Steamed Whole Fish with Spicy Black Bean Sauce
Chinese New Year or not, a whole fish smothered with savory pantry staples is a celebration itself
Philly Cheesesteak Dumplings
To cheer on one team in the Super Bowl, it's another dumpling inspired by something that might otherwise be found in a Hot Pocket.
Baby Lion's Head Meatballs with Cabbage
Perfect bites for Chinese New Year, or any cold winter night.
Roasted Root Vegetables with Miso-Shallot Dressing
Liven up some root veggies with this tangy, savory dressing.
Reason For Not Eating Out #63: Because It's Cold Outside
Why pay extra to eat out when everything tastes better in the cold?
Tagliatelle with Duck Ragu and Duck Skin Cracklins
Get some duck legs and thank me later.
Spicy and Sour Tomato Lentil Soup (Rasam)
This South Indian soup is better than the sum of its parts.
Spicy Korean Chicken Stew (Dak Dori Tang)
There's a dish like this in every culture.
Stir-Fried Noodles with Winter Vegetables
Keep eggs and dried noodles handy and emulate this formula with any in-season vegetables.
Roasted Potato Leek Soup with Kale
Roasting the potatoes and leeks first gives this soup a warm glow.
Chickpea and Roasted Kale Salad
Get your kale two ways—fresh and roasted til crispy chips, in a simple, nutritious bean salad.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Arugula and Hazelnuts
Give sweet potatoes a chance for a vibrant homemade gnocchi.

Latest Blog Posts

Steamed Whole Fish With Spicy Black Bean Sauce
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Growing up, pretty much any time I ate fish it was prepared in one of two ways: steamed whole, then drenched with julienned ginger, scallions and soy sauce. Or, pan-fried whole, then drenched with spicy, garlicky bean sauce. Later on, I would grow to love dipping fried fish sticks into ketchup and savoring every juicy bite of a Cajun-seasoned catfish fillet. But at the beginning, it was all about... Read More

Philly Cheesesteak Dumplings
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What doesn’t taste good in a dumpling? Good question. Another: Is there any festive occasion whose theme can’t be dumpli-fied? I say there is definitely not. So when Super Bowl LII weekend was approaching, and I realized that one of the teams playing was the Philadelphia Eagles, I decided to make dumplings with a filling a la the city’s signature hoagie. Cheesesteak Dumplings aren’t that different from Cheeseburger Dumplings, after all. Read More

Roasted Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas and Preserved Lemon
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There’s evil starches, then there’s good-for-you starches, from a modern-day health perspective. White potatoes are roundly shunned as one of those bad, rotten, festering ones of the bunch, bound to metastasize into a gummy tube of fat around your waistline. Refined white flours are bad, too, if you can even eat them without experiencing painful gluten intolerances! Now, I will never call either of these types of food “bad” entirely,... Read More

New England Clam Chowder
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Let’s start off that year of fewer regrets I was talking about. It’s 2018, a good time to start getting things done! It’s about time to do things that have long been neglected and put off, like a laundry list of—well, laundry is one of them. And for some reason, I have never made New England-style clam chowder before. Let’s knock this one off and keep on going strong. Read More

Reason For Not Eating Out #63: Because It’s Cold Outside
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The lyrics to the classic wintry song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” did not age too well. Sung as a male-female duet, the woman repeatedly insists “I really must go,” to which the male singer retorts, “Baby, it’s cold outside.” But you can tell from the smugness in his voice that he’s really not that concerned about the cold. He wants to get her into his bed. And maybe she... Read More

The Worst Dish of 2017, Reimagined
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Happy End of the Year. It’s that time of looking back at all the highs and lows of 2017. Best-ofs and worst-ofs. Instead of offering my take on the best food books of the year, or ranting again about Gifts Not To Give the Cook, I wanted to try to put a positive spin on one of the worst moments in dining of 2017, according to Eater’s Senior Food Critic, Robert Sietsema. Reviewing... Read More

“Italian Sub” Lasagna
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Late fall, when the heaters turn on and the skies turn gusty and gray, is the start of dinner party season for me. The days of strolling around and sitting down in the park for an impromptu picnic are done for the year. The air conditioners have been deposited to their upper reaches of closets. It’s cozy indoors, and even when you pack a table with twelve guests and blow... Read More

Cassoulet and Rillettes: A Post-Thanksgiving Trip to France
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The greatest Reason For Not Eating Out is having leftovers in the fridge. And the greatest reason for having leftovers in the fridge, of all days of the year, is perhaps Thanksgiving. If you made the requisite roast turkey for the grand dinner, you’re bound to have lots of bits and pieces of turkey meat clinging to the carcass, no matter how much of it you and your family ate. Many cultures can... Read More

Torn Cabbage Salad with Apples and Pecorino
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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. Read More

Winter Squash Wontons, Two Ways
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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? Read More

A New Podcast, and Kale Ice Cream
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I’m not sure which is more surprising: hosting a new podcast about food, or making kale ice cream. But they have a lot to do with one another this week. The new podcast is called Why We Eat What We Eat, and the first episode, out tomorrow, tackles the strangely swift rise in popularity of kale. Last weekend, I decided to make kale ice cream, since one of the discussions around the leafy green in... Read More

Chicken and Lime Soup with Corn and Poblano Peppers
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I had an earth-shattering sopa de lima (lime soup) a couple years ago in the Yucatan Peninsula, near Tulum. My friends and I had just swam in a cenote, an underground sinkhole created by the natural collapse of limestone bedrock. After emerging from what felt like a scene in Fraggle Rock, we looked for lunch nearby, and came to a small roadside restaurant. Having not consulted any guidebook or website, we... Read More

Peach Sherbet
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I am not sher what happened to sherbet. As a kid in the 80s and 90s, it was always playing second fiddle to ice cream. It wasn’t pungent and sour like frozen yogurt, which made some people dislike it. It wasn’t full-on fruity and as tart as sorbet, its nondairy cousin. And it didn’t have, at least in my recollection, too many fat-free or otherwise health-conscious claims attached to it,... Read More

Fried Shrimp with Corn, Tomatoes and Okra
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It’s the season of no recipes needed. In winter, we might pore over splatter-pocked cookbooks, braising a stew or simmering a ragu just the right way. In the summer, things get a lot more loosey-goosey: we unsheathe the barbecue, dig into dirt, invent salads from overflowing refrigerator crispers and lounge around barefoot catching seafood, perhaps. All this fun and the peak quality of seasonal ingredients leads to a quick and effortless... Read More

Mussels with Zucchini and Paprika
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Over the winter, I had fun making long-simmered pots of chicken paprika and goulash, Eastern European dishes that pull at my childhood memories. You see, my next-door neighbors growing up, an elderly couple from Poland the Kieslowskis, would often make these in their home and it filled my backyard with delicious scents as I scurried about in the yard, sometimes playing tetherball with my brother, sometimes helping my parents with yard... Read More

Paccheri Pasta with Green Puree and Peas
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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... Read More

Granola with Ginger, Almonds and Hemp Seed Hearts
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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. Read More

Chilled Potato, Leek and Parsnip Soup with Asparagus
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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... Read More

Carrot Salad with Cumin, Mint and Preserved Lemon
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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... Read More

Spiced Cauliflower and Coconut Quiche
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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... Read More

Spicy and Sour Tomato Lentil Soup (Rasam)
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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. Read More

Savory Celery Root and Apple Hand Tart
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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. Read More

Gumbo with Chicken, Shrimp & Squid
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Happy Fat Tuesday. I’m feeling the extra weight from last weekend’s pre-Mardi Gras dinner party with friends. Any holiday is an occasion to celebrate with food. But when it’s Creole or Cajun food that’s associated with it, you don’t want to miss out. Read More

The Joy of Noodles (and an improvised Zha Cai Rou Si Mian recipe)
| |

When my mother first came to the US from Taiwan, she found the food here a little difficult to embrace. Except for spaghetti. Slurping up long, slippery strands of pasta was a familiar sensation that became the entry point for appreciating more American foods. Only spaghetti wasn’t exactly all-American. Or it wasn’t considered so then, at least. But now today, more and more Americans are slurping up bowls of Asian noodle... Read More

San Bei Ji Wings (Three Cup Chicken Wings)
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For the cookbook release of The Food of Taiwan, I threw a number of dinners and edible events. This was served at one of them, a pub menu-themed makeover of some classic Taiwanese dishes. Other dishes included clams braised with beer instead of rice wine with garlic, chilies and basil, and the famous Taiwanese “hamburger” or gua bao in a grilled slider bun instead of steamed bun. When Superbowl... Read More

The #ImmigrationIsTasty Recipe Roundup: Join Us on Presidents’ Day
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Spaghetti was seen as exotic in my grandparents’ day in age. Hummus was strange and vegan-centric when I was in college. Guacamole grossed a lot of Americans out a few decades ago. I don’t need to point out that they’re now proud staples of the American diet. But just imagine what our plates would look like if we had closed the door on immigration years ago.  Read More

Vegetarian Turnip Cake with Shiitake Mushrooms and Fried Shallots
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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,... Read More

Roasted Squash, Broccoli & Lentil Salad with Raspberries
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File this under Stupidly Simple Seasonal Salads with A ‘Lil Bit of Something Cray-Cray and Not-So. And that’s a pretty good general formula for making a tasty, cheap, healthy and hopefully delightful meal. The cray-cray-not-so in question here are the raspberries, since they’re A) Not in season in my part of the world and B) Not usually found in savory bean or grain salads even if they were. But for... Read More

Goulash for 2017
| |

It’s the start of a bright new year. And what bright, yet wintery dish to ring it in but a paprika-stained stew that’ll feed for many cold nights to come? I have no hard-and-fast rules or resolutions for 2017, but lately I’ve been plagued with wanting to cook things that I know are delicious, comforting, warming and cozy, but don’t get enough time to make so often. Hungarian beef goulash... Read More

Caramelized Onion and Kale Soup, French Onion-Style
| |

Weekends are a time to put things on the back burner. I mean that literally, of course. It’s a time to slowly melt a great pile of onions to sweet, sticky bliss, bubble a pot of marinara sauce, or make chicken stock for the sake of good cooking sometime else. Sometime less languid than the weekend. 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 | 3

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.

Gumbo with Chicken, Shrimp & Squid

Happy Fat Tuesday. I’m feeling the extra weight from last weekend’s pre-Mardi Gras dinner party with friends. Any holiday is an occasion to celebrate with food. But when it’s Creole or Cajun food that’s associated with it, you don’t want to miss out.

The Joy of Noodles (and an improvised Zha Cai Rou Si Mian recipe)

When my mother first came to the US from Taiwan, she found the food here a little difficult to embrace. Except for spaghetti. Slurping up long, slippery strands of pasta was a familiar sensation that became the entry point for appreciating more American foods. Only spaghetti wasn’t exactly all-American. Or it wasn’t considered so then, at least. But now today, more and more Americans are slurping up bowls of Asian noodle soups, from soba to ramen to pho.

San Bei Ji Wings (Three Cup Chicken Wings)

posted in: Meat & Poultry, Recipes | 5

For the cookbook release of The Food of Taiwan, I threw a number of dinners and edible events. This was served at one of them, a pub menu-themed makeover of some classic Taiwanese dishes. Other dishes included clams braised with beer instead of rice wine with garlic, chilies and basil, and the famous Taiwanese “hamburger” or gua bao in a grilled slider bun instead of steamed bun. When Superbowl Sunday rolled around the other week, I thought of making a sticky-sweet … Read More

The #ImmigrationIsTasty Recipe Roundup: Join Us on Presidents’ Day

Spaghetti was seen as exotic in my grandparents’ day in age. Hummus was strange and vegan-centric when I was in college. Guacamole grossed a lot of Americans out a few decades ago. I don’t need to point out that they’re now proud staples of the American diet. But just imagine what our plates would look like if we had closed the door on immigration years ago. 

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

Roasted Squash, Broccoli & Lentil Salad with Raspberries

File this under Stupidly Simple Seasonal Salads with A ‘Lil Bit of Something Cray-Cray and Not-So. And that’s a pretty good general formula for making a tasty, cheap, healthy and hopefully delightful meal. The cray-cray-not-so in question here are the raspberries, since they’re A) Not in season in my part of the world and B) Not usually found in savory bean or grain salads even if they were. But for some reason I woke up one morning recently thinking about raspberry … Read More

Goulash for 2017

posted in: Recipes, Soups & Stews | 2

It’s the start of a bright new year. And what bright, yet wintery dish to ring it in but a paprika-stained stew that’ll feed for many cold nights to come? I have no hard-and-fast rules or resolutions for 2017, but lately I’ve been plagued with wanting to cook things that I know are delicious, comforting, warming and cozy, but don’t get enough time to make so often. Hungarian beef goulash is one of those things.

Caramelized Onion and Kale Soup, French Onion-Style

Weekends are a time to put things on the back burner. I mean that literally, of course. It’s a time to slowly melt a great pile of onions to sweet, sticky bliss, bubble a pot of marinara sauce, or make chicken stock for the sake of good cooking sometime else. Sometime less languid than the weekend.

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