This recipe is dedicated to all the do-gooders hosting gatherings who’d like to make their standby favorites, but find that something’s not vegetarian… and someone attending is. Caesar salad is one such popular crowd-pleaser that pairs well with rich, holiday fare. But the classic dressing gets its umami oomph from minced anchovies, a taboo for certain diets.
You know what? I predict that salty, pungent, Chinese fermented black beans will not only sound less creepy but become more widely embraced by American cooks in the near future. Why? Well, we’ve familiarized ourselves with soy sauce pretty well, dabbled with miso paste aplenty, and foraged into Asian grocery shelves for sauces like Korean gochujang and Sichuan doubanjiang (chili bean sauce). All are made from fermented beans. It seems a good time to take a look at them up … Read More
Maybe I’m just not understanding something. But when a vegetable is so naturally sweet as to have “sweet” in its name, why smother them with marshmallows and syrupy goo? It’s like sprinkling salt on your prosciutto or lox. I know it’s tradition, but “candied yams” can go with dessert then. For the main meal, why not roast some sunny-orange slices with savory herbs and a hint of spice?
A distinctive, crisp, and very bitter green, puntarelle is a real sign that fall has arrived. This member of the chicory family is typically harvested in fall through the winter, although it’s widely eaten fresh, in salads. If you’re not quite ready to fully embrace the food of this chilly season yet, then a refreshing salad–with a unique, seasonal ingredient–is a great compromise.
Being burglarized is not fun. You come home, find out someone’s snuck in through your window, pushing around your tomato plants on the fire escape to steal your stuff inside. I lost my Macbook Pro, and a camera. No, not fun. But what they didn’t steal were my plants, my food, my goshdarn enthusiasm for all that, and a crusty laptop tucked in the closet, going seven years strong.
Some like it smoky. If you’ve been cooking out a great deal this summer, perhaps you’ve grown fond of the lingering woodsmoke scent in your hair and clothes (designer fragrance idea: “Campfire”) and that bitter, mineral edge on slightly burnt food. You can embrace this essence when cooking indoors as well; I especially like it on eggplant, and to reinforce that smokiness, with a hint of chipotle, too.
Serving punch in watermelon bowls, clam chowder in bread loaf bowls, grilled beef in lettuce cups — who doesn’t love edible vessels? They can elevate humble-looking dishes to eye-catching hors d’oeuvres, but they’re not always the most practical, no-fuss solutions. Here, it just made sense: I was making a chunky, whole grain salad, and instead of chopping tomatoes to toss in it, I stuffed the ripe fruits to the brim.
When pickling, you either ferment the food itself, or add something fermented to it–often vinegar. Both methods not only preserve the vegetables throughout a long winter, but add layers of flavor, piquant, pucker-worthy ones at that. For a refreshing experiment this summer, I eschewed my common brines and procedures for a pack of white miso, that fermented soybean paste, for a sweet and really simple traditional Japanese pickle, misozuke.
It might seem less appropriate to cook zucchini when they’re as bright and bouncy as in the summer. And I don’t mean just lightly sear, but really cook — at a slow and low roast until meltingly tender — fresh, in-season zucchini. It might seem inappropriate to turn on the oven at all. But this aberration to my summer cooking routine has yielded a dramatically sweet, savory, and altogether satisfying way to enjoy one of my all-time favorite foods. It’s kind of like … Read More
It’s slightly warm, but it’s a salad alright. The peas are still crisp but have deepened in color. The carrots are infused with a hint of ginger to bring out their sweetness even more. And the little, white turnips? They taste so much better than the raw, rigid slats after being tossed quickly in a hot pan. That’s the easiest solution that I can offer for an ingredient that’s been puzzling a lot of people I know.