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A Peach of A Salad

Wednesday, 14. August 2013 5:26

A colorful, crunch-a-licious summer salad with shrimp and -- yes -- peaches.

A colorful, crunch-a-licious summer salad with shrimp and — yes — peaches.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of biting into an heirloom peach grown by the Masumoto Family Farm just south of Fresno, you know how life-changing it can be.

And if you’ve ever read any of farmer David Mas Masumoto’s books about farming life, you know how deserving he is of the title,  “poet of peaches.”

Now, the family that’s endeavored to grow the consummate peach has written the aptly named cookbook, “The Perfect Peach” (Ten Speed Press), of which I recently received a review copy. Included are stories and recipes by Mas, his wife Marcy, and daughter Nikiko, who has taken over the 80-acre organic farm, which has been owned for four generations.

the-perfect-peach

Of course, a wonderful peach can be enjoyed just out of hand, eaten over the sink as the juice drips down your chin. But the Masumoto family has provided a wealth of recipes that make inventive use of over-ripe, gushy peaches (make a Peach-Rosemary Bellini) and firmer peaches in dishes such as “Peach Day Pickles” and “Shaking Beef with Peaches.” There are plenty of sweet treats, too, including “Peach-Date Bars” and “Blackberry-Peach Bread Pudding.”

For those who know the major sweet tooth that I have, you may be surprised to learn that the recipe I zeroed in on was a savory one. Yes, imagine that! But “Summer Thai Shrimp and Noodle Salad” (With Peaches) sounded like the perfect one-bowl meal to tuck into at this sunny time of year.

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Silken Tofu for a Sultry Day

Wednesday, 5. June 2013 5:26

On a warm day, this is as simple and delicious as it gets.

On a warm day, this is as simple and delicious as it gets.

 

Bet you never thought you’d see the words, “tofu” and “sultry” together, did you?

After all, the bean curd doesn’t always get the love it deserves. But this easy-breezy dish might just make you a believer.

On a warm, lazy day, there’s nothing better than “Silken Tofu with Avocado.”

It’s from “Every Grain of Rice” (W.W. Norton & Company), the newest cookbook by Chinese cooking authority Fuchsia Dunlop. The cookbook, of which I received a review copy, includes 150 recipes for straightforward, Chinese home-style dishes. Included are helpful primers on Chinese ingredients and cooking techniques.

Cold dishes are traditionally served at the start of a meal. It’s actually a sly way to tide guests over with already prepared noshes while the host gets busy stir-frying the rest of the meal.

Dunlop writes that she first experienced a tofu-avocado dish like this years ago in a restaurant in the southern hills of Taipei, where the cuisine is influenced by Taiwanese street food, as well as Taiwan’s history as a Japanese colony.

Indeed, the flavors of this dish will remind you of a California roll, what with the avocado, soy sauce and hit of wasabi.

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Grilled Corn — Asian-Style

Friday, 24. May 2013 5:25

An easy, delightful way to dress up grilled corn.

An easy, delightful way to dress up grilled corn.

 

Want to dress up corn on the cob in a whole new way?

Look no further than “Corn with Hosin-Orange Butter” from the new “The Grilling Book: The Definitive Guide from Bon Appetit” (Andrews McMeel), of which I recently received a review copy.

It’s easy as can be — just a matter of grilling whole, shucked ears, then smearing them with a creamy mixture of softened butter, hoisin sauce, Chinese chili-garlic sauce and grated orange zest.

Grab a cob with your fingers and take a bite. You’ll be greeted with a delicious smokiness plus the sweet-savoriness of hoisin sauce that compliments the natural sugars of the corn so well. The orange zest is really what makes it, though, adding a bright, perky complexity. You know the orange butter you like to smear on cornbread? Imagine that flavor with Asian hoisin sauce thrown in. Irresistible, right?

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A Taste — and Glimpse– of the Past on Mother’s Day

Wednesday, 8. May 2013 5:26

A sentimental taste.

A sentimental taste.

 

My Mom unknowingly left me a gift this Mother’s Day.

Although she passed away six years ago, I still think about her often, especially on this day.

So, it was with great pleasure that I recently re-discovered a manila envelope on my bookshelf — one that used to be tucked into my mother’s own bookshelf. I pulled out the contents to find old-school plastic sleeves and cardboard folders stuffed with pages that had been photocopied or torn out of magazines. All were of recipes. A few were mine — baking recipes that had caught my eye when I was a teenager in the throes of my addiction to baking, which I’d do every chance I could on weekends after racing to finish my homework.

Most of the recipes, though, were her keepsakes. I started to leaf through them, one by one. There were mimeographed pages from a Chinese cookbook, with the Chinese characters for things like lotus seeds, salted duck eggs, and “longan pulp.” Although my Mom was fluent in Cantonese, I remember hearing her lament on more than one occasion that she could no longer distinguish the written Chinese characters like she once could.

There was a 1985 recipe for “Perfect Pot Roast.” Yet I don’t ever remember her making that homespun Americana dish. Was it a dish she meant to get to one day?

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Suvir Saran’s Roasted Manchurian Cauliflower

Monday, 7. January 2013 5:26

Ketchup and a host of spices make this easy cauliflower dish something special.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting New York Chef Suvir Saran, no doubt you reveled in his bold, colorful and magnetic personality.

Not surprisingly, this dish is very much like him — it makes a big impression from the get-go.

“Roasted Manchurian Cauliflower” is from his cookbook, “Masala Farm” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy. Suran, owner of Devi restaurant in New York, wrote the book with Charlie Burd, his long-time partner. It includes recipes and stories about their time shared in their upstate New York farmhouse situated on 67 acres with three ponds, goats, chickens and an abundance of fruits, vegetables and herbs.

The recipes are farm-to-table, but done often with Indian flair.

This cauliflower dish has been a signature one since his restaurant opened. It’s sort of like Chinese sweet-and-sour, but with cauliflower, not pork, and boasts a spicy kick.

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