The Grape Tomato Kimchi You Didn’t Know You Needed

An easy-peasy tomato kimchi you will devour from the first spoonful.
An easy-peasy tomato kimchi you will devour from the first spoonful.

How incredible is this “Grape Tomato ‘Quick Kimchi’ “?

Let’s just say that it makes about 2 1/2 cups of kimchi — and my husband and I nearly polished off all of it in one night.

An umami bomb that’s a little spicy and a lot refreshing with bursts of juicy summer fruitiness, it’s just that addictive.

Best yet, it takes practically no time to make.

I spied this recipe by Eric Kim in the New York Times archives, and knew I had to try it.

It’s not your typical kimchi that takes days, weeks or even months to ferment. As Kim writes, it’s more of a muchim or seasoned salad, but it sports the flavor profile of classic kimchi.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 9

A brimming box of chicken Pulao from Ettan in Palo Alto.
A brimming box of chicken Pulao from Ettan in Palo Alto.

Ettan, Palo Alto

What a difference a few months makes. In late February, I was invited in as a guest to try the splashy new Ettan restaurant that had just debuted in downtown Palo Alto. Little did I know that would be the very last time I’d dine inside a restaurant for the foreseeable future.

So it was with a sense of warm familiarity tinged with a bit of melancholy that I returned to this modern Indian restaurant last week to pick up takeout.

The restaurant is a collaboration between Ayesha Thapar, a real estate and fashion entrepreneur, and Srijith Gopinathan, executive chef of the Michelin two-starred Campton Place in San Francisco. So it’s got style in spades, as well as serious cooking chops.

You may not be able to go inside, but the entry remains as beautifully dramatic as always.
You may not be able to go inside, but the entry remains as beautifully dramatic as always.

The striking entrance with its indigo doors, iron latticed screens, crystal chandeliers, and fanciful tiles still make a grand statement. And the food is still every bit as impressive, even if you can’t enjoy it on the restaurant’s rough-hewn ceramics and gleaming copper vessels at home.

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Red Boat’s New Nuoc Cham

Red Boat's new nuoc cham concentrate dresses up most anything, including simple fish.
Red Boat’s new nuoc cham concentrate dresses up most anything, including simple fish.

You know that sweet, briny, and tangy Vietnamese dipping sauce you can’t get enough of for salad rolls, rice noodle bowls, grilled meats, and so many other dishes?

Making nuoc cham at home is not difficult. But it just got even more effortless with Red Boat’s new Concentrated Nuoc Cham.

Yes, Fremont’s Cuong Pham, the founder of the artisan Vietnamese fish sauce that’s beloved by the most discriminating chefs, just debuted this new product, of which I recently received a sample.

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Buckwheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies That Can Be Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free or Vegan

Buckwheat, which is gluten-free, gives these cookies a dark gray-brown hue.
Buckwheat, which is gluten-free, gives these cookies a dark gray-brown hue.

Now that I’m trying to consolidate and minimize my trips to the grocery store, I have been on a quest to clean out my freezer of miscellaneous flours to create more space for other things.

You know, like tubs of ice cream. Kidding. Sort of.

So when I spied this recipe for “Buckwheat Chocolate Chunk Cookies,” I knew it would help me use up a bag of buckwheat flour languishing in the deep-freeze.

The recipe is from “Perfectly Golden: Adaptable Recipes for Sweet and Simple Treats” (The Countryman Press), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Angela Garbacz, the owner of Goldenrod Pastries in Lincoln, NE.

What makes this cookbook especially intriguing is that every recipe has suggested ingredient swaps so you can make it easily gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan, if you prefer.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 8

A heap of yaki soba with pork belly chashu, cabbage, shiitakes, and pickled ginger -- from Ozumo.
A heap of yaki soba with pork belly chashu, cabbage, shiitakes, and pickled ginger — from Ozumo.

Ozumo, San Jose and San Francisco

What foods have you missed most during shelter-in-place? French fries, or most any fried foods for that matter, and sushi? That’s the consensus among my friends and family. Understandable, given that those are things most of us rarely prepare for ourselves at home.

Ozumo comes to the rescue on so many of those fronts. Former professional baseball player Jeremy Upland founded the restaurants after falling hard for Japanese cuisine during his time playing in the Japanese Pacific League. Its location in San Jose’s Santana Row is especially convenient because there are plenty of free parking lots just yards away.

To satisfy those fried foods cravings, look no further than karaage ($14) and Ozumo shrimp ($18).

Classic karaaage (front), and Ozumo shrimp (back).
Classic karaaage (front), and Ozumo shrimp (back).

I’m not going to lie — when you get these to-go, their crunchy coatings will suffer a bit by the time you get them home. But the fried white shrimp coated with shichimi can be re-crisped fairly well by just searing them in a hot frying pan on the stovetop. The accompanying yuzu-honey aioli is sweet and creamy like Japanese Kewpie mayo, with a citrusy and spicy edge. Our little plastic container of it got slightly melted when it was tucked inside the to-go container with the straight-from-the-fryer shrimp. But you can always transfer the sauce to your own dipping bowl at home.

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