A Salad for Salad Haters: Radicchio with Anchovy Dressing

Treviso Salad

Thanksgiving's over and holiday parties are getting started. With all that heavy food (not to mention the cocktails), even those who are not the biggest salad fans need to try to sneak in a vegetable or two. Not saying I hate salad personally, just that I'd rather eat stuffing than salad. I might rather eat stuffing than about anything, though. For those who share my preferences, this is the go-to salad. Strong flavors from the anchovy, the garlic, and the bitter radicchio punch you in the palate like a prizefighter. The wallop makes up for the fact that you're eating rabbit food. The … [Read more...]

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...]

Simple Summer Suppers: Broccoli and Bagna Cauda

Bagna Cauda With Dippers

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...]

Xinjiang-Style Lamb Skewers

Lamb Skewers Cooked Xinjiang Style

This post is for a contest being put on by the folks at the American Lamb Board. The prize is cool (cooking with a chef at an event) and I'd like to win, so please vote for me! Also, that means the lamb used here was given to me by the lamb folks. Thanks, lamb folks! Xinjiang lamb skewers are the best bar snack you've never had. Unless you've been to Beijing, in which case, they might just be the best bar snack you have had. It's been almost three years since I came back from Beijing, but the many tasty skewers I had have stuck with me. It was high time to recreate them at … [Read more...]

Spicy Mango Bubble Tea (with Boba Pearls from Scratch)

BubbleTeaBubble

Did you know that the internet doesn't know everything? Hard as I looked, I was unable to find a reasonable recipe for how to make bubble tea bubbles. Just a few people seem to have tried it, and most of them didn't seem to be bothered to write down, you know, like, amounts, and helpful stuff like that. Lucky for me, I had a vague idea of how to do it, since I'd accidentally made something pretty similar a few years back while trying to thicken blueberry sauce (for salmon) with tapioca flour. So what I knew going into this was that tapioca flour dropped in, rather than whisked in, to a … [Read more...]

Cinco de Mango: Mango Ice Cream

MangoIceCreamWM

A tweet from former Seattleite and pro pastry chef Dana Cree intrigued me: "if you buy coconut cream as well as milk you can make ice cream w/o any thickeners. 20% cream, 55% milk. 25% sugar + salt tt" That was in September. It was cold. I didn't make any ice cream. I filed the tweet away for a sunny day. On Saturday, that day arrived. I bought the three beautiful champagne mangoes to flavor the ice cream. Or rather, the frozen dessert: without milk, cream, or eggs, it's barely ice cream. Of course, not being able to leave well enough alone, I reduced the sugar a little, since the mango … [Read more...]

How to Make Noodles in a Meat Grinder

NoodlesComingOut

 Chinese noodles with perfect bite, chew, texture, with half the work? Sign me up. After creating the hand-cut noodle recipe, I realized that: wait, I'm way too lazy to use the peeler to make the noodles for more than just Brett and I. But until recently, I didn't know what to do about it, so when I made dan dan noodles for a group, they had to be satisfied with my favorite store noodles. It isn't right. No, my friends deserve the bounce of a fabulous fresh noodle. Fast forward to last week, as I flipped around the internets, that wild world of wacky ideas, eventually landing on a Mario … [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...]

Pambazo Lessons from an Abuela

Pambazo and Grandma

Among the oddities of my childhood were an avocado green washer and dryer in the kitchen of our house, a mild prodigy brother, and a constant parade of exchange students from as far away as New Caledonia. 25 years later and I still have no idea where New Caledonia is. I do know where San Juan del Rio, Mexico is. It's a small town two hours north of Mexico City, from where hailed many of our exchange students. One of them has become a life long family friend, and on our recent trip to Mexico, his mother taught us how to make a Mexican sandwich called a Pambazo. This is the third time … [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...]