When the raindrops of storm Nemo turned to icy sleet, then light, puffy snow at an increasing speed, I knew that it was the perfect time to hole up in the kitchen and cook something good. I was expecting a long, drawn-out affair once I’d decided on kimchi jigae, a homestyle Korean dish. This versatile stew features kimchi in a bubbling pot with great hunks of tofu, often soft mounds of potatoes, sometimes mushrooms, sometimes eggs, and it’s usually simmered … Read More
This was a strange idea, for sure. One the one hand, it’s a rich and satisfying, all-American summer party staple, and on the other, fiery-hot, exotic fare. My inspiration for this potato salad was dan dan noodles, a savory and slightly sweet Szechuan noodle dish laced with red chili oil, pungent preserved greens, and Szechuan peppercorns. Actually, I was supposed to bring a potato salad to a party and couldn’t find much else to flavor it with in my fridge.
I love the combination of earthiness, creaminess and pungency in a European herring salad, where the pickled fish is tossed with chopped potatoes, hard-boiled eggs and beets. This combination, sometimes including chopped apples, is enjoyed in Scandinavia, Russia and Northern Germany — essentially, wherever the ground is frozen much of the time. Well, the ground hasn’t been frozen for a while in New York, but we’ve still got rations of winter’s potatoes and beets before spring vegetables enter the scene. … Read More
This dish is inspired by the classic preparation of pizzoccheri, a tagliatelle-like pasta made with buckwheat flour from Northern Italy. It’s commonly tossed with cooked potatoes and cabbage in a buttery, starchy cooking water-thickened sauce accented with grated cheese. It sounded like just my kind of dish, only getting my hands on pizzoccheri noodles this side of the pond, or making it, proved unwieldy.
I’ve been hearing the term “warm salad” being tossed around a lot lately, and feel it might be a new menu buzzword. Perhaps it inspires curiosity, still carries an unlikeliness that hasn’t been as indoctrinated into our culture as, say, “chilled soup.” Sometimes it makes perfect sense (roasted beets, dressed in a light vinaigrette), other times, seems more of a stretch (sorry, sauteed vegetables are just that). I’ve used the term for this dish because of its middle-road temperature. The … Read More
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
Here is a really good example of the fact that I’m half-Chinese. I have no idea what this is, but I just made it for a snack. It’s sort of like hash browns, but with turnip slices, and condiments fit for dumplings. I gotta say, though, it was a lot simpler to make than either of the above, and its taste satisfied somewhere in between.
Even when you’re put up to a task, the most personal, creative and rewarding results can follow. Bear that in mind the next time your roommate asks you to pick up the living room (maybe it could use those cute new throw pillows you’ve been eyeing). When Amanda at the popular Park Slope site with an expletive in the name asked me to take on a cooking challenge, I thought, that’s the last thing I need now — a chore. … Read More
Mackerel is like the kid who gets picked to be on the team last. Outside of Japanese cuisine, it doesn’t get much respect. The poor things are canned more often than not, commonly smoked or cured (this is also because it must be eaten only very fresh), and considered too fishy-tasting and unimpressive in size. You won’t see it on the menu of too many restaurants, roasted or grilled as is. But when eating in, you get to be captain … Read More