Steaming soy sauce chicken wings — straight out of the oven after a long, gentle bake.
When it comes to cooking, culinary teacher Andrew Schloss wants us to take it low and slow.
Think meatloaf that takes up to eight honors in the oven or a Black-Bottom Banana Custard Pie that bakes for as long as six hours.
Before you scoff, though, consider that all of that is fairly unattended cooking. Slide it into the oven and go about your day. Meantime, all that extended time under gentle heat does its magic by rendering food soft, supple and suffused with flavor.
You’re essentially turning your oven into a giant slow cooker. But unlike a slow cooker, which has a tight-fitting lid, oven-cooking allows for more evaporation. That means flavors get much more concentrated, Schloss says.
I’d have to agree after receiving a review copy of his book, “Cooking Slow: Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More” (Chronicle Books). Many of the recipes intrigued, but I decided to try one already familiar to me to get a real sense of what a difference this style of cooking might make.
Warm up with a different version of hot and sour soup.
Hot and sour soup is not a traditional dish on the standard Lunar New Year menu.
But when you have one this delicious, it’s hard not to want to share it with friends and family for a wonderful celebration such as the start of the “Year of the Horse.”
This version is by talented Pastry Chef Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery in Massachusetts. It’s from her second cookbook, “Flour, Too” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy.
You may already know Chang for her most excellent pastries and breads. But her Myers + Chang restaurant also serves up satisfying savory selections, many influenced by her family, as well as classic Taiwanese dishes.
This soup comes together quite quickly. In fact, in the book, Chang writes that her mom used to whip it up as a fast lunch on a regular basis for her kids. Now, it sells out routinely at Meyers + Chang.
Miso-smothered chicken with tangy, crunchy jicama pickles.
If you’re a fan of “Top Chef’‘ like I am, then you’re sure to remember Chef Edward Lee, who is Korean, cooks with French techniques and makes his home in the South.
Those three cultural heritages come together deliciously in his new cookbook, “”Smoke & Pickles” (Artisan), of which I received a review copy.
Lee may be chef-owner of two acclaimed restaurants, 610 Magnolia and Milkwood, both in Louisville, KY. But the food he presents on these pages is the rustic, bold-flavored type he makes for friends, family and even for staff meals.
“Miso-Smothered Chicken” exemplifies that. It’s bowl-food at its best: A mound of fluffy rice with tender, braised chicken seasoned with garlic, cayenne, orange juice, chicken stock, soy sauce and miso. It’s chicken stew — Japanese-style.
What really makes the dish is the accompanying pickles. Yes, they take a little more work, and have to be made at least a day ahead of the chicken. But one crunchy bite later, you’ll be so glad you made that extra effort. Read more
Calamari and crab star in this curry dish — along with an unexpected ingredient.
Yes, watermelon, of all things.
Crisp cubes of it, as well as its own bright pinky-red juice.
“Watermelon and Seafood Curry” is from “Full of Flavor” (Kyle Books), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Chef Maria Elia of Joe’s in London who has a way with unexpected flavor combinations such as with her “Blueberry and Coffee Muffins” and “Jerusalem Artichoke and Chestnut Soup with Chorizo and Apple.”
Of course, with summer watermelon in abundance, it was the curry recipe that really intrigued me. Sure, I’d enjoyed my share of watermelon just eaten out of hand in big cold wedges. And I’d eaten plenty of watermelon salads accented with salty feta or pops of chiles. But in a warm seafood stew? This was a new one.
Summer watermelon used in a unique way.
The base of the broth is watermelon juice that is cooked down on the stovetop to concentrate its flavor. You think it’s going to be way too sweet, but not after you add in ginger, lemongrass, garlic, turmeric, coriander, cumin and chiles, as well as fresh lime juice and fish sauce.
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.
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.