Category Archives: Recipes (Savory)

A Unique Rice Cake

A showstopping crusty rice cake that's super rich and creamy within.
A showstopping crusty rice cake that’s super rich and creamy within.

As a kid, I remember feeling a little burst of joy whenever the rice steamed and rested just long enough in the hot rice cooker to build up crispy little bits on the bottom.

My mom would scrape them up and pile them on my plate, knowing how much I couldn’t resist the juxtaposition of soft fluffy grains with cracklingly crunchy ones.

Later as an adult, when I first tasted tahdig, the Persian rice specialty that guarantees a bottom crust of full-on golden crunchiness, I was even more smitten.

Now comes “Rice Cake,” which much like this inverted dish itself, I’ve completely gone topsy-turvy for.

It’s Persian goes Italian.

Or tahdig in the spirit of risotto.

As it’s fortified with a load of butter, Parmesan, and creme fraiche.

This amazing recipe is in the new cookbook, “Bavel: Modern Recipes Inspired by the Middle East” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by husband and wife, Chef Ori Menashe and Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis, owners of the acclaimed Bavel and Bestia restaurants in Los Angeles. It was written in conjunction with Lesley Suter, the former food editor for Los Angeles magazine.

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Miso Pork Stuffed Eggplant

Eggplant cups stuffed with a savory pork and eggplant mixture.
Eggplant cups stuffed with a savory pork and eggplant mixture.

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.

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Cool Off With Honeydew Salad with Peanuts and Lime

Honeydew melon goes savory.
Honeydew melon goes savory.

When summer heat is at its full force, few things satisfy more than sinking your teeth into a wedge of sweet, ice-cold melon.

But give honeydew an unexpected savory spin to enjoy a thoroughly head-turning and palate-popping experience.

“Honeydew Salad with Peanuts and Lime” definitely surprises and satisfies as a side or starter on a balmy day.

It’s from “The Complete Salad Cookbook: A Fresh Guide to 200+ Vibrant Dishes Using Greens, Vegetables, Grains, Proteins, and More” by America’s Test Kitchen, of which I received a review copy.

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.”

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Black, White and The Grey — And Green Cabbage

A book so worth getting not just for the recipes like this braised cabbage with tomatoes, but for the story of two people who persevered to build their dream restaurant.
A book so worth getting not just for the recipes like this braised cabbage with tomatoes, but for the story of two people who persevered to build their dream restaurant.

If you have time to read only one book about restaurants or chefs this summer, make it “Black, White, and The Grey: The Story of an Unexpected Friendship and a Beloved Restaurant” (Lorena Jones) by Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano.

It’s not only a compelling memoir about a unique restaurant with a formidable sense of place, but it includes some delightful recipes, as well.

The Grey opened in December 2014 in Savannah, GA in what was once a segregated Greyhound bus depot. The restaurant is the vision of entrepreneur businessman Morisano, who had no previous restaurant experience whatsoever, and Bailey, who formerly cooked at Prune in New York, but had never opened her own restaurant before.

Morisano, who is white, and Baily, who is Black, formed a partnership to bring a new inclusivity to this once-divided symbol of the South, and in so doing, also elevated the region’s cuisine with fresh vitality. It proved a critical success, earning Executive Chef Bailey the James Beard Award for “Best Chef Southeast” in 2019.

For the two business partners, though, it was anything but a smooth road. That makes the book all the more commendable for its candid look at the sweat, tears and fortitude it took for them to understand and trust one another in this arduous project. With America’s reawakened reckoning with racism this past year, this book couldn’t be more timely. It touches on the here and the now, demonstrating how our present is vastly shaped by our past, much of it hard to forgive.

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The Best Southern Baked Beans

These beans may not look like much, but they are some of the tastiest I have ever made or had.
These beans may not look like much, but they are some of the tastiest I have ever made or had.

This is one of those times when a photo just doesn’t do justice to a dish.

But trust me when I say that these “Southern Baked Beans” are one of the very best bean dishes I’ve ever tasted.

And they are a cinch to make.

This keeper of a recipe is from “Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World’s Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein, with 125 Recipes” (Ten Speed Press, 2020) by Joe Yonan, the food and dining editor of The Washington Post.

I am not the biggest fan of traditional baked beans. They’re just way too sweet, and frankly, I’d rather save the sugary part of my meal for dessert.

What makes these Southern baked beans so miraculous is that they are not cloying at all, but deeply, profoundly savory with just a whisper of natural fruity sweetness from tomato paste. In fact, it’s rather astonishing the depth and complexity they take on, given how few ingredients are used.

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