“Mooncakes!!??, a Chinese friend said to me over breakfast recently. “Nobody likes them, they’re like fruitcake for Asians.” The dense cakes stamped with Chinese characters are traditionally eaten (sometimes begrudgingly) and gifted—much like fruitcake—for the Moon Festival, which falls on Sunday, September 27 this year. All sorts of mooncakes, including novelty ones for pandas and those made from Taiwanese hornet hives are prepared for the fall harvest festival, which is held on the night of the full moon between early September and early October. (more…)
Passover and Easter fall so close together that it was only a matter of time before they were combined in a culinary mashup. That’s precisely what my adopted Jewish mother Times Ledger food critic Suzanne Parker has done with her interfaith matzoh ball soup. Parker, the Jewish half of a mixed marriage, serves her interfaith matzoh balls for Passover, Easter dinner, or both if the supply holds. (more…)
If he knows what’s good for him, he’ll do the right thing.
This Sunday marks an event I have been eagerly awaiting. And I’m not talking about Super Bowl XLVIII either. Heck I’m barely sure which teams are taking to the gridiron. No I am referring to an event that has much more significance to me this frigid winter than a mere football game. I’m talking about Groundhog Day people. I’m sure hoping that Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see his shadow because I’m not sure I can deal with six more weeks of this brutal New York City winter.
The good folks over at Rave Review Original Culinary Spirits™ are offering the little fellah some incentive to do the right thing in the form of a recipe that would make a delicious Super Bowl treat for later that day if the Groundhog sees his shadow and tries to bring us more of this nasty winter. And heck even if he doesn’t see his shadow I’m going to be sure to share this recipe with my pal Baron Ambrosia, who has eaten more than his fair share of small game. (more…)
Nothing says love like a farm fresh egg yolk atop raw beef heart.
Call St. Valentine’s Day a Hallmark Holiday if you must, but as a public service to lovers and lovers of offal I offer up a simple, seductive Mediterranean recipe. Make your loved one some beef heart tartare a la puttanesca. Pair it with a nice Chianti and perhaps some Captain Beefheart, or, if you absolutely must Céline Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.”
The recipe comes from my very good friend Chef Dave Noeth. Dave used the heart from a grass-fed Highlander Whiteface crossbreed that had been slaughtered just days before by his pal John Zamatope of Carman Valley Farms in Hamden Village, N.Y., 607-746-8287. The mound of meat was topped off, with another farm fresh product, the yolk from a pastured blue foot chicken. (more…)
Frankenfood mash-ups are everywhere these days (ahem, Cronut-mania and gonzo ramen burger lines). So Desify is jumping on the bandwagon and offering up yet another improbable, over-engineered edible creation.
Introducing: the empanosa, an Argentine-style, baked empanada made with Indian roti dough and stuffed with Indian leftovers (like a samosa, get it?).
Indian lentil and vegetable dishes lend themselves to mashing, so it’s easy to get them neatly tucked into packets of dough. Making the wrappers with Indian roti dough is a healthier option than typical empanada wrappers, which are usually very rich (hello, butter or shortening). (more…)
One man’s Thanksgiving leftovers are another woman’s Indian snacks in the making. Here’s how you can resurrect your Thanksgiving leftovers with some “East meets West” mash-up action. It’s easier than you may think to turn leftover mashed potato into spicy aloo tikki and pie crust trimmings into baked matti.
Matti, crisp rounds of fried dough seasoned with mild spices, are a favorite winter snack in North India. At Thanksgiving, we save the trimmings from our pie crust and use them to make a baked version of matti (shown at top). The butter-rich pie crust is fatty enough to give them a nice flakiness and rich flavor without deep frying. (more…)
I first learned to cook during the year I studied in England. University students there typically fend for themselves in dorm kitchens, rather than relying on meal plans.
With little free time and even less money, most of us took to dumping readymade soups or canned beans over toast or pasta. If we were feeling fancy (or starved for protein), we crowned these starchy, carby meals with a fried egg.
That experience left me with an abiding kernel of culinary wisdom: Any light dish can be transformed into a stomach-filling meal simply by adding pasta.
Enter my Punjabi mother-in-law, who re-educated me in the kitchen and taught me Indian home cooking. Thanks to her, I can whip up a full meal from my usual pantry staples (i.e., lentils, rice, spices, garlic, and ginger) and a few stray vegetables (e.g., onion, tomato, potato, carrot). If only she’d been there, in England, to save me from British student food (and my own culinary incompetence). (more…)
Grilled over coals until the sweet kernels are nicely blackened and then rubbed with lime juice and a potent mixture of spices, corn on the cob (bhutta in Hindi) is a popular street food in India. It’s an irresistible combination of sweet, tangy, smoky, and salty-spicy flavors. (We love you, elotes, but bhutta is better!)
Like most New Yorkers, I have neither a grill—nor a place to cook outside. (Fire on a fire escape, anyone?) Instead, I grill corn on the cob over the gas range in my kitchen. (more…)
Punjabis know a thing or two about beating the heat. (Summer temperatures in that region of northern India typically hover above 100 F.) Doodh Coke and shardai are two refreshing, chilled drinks that Punjabis on both sides of the India-Pakistan border guzzle when temperatures soar.
Photo by Anne Noyes Saini.
In Punjabi (and Hindi/Urdu), “doodh” means milk, and doodh Coke is exactly that: milk mixed with Coca-Cola (or Thums Up cola, if you want a fully Indian experience).
In Lahore, where my father-in-law grew up (under the British Raj), this creamy drink with a sweet, fizzy edge is a popular way to break the Ramadan fast before the iftar meal. Lahoris have also invented several variations, in which Coke is replaced by 7-Up or Mountain Dew (yes, really). (more…)
Radishes, a cold-weather vegetable, are in season right now in New York City. That means many urban gardeners, CSA members, and farmers-market shoppers are contemplating what to do with piles of radish greens.
They’re too hard and fibrous to eat raw, but their firm stems and crisp leaves hold up well when sautéed lightly. I love their distinct, spicy, daikon-like flavor. It’s totally unique among greens I cook with—and really delicious.
In India cooked radish greens (mooli ke patton in Hindi) are a popular dish. Occasionally you can find them here in New York in Indian grocery stores, where they are sold separately from their rooty lower-halves.