Cooking is empowering. And it’s unique, in that this simple exercise provides you with one of the few daily necessities for survival—food. You can’t say that for going to the gym, or writing a brilliant essay, as empowering as those activities may be. It’s not always the case that whipping up a plate of dinner gives you a great sense of personal accomplishment. But when you cook something that surprises, impresses even yourself (and as a bonus, your friends or … Read More
File this under Stupidly Simple Seasonal Salads with A ‘Lil Bit of Something Cray-Cray and Not-So. And that’s a pretty good general formula for making a tasty, cheap, healthy and hopefully delightful meal. The cray-cray-not-so in question here are the raspberries, since they’re A) Not in season in my part of the world and B) Not usually found in savory bean or grain salads even if they were. But for some reason I woke up one morning recently thinking about raspberry … Read More
We get all worked up about winter squashes when fall comes around. I get it: they’re shiny and new. But actually, you should be more excited about brassicas in the fall; winter squashes will be here to stay for a while, stored easily all winter long. But fall weather also brings us brassicas—broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, kale, Brussels sprouts and those spiky romanesco things—and we will not be seeing them for very long after this. It’s our last dance with them … Read More
They say that real men don’t eat quiche. But would real men eat not-so-real quiche instead? I don’t know; I made this pair of not-so-real quiches for a party celebrating the engagement of a lovely girlfriend of mine, where only women attended. I can say with certainty that real women eat not-real quiches when that not-real component speaks specifically to its crust.
I love the refreshing smack of a good green papaya salad. Sour, sweet, crisp, spicy and a little savory, it’s a world of flavor in packed, shredded piles. But let’s face it: green papayas are never in season in my part of the world. So what, then? Line up outside of Pok Pok, or some other Southeast Asian restaurant; hunt through the bins at Asian markets for the perfectly underripe papaya? Sure, you could do that. But you can also … Read More
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
So maybe you consider yourself an aficionado of Chinese dumplings. Maybe you’re a sucker for hearty, all-American food, too. Maybe you’re just searching for a vegetarian dumpling filling that isn’t a mosaic of brown-green ingredients with an ultimately bland, nondescript taste (mei wei dao! if you speak Mandarin, that is). In actuality, you don’t need to hail from any of these persuasions to enjoy the unexpected delight of these dumplings — because it’s so unexpected yet delicious.
I’m much more of a bean than cream person when it comes to soups. But I think you can find a happy compromise by slow-cooking white beans until so tender they’re luxuriously creamy on their own. So rather than following the formula for cream of broccoli (or cream of fill-in-the-blank vegetable), you might sate your taste buds for the mild taste and velvety texture of much the same with this soup instead. I’ve gone and added some cauliflower along with … Read More
My latest favorite way to eat my greens is in the Japanese style of ohitashi, which is to blanche, shock, squeeze out, and pour over with a soy sauce and dashi mixture. It’s an easy way to stock up on your greens for the day, which there are plenty of in the spring. It softens the leaves, but also the stalks, which are typically left on and are delightful to crunch on dressed in this sauce.
Chinese New Year is coming up this weekend — the Year of the Dragon is just upon us. Remembering a few good-luck foods for the holiday can be simple: anything long suffices for promoting “long life.” That includes noodles, which are traditionally served on New Year’s, often pan-fried. Make it as fancy as you want with additional ingredients, or as down-home and cheap as this one. With an assortment of healthy winter vegetables, it’s life-lengthening, in more ways than one.