic dinner party with good friends to come around to writing this post. But believe it or not, it was going to be the next Reason For Not Eating Out even before the election one week ago. The stress of not knowing how that was going to go was almost too much to bear doing anything besides cooking, you see. Read More

Stuffed Delicata Squash with Kale and Pinenuts
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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... Read More

Beet Salad with Preserved Lemon
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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... Read More

Everybody Eats Dumplings (at the 13th Annual Dumpling Festival)
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Old people eat dumplings. Babies eat dumplings. Big people, little people, smart people, silly people, black, white, Asian, Hispanic—all people eat dumplings. It’s a phenomenon that I experienced early on, when my mom brought pork and chive potstickers for the elementary school “bake” sale. Everyone—teachers, parents, kids—ate them with gusto. “Dumplings are magical,” said a judge/organizer for the 13th Annual NYC Dumpling Festival last Saturday in Sara D. Roosevelt... Read More

Pepperoni Pizza Dumplings
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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... Read More

Chicken with Cornell Sauce
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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. Read More

Potato Salad with Sweet Corn, Peppers & Pickles
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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... Read More

Reason For Not Eating Out #61: Because It’s Been 10 Years
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This month marks ten years since I’ve been writing this blog. Ten years of scribbling, cooking and ranting about not eating out. 607 original recipes, 60+ Reasons For Not Eating Out, scores of profiles, ruminations and home-cooking events totaling 971 posts. Dozens of Huffington Posts and writings elsewhere. Two books. And seven years and 279 episodes of podcasts on Heritage Radio Network. It’s been 10 years. Read More

Chicken and Eggplant Stir-Fry with Spicy Black Bean Sauce
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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... Read More

How to Make Preserved Lemons
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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... Read More

Golden Beet and Cucumber Salad with Toasted Spices, Hummus and Pita
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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,... Read More

Zucchini and Feta Tart
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Zucchini and other summer squashes are truly versatile veggies. But I rarely think of baking them—perhaps due to the scorching heat when they’re in season locally. While some baked goods seem invented to hide the stuff rather than celebrate it (zucchini “bread”?) you can really get your fill on its flavor by slicing into layers upon layers of zucchini inside this savory tart’s shell. Its texture becomes something almost like custard... Read More

Fresh Mozzarella with Rainbow Chard, Pinenuts and Pickled Swiss Chard Stems
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You don’t have to have ripe, juicy tomatoes and basil leaves to enjoy some slices of fresh mozzarella on a plate. The classic combination (known as Caprese salad) is not overrated by any means, but if your crisper drawer is bursting with greens instead of tomatoes since your early-summer CSA began (or if you just want to sneak more greens into your diet, noble you), then you can play up this... Read More

Reason For Not Eating Out #60: Solving the Puzzle of ‘What If You Don’t Have An Amazing Protein?’
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We live in blessed times. I mean, seasonally. It’s late-spring, and we have things popping out of plants that are incredible and edible (and not edible, but fragrantly incredible, like wild lilacs, too). I recently had the plum privilege of being a judge for a cookoff held by GrowNYC, where I got to observe the making of, taste the outcome of, and help decide the winner of two very... Read More

Strawberry Toast with Farmer Cheese, Mint & Hot Honey
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Here’s an ode to strawberries: Why have I seen you more often than not so tarted up—doused in granular glitter, softened to sweet paste, or masquerading as a flavor to something which you are not? This, my red friend, is ridicule. You’re too good for that; you have nothing to hide. Read More

Chilled Soba Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Shredded Chicken
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Summer comes as a sudden burst in New York City, a gushing declaration of heat, humidity and sun. Like a blast of fireworks or a Memorial Day hibachi grill, the heat is suddenly on for the long haul — no more stalling, sputtering, or beating around the bush. “Coffee” becomes cold brew; shoes become sandals; parties become barbecues; ramen becomes chilled noodles. This is science, and who am I to fight... Read More

Breaded Fish Milanese with Flowering Kale
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Breaded, frozen fish sticks were a fairly staple kids’ food in my time. (Are they still now?) Bland and inoffensive logs of cod, the ads for them always promised they’d be crispy, with an ethereal, ear-chattering canned crunch sound so elusive from any food, let alone fish. Short of this satisfaction, they always needed something — they needed some help — but I can recall only dipping the finger-shaped nuggets in... Read More

Rhubarb Compote and Yogurt Parfait
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This is something that I would eat every day if I could. But I can’t, because rhubarb is only around for such a short spell in spring. Isn’t that the law of scarcity, that you want something (only because?) there’s so little of it to go around? Read More

Crispy-Roasted Asparagus and A Soft-Boiled Egg
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Ever had a perfect Saturday where you did everything you had to do and still found time to do the fun things, too? Sometimes I compartmentalize my days into must-do’s and would-like-to’s: Responsibilities, commitments, eating, exercise, social events. One thing in that little list sits squarely in the middle—eating, because it can be taken both ways. If only doing laundry could moonlight as a recreational hobby. Read More

Reason For Not Eating Out #59: For Creativity’s Sake
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I have a friend who takes classes on just about everything and anything that’s interesting in the world. Bollywood funk dancing? Sign her up. Grown-up pottery workshops? Let’s make a date of it! she says. She’s a typical New Yorker, Type-A personality, where every learning opportunity is seized, and funneled into bonding sessions with good friends, new date persons, or chances to connect with strangers. In short, she is totally awesome and... Read More

Potato Salad with Pickled Ramps
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Hello, ramp season. You know, after the six or eight years that everyone’s gotten excited about the wild spring allium, I have to say I am a little over the phenomenon that is pearly-pink bulbs resting pretty at the ends of long, flowy, green shoots. Of course I’m not. But I may be over their smell. Having carried a bunch of ramps (purchased at Union Square Greenmarket this past beautiful Saturday)... Read More

Calamari Braised with White Wine, Tomatoes & Spinach
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Spring has been really snoozing on the job. Rather than bursting with cherry blossoms, the new season has only brought soggy, sort-of snow and below-freezing nights. This might be our latest bitch and moan as we bundle up in scarves on the subway each morning, but it’s actual, literal bad news for local orchards. Seems that peaches in Upstate New York may not make an appearance this summer, unless these... Read More

On Racism in Food
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Several years ago an ex-boyfriend’s mother offered to prepare the appetizer for a dinner I was cooking. Her dish, once assembled, was a salad. Yet it was unlike anything I’d ever seen. The top was sprinkled with stiff pegs of noodle and raw radish slices, and it smelled like sesame oil. I asked with genuine curiosity what was in the dressing and she fired off a strange list with... Read More

Tongue Tacos (Tacos de Lengua)
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The only way to get more comfortable with cooking a certain type of food is by cooking it. Maybe for some the challenge lies in steak, or a roast Thanksgiving turkey. Maybe you’re intimidated by cooking curries or poaching eggs. But maybe it’s something a little more… unsightly than that. Read More

Shroom ‘n Grits
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I’ve just returned from a week of eating and boozing in Mexico with five friends. There was a different taco to try at just about every hour of the day. I intend to throw a taco party very soon, to celebrate and exercise my own hand at the new flavors that so captivated us while they’re fresh in memory. But in the immediate aftermath of the trip, there was a... Read More

Spicy Korean-Style Seafood and Tofu Stew with Spinach (SoonDuBu Jigae)
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I was craving Korean food the other night, so I made something that could approximate it. Haunts of stuff that one might get while on a group outing to Koreatown with friends, that sort of thing. It’s not difficult to pull off a hardscrabble version of such dining-out memories, as long as we aren’t talking some Escoffier-esque French gastronomy classics. These cravings can overwhelm, but if you’ve perhaps tried... Read More

Crostini with Watermelon Radish, Ricotta and Mint
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Yes, be a little twee sometimes — go ahead, I dare you. That time you splurged on a dear, felt hat that was so right for a horseback riding weekend in the country that you’ll never go on? With the kid gloves that go up to your elbows? That fancy little fetish for truffled sea salts in the cupboard? The extra emoji in a text to a crush? We can all push... Read More

Tagliatelle with Duck Ragù and Duck Skin Cracklins
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It’s not as crazy as it sounds. You get one meaty duck leg (or two, perhaps from a whole duck that you want to separate the breasts from for a finer entrée another time), and then you roast it until it’s weak at what was once its knee-joints. Then you add it to some white wine and stock-enriched tomatoey sauce and let it cook until it’s melting to the touch even... Read More

Buffalo Chicken Dumplings
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Gong xi fa cai! It’s Chinese New Year, and for many — as in more than 25% of the world’s population — that means cooking or just eating a huge amount of home-cooked foods to celebrate. I can’t think of a better time to not eat out in New York. But the eve of the Year of the Monkey 2016 happened to coincide with another great tradition in the US... Read More

Reason For Not Eating Out #58: To Rewrite the Dating “Rules”
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The first rule of dating is that there are no rules. But hopefully you know that already. So why should you read this, from a person who probably knows less about the secrets to dating success than any given stranger on the subway? Because if you’re reading this, then you probably like to cook. And that in itself holds some powerful dating potential. Read More

Savory Mushroom Tart (with a Cool Ranch Doritos Crust)
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Yeah, you heard right. We’re throwing out the pastry books and heading to the bodega—why? Because it was my friend Karol’s birthday last weekend. And—still—why? Because she requested specific foods for her potluck party menu, and one of them happened to be a mushroom tart. Another one was Cool Ranch Doritos. Read More

Kale Salad with Garlicky Miso Lemon Dressing
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I really want to call this a vegan, miso-based “Caesar” salad, but know that the powers of food purism would call this foul. No, it doesn’t have Romaine lettuce nor egg yolk, nor anchovies nor parmesan—but it does have a punchy piquancy that I’d equate with that of the classic dressing we know and love. And it was inspired by Caesar (salads, nothing Roman to look at here)—which are nowadays... Read More

Split Pea Soup with Root Vegetables
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It wouldn’t really be a soup if it were only one ingredient, right? That’s the thinking behind this weekend concoction where I deposed my growing stash of random root vegetables into a not-strictly-root-vegetable soup. By definition, soup is a mingling of stuff in liquid form, often creating a harmony of flavors that tickle your tastebuds as it soothes your soul. So do your kitchen a cleaning with this approach to your... Read More

Pasta with Clams, Kale and Breadcrumbs
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“How do you cook clams?” is a question I’ve heard a lot from home cooks over the years so let’s get a few things straight: Clams are amongst the cheapest, tastiest, quickest- and easiest-to-cook seafood. They’re also resoundingly sustainable (you can do much worse with shrimp if you’re going the shellfish route). They help clean the ocean, they fortify us with minerals and omega-3’s, and they’re commonly found on restaurant plates. Especially with pasta. But you... Read More

Crab Cakes with Dill Mayo
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There are things that are good, and things that are really good. And for a New Year’s Eve party in the city, my friends and I have decided to go all-out really good with food. Dismayed that we didn’t find a house to rent upstate with a fireplace and enough beds for everyone, we threw in the towel searching on Airbnb and turned our attentions to throwing a really good... Read More

Baby Lion’s Head Meatballs with Braised Cabbage
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They’re made of pork, but these meatballs are nicknamed “Lion’s Head” in Shanghainese cuisine, because they’re usually made in gigantic proportions. Larger than a baseball, that is. But I was going to a holiday party — and I had just been to a holiday party — where bite-sized morsels were precursory. So I shrank the homestyle comfort food to size. That doesn’t mean they’re any less delicious, though. Read More

What NOT to Give the Cook on Your List (2015 edition)
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It’s been a while since we’ve played Scrooge. In 2011, I compiled 10 things not to give the home cook for the holiday season. Last year, I offered 5 “alternative” gifts for them instead. But we’ll take it back to that curmudgeonly place where it all began, since there are always newfangled food toys coming from the North Pole (or Mount Sinai for Hanukkah Harry land). Ho, ho, Who got me... Read More

Be a #FoodBloggerSanta and Give Your Extra Swag to Charity
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It was last Tuesday. #GivingTuesday according to the hashtag gods, which came at the heels of #CyberMonday and (pre-hashtag era grandfathered) #BlackFriday. I felt like the initiative to give to charity came at an inopportune time, since people just spent so much over the weekend already. But in my inbox, there was a handful of emails from PR firms offering me samples of new food products in exchange for my... Read More

Congee with Shredded Turkey, Shiitake Mushrooms and Ginger Scallion Sauce
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Congee, like fried rice, is an essential leftovers vehicle. This soupy sister-meal can incorporate bits of whatever you have on hand—and the week after Thanksgiving is prime time for having somesuch cooked delicacies on hand indeed. No matter what your cravings were for that last Thursday in November, they’re sure to be quite different now, a few days past the holiday, with leftovers to burn in the fridge still.... Read More

Super-Tasty One-Pot Squash Soup
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I had to get one of my wisdom teeth pulled the week of Thanksgiving. For two days before that, my mouth was in indescribable pain. Eating was fraught with complications, unless it was during a window of about one hour when my painkiller was cranking at its best. After the surgery, it wasn’t all roses, either. But in the process of catering to my particular eating restrictions, I came up... Read More

Giving Thanks in a World of Conflict
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Hey guys, I made a buckwheat-crust apple pie recipe recently. But that’s not really what I wanted to write about this week. In light of the Paris and Beirut attacks and continuing threats from their perpetrators, it’s awkward for me to talk about the relative pros and cons of a nutty, alternative grain. But I think we do need to come and sit around the table. Read More

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Oranges, Pistachios and Pomegranate Molasses
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Sometimes I like to teeter on the edge of super-precious, frou-frou-looking preparations. But there’s always something that pulls me back. They’re all going to laugh at you!—I watched Carrie again recently (on Halloween, to be sure), and that crazy lil warning from Carrie’s mom is surprisingly fitting in many circumstances. Did you spill too much over social media? Put on something weird to wear? Or, did you garnish food unnecessarily and... Read More

Roasted Broccoli and Crispy Tofu Salad
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We get all worked up about winter squashes when fall comes around. I get it: they’re shiny and new. But actually, you should be more excited about brassicas in the fall; winter squashes will be here to stay for a while, stored easily all winter long. But fall weather also brings us brassicas—broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, kale, Brussels sprouts and those spiky romanesco things—and we will not be seeing them... Read More

Potato Leek Soup with Salmon and Spinach
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I know most people don’t have an extra piece of fresh salmon sitting around, leftover, too often. I don’t either. But oh, when you do have some leftover salmon, life is good. You need to get yourself into this situation more often. Let me help you finagle the way in. Read More

Green Beans Braised with Tomatoes, Olives, Capers & Herbs
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I know what you’re thinking. Green beans cooked well past crisp-tender is unideal; their sodden, saggy skins remind you of bad leftovers and TV dinners, an accident, not something you would set out to make. Yet though they might not snap in that satisfying way, slow-simmered green beans retain an impressive structure, plumped with juice and fat from olive oil, and all the flavors therein, transforming into something very different,... Read More

How NYC Does Dumplings (at the NYC Dumpling Festival ’15)
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New York, I still love you. I think that’s how many people felt when they saw the infamous pizza rat meme. For all the crap that goes through its gutters each day, all the crazies and critters that line its streets, there is a gleeful levity in little moments like these happening in every corner of the city all the time. And so for all the hunger that some of its people suffer,... Read More

Miso-Marinated Salmon with Hakurei Turnips and Orange-Sake Butter
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Have you ever stopped and suddenly thought, is this the one? Could this be my perfect food? I thought this on maybe the third or fourth date I had with Hakurei turnips. It was a sneaky sensation, crystallizing with a subtle sweetness and juicy bite that was so unlike any other thing. I got the same feeling when I tried my first bite of miso-marinated, broiled fish—only it was a... Read More

Shredded Vegetable Dumplings
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There are a lot of initiatives around hunger lately, with World Peace Day just behind us and a long winter ahead, but when one happens to involve dumplings, I cannot sit idly. The New York Dumpling Festival (#dumplingfest2015) is this Saturday, and it benefits one of my favorite charities, the Food Bank for NYC. To salute this group and shout-out the event, I thought I’d go orange with this dumpling... Read More