Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

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.


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.


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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An Excuse to Play With Your Food

That's a wrap.

That’s a wrap.


As a kid, I remember sitting hunched on the floor, playing pick-up sticks with my brothers.

I’d hold my breath as I gingerly tried to pull a stick out of the pile without toppling the whole shebang. All the while, my brothers would joke around, trying to make me laugh, so that my already trembling fingers would fumble the task at hand.

I’m not sure who won most of those matches. But I do know it definitely made me learn the art of focus and blocking out distractions.

In this day and age of all electronics all the time, does anyone even possess that old-school game any more?

Maybe not. I know I haven’t played it in eons. Still, this fun dish brought back those childhood memories.

“Asparagus Pastry Straws” is made for picking up with your fingers.

Long spears of spring asparagus lend themselves to that anyway. But add a twisty rope of puff pastry all around each spear and you know resistance is futile.

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Ruth Reichl’s Spicy Korean Rice Sticks with Shrimp and Vegetables

A comforting Korean dish that can be made a flash.

A comforting Korean dish that can be made a flash.


When times are tough, some people find solace in chocolate. Or wine. Or endless handfuls of potato chips.

Not Ruth Riechl.

When Gourmet magazine abruptly shut down, its former editor in chief came in to clean out her office. The place was deserted with nothing but empty drawers and cabinets to greet her when she was surprised by the arrival of four friends. They had flown in from California to offer their support.

They gathered up Reichl, and together rode the subway to Flushing to commiserate over a feast of Asian food. At the end of it all, one friend, Laurie Ocha, a former executive editor at Gourmet who is married to Pulitizer Prize-winning food writer Jonathan Gold, gave her a present to take home.

It was a package of Korean rice sticks, which she hoped would inspire Reichl to forge ahead. It did the trick, and “Spicy Korean Rice Sticks with Shrimp and Vegetables” is one of the memorable recipes in her newest book, “My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life” (Random House), of which I received a review copy.


This is a cookbook, in which the recipes couldn’t be more personal. Each has played an important role in Reichl’s life, and she shares affecting and lovingly honest reasons why.

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Nopi’s Lamb Meatballs with Warm Yogurt and Swiss Chard

Meatballs bathed in a rich, warm yogurt sauce.

Meatballs bathed in a rich, warm yogurt sauce.


A great meatball is a fine thing.

Especially one bobbing in a rich, creamy sauce that transports you from the first indulgent taste to a faraway land.

That’s what you’ll get with “Lamb Meatballs with Warm Yogurt and Swiss Chard.”

It’s from the new cookbook, “Nopi” (Ten Speed Press) by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully, of which I received a review copy.

Ottolenghi, of course, is the masterful owner of a slew of restaurants in London and the author of several cookbooks that pretty much land on the best-seller’s list every time he publishes one.

Scully is his head chef of Ottolenghi’s fine-dining establishment, Nopi.


The book contains more than than 120 recipes, combining Ottolenghi’s Middle Eastern roots with Scully’s Malaysian heritage.

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Tear Into Meyer Lemon & Thyme Hearth Bread

Here's what to do with all those Meyer lemons.

Here’s what to do with all those Meyer lemons.


These days, cutting back on carbs is such a thing.

In that regard, I am decidedly unhip.

Because I love bread, pasta and rice — and would never give them up unless I absolutely was forced to do so.

After all, few things are as blissful as tearing into a rustic slab of warm bread drizzled with good olive oil.

That’s why “Meyer Lemon & Thyme Hearth Bread” caught my eye.

It’s from the new cookbook, “Citrus: Sweet and Savory Sun-Kissed Recipes” (Ten Speed Press) by Valerie Aikman-Smith and Victoria Pearson, of which I received a review copy.

Aikman-Smith is a former cook at Greens restaurant in San Francisco, and Pearson is a food photographer, whose images have graced Food & Wine and Martha Stewart Living magazines.


The book is all about what to make with citrus, which is at its prime in winter. Enjoy everything from “Rosemary Lemonade” and “Tropical Granola with Candied Lime” to “Grilled Sardines with Orange Polenta” and “Pomelo & Basil Granita.”

With a dwarf Meyer lemon tree in my yard, I’m always looking for ways to use its fragrant fruit, which is a cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin, rendering it less sharp tasting. In this recipe, the lemons get sliced thinly and fanned over the top of the bread.

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