Betty Liu makes the rest of us look like slackers.
Not only is she a doctor training to be a surgeon in Boston, but she’s a home-cook so gifted that she created an award-winning food blog, bettysliu.com. Her writing, recipes and photos have appeared in Bon Appetit and Saveurmagazines. She’s also taught food photography classes around the world.
It’s even more impressive when you realize that Liu didn’t even learn to cook until she was in college, and missing her mother’s cooking. Back then, whenever she visited her parents, she cajoled her mother into teaching her how to make her favorite dishes. After college, she worked in Shanghai for a spell, which only deepened her passion for that regional cuisine.
Her cookbook honors her heritage and her family’s cooking, spotlighting the Jiangnan region, which encompasses the lower Yangtzee area, including the city of Shanghai. Not surprisingly, Jiangnan cuisine is all about seasonal fresh ingredients and elevating the natural, pure flavors of the food.
This beautifully illustrated book is complete with lavish photos that bring this region of China to life, as well as useful images that take you step-by-step through specific techniques, including making “Suzhou-Style Mooncakes,” “Scallion Flower Buns,” and “Shanghai Big Wontons.”
The book features more than 60 globally-inspired recipes to up your grill game, including “Pina Colada Chicken Skewers,” “Grilled Gnocchi Skewers,” “Burnt Ends and Dill Pickle Skewers,” and the unlikely, “Kangaroo & Bacon Skewers.”
This duck recipe is super easy, but I admit that I took a few liberties with it.
As someone who keeps a bare minimum of apps on her phone, I admit that Kitchen Stories was new to me.
The app was founded in 2014 by two business students with a penchant for cooking. They bill Kitchen Stories as the first video-based, design-oriented cooking app.
Now, the two have come full circle with a Kitchen Stories cookbook, “Anyone Can Cook” (Prestel), of which I received a review copy.
In the cookbook, the app team, based in Berlin, offer up a globally-inspired array of recipes such as “Glass Noodle Salad with Lemongrass Dressing,” “Spicy Chickpea Burgers,” “Savory Dutch Baby with Smoked Salmon and Horseradish,” and “Rigatoni with Walnut-Ricotta Pesto.”
I decided to give it a whirl with “Miso Pork Stuffed Eggplant,” which reminded me of an oversized version of a dim sum specialty.
It showcases more than 200 recipes for salads that will take you through summer and beyond, including “Southwest Beef Salad with Cornbread Croutons,” “Roasted Grape and Cauliflower Salad with Chermoula,” “Shaved Salad with Pan-Seared Scallops” and “Cherry and Goat Cheese Couscous Salad.”
When I was a kid, my dad would often tote home a pink box tied with red string from his shopping trip to San Francisco’s Chinatown.
Inside could have been anything from pudgy dim sum dumplings to triangles of airy buttercup-yellow sponge cake to a double-crust apple pie so shiny and bronzed that it nearly looked lacquered.
More often than not, though, what was hidden inside was a custard pie.
It had a simple crust, which honestly, wasn’t anything to write home about. The real star was the smooth, eggy custard filling, almost the pale hue of eggnog, soft and just barely jiggly, and with a taste of both comfort and lavishness all at the same time.
It was my dad who gave me my first taste of this nostalgic pie, proferring an affection for it that I still possess to this day.
So, when I baked this “Parisian Dan Tart,” I couldn’t help but think of him immediately.
No doubt he would have loved this majestic version of a custard tart.
And no doubt he would have been tickled to know that its origins are also from Chinatown.