Recipes are a lot more flexible than you may think. Soups are especially welcome to additional ingredients, adaptable to changing seasons, and open to subtractions in the case of allergy or just preference. I’m of the opinion that in most cases, a recipe is a mere guideline for a certain idea rather than a strict set of instructions. And as such, I usually don’t follow them too closely. But to indulge one early-morning’s random obsessions about vichyssoise, I cracked open Julia Child’s Mastering … Read More
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.
Today was gusty like a regular dust storm, at least in Red Hook where I was a-working. And there was some music playing, by a feller named Woody Guthrie, and he was a-talkin about some dust storm in a song called “Talking Dust Bowl Blues.” In one verse, he sings, “My wife fixed up a tater stew,” and it got me hungry and thinkin’ food. So I’ll stop with the bad sing-song writing here, but now you know the reason … Read More
If there’s one thing I learned from the Souperama this weekend, it’s that a big batch of soup is meant to be enjoyed by many. And, okay, sixteen batches of them, even better. But more importantly, I was reminded of this altruistic goal when it comes to cooking anything in large portion (and really, who’s going to make one bowl of soup?): to try to create something that’s kosher for almost any diet, sway or fancy, and still make it … Read More
It’s here: the 2nd Annual Risotto Challenge! Last spring, eighteen contestants answered this call-to-cooking action with imaginative risottos seemingly spawned while on crack. (The ultimate winner? A citrusy, brown rice “Scarborough Fair” ordeal, named for its profusion of four singsong herbs.) And since there’s never an end to variations on the delicious dish, co-host Karol Lu and I are giving the cook-off another spin — or stir. This time, the event will benefit Just Food, New York City’s local and … Read More
Rats! My friend Karol agreed to come to my impromptu Chinese New Year‘s Eve dinner last night only on the condition that there would be no utterance of the words “rat” or “mouse,” so just getting it out of my system. Ringing in the Year of the Rat is understandably awkward when trodding the sodden confetti and firecracker papered streets of a New Year’s aftermath-stricken Mott St., kicking the occasional half-eaten bun. I’m not sure the ancient Chinese had counted … Read More
You can probably guess where I gathered the ingredients for this savory winter stir-fry from the post preceding this one. Think of it as a twist on beef stew — but one that takes a fraction of the cooking time. Served with rice and perhaps a simple, stir-fried green on the side, it’s the perfect cold weather meal to really fill up on, and look forward to having again the next day. What? It hasn’t actually been cold in New … Read More
Congee, you know what I mean? Except not. First, I’ll admit that this was not the most convenient meal to make on a weeknight–but it can be done. Just remember to pop the squash in the oven as soon as possible, then begin the rest of your preparation and cooking. That way it should be soft enough by the time the risotto is ready for it to be added. Timing is everything.
In celebration of “soup month” February and all the cold, soup-worthy weather we’ve been having recently, here’s my contribution to Soup’s On at A Veggie Venture. It’s funny how much the texture of warm chickpeas can parallel that other vegetable commonly paired with leek in a soup–the potato. While leeks cook up insistently savory, the chickpea balances as a more neutral, slightly nutty accoutrement. Thinking more or less of hummous, a little cumin went into this, soft roasted garlic, a … Read More