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
Jambalaya is not a beautiful dish. It, like its name, resembles a jumble—and I’m even told by a Southern co-worker that people in the South tend to pronounce it more like “jumbla,” too. It doesn’t play nice with restaurant-style plating. Rice grains cling to every shrimp, tasty bits like sausages and nearly-dissolved vegetables are embedded within the mysterious mass. I suppose you could deconstruct your jambalaya to place prime bits ceremoniously throughout, but then they wouldn’t have absorbed the incredible flavors of that … Read More
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
What a chilly, rainy start to 2015 in New York. Yesterday found me stomping through the city in a sleeping bag-esque coat that collected flurries, hail, and splatters of freezing rain like moths around a flame. Alright, I guess the precipitation hit everyone else on the streets, too. But my fate seemed sealed toward making tomato soup when I got home–perhaps with toast, or grilled cheese.
I love the idea of stuffed mushrooms: savory, bite-sized morsels that you can serve at a party. Love the fact that they spare no parts of mushrooms, since the stems are chopped and sautéed to stuff inside the bowl-shaped undersides. But I rarely love the outcome: bland-tasting, greyish-colored, and lacking in texture.
Aren’t the holidays grand? You get to see your co-workers get drunk on the company tab, eat gingerbread to soak up eggnog, and see strangers dressed as Santa Claus on the subway if you’re in the city like me. Maybe that last part wasn’t a huge bonus of the season. But the point is, you get to party more. Throw off your shoes and–even if you’re not wearing elf socks–enjoy a little whimsy and respite from the weekly dredge more … Read More
I’m thankful for leftovers this week. A big day of eating has come and gone, and as usual, the fridge seems to be more full than depleted afterward. The prized item in this cache of Thanksgiving leftovers? The roasted turkey carcass. With it, the opportunities are endless. You can make a soup, or just stock to use for things like making risotto or braising vegetables. But along with that carcass—and with most leftover Thanksgiving meal caches—is plenty of leftover turkey … Read More
Years ago, none of my friends would have pegged me to make green bean casserole for a potluck. I didn’t really know much about casseroles growing up, didn’t see them except for lasagna. But now, three years in a row, I’ve been bringing my own iterations of green bean casserole to my friend’s annual pre-Thanksgiving party. It began when my editor at the environmental site Grist asked me to remake a few Thanksgiving recipes traditionally thrown together from canned food … Read More
What do you do with one whole week’s CSA share for a single meal? My friend Wen-Jay, who runs Local Roots CSA, decided to put me to this challenge to help kick off the winter CSA season. I was up for the challenge, but had another to contend with: what do you do with a big batch of food when you live alone and have no other mouths to feed? I eventually determined it would be a soup, and salad—preferably … Read More
For me, fall is the right time for entertaining. I spent a languid weekend preparing for two back-to-back dinner parties, post-Halloween hullaballoo (I was Kate Middleton for that, did you think you saw her walking down the street in Brooklyn?). It was the perfect antidote to a candy-strewn holiday, and one of the dishes I served for my friends was this vegetarian option, which I’ve been eating for lunches since. Like most long-simmered stews and soups, it just gets better … Read More