Our fickle spring weather may be warm one day, and chilly the next. But this is one recipe to keep handy whenever you need a restorative slurp that’s like a great big hug in a bowl.
“Cornish Game Hen Soup” is all that, and straightforward to make, too.
It’s from the new “Korean American” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy, by the gifted New York Times staff food writer Eric Kim.
In this wonderful cookbook, Kim tells the story of being born to Korean immigrant parents trying to make a new life in an Atlanta suburb, where there was no Korean grocery to be found. So, his mother, whom he frustratingly says never measures anything nor ever gives out an entire recipe willingly, adapted and made do. The Korean home-cooking he grew up on was not necessarily completely traditional food, but a delicious amalgamation of cultures and countries flavored with unmistakable can-do spirit.
With bright technicolor photos, the book brings to life his bold, playful, and comforting dishes such as “Creamy Butatini with Roasted Seaweed,” “Meatloaf-Glazed Kalbi with Gamja Salad,” “Kimchi Sandwiches,” and “No-Churn Ice Cream with Dalgona Butterscotch Sauce.”
True confession: I’ve never been much of a fan of beef with broccoli.
Maybe it’s because I’ve dug into too many dishes of it at Chinese lunch buffets or banquet gatherings that were just so mundane and mediocre, with gloppy, over-cornstarched sauce glueing everything together.
There’s never been a version that’s been memorable and exciting.
And of course, it would be created by food scientist, cooking savant, and James Beard Award-winning cookbook author, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt.
If you are an avid stir-fry enthusiast already or a beginner picking up a wok for the very first time, you owe it to yourself to get a copy of his new The Wok: Recipes and Techniques” (W.W. Norton & Company), of which I received a review copy.
It will change how you stir-fry. It will change your life.
Spring may signal bountiful flowers. But for me, first and foremost, it brings asparagus.
I can barely contain myself when the first spears start showing up at the farmers markets. Because from then on out, I eat my fill of those sweet, thick spears every week until they disappear all too rapidly at the end of their short season.
Asparagus aren’t often highlighted in Indian cooking. So, when I spied a recipe for “Asparagus Fry” flavored with chilies, mustard seeds, and shredded coconut, I was all in.
It’s by San Franciscan Shivangi Rao, a designer and product manager in the healthcare industry, who founded the blog, Raody Recipes.
Growing up, Rao was plagued by digestive and cognitive autoimmune illnesses, which even impacted her ability to walk at one point. She eventually learned that certain foods triggered her symptoms, which led her to eliminate them. The only problem was many of them were the beloved foods she had grown up with: Indian sweets made with refined sugar; lentils high in starch; and rice and roti, both high in simple carbohydrates.
So, she set out on a path to reclaim those flavors that are so integral to her family and culture.
Besides the abundance of raw, fresh herbs and addictive umami of fish sauce, the other aspect of Vietnamese food that I adore is the French influence on the cuisine.
Case in point: “Vietnamese-Style Sauteed Artichokes.”
Artichokes are certainly not a veg you’d normally see in Vietnamese dishes. But they work beautifully in this recipe from the cookbook, “Tasting Vietnam” (Rizzoli, 2021), of which I received a review copy.
Written by Anne-Solenne Hatte, an actress and model of French and Vietnamese heritage, the book showcases the home-cooking of her maternal grandmother, who grew up in the rice fields of Hanoi, then emigrated to Washington, D.C. and then France, where she opened the restaurant, La Hanoienne.
From surviving the famines of Vietnam to raising nine children in France, her grandmother’s cooking sustained and satiated through the decades, preserving tradition but also adapting to her surroundings along the way.
There are cakes, which when cut, tumble out a hidden torrent of rainbow sprinkles or M&Ms.
This cake also boasts a surprise center, but a far more sophisticated one.
Cut into it with a fork, and a gush of melty, brilliant-green, matcha-chocolate will flow out instead.
This genius recipe for “Matcha Chocolate Lava Cakes” is from “The Honeysuckle Cookbook” (Rodale, 2020) by Dzung Lewis, a former Bay Area financial analyst who moved to Los Angeles to pursue her passion for cooking with her YouTube channel “Honeysuckle.”
There are several techniques to create the molten center of lava cakes. This one relies on freezing matcha ganache — melted white chocolate mixed with matcha and a little oil — in an ice cube tray until solid. The frozen cube then gets set into the cake batter, so that during baking, the frozen ganache slowly liquifies within the set cake.