Category Archives: Cool Cooking Techniques

The Easy Way To Zucchini and Herb Fritters

These zucchini fritters are so golden and crisp, you'd think I'd slaved over a hot frying pan making them. But I didn't.
These zucchini fritters are so golden and crisp, you’d think I’d slaved over a hot frying pan making them. But I didn’t.

Standing at the stove, frying latkes, small Korean scallion pancakes, or any other kind of veggie fritters can be not only a royal pain and time suck, but a real splattering mess.

This clever, alternative technique eliminates all of that — and seems so obvious, you’re sure to think, “Duh! Why didn’t I think of that sooner?”

The solution is oven-frying. Yes, letting your oven do all the heavy lifting by heating up a sheet pan with a generous amount of oil before dropping spoonfuls of your batter onto it, then returning the pan to the oven to cook and crisp up everything.

That’s the method behind these delicious “Zucchini and Herb Fritters.”

It’s a recipe from the new “The Secret of Cooking” (W.W. Norton), of which I received an early review copy.

The cookbook, which comes out on Sept. 26, is by By Bee Wilson, a British food writer and co-founder of TastEd, a food education focused on giving children more opportunities to experience fresh vegetables and fruits.

As the title implies, it’s filled with enticing, doable recipes that just might teach you a new, easier or faster way to prepare something.

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Let’s Hear It For Wrinkles

Creamy roasted eggplant gets dressed with yogurt and Calabrian chili.
Creamy roasted eggplant gets dressed with yogurt and Calabrian chili.

Like many women, I bemoan the fine lines around my eyes and forehead that have come with age (and wisdom, I might add).

While I may not be fond of them on my face, I rejoice in wrinkles whole heartily when it comes to cooked eggplant.

Specifically, long-cooked eggplant that gets a little shriveled, signaling the interior has taken on that coveted custardy texture.

That’s exactly what “Whole-Roasted Eggplant with Calabrian Chili Crisp” delivers.

The recipe is from the new cookbook, “Let’s Eat” (Union Square), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by New York’s Dan Pelosi, who calls himself the “Italian meatball” behind the popular Instagram account, GrossyPelosi, and Food52’s YouTube video series, “The Secret Sauce.”

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Napa Cabbage — Your New Best Veggie Friend

An easy and fast side dish to any Asian-inspired spread.
An easy and fast side dish to any Asian-inspired spread.

You want a best friend whom you can count on.

One who has lasting qualities.

One who rises to any occasion.

In short, in the world of vegetables, you want napa cabbage.

Crisp, sweet, slightly mustardy, super versatile, and able to last weeks in the fridge, it’s what you can loyally turn to time and time again.

I love it shredded raw in salads, roasted in the oven, steamed gently, and stir-fried as in this recipe for “Sour and Hot Napa Cabbage (Suan La Bai Cai).”

It’s a fast and easy side dish recipe that first appeared in the March/April 2023 issue of Cook’s Illustrated.

It’s based on a favorite dish from a local Sichuan restaurant that the staffers of the magazine frequented before it closed.

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Sink Your Teeth Into Dreamy Scallion Pancake Biscuits

All the deliciousness of green onion pancakes in biscuit form.
All the deliciousness of green onion pancakes in biscuit form.

Imagine biting into a heavenly allium-scented Chinese scallion pancake — only one that’s loftier, super crunchy on top, and built majestically like your favorite buttery Southern biscuit.

“Scallion Pancake Biscuits” truly are the best of all carb worlds.

This impressive recipe is from “More Than Cake” (Artisan), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by Natasha Pickowicz, a New York city-based chef and writer behind the popular pastry pop-up Never Ending Taste.

Her Chinese and California heritages are on full display in the 100 recipes, many of which showcase seasonal fruit and/or imaginative riffs on classic Asian treats or ingredients.

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Presenting BTS — Of A Different Sort

BTS -- as in the sandwich.
BTS — as in the sandwich.

Get ready for BTS coming your way.

Nope, not the South Korean boy-band sensation. But the summer classic of bacon, lettuce and tomato elevated with the addition of shiso.

Yes, a “BTS” sandwich.

You know that Sawako Okochi and Aaron Israel, co-chefs and co-owners of Brooklyn’s Shalom Japan restaurant, coyly knew what they were doing when they coined this sensational sandwich, the “BTS,” even though, technically, it really out to be a “BLTS.”

Semantics aside, this carefully crafted sandwich is all about the details. A cinch to make, it includes a couple of steps that make all the difference between a mundane sandwich and a great sandwich.

This marvelous recipe is from the new cookbook, “Love Japan” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. The couple wrote the book with the talented food writer, Gabriella Gershenson, an editor at Wirecutter.

The book includes more than 80 home-style Japanese American dishes that cull from Okochi’s Japanese roots and Israel’s Jewish heritage, a blend that has proved winning at their unique Brooklyn restaurant.

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