Author Archives: foodgal

Crème Fraiche Pasta with Peas and Scallions (and Smoked Salmon)

A perfect weeknight dish that comes together in little more time than it takes to boil the pasta.
A perfect weeknight dish that comes together in little more time than it takes to boil the pasta.

When my good friend Elaine gifted me a slab of moist, flaky hot-smoked salmon from Washington state for the holidays, I knew I wanted to highlight it in a simple yet special way.

I found the perfect vehicle in ” Crème Fraiche Pasta with Peas and Scallions.”

The recipe from the archives of the New York Times is by food writer Hana Asbrink, a former senior editor at Food52 and cook at Jean-Georges’ ABC Kitchen in New York.

This easy pasta dish didn’t originally have smoked salmon in it. But it sure made for a delectable addition. What’s more, I think even canned salmon would work well in this dish.

This fabulous weeknight dish comes together easily in just about the time it takes to boil the pasta.

Three bunches — yes, bunches — of green onions get sliced, then caramelized and charred in a cast-iron pan. That may seem like a lot of green onions, but once wilted, they don’t amount to that much. Plus, once you taste the irresistible sweet onion-y flavor they add to the pasta, you’ll wish you had sauteed even more green onions.

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Sweet Potato Salad with Cumin, Smoked Paprika, and Almonds

A sweet potato dish the epitomizes the healthfulness of the Mediterranean diet.
A sweet potato dish the epitomizes the healthfulness of the Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean diet has long been lauded for its healthfulness. Even more so, when the emphasis is on plant-based foods with meat a mere supporting player.

The new cookbook, “More Mediterranean: 225+ New Plant-Forward Recipes Endless Inspiration for Eating Well” by America’s Test Kitchen, of which I received a review copy, will definitely get you off to favorable start in this new year with a host of recipes that highlight grains, fruits, vegetables, olive oil, tofu, tempeh, and measured amounts of animal proteins.

Do a body good with dishes such as “Lavash Pizza with Cauliflower, Fennel, and Coriander,” “Shawarma-Spiced Tofu Wraps with Sumac Onions,” “Baked Shrimp and Orzo with Feta and Tomatoes,” and “Lamb Chops with Tamarind Pan Sauce.”

“Sweet Potato Salad with Cumin, Smoked Paprika, and Almonds” is a dish you’ll want to make again and again this winter and spring.

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Three New Things to Try In the New Year

Momofuku instant noodles that cook in 4 minutes, which I garnished with fresh green onions.
Momofuku instant noodles that cook in 4 minutes, which I garnished with fresh green onions.

Momofuku Noodles and Chili Crunch

After reading that the initial release of Momofuku Noodles sold out in a flash, then had a wait list of tens of thousands of folks, well, I had to buy some when an ad popped up in my social media feed that they had been restocked. Because, yes, I am that kind of person.

Plus, when the irrepressible chef of the Momofuku restaurant empire, David Chang, develops a product, your curiosity can’t help but be stoked.

The instant noodles were initially available on the Momofuku online store, but are gone now until future restocking. However, they are still available at Target for about $9.49 for a bundle of 5 packets.

They come in three varieties: Spicy Soy Noodles, Soy & Scallion Noodles, and Tingly Chili Wavy Noodles.

I purchased the Soy & Scallion Noodles. Each packet of the wheat noodles serves one at 320 calories total. And they couldn’t be easier of faster to make. Just boil them in water for 4 minutes, drain, then stir in the seasoning packet plus freeze-dried scallions.

The noodle packages.
The noodle packages.

The curly, white, modestly wide noodles are very supple and bouncy, nearly akin to fresh noodles but with slightly more sturdiness. The seasoning packet is soy sauce-based and added a savory, homey taste.

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Steamed Tofu and Trumpet Mushrooms with Ginger, Scallion and Soy For A Virtuous New Year

Like the classic dish of Chinese steamed whole fish -- but without the fish.
Like the classic dish of Chinese steamed whole fish — but without the fish.

Heaven knows that after the hardships of the past two years, we deserved to indulge heartily during the holidays.

But after one too many cookies, seconds of pie, and slabs of meat that made plates buckle, we’re feeling it.

Is it any wonder that we now crave something lighter and cleaner tasting?

“Steamed Tofu with Trumpet Mushrooms with Ginger, Scallion and Soy” fills the bill — and appetite — beautifully.

The recipe is from “To Asia, With Love: Everyday Asian Recipes and Stories From the Heart” (Prestel), one of my favorite cookbooks of 2021. It’s by Hetty McKinnon, the gifted food writer and Aussie transplant who now makes her home in Brooklyn.

I may be an omnivore and my husband, aka Meat Boy, an avowed carnivore, but the recipes in this vegetarian cookbook never cease to satisfy. Indeed, neither of us ever feels wanting, despite the meat-free dishes.

“Steamed Tofu with Trumpet Mushrooms with Ginger, Scallion and Soy” is ready in a blink of an eye. In fact, it’s so easy that you’ll practically be able to make it from memory again the next time.

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My Top 10 Eats of 2021

What a year. On the downside, normal is still far more of a concept than a reality. But on a bright note, my favorite eats this year are not comprised solely of takeout foods. I actually was able to dine outside at restaurants, and a couple times even indoors when the situation felt especially safe. So, there is that.

Whether you are comfortable dining indoors, only outdoors or just through delivery or takeout orders, please continue to support your local restaurants, which still need you more than ever.

To stoke your appetite to do so, here are my Top 10 eats of this year, in no particular order:

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