Category Archives: Cool Cooking Techniques

The Surprise of Roasted Citrus and Avocado Salad

A sublime salad that makes use of whole citrus (except for the seeds).

A sublime salad that makes use of whole citrus (except for the seeds).

 

Something miraculous happens when you roast thin slices of lemons and oranges at high heat.

They get all jammy, intensifying their sweetness and taming the overt bitterness of their rind.

I’ve added plenty of orange supremes — juicy segments devoid of their pith and membrane — to plenty of salads. But never had I added roasted slices to one before, where the flesh has largely disappeared in the cooking process, leaving behind mostly rind.

Even my husband, who normally blanches at anything remotely very bitter or sour, remarked how wonderfully refreshing this salad was.

A miracle, didn’t I tell you?

“Roasted Citrus and Avocado Salad” is from the new book, “Farmsteads of the California Coast” (Yellow Pear Press), of which I received a review copy. The book was written by Bay Area food writer Sarah Henry, with beautiful photography by Erin Scott of the YummySupper blog.

FarmsteadsBook

Whether you live in California or not, this book will make you appreciate the state’s farms even more. Twelve coastal farms are spotlighted with stories about the farmers, including what they grow, which farmers markets sell their wares, and whether there is a farmstand on site that you can visit. The farms span the gamut from Pie Ranch in Pescadero to the Apple Farm in Philo to Hog Island Oyster Company in Marshall.

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It’s Easy Being — (And Making) — Green Risotto

A bright-green risotto -- that you barely have to stir.

A bright-green risotto — that you barely have to stir.

 

I admit I was dubious. I was skeptical. I was bordering on being a non-believer.

Could one really make perfect risotto on the stove-top by pouring a load of stock into a pan with the rice, turning the heat down to the lowest possible setting, then leaving it pretty much alone except to stir it twice? Yes, twice.

Pshaw.

But I should have never doubted J. Kenji Lopez-Alt.

After all, he’s the man. He’s so meticulous and precise that he’s like a one-man Cook’s Illustrated test kitchen (where he used to work, by the way). The San Francisco-based managing culinary director of Serious Eats, Lopez-Alt is a restaurant-trained chef and the author of the “Food Lab” column, as well as a regular columnist for Cooking Light magazine.

TheFoodLabBook

His new book, “The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science” (W.W. Norton & Company), of which I received a review copy, is a must-have on your shelf. In fact, this past Sunday, it was named “Cookbook of the Year” by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

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Miraculous Minute-Oatmeal Puffs in the Microwave

Start the morning off right with this oatmeal puff made in the microwave.

Start the morning off right with this oatmeal puff made in the microwave.

 

With school back in swing, mornings are even more hectic than usual.

There’s no excuse to skimp on breakfast, though. Not when you can make a whole-grain one loaded with fiber, protein, calcium, and fruit in a microwave in a flash.

That’s the beauty of “Minute-Oatmeal Puffs with Anise and Grapes.”

The recipe is from “Simply Ancient Grains: Fresh and Flavorful Whole Grain Recipes for Living Well” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. The book is by Maria Speck, a food journalist and cookbook writer who lives in Massachusetts.

As the name implies, this cookbook is all about cooking with grains, many of which are gluten-free, too. Inside you’ll find info on everything from black rice to red quinoa to farro to golden Kamut berries, and delicious ways to enjoy them morning, noon and night. You’ll be inspired to try new grains in dishes such as “Lemon Pancakes with Millet and Amaranth” and “Spelt Spaghetti with Lemony Parsnips and Olives.”

SimplyAncientGrains

This gluten-free oatmeal puff caught my attention not only because oatmeal is a staple in my pantry, but because of the microwave trick similar to making a mug cake.

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Waffled Tofu — Wacky, But It’s a Thing

Tofu cooked in a waffle maker. How fun is that?

Tofu cooked in a waffle maker. How fun is that?

 

I admit that my waffle iron sees the inside of a cupboard more often than it does daylight on a countertop.

I drag it out on the rare weekends that I’m energized early enough in the mornings to whip up a breakfast of crisp, golden waffles.

But ever since spying this recipe for “Waffled Miso-Sesame Tofu with Waffled Sticky Rice” on Serious Eats, I’ve been intrigued. So fascinated, in fact, that it actually prompted me to take out my much-neglected appliance to see just what it would be like to cook tofu and sticky rice, of all things, in a waffle iron.

After all, I am a sucker for crispy bits.

The recipe is from Daniel Shumski, creator of the blog, Waffleizer. Yup, a whole blog dedicated to strange and wonderful things you can cook in a waffle iron.

Will It Waffle

He’s also the author of “Will It Waffle?” (Workman), a cookbook that came out last year, of which I received a copy. It includes 53 sweet and savory recipes for things you probably never would have imagined to stick in your waffle maker. How about “Sweet-and-Sour Waffled Shrimp Wontons”? Or “Waffled Chicken Fingers”? Or “Spaghetti and Waffled Meatballs”? Boggles the mind, doesn’t it? Just be warned, though, that cleaning your waffle iron after cooking some of these recipes will take some doing.

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Prune’s Cold Candied Oranges

Dessert -- Prune-style.

Dessert — Prune-style.

 

Some cookbooks possess that magical gift that makes you feel as if the author is actually speaking directly to you in your very own kitchen.

“Prune” (Random House) takes a different tack. In her new cookbook of which I received a review copy, Chef Gabrielle Hamilton, owner of New York’s beloved Prune restaurant, gives you the impression that she’s talking directly to her crew in the kitchen. The delightful part is that you feel as if you’re scrunched in a corner, ease-dropping on everything that goes on there, from the prep to the service.

prune-gabrielle-hamilton-cover

Possessing an MFA in fiction writing, Hamilton is a proven storyteller. Besides her singular voice, the recipes come with drip spots on the pages, as well as notes scribbled on torn pieces of tape that look as if they’re stuck to the pages.

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