Halloween Food: Piggy Coffins!

Coffin Empanadas

I'm a little competitive. Or, you know, a lot. Like to the point that when I meet another competitive person, I sometimes get really defensive that I'm the more competitive person. And that's probably happened more times than I'd like to count. So where am I going with this? Our office Halloween party is also a potluck with awards for best tasting and most creative food. Clearly, I need to win. Preferably both categories with a single dish. So I came up with what I'm calling Piggy Coffins. What they actually are is my Holy Shit Pork Cheeks, wrapped in puff pastry with some strategic … [Read more...]

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

EdamameToast

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...]

Cauliflower Bread

Cauliflower Bread with Romesco

A flat bread made out of Romesco cauliflower struck me as really cool. It struck my mother as something a starving peasant would do during the Thirty Years' War. That's the difference between us, I suppose. Inspired by something I found on Pinterest, which, by the way, I'm obsessed with, I set out to create my own version of Cauliflower Bread. It turns out to be is a lovely snack or side dish. The first thing that struck me was that it would make an excellent gluten-free Thanksgiving side dish--I can imagine it only gets better when dipped in gravy or cranberry sauce. If you happen to be … [Read more...]

Bacon and Sour Cream Stuffed Potato Puffs

Split shot

  The wheels in my head go round and round...round and round. The Taro Puffs on the dim sum cart go round and round...round and round. Using the recipe from Asian Dumplings, I became drunk on success  after my first attempt at Taro Puffs, those lacy, crisp bundles of soft starch that envelop pockets of pork, roaming about the dim sum world. What if...I thought. What if, I replaced taro with a more versatile starch, one that could be blank canvas for all my evil amazing plans. I tried to research if the lacy crunch that defines the taro puff would translate to a potato. Andrea … [Read more...]

[Contest] Where to Eat at Pike Place Market: A Local’s Perspective

Like Eloise in the Plaza, I ran about the Pike Place Market as a child; ducking into stands and around tourists. If I were lucky, there was a post-swim-lesson lunch courtesy of my parents, maybe at the Turkish deli. Other times, my friends and I would slunk about, mixing in amongst older, more experienced vagrants. We'd laugh at the tourists, posing outside the wrong (not the first) Starbucks. Today, I'm no different, no less a kid in a candy store. I sneak through the market at 8am, on my way to work, when only the useful stalls--the fish, the vegetables, are open. Pike Place Market in … [Read more...]

Pescatarian/Gluten-Free Daikon Cakes

Daikon Cake over soy sauce

Daikon or radish cakes are often a favorite at dim sum. My old co-worker J loved them so much that he categorically denied the existence of pork in them. The first time we went to dim sum together he tried to order them and I asked "I thought you didn't eat pork?" He muttered something in response that indicated he had no idea there was pork, in the form of Chinese sausage or ham in them. The next time we were at dim sum we had a large group and everyone had been laughing as I helped J sort out what had pork in it--virtually everything but the chicken feet! He started to reach for the daikon … [Read more...]

Beijing part 1: Street Food Favorites

Crepe maker in beijing

The people of Beijing are hardy stock--everyone perfectly dressed and coifed despite the frigid temperatures, a street life, food vendors included, that is not hampered by the dry cold that froze me immediately. Needless to say, one of the best cures for a half-frostbitten fingers is to hold something warm, something comforting, something delicious, between my hands. To heat my belly with the fire of spicy, delicious food fresh from the nearest bundled up cook on the sidewalk. The man above is making the snack on the left, a thin, crispy egg wrapper filled with two kinds of sauce, one of … [Read more...]

Asian Dumplings: A Book Review

Baozi

If I had to choose my two favorite foods, it would be noodles and meat, so the dumpling is my own personal superfood. Andrea Nguyen, my new hero, has recently written my dream book: Asian Dumplings. Yes, all about dumplings. Oh, dear. I'm drooling already, just thinking about it. When my copy first arrived on the doorstep, thanks to her generous publisher, I opened the box and sat down on the couch. It was ten o'clock at night, I was exhausted, I had just returned from a long dinner meeting and just wanted to relax with my beautiful book. And then I opened the book. My advice for readers of … [Read more...]

Fried Dinner

IMG_4642

You might think these fine, fresh green tomatoes look awfully healthy to have been a fried dinner. Worry not, they soon, looked a good deal like their mates, the fishies. Oh, that's better, a much more accurate shot of my fried dinner. Once you get the oil going, it just seems like you might as well through everything in, right? And really, what two foods are better to fry up than fresh local smelt from our local Asian market and a few of the green tomatoes from my garden that I'm beginning to suspect have no plans of ever turning red. For the record, I got 1 beautiful tomato, 3 that … [Read more...]

Small Wonders of Summer Part 1: Padron Peppers

Pancetta Wrapped Padron Peppers

"What about a pepper could be that great?" I remember thinking, years ago, as I read Calvin Trillin's piece on trying to get Padron peppers in the U.S. Well, Calvin, I'm sorry, I should never have doubted your impeccable taste espoused with such riotous wit. I have had Padrons a few different ways now, but this was the epitome of taste perfection. Nope, pure, Spanish, olive oil roasted with sea salt, you've been bested, but by an oh-so-worthy opponent: wrapping in delicious pork products. Having found these fine specimens of capsicum, burn-inducing beauties at the Portland Farmer's Market, … [Read more...]