Archive for the ‘Raves’ Category

Elote Loco

Corn Cob

August in New York City = so much great stuff at the farmer’s market. I’m particularly excited about corn – bushels and bushels of sweet, snappy, corn!

All you need to make corn delicious is salt, pepper and, if you’re normal and not me, butter, right? Sure. But two summers ago the Red Hook Ball Field vendors opened my eyes/mouth to something even more awesome that permanently changed my puritanical ways.



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In America, we have Cheetos. In France, they have gougères. France: 1; America: 0.

Maybe that’s not the best comparison, but I can’t think of anything in America that quite compares to gougères. Maybe garlic bread, but then France still wins. Or popovers, which is closer, but not traditionally cheesey, so France still wins. Moral is: start making gougères.

Gougères are magical little creatures — I still don’t understand how the baking chemistry works — that start out as a really sticky dough made from butter, cheese, eggs, and flour, and become puffy balls of cheesey wonder after 30 minutes or less in the oven, with a crunchy outside and a gooey inside. They’re best fresh, but are yummy for days after, and are perfectly paired with a sweeter white wine, but will be happy with any white wine, sparkling wine, or rosé. They are an easy, splendid treat that I am going to add to my party repertoire. In future tries, I plan on pushing the quantity of cheese and black pepper as far as it will go (will report back), but for now, this recipe is pretty classic. And, most important to note, you serve these beauties fresh from the oven — just the right steamy/gooey/crunchy/cheesey way to start a meal. (more…)

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CSA Logo

Today’s post is brought to you by the letters CSA. Say it with me, kids. C-S-A.

CSA is the national airline of the Czech Republic. It’s also the Casting Society of America. And also the Canadian Safety Association, whose logo you see above.

But it’s also Community-Supported Agriculture.

A CSA is a sort of co-op. You pay a lump sum at the beginning of the season, and in exchange, you get a weekly supply of fruits and/or vegetables and in some cases meat and/or dairy as well.

After the jump, some reasons a CSA is a good thing, way more of a good thing than, say, the Confederate States of America.


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This is a "birthday candle" I bought in Switzerland, otherwise known as a firework, to spice up any birthday. Happy belated 4th of July!

This is a "birthday candle" I bought in Switzerland, otherwise known as a firework. Seriously, people use them on their birthday cakes there. Here, they would be illegal in many states. Happy belated 4th of July!

For a birthday a few weeks ago, I received a request for cheesecake. Since I can apparently never resist the urge to tease someone, even when not in my best interest, I of course responded with, “Well, what would you do if I made chocolate cake instead?” He said, only half-kidding, that he would cry. But when I, again teasing, said maybe I’d make a chocolate cake and a cheesecake, his face lit up, and I was promised a very special reward. And so, that is how I decided to make the cheesecake to end all cheesecakes – an Oreo-Brownie Cheesecake Extravaganza.

Recipes for an undertaking like this are surprisingly few and far between. There were a few that came close online, but I wanted to make sure that I not only got the overall technique right (how do you fuse cheesecake and brownie anyway? how do you get the oreos in there?), but also that both components were delicious in their own right. And so, in my first attempt to bake something without following a recipe exactly, I managed to come up with the Incredible Edible Hulk of Desserts. And let me tell you, this dessert is not kidding around. (more…)

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Ah, the underrated beauty of a spring onion.
Dear Ah-Yee*,

One of the first meals I remember you preparing for me and my step-brothers is a tuna fish salad with fresh apple chunks mixed in. I was young and it was different, so I thought it was pretty weird. But like our new family, I started to appreciate the combination more the older I got.

This sandwich is inspired by the juxtaposition of savory and sweet, gamy and mellow, chewy and crisp I remember from our lunch table long ago. As with so many other things in my youth, you were right and I was wrong.

Like my tastes and our family, it’s grown up a bit. The white bread has bloomed into organic whole grain, seed-studded, thick-sliced brown bread. The tuna has evolved into low mercury, gloriously fishy, skinless and boneless sardines. The mayo has stepped aside for a smoother, healthier greek yogurt emulsifier. But the heart of it, the apple, remains constant from my childhood.

Thanks for the inspiration, the meals, and the heart.


*My family’s romanization of “step-mom” in Mandarin.


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Oh, just shut up and try it.

Kale with Peanut Butter
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 bunch kale, rinsed and chopped
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup water

Saute garlic in olive oil. (Add chili flakes if you’d like a little heat.) Add in remaining ingredients and cook until kale is tender. Serve over rice and the objections of the uninitiated.

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grilled fruit

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Grilling!
You’re off and away!

You have coals in the pit.
You have fire at the ready.
Grill whatever you want
Just keep the heat steady.
You’re on your own. And you’ll do what you will.
And YOU are the gal who’ll decide what you’ll grill.

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