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Coconut Mango Upside Down Cake

Think this may be even better with palm sugar to up the tropical flavor kick!

Giveaway: Win A Limited Edition "Zelda Collection" from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

A hot toddy, or a pina colada, which is practically ice cream already.

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Recchiuti Chocolate Bars

Anything chocolate, but particularly chocolate-covered marzipan and hazelnuts

Seriously Delicious Holiday Giveaway: Recchiuti Chocolate Bars

Any kind of chocolate is good, but what particularly stands out in my memory are the chocolates from Patrick Roger in Paris (because I've only had them once!)

Spice Hunting: Chewy Drinks with Basil Seed

I love drinks with basil seeds! But I've never known exactly how they worked until now, so thanks for this information. In Beijing there's a few places that sell desserts with basil seeds, coconut milk, cubes of fresh fruit, and grass jelly. In Thailand you can even buy basil seed desserts in a 7-11, although they're overly sweet and artificial. I do think that texture is much more important in Asian foods and desserts, I wonder why that is?

What's Your Favorite Approach to the Hot Toddy?

I love adding a few spoonfuls of persimmon pulp into whiskey, as a replacement for honey. The persimmon (hachiya) should be so ripe that it is practically bursting with juice, and the pulp is almost like syrup. With some cinnamon or cloves, this is my favorite winter beverage.

In Season: Fennel

It seems to me that most "western" fennel recipes call for the bulbs and not the feathery leaves/stalks. Is that correct? Do people not eat the 'greens'? What happens to them after the bulbs are eaten?

It's just the opposite in China: northern Chinese people love the green fennel (huixiang) leaves but not the bulbs - perhaps the China and the US should trade :)

My family loves dumplings, steamed buns or fried 'turnovers' stuffed with chopped fennel greens (with pork and/or egg, etc). So fragrant and delicious!

Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt: Taste Like Pumpkin, Please!

Culture is divine! I spent two days in Palo Alto and rather randomly stumbled into it – very good luck. So intensely tangy, so pure in flavor. I would love to go back and try any of their other flavors.

November Is Peanut Butter Lover's Month

Peanut butter banana bread, with cinnamon and ginger ...

Cook the Book: 'The New Portuguese Table'

I absolutely love Portuguese food, from a week-long trip in the country, and I wish I knew more about it! I am also extremely curious about Malaysian Nyonya cooking, as I heard it was an interesting fusion of Malay and Chinese, but alas I've never really had a chance to try it.

Wang-Zheng's Halal Snacks (王郑清真小吃) in Flushing's Golden Shopping Mall

I love Tianjin-style shaobing. They're not really samosa like, though, as they can be eaten filled or unfilled, depending on your preference. In fact, they're usually eaten unfilled, and they're more like buns.

I also have to point out that the translation for all the "sauce" dishes such as 酱牛肉, etc. are wrong. Though the word 酱 means sauce, here it refers to a special preparation for meat that braises/stews it slowly in soy sauce, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, orange peel, peppercorns, etc. over several hours so that the resulting meat is thoroughly infused with the flavor. The meat is then usually served as cold cuts with shaobing or bing, or just served as a small plate on its own. So the dishes should be translated "braised beef," "braised beef tendon," and "braised beef tripe."

Seriously Asian: Jackfruit

Oh I looove jackfruit! It's really got a texture and aroma all its own, but it's a sweet, banana-like fragrance - very easy to like! Getting one is always a splurge, though, as I live in northern Asia. Fortunately the vendors always sell by portions - you can get 1/8 or 1/4 or however much you want.

Vietnamese dried jackfruit chips are my substitute during much of the year when I can't find fresh jackfruit. They're cheaper and less healthful, perhaps, but still very delicious. Great for hiking trips.

I've always wanted to know how to cook the seeds actually - thanks!

Cook the Book: 'The Boozy Baker'

I am all about the Ron Mulata de Cuba!

Three Peanut Snacks from the Philippines

I grew up on peanut cakes. My parents bought the Cantonese versions of these every time we went grocery shopping in Chinatown. I think they're called "huasheng su" (peanut crisp). I love their flaky, crumbly, buttery texture. And I also like the sweet sesame crisps (zhima su), which are basically sugary bars of black or golden sesame seeds. They're not very thick, about maybe 1/4 inch, but incredibly nutty and sweet!

Cutty's Brings a Signature Sandwich to Boston

Have you ever been to Volle Nolle in the North End? It's been four years since I was there, but I still remember their wonderful Cubano – just perfect, their homemade aioli and pulled pork. I went out of my way to visit many a time. And the chocolate chip cookies? Divine!

Weekend Cook and Tell: Rice Dreams

Instead of having white rice with Chinese food, I steam up a wonderful mix of rice and grains. There's no set proportions or ingredients, but I usually use some combination of purple rice, black rice, black glutinous rice, red fragrant rice (hong xiang mi), brown rice, barley, and "coix seed" (yi mi). Some advance preparation is required: they're best if soaked for at least 12 hours, but I've done 2 as well with no ill effects. The result rice is pleasantly chewy, nutty and fragrant – much more exciting than plain old white rice!

Seriously Asian: Chinese Chives

As someone who grew up eating jiucai their entire life, I had no idea they were stinky until one of my friends pointed it out. I suppose it's like how Chinese people never consider garlic to be stinky either. To me, the smell of raw onions is unbearable!

Cook the Book: 'In The Green Kitchen'

That cooking isn't as difficult as I thought. That I can't seem to cook without onions. That all the accidents and mistakes happen when I panic!

Cook the Book: 'Ready for Dessert'

I like creme brulee, but if I were making it myself, flourless chocolate cake or Claudia Roden's orange almond cake – absolutely divine.

Cook the Book: 'My Bread'

I live in Beijing, and the best way to get 'real' bread here is to bake it yourself. Necessity has taught me a fantastic, nutty 5-grain sourdough bread (from Hamelman's recipe), filled with sesame sees, pumpkin seeds, barley, chopped rye, and whatever else I have on hand.

Cook the Book: 'Rose's Heavenly Cakes'

This German apple-walnut cake I had once - it's incredibly moist and rummy, and it's studded with big chunks of buttery apples. Then it's topped with walnuts and powdered sugar – heavenly.