Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

Long Weekends — Or Any Day — Were Made for Hoisin-Glazed Lamb Burgers

Five-spice, hoisin sauce, and quick pickled carrots and cucumbers turn this lamb burger sensational.

Five-spice, hoisin sauce, and quick pickled carrots and cucumbers turn this lamb burger sensational.

 

It’s reminiscent of a steamed clamshell bun folded over Peking duck — but done up burger-style with lamb instead.

How can that ever be bad?

Those sweet, savory, garlicky, addictive Asian flavors of hoisin sauce are what make this burger such a winner. That unmistakable Chinese condiment not only combines with five spice powder to flavor the ground lamb that makes up this burger, but gets slathered on the cooked patty for a final flourish. In a sense, hoisin sauce takes the place of ketchup. One taste, and you’ll never go back, too.

“Hoisin-Glazed Lamb Burgers” is from the new cookbook, “The Ultimate Burger: Plus DIY Condiments, Sides, and Boozy Milkshakes” by America’s Test Kitchen, of which I received a review copy.

Ultimate Burger

It’s one of 138 recipes for burgers of every type, as well as home-made buns, condiments, side dishes and drinks. With summer around the corner, it’s the perfect time to whet your whistle with recipes such as “Italian Pork Burgers with Broccoli Rabe,” “Spicy Brown Rice-Edamame Burgers,” “Grilled Southwestern Salmon Burgers,” and “Smoky Grilled Potato Salad.”

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A Grilled Cheese That’s The Boom

A sticky, jammy center of caramelized shiitakes and onions takes this grilled cheese to another level.

A sticky, jammy center of caramelized shiitakes and onions takes this grilled cheese to another level.

 

Got cheese?

Got bread?

Then you know you have the makings for a simple yet sensational meal.

Especially if the cheese gets all melty and oozy all over that bread.

“The Great Grilled Cheese Book: Grown-Up Recipes for a Childhood Classic” (Ten Speed, 2018), of which I received a review copy, will show you just how special that combination can be.

The cookbook is by Eric Greenspan, a graduate of both the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Paris. He also trained under such celebrated chefs as Alain Ducasse, David Bouley, and Joachim Splichal.

The Los Angeles chef made a name for himself with his grilled cheese when he opened the Foundry on Melrose in 2007. He was also the owner of The Roof on Wilshire, where a grilled cheese is indeed still on the menu morning, noon and night.

GreatGrilledCheese

With 50 takes on grilled cheese, this book offers up both simple and fully loaded versions of this iconic sandwich, from the “Monterey Melt” (poached sush-grade tuna and sharp Cheddar), and “Frenchie” (crumbled blue cheese and date marmalade), to “Prime Time” (brie with roast beef and beet-horseradish mayo), and “Redberry Crunch” (Gouda with raspberry chutney and pecan brittle).

“The Boom” is a vegetarian grilled cheese that tastes downright meaty, thanks to caramelized shiitakes and onions that get coated with home-made Worcestershire sauce. That sauce is a breeze to make, too. Not only that, unlike store-bought Worcestershire sauce that uses anchovies, this one is vegetarian, even vegan.

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Modern Cauliflower Gratin — Lighter and More Flavorful

A gratin that won't weigh you down.

A gratin that won’t weigh you down.

 

Usually smothered in heavy cream and copious amounts of melty, gooey cheese, gratins are both comfort food and festive special occasion fare.

They’re also rich, heavy, and total gut-busters.

But what if they could be lightened — without sacrificing the luscious quality we love about them?

Leave it to the geniuses behind America’s Test Kitchen to do just that — at least with cauliflower gratin.

Meet “Modern Cauliflower Gratin,” an inventive take on the classic. It’s one of more than 700 innovative recipes in the new cookbook, “Vegetables Illustrated: An Inspiring Guide with 700+ Kitchen-Tested Recipes” by America’s Test Kitchen, of which I received a review copy.

Cooks Illustrated Vegetables

If you’re familiar with Cook’s Illustrated magazine, then you know all too well how meticulous these recipes have been tested until perfected. Although the book is called “Vegetables” illustrated, it doesn’t mean this is a vegetarian cookbook. While vegetables are dominant, many recipes feature meat or seafood, or make use of chicken broth.

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Of Chinese Five-Spice Braised Beef Short Ribs and Tales of Courage and Empowerment

Short ribs laced with star anise and lemongrass from a pioneering Chinese woman.

Short ribs laced with star anise and lemongrass from a pioneering Chinese woman.

 

For powerful reasons — both good and bad — we are in a defining time for women.

As such, “A Woman’s Place: The Inventors, Rumrunners, Lawbreakers, Scientists, and Single Moms Who Changed the World with Food” (Little, Brown and Company) couldn’t have debuted at a more appropriate moment.

The new book, of which I received a review copy, is by food writer and photographer Deepi Ahluwalia, and Stef Ferrari, senior editor of Life & Thyme Magazine.

It shines a bright light on the enterprising, pioneering women in food who more often than never received the recognition they deserved. They include such icons as Lena Richard, an African-American women who grew an empire of restaurants, cookbooks and even had a television snow — all during the height of segregation in America; and Clara Steele, who started a family dairy in Marin County that went on to produce the highest volume of cheese in California in the mid-1800s.

Interspersed throughout the book are 10 recipes from notable female culinarians.

A Woman's Place

I had never heard of Esther Eng (1914-1970), but because of this book I now know what a pivotal figure she was. An openly gay Chinese woman, Eng was a film director turned restaurateur who grew up in San Francisco before moving to New York. It was there that she opened Bo Bo’s, a Chinese restaurant where Chinese-American actors could find steady work and work on their English when they weren’t making movies. The food was so amazing that none other than Craig Claiborne praised it. In so doing, Eng managed to break through and rise to the top of two characteristically male-dominated industries.

Thinking about that achievement makes her “Chinese Five-Spice Braised Beef Short Ribs” all the more transportive.

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Warm Up With Soothing and Spunky Galician White Bean Soup

Loaded with smoky chorizo, creamy beans, turnips and greens, this soup sure satisfies.

Loaded with smoky chorizo, creamy beans, turnips and greens, this soup sure satisfies.

 

Enough with the rain already.

With our reservoirs at capacity, I think I no longer have to feel guilty about saying that, right?

Are you with me, ready for some sunshine, at least enough for an entire week’s worth?

If there can be one meager upside to the continuation of these dreary wet days, it’s that it’s perfect soup weather. And only that.

“Caldo Gallego (Galician White Bean Soup)” is plenty delicious. But it’s not the type of thing you want to spoon up on a scorching summer day. But when the skies are gray and there’s still a bit of chill in the air, this hearty Spanish soup really hits the spot.

It’s from the Wall Street Journal. And it’s a cinch to make.

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