Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

Crispy Rice Cakes for the Lunar New Year

Crispy rice cakes filled with mung beans and shrimp from the Slanted Door.

Crispy rice cakes filled with mung beans and shrimp from the Slanted Door.

 

Whether you call it the Year of the Ram, Goat or Sheep, it’s high time to celebrate the Lunar New Year, which begins on Thursday.

“Crispy Rice Cakes” are not something I necessarily grew up eating on this special holiday, which is celebrated by those of Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean descent. But the itty-bitty cakes looked so precious when I spotted them in “The Slanted Door” cookbook that I couldn’t help but envision how wonderful they would be alongside cups of steaming tea or sake for this festive occasion.

The Ten Speed Press book, of which I received a review copy, is by Charles Phan, owner of the pioneering Slanted Door restaurant in San Francisco. It takes readers on a journey from the early days of the restaurant to its multiple moves around the city to finally its smash-hit location on the Embarcadero. Regular diners will recognize recipes for their favorite Shaking Beef, Dungeness Crab with Cellophane Noodles, and Grapefruit and Jicama Salad, along with a surprising number of cocktails. Those who have never eaten there will long to do so.

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These two-bite morsels can be picked up with your fingers or chopsticks, then dipped into soy sauce, chili oil or Sriracha.

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Two Treats in One: Cider to Sip and For Roasting Tender Pork

A perfect one-dish meal of pork, apples, cider and cabbage.

A perfect one-dish meal of pork, apples, cider and cabbage.

 

Sundays are made for dishes that bake gently in the oven, filling the house with warmth and delicious aromas that rev the appetite.

“Sunday Casseroles: Complete Comfort in One Dish” (Chronicle Books) is all about dishes like that. The book, which came out in 2014 and of which I received a review copy, is by Betty Rosbottom, a veteran cookbook author and PBS host.

Fish and chips in a casserole? You bet, when the potatoes are scalloped. Risotto in the oven? Sure, when it’s baked with butternut squash, sage and Parmigiano. Mac and cheese? Absolutely, especially in variations with lobster, lemon and tarragon or smoked sausage and country mustard.

“Cider-Baked Pork, Red Cabbage, and Apples” appealed to me because I love the combination of apples and pork, a meat which always plays nicely with the sweetness of fruit.

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Pork loin can get dry if cooked too long, but these emerge very juicy. They bake over a bed of tart apples, onions and red cabbage, which give everything a soft, pretty fuchsia hue.

Cider vinegar and actual cider add even more vivid apple flavor.

For me, this was also the perfect opportunity to break into my samples of the new Devoto Orchards Cider. The Devoto family makes the small-batch ciders in Sebastopol from estate-grown apples. Susan and Stan Devoto grow more than 50 varieties of heirloom apples, as well as flowers and pinot noir grapes on their 20-acre farm.

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David Tanis’ Wok-Fried Lamb with Cumin

Cumin, chiles and lamb make this one good dish, indeed.

Cumin, chiles and lamb make this one good dish, indeed.

 

I’ve always loved the no-nonsense, forthright title of Chef David Tanis‘ 2013 cookbook, “One Good Dish” (Artisan).

I’ve enjoyed even more the recipes inside, created by the former co-chef of Chez Panisse in Berkeley.

So many recipes from other chefs come packed to the gills with flourishes and garnishes that are a project in and of themselves.

Tanis pares that all away in this book. As he rightly states: A meal  doesn’t have to be complicated, complex or cumbersome. Sometimes all it takes is one splendid dish to satisfy.

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This  book is full of those kinds of dishes, the type you really want to make — and can make without tearing your hair out.  Find everything from “Cornmeal Popovers” to “Potato Salad with Peppers and Olives” to “Quick Scallion Kimchee” to “Spanish Pork Skewers.”

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Yotam Ottolenghi’s Squash with Chile Yogurt and Cilantro Sauce

Butternut squash gets drizzled with Sriracha-spiked yogurt and more.

Butternut squash gets drizzled with Sriracha-spiked yogurt and more.

 

He has been dubbed a genius with vegetables.

His cooking may not be vegetarian per se, but Yotam Ottolenghi, the chef-owner of four London restaurants, definitely is a champion of putting vegetables front and center, in especially vibrant ways.

His three previous cookbooks have all been best-sellers: “Ottolenghi,” “Jerusalem,” and “Plenty.” No doubt, his fourth one, “Plenty More” (Ten Speed Press), also will top the charts.

In this cookbook, of which I received a review copy, Ottolenghi continues his foray into dazzling veg-centric dishes such as “Steamed Eggplant with Sesame and Green Onion,” “Iranian Vegetable Stew with Dried Lime,” and “Grilled Banana Bread with Tahini and Honeycomb.”

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At this time of year, I love roasting winter squashes. But I’m always looking for new ways to accent them. “Squash with Chile Yogurt and Cilantro Sauce” fit the bill perfectly.

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Fall In Love with Arborio Rice Bread from Della Fattoria

My new favorite bread.

My new favorite bread.

 

I am madly, deeply, crazy as a loon in love.

With this bread.

It’s a solid loaf. It has a beguiling character owing to an unusual backbone of arborio rice. It has every quality you’ve dreamed about in the perfect bread. In short, it’s a keeper.

And I was smitten at the first chewy bite.

Naturally, the recipe comes from one of my favorite bread bakeries — Della Fattoria in Petaluma, where owner Kathleen Weber and her family turn out artisan loaves baked in a wood-fired oven on their ranch. They are breads full of flavor and integrity. Among the first restaurants they supplied was the French Laundry in Yountville, which tells you just how extraordinary the products are.

“Arborio Rice Bread” is from their new cookbook, “Della Fattoria Bread” (Artisan), complete with 63 recipes for everything from Della Fattoria’s signature Meyer Lemon-Rosemary Campagne Boule to Spicy Cheddar Crackers to Sticky Buns.

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It appealed to me for its intriguing use of risotto-style rice and because it’s one of the more streamlined recipes in the book as it doesn’t require a starter.

Making bread always takes time and patience. It’s never a quick process. But this particular recipe doesn’t require much heavy-lifting. It also makes two loaves, so you’re amply rewarded after an afternoon of work.

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