Start the Year of the Dragon off with a bang with something fiery and inspired.
“Kung Pao Sweet Potatoes” certainly isn’t traditional fare for the Lunar New Year, which starts on Saturday. But the dish certainly makes for an exciting and enticing new addition to the celebratory feast. Plus, it’s perfect for vegetarians, vegans, and anyone who enjoys twists on the classics.
This fun recipe is from “Veg-Table” (Chronicle Books, 2023), of which I received a review copy. It’s the newest cookbook by Los Angeles-based Nik Sharma, a former molecular biologist turned James Beard Award-winning, best-selling cookbook author, photographer, and recipe developer.
He brings his scientific background, precision for recipes, and love of big, bold flavors to bear on this collection of vegetable-focused recipes. It’s not a strictly vegetarian cookbook, but even when animal proteins are included, they play a more supporting rather than starring role.
The cookbook features more than 50 types of vegetables with recipes organized by plant family, including such temptations as “Kimchi Creamed Corn,” “Crispy Salmon with Green Curry Spinach,” “Cauliflower Bolognese,” and “Carrot, Apple, and Harissa Soup.”
Set this down in front of your guests for real treat.
The holidays practically demand a showstopper entree, something with heft and presence that will make guests not only sit up and take notice, but eager to dig in with complete abandon.
For me, that’s long been bone-in prime rib crusted with salt and rosemary, fresh Dungeness crabs with their deep orange shells that give way to snowy fluffy meat, a glazed ham enveloped with a thick glistening layer of juicy fat or a massive leg of lamb cooked on the grill with copious amounts of garlic.
Now, Nik Sharma of the award-winning A Brown Table blog ups that leg of lamb option by adding a load of irresistible ginger, cardamom, turmeric, juniper, cloves, almonds, pistachios and luscious yogurt to the equation.
His “Roast Leg of Lamb” marinades in that creamy, unctuous sauce tinged the color of daffodils for a full day before being slid into the oven.