Call me a culinary thief, but I love cooking passed-down family recipes from other peoples’ families. I say that with a bit of mischievousness because usually, the recipe-writer—the nonna, auntie, etc.—had shared their recipe with someone whom they love, but they probably never imagined that it would one day be used by a total stranger, me. It’s kind of thrilling.
Say you want something savory, crispy, and fried—to start out a dinner, perhaps. Or to round out a more wholesome meal. Or to bring to a party, instead of a bag of chips (which I’ve done many times out of sheer enthusiasm for good potato chips and its place and purpose, and find no shame in). But let’s say you have time to roll up your sleeves in something a bit more involved than grabbing bodega potato chips. And it’s … Read More
When faced with a vegetable that you’ve never cooked before, you can always try making it a proxy for a something that you have. Especially if that vegetable is as familiar as a potato, and the preparation is as adaptable as a gratin. Nowadays, we tend to think of this dish as a creamy, cheesy casserole of sliced potatoes. But you can cook anything in the oven with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs on top and call it a “gratin,” in French tradition. … Read More
Food tucked inside individual portion-sized packages—it’s a formula that has served many favorite dishes of mine. From dumplings to tamales, these dishes are often clever ways to stretch or use up scraps and leftovers. Because yesterday’s stale starches and bits of proteins are much more charming dressed up in a wrapper. This dish is a cross between the minced mushroom and meat-laden Chinese sticky rice that I grew up with and stuffed cabbage, a homestyle European dish that I would … Read More
Sweets with a salty, savory hint have always been around—think the pinch of salt in a chocolate-chip cookie recipe. But in recent years, it’s become a selling point. From “salty” caramel to “salted” chocolate chip cookies, the emphasis has really moved over to the savory side of the equation in sweets. And, we’ve seen plenty of sweets with a spicy kick as well. For me, the worlds of spicy, savory and sweet all came together in ice cream form several years ago, with an unforgettable Curry … Read More
I’ve had an earworm for the last few weeks. Ever since finding a record called “Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie” by Jay & the Techniques, the title track has been playing in my head nearly constantly. It’s a great song—have a listen. This pie is not what the song is actually about, but I just couldn’t shake the idea of making it. In an uncanny confluence of new seasonal fruits and old musical discoveries, apples, peaches and pumpkins all happen to be in … Read More
There’s really nothing that parallels that burst of succulent kernels when sweet corn is in season, late summer. Just the noise of biting them straight off the cob—often uncontrollably fast—is a soundtrack to the season. Not to diminish the enjoyment of pure corn on the cob, maybe slicked with butter, but I’ve been slathering those juicy ears with a combo like this all summer: mayo mixed with some kind of spicy sauce. This one really hit the mark.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel for a meal. Especially not in the summer, when it’s often hot and humid enough to make the stove a scary place. I seem to wind up with so many heads of lettuce in the summer, too—from my CSA or farmers markets or friends—that I have to play a version of pin the tail on the donkey with them that involves lettuce heads, not donkey tails.
This wonton filling is proudly—if improbably—fashioned after san bei ji or Three Cup Chicken. This is one of the ultimate dishes from Taiwan, and one I love enough to try to twist into different forms any day. It starts with a deeply satisfying blend of soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine (the eponymous “three cups”), and it’s splashed with copious aromatics—garlic, ginger and basil. I wanted to get its zingy, herbal flavors inside a wonton for a refreshing filling based on … Read More
It may be the twilight hour for spring but I’m savoring as much fresh asparagus as I can get. You know those ethereally green, snappy twigs of juicy, crispy, woody goodness won’t be in season for much longer here in the Northeast. If you’ve been simply grilling them like I have been a lot these short pre-summer nights—or perhaps enjoying them raw in a lightly dressed salad—then you may be ready to coddle them with some eggs, cheese and buttery … Read More