If you had told me that one day I’d be stir-frying tater tots, I would have called you “crazy.”
But crazy can be mighty good.
And these sure are.
Put your disbelief aside, do yourself a favor, and make these “Salt and Pepper Tater Tots.”
If you’ve ever enjoyed the warm aromatics of Chinese salt and pepper shrimp or salt and pepper spare ribs, then you know the taste sensation you are in for.
This delightful recipe is from “Tenderheart” (Alfred A. Knopf), of which I received a review copy.
It’s the newest cookbook by Hetty Lui McKinnon, the gifted Chinese Australian cook and food writer who now lives in Brooklyn. She’s also the publisher of the multicultural food journal, Peddler, as well as host of its podcast, The House Specials.
Admittedly, I’d grown a little weary of cauliflower.
Not that I don’t love this brassica’s crunch and subtle nutty sweetness. But after so many recipes for ricing, pizza crust-making, and roasting whole and every which way, I kinda had my fill.
Then, along comes the spectacular and unbelievably easy “Char Siu Roasted Cauliflower” to make me appreciate it all over again.
This clever vegetarian riff on the classic Chinese barbecue pork comes from my friend and colleague, Santa Cruz’s Andrea Nguyen, of course. It’s one of 125 recipes in her wonderful new “Ever-Green Vietnamese” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy.
As she writes in the book’s forward, she — or rather her body — “hit a wall” as she was turning 50 in 2019. No surprise, the older we get, the more we begin to experience real changes in our bodies. In our 20s, we are lucky to get away with devouring most anything without a second thought. But in our 40s, 50s, and beyond, the digestive system starts to rebel more and the calories make themselves way too much at home.
It’s a collection of 90 plant-based Chinese recipes that are a breeze to make. They’re perfect for anyone who’s vegetarian or vegan or for any home cook who wants to add a veggie-centric dish to a family-style spread.
Get your chopsticks at the ready for everything from “Baked Crispy Tofu Nuggets,” “Char Siu Baos” (made with button mushrooms instead of pork), and “Egg-Less Egg Drop Soup” (with yuba sheets standing in for the strands of eggs) to “Three-Cup Scrambled Tempeh” and “Creamy Red Bean Ice Pops.”