A few years ago, when I was doing my final tests of this recipe—one of my favorites from Bowl—it was peak August. My poorly ventilated apartment was very much a sweat lodge, and the last thing I wanted to do was bring a pot of liquid to simmer. But I had no choice. I was on deadline. I’d learned in my research about the principle—popular throughout many East Asian cuisines—of battling hot food with hot weather, but as I sat over this bowl of steaming “summer” ramen, my hair, face, and clothes matted with sweat, I didn’t buy it.
Then I took a taste. It was so good! So clear with summeriness, such a glorious, fresh way to show off those juicy, late-summer gems. Did it help to make the heat more bearable? Perhaps. At the very least I was temporarily distracted from it. Nonetheless, I was excited to make it this year, and I’ll look forward to it next, too. Continue reading
As you know, not much needs to be done to a tomato when it’s perfectly ripe. Salt, pepper, maybe some olive oil. Still, it’s nice to shake things up a little—but maintain that same spirit of simplicity. An easy dish I like is thick slices of ripe tomato sprinkled with soy sauce, scallions, and pepper, maybe a little bit of grated ginger. The following recipe is an evolution of that idea: I applied butter and heat.
It’s one of those 5-minute recipes that hardly merit an actual recipe. Chopped tomatoes get a quick stir in a hot skillet, along with a little butter and a few aromatics. But it blossoms into something more than the sum of its parts. Soy sauce gives ripe tomatoes a lovely savory depth, especially with the slight caramelizing that happens in the hot pan. Fresh ginger brings a little burn. And that brief application of heat in the pan makes the tomatoes extra succulent. Continue reading
Over the weekend I shared a story on Medium about a “luncheon” that my mom threw, and her favorite cookbook Bound to Please. In that story, the quiche I describe is Mom’s go-to quiche—a quiche Lorraine, made with ham of course, but also with a Pillsbury pie crust and two different kinds of pre-shredded cheese. Here’s the one that I made myself on Mother’s Day.
There was a time when I thought it was a good idea to try to make quiche a little less dairy rich, more egg-oriented—”healthier.” But that might have been the last time I made quiche (it’s been a while). Since then I’ve come to recognize it for the decadent dish it is and rather than trying to tweak it to be marginally less rich, I think I’d rather just eat it less often, reserve it for special occasions.
There was a time, not that long ago, when Kimchi Fried Rice was very popular on the internet, and ever since then it’s been one of my favorite things to eat. I put a kimchi fried rice bowl in Bowl, but today wanted to share a spin on that recipe. It’s inspired in part by the 10 pounds of kimchi that I have packed up in Ziplocs and fermenting in my fridge— for the Bowl Brunch event on March 12, presented by Jarry here in New York. It won’t be a big event, but there are a few seats left if you live in the New York area. Tickets available here. And a few other events are now up under the Events tab.
Cabbage is a vegetable that puts up with a lot. You can project onto it. You can say, “You’re a sweet and crunchy, refreshing condiment,” and it says, “That’s me!” Or you can say, “You are a spicy, funky, perfect example of what lactic fermentation is good for,” and it says, “Exactly.” Or you can appreciate it for being a nuanced, velvety decadence, say to it, “Gosh, you’re an classy brassica,” and it responds, “I’m yours.” Maybe cabbage is a little too tolerating.
[Quick interruption: There’s still time to preorder Bowl—which was recently picked as one of the most exciting new spring cookbooks by Epicurious!—and win a set of excellent, handmade Jono Pandolfi bowls.]
As a classy brassica, cabbage is one of those vegetables that responds well to near-overcooking. Braised cabbage is just delicious. It turns silky and sweet, and is so good topped with lots of black pepper and flaky finishing salt. The Molly Steven’s recipe is one that I return to periodically, especially in the winter when it’s slim pickings at the farmer’s market. I’ve adapted that recipe a bit here, giving it some gingery, garlicky fragrance and extra richness in the form of coconut milk. Continue reading
Last weekend, while it was still unseasonably warm here in New York, I bought a bag of mixed soup beans at the farmers market and set out to make chili. (I found the beans—beautiful beans!—through a great new initiative called the Greenmarket Regional Grains Project.) I wondered if it was too warm, that chili was the wrong thing for the weather. But then a cold, icy front blew in on Monday and it turned out that chili was a smart move.
My go-to recipe, which was on Buzzfeed a while ago, is like most chili recipes in that you can approach it with loose attention to the rules (well, don’t quote me on that, because I know there are strong opinions on this subject). I always grind up the vegetables, which makes for a luxe, velvety consistency because of caramelized goodness, and use chunks of squash that offer some nice juicy texture against the beans. This time I used a combination of ancho and guajillo chilies that go into the garlic-ginger paste, and left out fresh ones (didn’t have any), and went with red wine instead of beer. It’s a very good batch. I’ve posted my slightly revised recipe at the bottom of the post.
My book Bowl, which will be out in March, began several years ago because of a transformative bowl of vegetarian ramen at Chucko here in Brooklyn. It featured a rich, complex, steaming broth that fogged up my glasses, a tangle of fresh wheat noodles, chunks of sweet and juicy vegetables like squash and cabbage, and a soft egg that gloriously melted into the whole thing. That inspired me to start making ramen at home, which in turn, led me to some of the other classic, similarly comforting dishes of Asia like bibimbap and pho. These were such wonderful recipes to be immersed in and at some point I realized that the commonality was the vessel itself, as I was also making some of the grain-based all-in-one bowls that are currently in vogue.
So with a book called Bowl, that celebrates the vessel and the comforting and healthy meals that can be enjoyed from it, it seemed obvious to team up with a maker of bowls! I’m pleased to announce that ceramics designer Jono Pandolfi, who makes some of the most gorgeous ceramics I’ve ever seen (for many of New York’s top chefs and for Food52’s exclusive line) is offering a set of four bowls to one lucky person who preorders Bowl! All you need to do is order the book before March 7, 2016 and forward the order confirmation to firstname.lastname@example.org. A winner will be picked at random. More details over here. I’m excited for this book—I think you’ll like it.
My friend Lesley and I drove up to Narrowsburg, NY, a few weekends ago and had dinner at the culinary draw there, a restaurant called The Heron. We ate rich, decadent, dare I say “Brooklyney” fare that hit the spot on that first bracingly cold night of the season.
The celery salad was the highlight for me. It’s rare to see celery treaded so simply yet elegantly, and as a refreshing winter salad it struck me as just perfect. Rather than burying it in cream and cheese, celery’s texture and flavor are showcased—a perfect balance of crunchy and juicy, sweet and saline. I went home to make it. Continue reading