Tempura is likely the most familiar dish in Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat's new cookbook, Japanese Soul Cooking. The veggies get a quick dip in cake flour before being battered and fried—the extra coat of flour ensures that the loose batter doesn't slip away into the hot oil. Finally, the tempura is served with a subtle, salty sauce thickened with grated daikon and ginger.
Earlier this summer, after opening box after box of beautiful vegetarian cookbooks, I was ready to call effortless, vegetable-focused cuisine the cookbook trend of 2013. But as the weather began to chill, a coterie of excellent technical books emerged. Some were well-tested restaurant cookbooks, others were nerdy scientific tomes, while others tackled major DIY projects. This culinary juxtaposition between simple and complex cookbooks has led to an incredibly diverse year of cooking. Over the last 12 or so months, I've managed to cook from close to 50 new cookbooks—and I've not come close to repeating a dish.
Japanese gyoza dumplings are the perfect nibble: great on their own, but made even better with a cold beer. The classic pork gyoza recipe in Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat's new cookbook, Japanese Soul Cooking, is a fine example of the form, filled with a piquant mixture of ground pork, garlic chives, ginger, cabbage, and minced garlic.
When thinking about Japanese cuisine, it is very easy to get stuck in a sushi rut. Most of us know that Japanese food consists of far more than just raw fish on rice, but that fact can be so easy to forget when most cities are inundated with sushi restaurants, grocery stores stock California rolls, and images of Morimoto slicing yellowfin tun razor thin on Iron Chef appear on the Food Network every five minutes. That's why cookbooks like the wonderful new Japanese Soul Cooking can be such a great resource.
Roy Choi's recipe for brussels sprouts and kimchi in his new cookbook/memoir, L.A. Son, is a prime example of his effortless expertise in Korean fusion. He throws sprouts, butter, kimchi, lemon, and shiso all together in a hot pan for a dish that looks like a miss-mashed stir-fry but tastes like a dish that's been made by countless cooks for generations.
Spaghetti Junction: The $4 Spaghetti That Tastes Almost as Good as the $24 Spaghetti From Roy Choi's 'L.A. Son'
Spaghetti in marinara sauce is not the first meal that comes to mind when I think of Roy Choi. Where does Italian food fit into his Korean-Mexican-American cuisine, and why is it featured in his new cookbook, L.A. Son? Marinara was one of the first dishes Choi mastered once he recovered from his gambling stint in the 1990s—and his sauce certainly has his own flair.
If you open Roy Choi's new cookbook/memoir, L.A. Son, looking for Kogi taco recipes or stories about starting a food truck revolution, you'll be fresh out of luck. The book's emphasis is placed more on telling a story, but the mix of recipes—some come from his mother, some are his own—provides a fun glimpse into Choi's background, and his brash, expletive-laced writing style is woven throughout the directions.
For those celebrating Thanksgiving on a small scale, there's no reason to sacrifice festivity just because there are only a few seats at the table. This braised rabbit from Jonathan Miles's new cookbook, The Wild Chef makes for a rustic-chic dish that celebrates the fall season with a triple-punch of apples.
Gloriously golden, with ultra-crisp skin, this stuffed bird is truly a thing of beauty. It's a simple recipe, cooked for a couple of hours in a moderate oven, but one trick helps to maintain the integrity of the lean breast meat: a couple of coats of pork fat and a sheath of fatback, salt pork, or bacon.
Brussels sprouts are a given on my Thanksgiving table, but I don't always give them much thought. Olive oil, salt, and a hot oven are my only requirements. While this method does produce pleasantly caramelized sprouts, it doesn't add much excitement to the table. This year, I'll take a cue from Tara Mataraza Desmond and toss my Brussels in brown butter and maple syrup as she does in her new cookbook, Choosing Sides.
I had never eaten a persimmon before moving to California, but these days I've come to anticipate the arrival of the sweet orange fruit. That said, I still have a problem finding uses for it (other than slicing a piece and popping it in my mouth, of course), so I was pleased to try Tara Mataraza Desmond's expertly balanced and alliterative persimmon, pomegranate, and pistachio salad from her new cookbook, Choosing Sides.
There are four brisket recipes in Nick Zukin and Michael C. Zusman's new cookbook, The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home—one for each season. All are pot-roasted in flavorful sauces and packed to the brim with vegetables. The fall version is the most streamlined, containing little more than butternut squash, red onions, and cider-wine sauce spiked with garlic and thyme.
For such a no-frills dish, latkes can be surprisingly difficult to get right. Between the potato shredding and draining, the frying method, and the challenge of keeping the cooked pancakes crisp and warm, latkes are not for the faint of heart. Nick Zukin and Michael C. Zusman's crispy latkes from The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home are somewhat middle-of-the-road in terms of difficulty.
This hearty salad from The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home was a creation by Nick Zukin as a Seinfeld-related inside joke—while the salad does contain lettuce and cucumbers, it's far from a low-calorie lunch. An ample scoop of chicken salad, a generous pour of creamy blue cheese dressing, and a plethora of crisp bagel chips make this truly a salad for salad haters.
In this recipe, from The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home, tender white meat chicken is poached in an onion broth before being shredded and tossed with celery, mayo, sour cream, horseradish, and plenty of black pepper.
By now, you have probably heard that the fourth Thursday in November is going to be a mighty special holiday. For the first time in 70,000-ish years (might as well be 1 million), Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall on the same day to create the über holiday, Thanksgivukkah. Over the next two weeks, we'll be bringing you Hanukkah and Thanksgiving favorites from some of fall's best cookbooks, starting with The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home. Feel free to mash-up as you see fit.
As I mentioned before, I have a long history with Andy Ricker's roasted young chicken (or game hen). It was one of my favorite dinners back when I lived in Portland, and I still fantasize about driving up to the Northwest just for another taste. Luckily, now I don't need to spend the gas money (or wait in line).
Phat thai wasn't on Andy Ricker's original menu at his Portland restaurant, Pok Pok. It wasn't until he opened a noodle shop in New York that he fully embraced the public's demand for a serious plate of Thai fried noodles. Ricker's recipe in his new Pok Pok cookbook is a version of the dish he serves in New York. Even though it has a long, somewhat chaotic ingredient list, the final dish is subtle and almost delicate.
Andy Ricker's Kaeng Khiaw Waan Luuk Chin Plaa (Green Curry With Fish Balls and Eggplant) From 'Pok Pok'
Green curry was the first Thai food I remember eating. My parents would make it with jarred curry paste, coconut milk, green beans, potatoes, and chicken—I trust many of you are familiar with this meal. I loved this curry, and in fact still make it occasionally when the craving strikes. But the green curry in Andy Ricker's Pok Pok cookbook is on a whole different level.
I was surprised to see a recipe calling for Brussels sprouts in Andy Ricker's new Pok Pok cookbook. As it turns out, Ricker has spotted a similar vegetable (a cross between Brussels sprouts and bok choy) in stir fries in Northern Thailand. He prepares them simply, in a Chinese-Thai hybrid of a sauce made with oyster and fish sauces, for a sweet, salty, and spicy dish that'd fit in with just about any spread of seasonal dishes—Thai or otherwise.
Andy Ricker opens his new Pok Pok cookbook with a series of variations on papaya salad. These are the beating heart of his namesake restaurant, providing its inspiration as well as a sweet and sour bridge between the range of complex savory dishes. This particular salad, made with cucumbers instead of papaya, is a cool and refreshing twist.
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