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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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A Salad from Hiroko Shimbo To Start the New Year Off Right

Tuesday, 1. January 2013 5:26

A kale-tofu salad that you will sing the praises for all new year long.

At the top of your New Year’s resolution list are the vows to eat more kale and more tofu, right?

They should be.

Especially when they’re combined in this healthful salad that tastes so delicious that you’ll forget it’s even good for you.

“Kale in Peanut Butter-Tofu Sauce” is so satisfying that even my husband Meat Boy inhaled it even though there are no meat products in it.

The recipe is from “Hiroko’s American Kitchen” (Andrews McMeel), of which I recently received a review copy. The book is by Hiroko Shimbo, an authority on Japanese cuisine who is also a trained sushi chef.

It features 125 straightforward recipes that make cooking Japanese food at home much simpler with Shimbo’s tips and substitutions when you can’t find certain ingredients at your local market. Don’t have dashi? Use low-sodium chicken stock instead. No Japanese curry powder in your pantry? Reach for Madras curry powder instead. Don’t want to make kelp stock? Plain water will do in a pinch.

This particular dish tastes like one of those pricey prepared salads you’d find at Whole Foods.

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Holiday Green Beans with An Asian Twist

Tuesday, 18. December 2012 5:26

Green beans with brown butter, Asian fish sauce, crushed peanuts and celery leaves.

When guests sit down to the holiday spread, they may squeal with delight over the sight of crisp potato cakes, warm homemade rolls and creamy, cheesy cauliflower gratin.

But secretly, they’re glad you put out some green beans, too.

Because for all the over-the-top indulgences we can’t get enough of at this time of year, we also crave just a little respite with something fresh, crisp and green.

“Green Beans in Brown Butter and Ginger Fish Sauce” fits that bill.

The recipe comes from the Wall Street Journal and it was created by Chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia in Louisville, KY. You may remember him as a competitor in last season’s “Top Chef” competition.

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Ming Tsai’s Miso Pork Stew

Tuesday, 30. October 2012 5:26

Dig into a bowl of savory pork stew with miso, sweet potatoes and edamame.

Leave it to Ming Tsai to come up with a Japanese version of Southwestern chili.

The kind that is made for curling up with on a blustery night.

It’s a hearty bowl that will warm you from the inside out with cubes of tender pork, chunks of sweet potatoes, bright green edamame, and a hit of  miso.

It’s from his newest cookbook, “Simply Ming in Your Kitchen” (Kyle), of which I just received a review copy. It’s a clever book of 80 recipes, each of which has an embedded QR code that can be scanned to unlock a video of Tsai cooking the dish from start to finish. Sixteen of the videos — two from each chapter — are free. The others can be purchased from Ming.com.

The chef-proprietor of Blue Ginger in Massachusetts and host of “Simply Ming” on PBS, Tsai has a natural affinity for fusing East-West flavors like the ones in this stew.

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