A Cookbook About Speedy Cooking from A Man Who Knows Speedy Writing

Tonight's dinner of "Lemon Grass and White Bean Turkey Chili'' can be on the table in about half an hour.

When the food editor of the Associated Press writes a cookbook, you know it’s got to be all about getting food on the table fast.

After all, J.M. Hirsch’s job at the wire service is all about disseminating information timely and quickly.

His new book, “High Flavor, Low Labor” (Ballentine Books) features nearly 150 recipes designed for busy, working families who want to put creative dishes on the table, but don’t want to be slaving over a hot stove for hours to do it.

His “Lemon Grass and White Bean Turkey Chili” is an example of that. It’s sort of a cross between the classic Thai soup, tom kha gai, and American white chili. Made with ground turkey, coconut milk and jalapenos, it takes only about half an hour to make.

Since lemon grass isn’t always available at every corner store, I’ve taken to keeping a few stalks growing at all times in my back yard. That way, I always have a supply when I need it.

The next time you spy lemon grass at your Asian market, buy a few extra to plant. Remove any dry exterior layers, then stick the stalks in a glass of water for a week or so, until roots begin to emerge. Then, plant the stalks in a container or in your backyard, and water regularly.

When you need it, you can either dig up the entire stalk to use or just cut off the stalks at the base, leaving the rest in the soil to continue growing.

Enjoy your freshly harvested lemon grass in Hirsch’s recipe for “Lemon Grass and White Bean Turkey Chili,” which you’ll find, along with my review of the book, at ProjectFoodie.

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