I subscribe to the theory of “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”; that is, cook your way through your problems. I’m faced with a terrible predicament at home: one of my best friends is moving away from our neighborhood halfway across the world, to Australia. I’ve known this for a few months, but it’s finally begun to sink in. So for her going-away party, I thought I’d try my hand at miniature-sized, vegetarian-friendly versions of the savory treat to … Read More
Little dumpling, who made thee? I know who did, originally. This dumpling was featured on the menu of the notorious 20-course, $1,500 a plate dinners propelled by two of the world’s greatest working chefs, Thomas Keller of The French Laundry and Per Se and Grant Achatz of Alinea. Their dinners, billed as mentor-protégé collaborations, unfolded in New York, Chicago and Napa, at the duo’s respective restaurants. But this dumpling, shown above, was just made by little old me. And the … Read More
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this tendency: to fall in love with a certain vegetable for about a week’s worth of nonstop eating at a time, then move onto the next affair. A few weeks ago this happened with beets. Afterward, it was sweet potatoes, roasted simply, with no salt and their skins intact. Now it’s broccoli. Not sure why. We’re old flames, though, a well-established on/off pair throughout the decades. We understand each other much … Read More
Cauliflower: it’s great pickled, it makes a delicious cream soup, and a prize-winning casserole. It’s tasty when stir-fried with Indian spices, near-invisible tossed into risottos, and it mixes amicably in salads, raw or lightly steamed. Is there anything you can’t do with this versatile veggie? Okay, so maybe we’re not on board with an ice cream flavor. But it’s no wonder that cauliflower has worn many hats, one notable one resulting in its nickname of “fauxtato.” Hence, I was tempted … Read More
Guess what? It’s a great time to pick dandelions. No, not to de-weed the lawn, like you were grudgingly made to as a kid to pitch in with household chores. To eat them! Because they’re great right now. Wait for them to grow a few more weeks and they’ll be more brittle and less palatable. And check out this comparison:
Happy Labor Day. In my neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, this holiday doesn’t just signal the end of half-day Fridays and seersucker; it ushers in the beginning of the new season with a two-mile long parade of elaborate floats, costumes and music, a street-wide carnival, and several performances at the Brooklyn Museum, all in celebration of West Indian American pride. And all along the way, lots and lots of authentic West Indian food.
Here thee, it’s another alternative to mayonnaise in one of your favorite summertime side dishes. What have I got against mayonnaise, you might be wondering? Not a whole lot. I like the old may-o. It’s one of the mother sauces of French cuisine, so nobody can argue that it deserves respect. But this potato and fresh tomato salad has none of it. Yet it’s perplexingly rich and refreshing at the same time. Savory and sweet. Summery and wintery. Potatoey and … Read More
Who remembers their introduction to coleslaw as a sodden, colorless, nearly congealed mess inside a pleated white paper cup? Now, who would like to forget that memory in its entirety? Me, too! Let’s hop aboard this pleasure plane and ride into a purple haze of forgetfulness, why don’t we? And, do something I’d never dreamed of recommending before about a week ago: don’t let your coleslaw sit long before serving it.
Trial: I get on my bike to run some errands, including a grocery store trip to get ingredients for a classic French salade nicoise. I have a craving for slick, smushed beads of brininess otherwise known as olives. It’s almost ninety degrees outside. I get out of the store, unlock my bike, and get on it only to find that the back tire is sagged like an empty sail.
Ughhh… I am not recommending you go into making this for the first time late on a Wednesday night. Ughhh… Of all the finicky nonsense that plagues much of gourmet, frou-frou, highbrow cooking, why this common street food snack so ridiculously delicate a process? I’ll chalk it up to two major things: my inexperience with the ingredients — the rice (or “vermicelli”) noodles and the rice wrappers — and with how to handle them. How wet can the wrappers get … Read More