This week I shared a new recipe for tofu burgers on Food52. Back when I wrote Veggie Burgers Every Which Way I wasn’t as enthusiastic about tofu as I am now, now that I’ve spent a lot more time enjoying it on its own and in the myriad of delicious ways that it appears in dishes across many Asian cuisines. So I revisited the tofu burger with the intent of making the tofu shine, and incorporated a few great tricks like grating it for a lighter, less tacky texture. Head over to Food52 for the write-up and the recipe, as well as for photos by the excellent Spencer Starnes.
And after the jump, my easiest and favorite way to quick-pickle onions and cucumbers, which will be a welcome accompaniment to all of your Memorial Day ‘que spreads this weekend and through the summer. Can’t believe it’s here already…
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.
I avoid making resolutions, but the new year is a always good time to “reset.” After the holidays, and all the excess of excess, it feels right to return to a healthy baseline normal. This is a roundabout way of advocating “manageable expectations” if you’re the goal setting-type. Find the healthy habits that work for you and bump them up a notch: eat the foods that taste best and make you feel best, look for the kinds of exercise that you actually enjoy. For example, as much as I’d love to have the physique, Crossfit just isn’t ever going to be my thing so I’ll spare myself the disappointment of that not working out. Instead, I’ll get back into my soup game, beginning with this bright green, spicy, clean spinach soup, and stick to the forms of exercise I have less difficulty keeping up with.
Looking ahead to 2016, there’s a lot of exciting stuff on the immediate horizon. You might have noticed that new book cover on the top left corner of this home screen: My next cookbook Bowl comes out in March! I’ll be announcing a very cool preorder giveaway in the next couple days, and then have been brainstorming some events around it. And my Made by Lukas burgers are now shipping direct, all across the country! And we’ll have a new issue of Jarry out in the spring! The most current place for these kinds of announcements is my Instagram—I hope you’ll follow along if you don’t already. Continue reading
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
Someone once told me that the intended glory of a chopped salad is that you can eat it with a spoon. This sounds silly and I wasn’t able to verify it it, but I did glean that a “chopped salad” is derivative of classic, component-based salads like the Cobb or Nicoise. In the past several years, it’s evolved into a bastard child of those, something no longer tied to lineage or ingredients but to method: hacking up a bowl of lettuce and toppings with a mezzaluna, assembly-line style, at one of its namesake franchises here in the Northeast. Enthusiasm for the chopped salad has since waned a bit, but there were strong opinions on this subject during its heyday.