I’m not averse to wheat or gluten myself (knocking on wood), but I’m well aware of friends and general masses of folks who are looking for that delicious diversion from eating such products. So, for the crispy, crackly “crust” on a fish fillet, I crushed a grainy mixture of aromatic spices instead of looking to starch-based solutions. Then, since we’re creating such a textural complement to the otherwise tender fish, why not make fish itself the crusty crouton for a … Read More
It’s finally arrived — the season for budding blossoms, bike rides, and all things green. Well, make that Spring 1.0, the beta-test days. We’ve still got frosts and chances of flurries, and at the farmers markets, there’s little green to be seen. Except for those shoots and seedlings grown in a greenhouse. But — tulips and daffodils, mint, parsley and chives! Step aside, winter squashes and brown-speckled apples. A natural changing of the guards has just begun.
This winter, I’ve been warming my home with the help of the oven. If your city kitchen is as cubicle-sized as mine, you might have noticed that things get pretty toasty very quickly every time it gets fired up. Suddenly, your hair is clinging to your brow and for a moment you mistake the sizzling sounds heard from the oven for your own sweat. In this hotboxed environment, I concocted a dressing for the root vegetables that were instead making … Read More
If you’re familiar with the dry-style stir-fries of Sichuan cuisine — Kung Pao chicken, or beef with cumin — this is its soupy antithesis. Translating literally to “water-cooked fish,” it’s fish slices gently poached in a not-so-gentle broth. No, it’s not just water in there. Infused with dried chilies, Sichuan peppercorns and chili bean sauce, it’s a tingly, vermilion bath loaded with slivered vegetables like cabbage and celery, flavors melding. And because of its stew-like consistency, it’s perfect for winter … Read More
It occurs to me that this might as well be named Butternut Squash Curry with Eggs. But I was inspired by the notion of making egg curry, a staple peasant dish of India that can incorporate as many spice blends and vegetable additions as to envelop winter squash from a foreign terrain. It is a decidedly vegetarian main course in a distinctively vegetarian (and vegan)-friendly cuisine, and I first learned about egg curry from reading short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri, … Read More
It’s more filling than a mere tomato sauce, but just as easy to make. I like to make versatile dishes in the winter; things that can keep well in the fridge, and keep on playing new roles well, too, albeit of a similar character. It’s not the Meryl Streep of foods, I guess: this bean and pancetta-studded tomato sauce wouldn’t exactly make a drastic turn in, say, Vietnamese cuisine. But it does wear many hats quite deliciously keeping within a … Read More
I wasn’t sure what to call this condiment — it is a jarred, preserved sauce (so it could be called simply “preserves”). But it doesn’t have to be; it could also be used immediately, like any old sauce. It’s sweetened with sugar so it could be a jam, but it has enough savory complexity to qualify (I think) for a chutney. It also has a strong dose of vinegar so it might as well be an agrodolce — the tangy, … Read More
It’s all about balance. Sweet and savory; healthy and buttery; light and fluffy, and somewhat dense and gritty. That’s what good cornbread is all about. You could see it as a series of contradictions, of too many conflicting elements trying to work together at once. Or you could try to keep it all in check, to each his own place in this small casserole dish, a miniature world that’s really not that hard to govern over, when you think about … Read More