Category Archives: Chefs

Cooking In The Time of Grocery Delivery

Melissa Clark's easy and delicious honey-roasted carrot salad with toasted almonds.
Melissa Clark’s easy and delicious honey-roasted carrot salad with toasted almonds.

I love carrots — now more so than ever before, too.

That’s because during this unprecedented shelter-in-place mandate, I’ve been relying on delivery services to get all of my groceries.

As someone who’s used to combing through new cookbooks to hone in on an inspired recipe to try, then racing out the door to a grocery store or two to find just the right ingredients called for, this has been an adjustment.

Now, I let the ingredients solely dictate what I make. And because I only schedule deliveries once every 7 to 10 days, it requires a lot more planning. I covet peak-season produce, of course. But because so much of that is quite perishable, I also need a mix of sturdier fruits and veggies that will last at least until the next delivery.

Nantes carrots are worth seeking out.
Nantes carrots are worth seeking out.

That’s where carrots are a godsend. They hold up well in the crisper drawer for weeks, and they can be used in so many ways, both raw and cooked.

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Wasabi Soy Sauce Pasta

A plain looking pasta turned irresistible with soy sauce, wasabi, and butter.
A plain looking pasta turned irresistible with soy sauce, wasabi, and butter.

These days, when a trip to the grocery store demands the detailed preparation and stealthy movements of a crown jewel heist, we are all trying to make do with what we have on hand as much as possible.

That’s why I fell hard for this simple recipe for “Wasabi Soy Sauce Pasta.” Think of it as a Japanese version of Italian aglio e olio. It’s equally addictive, too.

It’s from the new “Rika’s Modern Japanese Home Cooking: Simplifying Authentic Recipes” (Rizzoli), of which I received a review copy.

The book is by chef and TV personality Rika Yukimasa, a Japan-native and graduate of the University of California at Berkeley.

While working as a commercial producer for a huge advertising firm in Japan, Yukimasa wrote cookbooks on the side. It wasn’t long before that became her vocation. She’s now written more than 50 cookbooks. She also hosts a popular cooking show, “Dining with the Chef,” which airs in 150 countries, including on PBS in the United States.

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Easy-Peasy Spiced Ground Lamb with Peas

A comforting home-style Indian dish -- in mere minutes.
A comforting home-style Indian dish — in mere minutes.

Some people always keep a bag of frozen peas in the freezer to suppress bruises or aches and pains.

Me? I keep one for last-minute additions to salads, soups, stews, pastas, and more.

They are nearly as good as fresh, easier to prep (there’s none involved), and are available year-round.

They add bright color, subtle sweetness, and gentle texture to so many dishes, including this one.

“Spiced Lamb with Peas (Kheema Muttar)” is from the cookbook, “Indian in 7” (Kyle, 2019), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by Monisha Bharadwaj, a chef and food historian, who runs an Indian cooking school in London, Cooking with Monisha.

As the name implies, the book is all about recipes for that take seven ingredients or fewer. Bharadwaj does take a few liberties with that, though. Cooking oil isn’t included in the official count. And some recipes call for simple sauces or pastes from a different recipe in the book.

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The Chocolate Cake For When Times Are Uncertain and All-Purpose Flour Is MIA

This chocolate cake may look plain, but it is a showstopper in taste and satisfaction.
This chocolate cake may look plain, but it is a showstopper in taste and satisfaction.

No doubt you’ve heard that Americans are drinking far more during this pandemic.

Me? I’m gorging on a whole lot more chocolate.

And that’s saying something since I consider the consumption of chocolate to be practically a daily requirement.

After all when the going gets tough, the tough get dark chocolate.

Thankfully, “Chocolate Cake” by renowned Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten satisfies on every level. It’s from his cookbook, “Home Cooking with Jean-Georges: My Favorite Simple Recipes” (Clarkson Potter, 2011), in which the Michelin-starred chef shares favorite casual recipes he makes for his family

First, this cake uses hardly any all-purpose flour, for those who are running low on it like me. In fact, it calls for just over 1 tablespoon of the stuff. It’s such a small amount, though, that you could probably get away with substituting any other kind of flour for it.

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A True Bright Spot: My “East Bay Cooks” Honored with “Golden Poppy Book Award”

A super easy cucumber dish that uses only a handful of ingredients. It's a featured recipe by Grand Lake Kitchen in my "East Bay Cooks.'' (Photo by Carolyn Jung)
A super easy cucumber dish that uses only a handful of ingredients. It’s a featured recipe by Grand Lake Kitchen in my “East Bay Cooks.” (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

In this stressful, challenging time, I scroll social media for glimpses of good news: chefs donating food to hospital workers, folks grocery-shopping for elderly neighbors, and everyday people trying to help lighten the mood with cheery videos and haikus.

And then I spied this gem: the news last week that my cookbook, “East Bay Cooks: Signature Recipes from the Best Restaurants, Bars, and Bakeries” (Figure 1) was honored this year with a “Golden Poppy” award by the California Independent Booksellers Alliance. It recognizes “the most distinguished books written by writers and artists who make Northern California their home.”

I couldn’t be more thankful for the incredible recognition. I share it with the talented team whom I had the privilege to work with to make this book a reality: photographer Eva Kolenko, Clair Mack at Rule & Level Studio, Figure 1, and of course, all the chefs and restaurateurs who participated.

I salute you all with a virtual toast — as well as this easy, addictive recipe from the book to enjoy. After all, times like these when we limit trips to the grocery store, call for dishes that come together with few ingredients.

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