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
Stuffed peppers are one of those foodstuffs that I never really got into. This is for two reasons. First, because I’m not such a fan of bell peppers—in their raw state at least, I find what flavor they have to be watery, one-dimensional, and surprisingly overpowering—and second, because it seems like such a ubiquitous vegetarian novelty, I’ve never felt that there was much I could add that hadn’t been done before.
It only took a crisper full of summer’s bounty to get me rethinking my stance here. I love this part of the year, and in New York it just doesn’t get any better. The spring stuff—the asparagus, the peas, the garlic scapes, the ramps—are perfectly exciting, but not if they’re sitting next to tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, eggplants, watermelon, and stone fruits. Continue reading