Breaking two cardinal rules in my kitchen—versatility and real-world functionality—my favorite new toy is silly, beautiful, and fun. It can only do one thing: make cookies in the shape of an obscure cut of lamb. A while back, while checking out the display cases at the excellent little butcher shop, Avendano’s, my friends spotted a batch of hand-crafted, limited-edition, copper cookie cutters. For some reason, they thought of me.
Continue reading “Meat Cookies”
Blueberries and oysters? Chocolate and cauliflower? Blue cheese and rhubarb and pineapple?
If taste buds could cringe, then mine were recoiled into a wincing mess when I first learned about these flavor pairings. For those of you who have been eating at El Bulli or The Fat Duck or Alinea, this is all old news. For me, though, it was definitely an invitation to walk on the wild side.
To help wake up my outdated taste buds, my friend, Frankie, linked me up with Food for Design, where chemists and chefs and some overachieving web designers are putting together a provocative, highly entertaining website. With just a few minutes of clicking, creative and courageous cooks can find some very unusual food pairings.
Continue reading “Culinary Laboratory: Cooking by Chemistry”
For those who love both poetry and pork, the recitation and the recipe, Dongpo Rou’s silken layers hold a potent blend of both. This famous dish of Hangzhou, a city tucked near where the Qiantang River spills into the Yangtze Delta of eastern China, is named for its creator, the celebrated Chinese poet, Su Shi. Also known as Su Dongpo, he gave his name to the much-loved dish.
Stories are still told of how he forgot his simmering pork while playing chess or of the misunderstanding among his servants when he called for pork with wine. He was thinking a nice cup of spirits; they were thinking boozy stew. I like to think that while the pork belly simmered gently in wine and soy sauce and spices, the poet-cook composed or recite an afternoon’s worth of verse.
Continue reading “Dong Po Rou: Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pork”
Once a month or so, my mother sends me a box from home filled with food. The last one, timed perfectly for lunar new year, included a batch of rice cakes. Before I even saw them, though, I knew there was treasure buried somewhere deep beneath her homemade peanut brittle, gingery mustard pickles from the last greens in her garden and bags of candied coconut used as packing material. The distinctive green-tea aroma of banana leaves had emerged as soon as the packing tape was cut.
Continue reading “Cooking with Banana Leaves”
Lucky me, the flu came visiting last week. Even after three days of sleeping in bed and swallowing nothing more than bananas and Advil, I could tell my uninvited guest had no intention of leaving. Time to get serious.
Cooking was out of the question — I could barely stand up straight with the long, invisible spikes piercing both sides of my brain — so I smiled as sweetly as possible at my husband and said three words: Pho ga. Please.
Continue reading “Pho Ga: Vietnamese Penicillin”