Who needs rice with black beans when there’s sweet corn, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, Swiss chard, and if not peppers just yet, then new, sweet-tasting potatoes, in season now? That’s my summertime take on the Latin American classic, with the black beans on the bottom this time.
I’ve been eating in the style of mezze a lot lately — a small pile of sauteed snap peas here, some roasted beets there, etc. So many vegetables are suddenly in season, and piling up thanks to my CSA share, that preparing them all in some congruous fashion can get taxing — and somewhat self-defeating, as most are so good on their own. So rather than plopping a big, messy pile in front of me, I like to scatter a … Read More
I love Asian ice cream, milkshake and flavored tea flavors, but so often they’re sad, powdered relics of the real stuff. The pale green “honeydew” makes me miss the juicy, floral freshness of the real fruit, slushed up, that I’d get in Taiwan. Bright lilac “taro” flavor just plain is not. Although I may never have enough sun to grow fresh, tropical fruit and coconuts here, one flavor I don’t see the need to place in artificial form, anywhere, is … Read More
If the fashion sensibility “peasant chic” were translated to food, this would be a runway highlight. It’s a melange of the penniless pantry, but manages to come out vibrant with flavor, and chock full of nutrition. A little funky, offbeat, and very magenta (is that an “in” color?), it’s what I call making the best of the least — and the cheapest — ingredients. It’s also filling enough for a one-dish dinner alone, but plop in a poached egg and … Read More
For a long time, I could never fathom making many beloved, wintry foods without meat. It seemed like if you took the meat away, you’d lose the whole hutzpah of the thing. And besides, we need something to fortify our chilled bones with. Well, it’s taken a long journey but in the case of cassoulet, I’ve decided that it isn’t the pork, or duck fat that is the whole hutzpah, it’s the tender, melt-in-your-mouth beans swaddled in a creamy, baked-in … Read More
Last Halloween, Dave introduced me to a dish that involves baking stuff inside a hollowed-out pumpkin. He explained that he’d taken it from a Ruth Reichl recipe in Gourmet. This past Halloween, I hosted, and I copied Dave’s (or Ruth’s) dish to a T. (Only mine was in a white heirloom “ghost” pumpkin, and I served a side of beet-and-tomato “blood” soup.) It’s sort of like French onion soup, inside a pumpkin: you stuff stale bread cubes and pour chicken … Read More
I’ve been having a love affair with beans lately. This may have happened by default, with so few fresh muses in season to cook with, or else a newfound appreciation simply gained on its own merit: beans are infinitely versatile, used in every cuisine, hearty, and nutritious. They are the main ingredient in comfort foods of so many cultures, like the French cassoulet. But beans also have a stigma attached to them, especially in our meat-loving culture — that of … Read More
Forgive the excessively esoteric sound of this dish’s name. I had tried coming up with other things to call it: Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli and Braised Broccoli and Cauliflower Greens with Navy Beans and Creamed Potatoes? Too long. White Cauliflower, Cheddar Cauliflower, Broccoli and Their Combined Greens Braised with Navy Beans and Roasted Red Pepper and Served on Creamy, Truffled, Mashed Fingerling Potatoes? Too specific. Stuff That I Got From My CSA This Week, Cooked and Piled Ceremoniously Together on a Plate? That … Read More
A hapa holy trinity? Hey, there’s a first for everything. Sweet and pungent (coleslaw), smoky and spicy (beans), and some of the aforementioned with savory with herbal tossed in (potato salad), these were the flavors that drenched the side dishes at our Hapa Kitchen BBQ on Saturday. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera on hand that day; if I’d had it, I would not have had a clean hand to use it. Therefore, this photo is stolen from Robert … Read More
Welcome to 2009, Chili Takedown. This is no time to be splurging on pounds and pounds of beef. Sorry, heritage pork (except for your bones and spare ribs, which I’ll get to in a bit). I’m not even doing the fresh garnish doodads anymore. This is recession era chili. And I’m going back to the basics of peasant home cookery — that is, minimal amounts of meat, used for flavor mostly, cheap winter vegetables, and lots and lots of B-E-A-N-S.