Do you ever edit yourself, after something’s been said and done? After you’ve cleaned off a meal that you enjoyed to its fullest, then start believing that it wasn’t all that it could be? I have this compulsive habit sometimes, and right now I’m really wishing that I’d scattered crisp red onion across this dish, like slivers of orchid petals. And maybe pinched speckles of Maldon sea salt and black pepper on top of those tomatoes and lettuces, and–eh… it … Read More
Do you have a lot of curious condiments lurking in the fridge? Like a strange bedfellow that you had a one-night stand with, but for whatever reason, life moved on, and you don’t feel the need to connect? Maybe it’s that Thai green curry paste that you thought was exciting and adventurous, but has since dried up and gone stale. Maybe it’s a bottle of salad dressing that you once genuinely loved, for a time, which is now squarely in … Read More
It’s more filling than a mere tomato sauce, but just as easy to make. I like to make versatile dishes in the winter; things that can keep well in the fridge, and keep on playing new roles well, too, albeit of a similar character. It’s not the Meryl Streep of foods, I guess: this bean and pancetta-studded tomato sauce wouldn’t exactly make a drastic turn in, say, Vietnamese cuisine. But it does wear many hats quite deliciously keeping within a … Read More
One great misconception about Asian food is that there isn’t much use of tomatoes. In everyday Chinese cooking, for example, there are tomatoes: in scrambled eggs (which is exactly the way it sounds), in eggdrop soup (as soft, vibrant wedges), and as a base for sauces (like a stir-fry of shrimp). Well, I can think of one space where tomatoes don’t factor in too much in Asian food: noodles. And that happens to be where we encounter tomatoes in Western, … Read More
Too many tomatoes. That’s something I didn’t think I’d ever be saying earlier on in the summer, or, least of all, during the colder months we’re heading into now. But currently, in the Northeast, it’s tomato mayhem. For the last several weeks, I’ve gotten more and more reinforcements of tomatoes from my CSA. I had my volunteer shift last week, and was given the task of sorting tomatoes. There were far too many for the (many of them vacationing) members … Read More
I’m not sure why tomatillos aren’t as popular as tomatoes. They’re as easy to grow as tomatoes, and they’re even covered with a natural, papery husk to prevent bruising or the need to even rinse dirt off. Yet tomatillos haven’t been integrated into cuisines outside of Latin America. Nope, I can’t think of one example — too bad. Because my favorite advantage about tomatillos versus tomatoes is their intense tanginess, and thick, jammy consistency when cooked. So I’m using them … Read More
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.
There are two ways to prepare squid (aka calamari) with succulent results: very quickly, as in searing, grilling, or flash-frying; or very long, as in braising, stewing, or slow-roasting. Anywhere in between will yield rubbery, rigid bands like undercooked cartilage. I went with the latter preparation for this late-winter, almost-springlike, one-seafood stew. It could be plopped on top of pasta, or sopped up with pieces of bread. Tentacles had never been more tender.
If you have a few favorite ingredients to cook with, you’re bound to run into a moment of deja-vu pretty soon: “Did I just make the basically same thing last week?” Sometimes, you can set out to make a wholly different dish one night and find that you dined on an incredibly similar one the night before (and sometimes, this happens knowingly, like a weekly breakfast routine). But when it happens by accident, it’s a sure sign that that you … Read More
Most people think of tabbouleh as a grain-based salad, with bulgur (a whole wheat product) comprising the bulk of the dish. But actually, it’s more of a parsley-based salad, with lots of fresh tomatoes, lemon juice, chopped onions and other herbs, too. Its name derives from the Arabic word for “seasoning” (taabil), and purists have scolded my lack of sufficient parsley in past attempts. This got me thinking that tabbouleh is something of a chunky pesto, with some filling grains tossed … Read More