Food

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Photo: Erica Lovelace Cooks

Come with me on this spicy journey into the Chinese pantry

When I was a kid, my favorite thing to do with my grandmother was to visit the local Asian grocery store. While she shopped, we’d trot past aisles and aisles of colorful labels we couldn’t read, vacuum-sealed bags full of mysterious fungi or cartons adorned with neon, bug-eyed characters. Fast-forward 20 years, trips to the Asian grocery store are key to keeping my pantry well-stocked with things like dark soy sauce, rock sugar, hot pot fixings, hard-to-get vegetables, and frozen dumplings.

If you’re lucky enough to have an Asian grocery store in your backyard — whether a local shop or…


Because I’m also preparing it for post-pandemic life

A neat farmhouse kitchen. The well-stocked pantry door is open.
A neat farmhouse kitchen. The well-stocked pantry door is open.
Photo: Annie Spratt via Unsplash

Lately, I’ve had an unsettling feeling as the realization that neither a new year nor a new administration likely means any significant changes to our daily lives, at least for several more months.

I can’t help but think of this time a year ago when I was looking forward to a party we’d planned. I didn’t know it was the last one we’d host for so long. When I look back at what I cherish and miss the most about what we did during pre-pandemic life, gatherings small and large are high on the list.

My kitchen still sees a…


And other foods that feel deliciously romantic

A thin bar of ruby chocolate. Instead of being scored into squares/rectangles, it’s in three-dimensional triangle shapes.
A thin bar of ruby chocolate. Instead of being scored into squares/rectangles, it’s in three-dimensional triangle shapes.
Photo: Zacharie Grossen via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

I recently became infatuated with a precious jewel: The confectionary kind.

While buying groceries from my favorite organic wholesaler online, I spotted Chocolove’s Ruby Cacao bars in a line of suggested products. True to their name, these bars had a dusty rose hue and were packaged in light pink wrappers. I was smitten instantly and ordered four of them, thinking my willpower would make it possible for me to stretch out their consumption over several weeks by storing unopened bars in my freezer. It didn’t.

As a parallel to this culinary development, right now I’m in a relationship with a…


Set aside a weekend afternoon to make this perfect winter dinner

An oval casserole dish of gnocchi gratin garnished with crispy sage leaves.
An oval casserole dish of gnocchi gratin garnished with crispy sage leaves.
Photo: Aya Brackett

If you’re in the Northeast and Midwest, you’re likely slogging through days that include snow, sleet, and grey skies. In other words, it’s the perfect weather for comfort food dishes.

This one is a bit of a project: Since gnocchi are known to be ornery, the key to getting pillowy lightness with these Italian dumplings is to add only enough flour to bring the dough together. The first thing you’ll notice with this dish is probably the rich sauce, then you’ll bite into the sublime dumplings. You’ll want to make this over the weekend.

Gnocchi Gratin

Makes: About 4 servings
Time: About 2…


It depends on your level of commitment

A person with short salt-and-pepper gray hair + matching facial hair and glasses talking, holding a glass bottle.
A person with short salt-and-pepper gray hair + matching facial hair and glasses talking, holding a glass bottle.
Mossimo Bottura. Photo: MasterClass

While the online learning industry was booming before Covid-19, it has now become a central part of our lives. More Americans are taking online classes — even when it comes to cooking.

While many classes are free, MasterClass, the Rolls-Royce of online education platforms, is one of the first to partner with iconic celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Alice Waters, Aaron Franklin, and Thomas Keller. The movie-like trailers showcase famous chefs sharing moments of culinary clarity and inviting us to join them for the ride.

Membership to the platform is $90 per class, with an option for an all-access…


It may also change your mind about tofu

Photo: Burcu Avsar & Zach DeSart

Earlier this year (I believe it was just before quarantine set in) we did a sort of tofu primer, with an eye towards encouraging those of you who are anti-tofu or tofu agnostic to give this polarizing ingredient another chance. In doing so, I neglected to include the recipe that many people have told me was their gateway drug: kimchi-tofu soup.

Now that it’s basically winter, a dish like this — warm, comforting, highly flavorful, and done in 25 minutes — is a lot more than just a friendly vehicle for tofu; it’s borderline essential. The main ingredient is kimchi…


Turns out, they’re inspiring, too

A handwritten list of “Culinary Desires” and a pen on a woven rug next to a calendar turned to the January page.

In 2021, I’m looking forward to a tentative trip to Italy in July. Or maybe a birthday party with more than one guest in March. I guess just a martini at home next Friday.

Though we’re nowhere near close to being able to make post-Covid plans, What I can do is march purposefully into the kitchen and make an amaretti crumble with mascarpone cream. Or stir-fried celery with peanuts and bacon or something with the ‘nduja I bought on sale.

These are my only plans for the foreseeable future. I am so excited by them (and by my ability to…


REEF Technology may change how we think of restaurants post-Covid

A pop-up REEF kitchen.
A pop-up REEF kitchen.
(Here, notably not in a parking garage.) Photo: REEF Technology

Order up! One fried chicken sandwich appears on the digital screen. Batter, dunk, fry, assemble. The spicy habanero fried chicken gets gussied up with a few pickle slices and a slap of butter on a Martin’s potato roll. Paired with macaroni salad and daikon slaw. Like an orchestrated quartet, three chefs seamlessly construct David Chang’s famous Fuku Korean fried chicken sandwiches in a 200-square-foot kitchen. The sandwich is popped into a to-go box and sealed with a Fuku sticker. …


Shit! What’s For Dinner?

Dishes to look forward to this week

A drawing of a grain bowl.
A drawing of a grain bowl.
Illustration: Elsma Ramirez

While tomorrow is a day many of us are looking forward to (and are downright relieved about), we can’t help but feel anxious post-insurrection, as we approach a staggering 400,000 lives lost since March, and a litany of other things that provoke worry. Let’s hold onto hope and find strength for the work that’s cut out for us.

Meanwhile, we still have to eat. This week, we’ve got make your own grain bowls, macaroni and cheese, and of these roasted chicken ideas, we’re into the cumin, honey, and orange option.

Grain Bowls

Makes: 6–8 servings
Time: 10 minutes to more than an hour…


Win a print until Feb. 2: Otherwise, consider 1. and 3.

A drawing of a hamburger castle.

First off, here’s a special pre-order offer for you: A chance to win a framed, limited edition print, made just for us by the wonderful Alex Testere. Three lucky winners who pre-order my upcoming book, Animal, Vegetable, Junk, and fill out this form by February 2nd will receive a print (check them out below). Everyone who enters will receive a special postcard.

Good luck, and, as always, thank you.

Heated

Food from every angle: From Medium x Mark Bittman

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