Category Archives: Chefs

Missy Robbins’ Chickpea Pappardelle with Chickpeas, Rosemary, and Garlic

Wide, fluted ribbons of pappardelle made from scratch, then tossed with chickpeas, garlic, rosemary, and plenty of lemon zest.
Wide, fluted ribbons of pappardelle made from scratch, then tossed with chickpeas, garlic, rosemary, and plenty of lemon zest.

Even though I can never resist handmade pasta on a menu, it’s only once or twice a year that I actually clear off my countertop and screw in the pasta sheeter attachment on my KitchenAid to make a batch at home, myself.

Because while it’s not a complicated process to make your own pasta from scratch, it is a production.

Like making bread, there’s just no getting around the fact that it’ll take an entire afternoon to make. And that’s just for the pasta, itself. Add on another hour or two for the sauce, and, well, you see what I mean.

So, for my annual — or bi-annual — undertaking, I figured I’d attempt a recipe by a chef with such prowess with Italian food that she’s won two Michelin stars and countless other accolades.

I’m talking about Missy Robbins, the James Beard Award-winning chef-owner of Lilia and Misi restaurants in Brooklyn.

Her book, “Pasta: The Spirit and Craft of italy’s Greatest Food with Recipes” (Ten Speed Press, 2021), of which I received a review copy, was co-written with Talia Baiocchi, founder of the media brand, Punch.

The book will guide you through making most every kind of pasta dough and shape imaginable, and show how to spotlight them in both regional classic and modern classic dishes.

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Sheldon Simeon’s Huli Huli Chicken

Bring Hawaii's iconic huli huli chicken to your own backyard grill.
Bring Hawaii’s iconic huli huli chicken to your own backyard grill.

If ever there was a dish to help prolong summer, it’s huli huli chicken.

Ubiquitous in Hawaii, where it’s a staple of food trucks and roadside stands, this flavorful grilled chicken can’t help but transport you to sun, surf, and sand.

There’s no better version to try making at home than the one by favorite Hawaiian son and “Top Chef” Fan Favorite not once, but twice, none other than Chef Sheldon Simeon, owner of Tin Roof and Tiffany’s, both in Maui.

His “Huli Huli Chicken” recipe is from his cookbook, “Cook Real Hawaii” (Clarkson Potter, 2021), written with Los Angeles food writer Garrett Snyder.

“Huli” means turn in Hawaiian, and that’s what you do with this chicken as it cooks on the grill. Just be sure to keep a close eye on the heat of your grill, as the sugar in the glaze will mean your chicken will char easily, as, ahem, my husband found out. Even if the skin gets rather ebony in parts, it will still taste fantastic.

That’s because the glaze is made up of butter, chicken stock, oyster sauce, brown sugar, pineapple juice, ginger, garlic, scallions, and sesame oil that all gets simmered first to thicken and concentrate its flavors.

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Next-Level Gin & Tonic

Char some lemon and cucumber to make a gin & tonic extra special.
Char some lemon and cucumber to make a gin & tonic extra special.

Gin & tonic has always been one of my favorite cocktails, even — ahem — before I officially turned 21.

We’ll keep that between you and me, of course.

Evocative of a walk through a spring meadow, it’s a sip that’s light, bright, and so refreshing that it’s nearly impossible to resist — even when you’re 20 3/4. Or, uh, something near that.

Now, South American chef Francis Mallmann has taken the classic up a notch by incorporating a bit of fire.

“Gin and Tonic with Burnt Lemon and Cucumber” is from his newest cookbook, “Green Fire” (Artisan), of which I received a review copy. It was written with co-writer Peter Kaminsky and collaborator Donna Gelb.

If you’ve ever watched any of the late-great Anthony Bourdain’s shows, you’re probably already familiar with Mallmann, who owns Siete Fuegos in Argentina, Patagonia Sur in Buenos Aires, El Garzon in Uruguay, 1884 Restaurante in Argentina, and Los Fuegos in Miami.

Usually, he’s shown cooking over an immense live-fire grill with enough adjustable racks and levers to make it resemble some sort of medieval rack.

While some of his previous books were especially challenging because few — if any — of us are equipped to grill quite like that, this one thankfully is not. In fact, the recipes offer options for cooking the dish indoors, too, such as on a cast-iron pan or griddle on the stovetop.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late: Mamahuhu

Mamahuhu's fiery mapo tofu with pork.
Mamahuhu’s fiery mapo tofu with pork.

It’s been a banner year for Brandon Jew, who won two James Beard Awards — one for “Best Chef in California” and the second for “Best Restaurant Cookbook” for “Mister Jiu’s Chinatown” (Ten Speed Press, 2021) that he co-authored with San Francisco food writer Tienlon Ho.

Since opening in 2016, his fine-dining Mister Jiu’s in San Francisco’s Chinatown has racked up accolades galore. And his more casual Chinese-American eatery, Mamahuhu, which debuted on Clement Street in January 2020 just before the start of the pandemic, is doing so well that a second outpost is poised to open this year in Noe Valley.

On a recent trek to San Francisco, I made a beeline to try the takeout at Mamahuhu. As you crane your neck to find parking in the Richmond neighborhood, it’s easy to miss the restaurant, as its name is not easily visible in English above the door, but rather in neon-lit Chinese characters. Just look for the storefront’s vivid teal color, though, and you’ll know you’ve found the right place.

The restaurant's small, whimsical sign at its entrance.
The restaurant’s small, whimsical sign at its entrance.

The restaurant’s name, which means “so-so” in English, salutes the Chinese-American staple dishes that Jew and so many of us grew up on, but is done here with better ingredients and greater balance.

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The Cast-Iron Quesadilla That Will Change The Way You Quesadilla

The crispiest, cheesiest quesadilla you'll ever make.
The crispiest, cheesiest quesadilla you’ll ever make.

When it comes to people, what’s on the inside is paramount.

But when it comes to this quesadilla, it’s what’s on the outside that truly rocks.

That’s because “The Cast-Iron Quesadilla That Will Change The Way You Quesadilla” (and yes, that is the actual name) boasts a flamboyant crispy-crunchy crust of cheese that entirely smothers its top tortilla.

Made with not one, not two, but three kinds of cheese, it will spoil you for any other quesadilla from now on.

The recipe is from the new cookbook, “Food IQ” (Harper Wave), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Daniel Holzman, founder and chef of the Meatball Shop restaurants in New York City and Danny Boy’s Famous Original Pizza in Los Angeles. His co-writer was Matt Rodbard, founding editor in chief of Taste, the James Beard Award-winning online magazine.

It sets out to answer 100 questions about food and cooking that are designed to make a home cook better and smarter in the kitchen. Answers and info are provided for each question, along with a recipe to put it all into practice.

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