Simple Summer Suppers: Broccoli and Bagna Cauda

Nobody ever believes me when I tell them the rain doesn't start until my birthday (October 7th). Summer ends at Labor Day, they insist. Nope, it's not true. As the center of the universe--or, my universe, anyway--summer doesn't end until I turn another year older. So until that happens, I will continue to make the kind of simple summer suppers that are easily eaten outdoors, even if it's getting dark at before dinner time. I'll let the green in my vegetables, the yellow in my egg yolks, the bright flavors in my olive oil, light up the night. One of the cardinal rules of a summer … [Read more...]

What My Gall Bladder has to do with Paula Deen (and Healthful Edamame Dip)

Two weeks into my gall bladder being on the fritz, I decided to go all Paula Deen on it. If I simply refrained from eating fat or consuming alcohol, I prevented the attacks, which were more painful than a lifetime sentenced to eating Kwanzaa Cake. But I was hosting book club that night. And we were reading Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper, one of my favorite books. An array of home-cooked Chinese dishes peppered the table, wowing me with the skill of my friends: beef tongue, celery, and pig ear from Tiffany, egg tarts from Snacking in the Kitchen, and dan-dan noodles from me, among others … [Read more...]

Whipped Lardo: How to Make my Holy Grail

Whipped lardo is simply heavenly. A heavenly spread that was my holy grail of recipes. I'd eaten it at an underground restaurant type of meal and it stuck in my mind. Stuck so hard as one of the best bites I'd ever eaten that I scoured the internet, up, down and every which-way, without gaining even the first inkling of any idea how to make the dish. So it was taste and test time. For the last year I've made more attempts than I want to count, all equally failed, to recreate this dish. It had been called 'Whipped Lardo' when I ate it, so yes, I began by making my own lardo. Good, yes, but was … [Read more...]

Lao Eggplant Dip with Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Sometimes it's a little hard to believe our trip through Southeast Asia was truly over three months ago. The fabulous little dips in which we rolled our sticky rice in Laos still burned into our memories like the spiciest of chile peppers. Luckily, we'd had the presence of mind to take cooking classes while we were there, so that now, when a hankering hits for a little nostalgia of the culinary kind, we simply whip up a little eggplant dip and reminisce.  What, you haven't been? Worry not, this is not a dish to fear, but rather one that any cook can try and that all should. These dips make … [Read more...]