Breakfast, Entrees, Recipes, Vegetarian

Fried Eggs with Crispy Kale and Ramps

We're nearing the end of the all-too-brief ramp season here on the East Coast.

So far, I've been trying to get the most out of ramp availability this spring. In April I taught two classes on Asian cooking using seasonal ingredients and managed to get a bunch of students addicted to these delicious wild leeks. We stuffed them into dumplings, used them in a lamb stir-fry, and even garnished cold sesame noodles with them.

At home, I've also tried to cook with ramps every chance I got, wherever and whenever I'd normally use scallions, garlic, onions, or shallots. But the quickest, easiest, and by far most comforting dish is fried eggs.

Entrees, Recipes, Vegetarian

Easy Kale and Quinoa Pilaf

I thought that I had gotten through the cold-weather season without catching the flu. Or any of the bad viruses that were going around. After all, I was prepared: I had drank a ridiculous amount of orange juice and eaten yogurt everyday. Then recently, during a stressful work period, I stopped consuming the oj and yogurt, slept too little, and boom!  I got sick. Really really sick.

And I got every single symptom under the sun (I'll spare you the details.) For over a week, even getting myself up from bed has been a challenge. I'd try to do work but would find myself a short time later on the couch, shivering and wrapped up in a blanket. And I ordered too much takeout food. Soup, banh mi, noodles. I tried to go as healthy as I could, but pretty soon, I just got sick of the sodium, heavy sauces, and spending too much $$$ for subpar food. 

Entrees, French, Recipes

Lemon and Lavender Chicken

When I first received The Little Paris Kitchen in the mail, I spent a good hour just sitting on the couch and flipping through the pages. All those photos of bistros, Parisian markets, dinner parties on adorable little balconies...it all sounds so cliché, but I thisclose to booking a plane ticket to Paris. (That's the power of photography!)

And then there are the recipes: very simple, nonfussy French comfort food, pretty much food I crave everyday.

Over the weekend I made the lemon and lavender chicken, a nice twist on the simple roast chicken. What could be more spring-like than lavender? If I can't jet off to Paris and drive down to the lavender fields of Provence, at the very least I can roast some chicken. 

Entrees, French, Recipes

Coq au Riesling

In college, about a decade ago, I briefly toyed with the idea of being a French major. I had studied the language for about 7 years and had romantic but vague ideas about moving to Europe and working there. Very vague ideas. Something to do with foreign relations/ journalism/translation/nannying…or really, anything. In reality, I just really wanted to move to Paris and was looking for a way to live there legitimately.

That, of course, never happened. I ended up majoring in art history, working at a book store for a year after graduation, then moving to New York for culinary school. Though I never ended up living in France, I did become very familiar with classical French cooking.

Entrees, Recipes

Buttermilk Roast Chicken

I’ve been on a buttermilk kick recently. After developing a serious craving for buttermilk fried chicken a few weeks ago, but wanting to cook at home instead of eating out, I decided to research methods of doing a roasted version instead.

I found recipes in the cookbooks on my shelves (including The Essential New York Times Cookbook and The Complete Southern Cookbook), but ultimately turned back to the web.

Entrees, Recipes

Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole

After about 14 months of recipe testing and photography for my cookbook, I am finally finallydone. No more waking up every morning and consulting the massive spreadsheet of recipes and the to-do list. No more schlepping to any of the three New York Chinatowns for ingredients (unless I’m teaching a class or blogging for Appetite for China.) No more months of eating Chinese food almost every single day.

It’s a little bittersweet, actually. I really enjoyed the cookbook writing and photography process, as hard as it was. But it is nice to finally be able to cook different cuisines at home again. It’s funny — while many fellow Americans try out Asian food to spice up their home cooking, I couldn’t wait to try out (after a year in which my diet was 95% Chinese food)…tuna noodle casserole.

Beef, Entrees, French, Recipes

Carbonnades à la Flamande (Belgian Beef and Onion Stew)

For the past year, I've used my wok more than any other cookware, mainly because of the Chinese cookbook I was working on and blogging for my other website, Appetite for China. The beautiful shiny red Dutch oven I received for Christmas last year sat in the corner for months, boxed up from my last move. As much as I loved stir-frying with the wok, I missed the lovely braised dishes that came out of the gorgeous ruby cocotte. And I missed, compared with the wok, how little space it took up on my narrow apartment-sized stove. It was time for the Dutch oven to see daylight again (well, fluorescent kitchen light...)

I recently looked at the list I made for all the dishes from old cookbooks I wanted to try for this site, and roughly half of them are braises and stews. Maybe it's because we're deep in the throes of winter. Maybe it's because stews are so economical, in terms of both money and time, and a braise that took 2 hours and $15 worth of ingredients to make can last the next few nights. Or maybe it's just I frequently daydream about meltingly tender cuts of meat.