Category Archives: Cool Cooking Techniques

Cornish Game Hen Soup — To Sooth and Satisfy

Cornish game hen in a total comfort dish.
Cornish game hen in a total comfort dish.

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.”

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Dorie Greenspan’s Chunky Lemon Cornmeal Cake (With Sumac)

Sumac and fresh lemons used two ways give this loaf cake a wonderful citrusy lift.
Sumac and fresh lemons used two ways give this loaf cake a wonderful citrusy lift.

At first glance, you might think this lovely lemon loaf cake also has poppy seeds.

But those tiny dark red specs are actually ground sumac berries.

Yes, the Middle Eastern spice that’s typically used in savory preparations goes for a sweet spin here instead.

And to great effect.

“Chunky Lemon Cornmeal Cake” is from the one and only Dorie Greenspan, the James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and baker extraordinaire. It’s from her latest cookbook, “Baking with Dorie” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021), of which I received a review copy.

Pick up a copy and no doubt you’ll be running to turn on the oven to bake temptations such as “Miso-Maple Loaf,” “Lemon Meringue Layer Cake,” “Lick-the-Pot Chocolate Pudding Pie,” and “Coffee Shortbread.”

With its tangy, floral, and citrusy notes, sumac is a natural for baking, so it’s a wonder that it’s not widely used that way already.

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A Yogurt Cake — That’s Almost All Yogurt

Would you believe there's only 3 tablespoons of flour in this yogurt cake?
Would you believe there’s only 3 tablespoons of flour in this yogurt cake?

I’ve made many a yogurt cake — but never one that was nearly all yogurt and only a smidge of flour.

This “Yogurt Cake” is so different.

Rather than yogurt being a mere supporting ingredient to give the cake extra moistness, it is the star here in abundance, creating a light, fluffy texture almost like an airy, crustless cheesecake.

The recipe is from “Claudia Roden’s Mediterranean” (Ten Speed Press, 2021), of which I received a review copy.

The incomparable cookbook writer, who was born in Egypt and now lives in the United Kingdom, has been chronicling Middle Eastern cuisines for decades, and educating all of our palates along the way.

Her latest cookbook showcases the classics she loves to prepare for friends and family, which are imbued with the flavors of Provence, Cairo, Sicily, Morocco and beyond.

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The Only Beef with Broccoli Recipe You’ll Ever Need

Without a doubt, the best beef with broccoli I've ever had.
Without a doubt, the best beef with broccoli I’ve ever had.

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.

Until now.

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.

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Preserved Apple Cores — Yes, It’s A Thing

Roast chicken that gets marinated in not just preserved lemons, but preserved apple cores, too.
Roast chicken that gets marinated in not just preserved lemons, but preserved apple cores, too.

Admittedly, I love all things Danish — the timeless architecture, the clean-lined furniture, and the haunting murder-mystery thrillers.

And of course, the food.

So, when a review copy of “Nordic Family Kitchen” (Prestel, 2021) landed on my porch, I found myself beyond intrigued.

The book is by Mikkel Karstad, a Danish chef who cooked for years at world-renowned Noma in Copenhagen.

The book features 73 recipes that espouse Karstad’s eco-conscious sensibilities that prize foraged, home-grown and good-for-you ingredients in dishes such as “Seaweed Flatbread with Sea Salt, Herbs, Flowers, and Olive Oil,” “Elderflower Lemonade with Herbs,” “Pickled Chanterelles with Spruce, Apple, and Shallots,” and “Rhubarb and Marzipan Cake.”

All it takes is salt -- and time -- to make preserved apple cores.
All it takes is salt — and time — to make preserved apple cores.

Now, I’ve salt-preserved lemons for years. But apple cores?

That was a new one on me.

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