This herby oven-steamed egg custard is one smooth operator.
One of the dishes I most fondly remember my Mom making when I was a kid was a Chinese savory custard, redolent of seasoned ground pork and with a surprise duck egg yolk the color of a Hawaiian sunset hidden at its very center.
I also remember her expression when it did not turn out perfectly smooth.
She’d wait till it was done steaming to lift the lid to reveal the outcome. If it had a bubbly interior, she would frown and fret — even if the taste was still delicious. But if it was as smooth as creme brulee, she would take it as a personal triumph.
I thought of my late-Mom when I spied “Herby Oven-Steamed Eggs” in the new “Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. It’s the latest and greatest by my friend and colleague, award-winning Bay Area food writer Andrea Nguyen.
As the name implies, this cookbook aims to streamline Vietnamese dishes so you can enjoy the vibrant flavors of the cuisine any day of the week without special trips to Asian markets.
The easy way to make a lot of steamed fish at once — in the oven.
I grew up with Chinese-style steamed fish — both as a focal point of a celebratory banquet meal or an everyday staple made by my Mom on a harried weeknight.
But the one thing I always found challenging was trying to steam a large amount of fish to feed a hangry, hungry crowd.
After all, a stovetop bamboo steamer only holds so much. You could always stack two or three atop one another to steam more fish. But what if you only have the one steamer basket?
Enter a genius solution by recipe developer Julia Turshen in her new cookbook, “Now & Again: Go-To Recipes, Inspired Menus + Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy.
With more than 125 recipes, she shows off her flair for making delicious food a no-brainer in recipes that include”Chicken and Roasted Tomato Enchiladas,” “Pressed Broccoli Rabe and Mozzarella Sandwiches,” and “Applesauce Cake with Cream Cheese and Honey Frosting.”
What’s in this bowl? An umami bomb, that’s what.
There are only three ingredients in this recipe and none of them is meat. Yet you won’t believe the powerhouse of earthy, meaty flavors it possesses.
The secret is red miso.
“Seared Miso Mushrooms” is a recipe from the new cookbook, “Feasts of Veg: Plant-Based Food for Gatherings” (Kyle), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Nina Olsson, a Sweden-based photographer and recipe developer who created the blog, NourishAtelier.
The book is a collection of vegetarian recipes that take influences from around the world. Think “Caramelized Onion Tarte Tatin,” “Smoked Tofu Rillette,” “Chipotle Jackfruit Tacos,” and “Sweet Tahini Babka.”
Miso is made from soybeans fermented with rice or other grains. If all you know is the lighter tasting white and yellow varieties, it’s high time you tried its deeper, darker cousin that’s been fermented even longer. It is much more pungent, with a much deeper and stronger earthy funkiness that will give anything it touches a big boost of umami.
Your new go-to dish in the new year.
Another new year. Another pledge to exercise more, snooze more, disconnect from the electronics more, and of course, to eat more tofu.
You know come Jan. 1, you promise yourself you’ll eat better. This is an easy way to keep your word.
Because “Shredded Tofu with Spicy Ground Chicken and Edamame” not only incorporates good-for-you tofu, but is effortless and delicious.
It will also teach you a new nifty trick with tofu.
Set this down in front of your guests for real treat.
The holidays practically demand a showstopper entree, something with heft and presence that will make guests not only sit up and take notice, but eager to dig in with complete abandon.
For me, that’s long been bone-in prime rib crusted with salt and rosemary, fresh Dungeness crabs with their deep orange shells that give way to snowy fluffy meat, a glazed ham enveloped with a thick glistening layer of juicy fat or a massive leg of lamb cooked on the grill with copious amounts of garlic.
Now, Nik Sharma of the award-winning A Brown Table blog ups that leg of lamb option by adding a load of irresistible ginger, cardamom, turmeric, juniper, cloves, almonds, pistachios and luscious yogurt to the equation.
His “Roast Leg of Lamb” marinades in that creamy, unctuous sauce tinged the color of daffodils for a full day before being slid into the oven.
The recipe is from his first cookbook “Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food” (Chronicle Books) cookbook, of which I received a review copy.
Sharma is an Oakland-based writer, recipe developer and photographer (yes, he took all the wonderfully evocative images in his book) who writes a weekly cooking column for the San Francisco Chronicle.