Jewish vegetarian Japanese fusion-eating blogger

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  • Favorite foods: peaches, blueberries, kabocha, soba noodles
  • Last bite on earth: zaru soba with a peach blueberry smoothie and some sweet simmered kabocha

The Best Way to Store Fresh Herbs

My experience with herbs taught me that cilantro likes to stay dry and everything else prefers some drinking water. Kenji getting cilantro to last 3 weeks is very impressive; I'm wondering if Kenji might experiment with giving cilantro less water than he gives other tender plants. Would cilantro last even longer? I've had trouble with cilantro in pots because it bolts so fast but I don't like having to buy it at the store all the time because I only use a little.

Favorite ice cream flavor?

blueberry or jamocha. chocolate is a close and beloved second, especially when paired with any different flavor, especially hazlenut or peanut butter. For milkshakes, nothing beats a genuine in-season fresh strawberry milkshake.

Exciting brown bag lunches?

You can also purchase a three-tiered vacuum-sealed lunch thermos from an Asian grocer. Traditionally you put rice or noodles in one container, salad or cooked vegetables in another, and soup in the third. Or you could just buy a vacuum-sealed normal thermos and put a cold fruit smoothie in. That would be refreshing!

Or if you don't buy those things, I like pad thai with side of roasted CSA green vegetables!

Anniversary dinner - Rouge Tomate vs Dining Room at The Modern

My neighbor went to Rouge Tomate a few weeks ago and said the service was lovely, the food was some of the best she'd ever had, and her husband doesn't eat meat...just fish. He had wild mushroom ravioli that was apparently unbelievable. So that place would be good for you.

On Paula Deen

I live in the South and have never seen a single Deen recipe I wanted to make, but everyone's got different taste. My only opinion on the matter is that it's nice that the Food Network thinks that its audience for Southern cooking is revolted by racism. Maybe it's true, maybe not, but I think that says a lot about how far we've come as a country.

Favorite Recipes from The Joy of Cooking?

The French toast is my family staple; we make it with day-old fresh-baked challah. Plus the JoC offers a lot of lovely classic cookie recipes, like for ginger snaps.

What's your favorite green tea?

Dong Ding is pretty amazing green oolong, especially iced. I also love Ito En or Ooi Ocha chilled bottles of green tea, Ito En's matcha green tea bags, steaming hot genmaicha (toasted brown rice tea), and I kind of like Yamamotoyama for the cheap tea bags.

Favorite Kitchen/Food Smell...

Mulling apple cider, cinnamon rolls in the oven, simmering curries.

Lactose intolerance, how to deal with it?

Even if you do end up having to eliminate dairy from your diet, you might find comfort in knowing that roughly 75% of the world is also lactose intolerant (so said a science magazine I read). So there are a whole lot of foods out there for you to eat. Most Asian, African, and Latin American food will do you just fine. Unfortunately you're probably going to have to avoid your flatmate's delicious home baking. :-( I'm really sorry to hear about this!

My husband is mildly lactose intolerant. We switched to soy milk many years back--got used to it after 3 weeks. He's still fine with aged cheeses. We eat a lot of tacos and most of our creamy food has coconut milk in it.

The Vegetarian Option: Balena

Some people have severe, even fatal, reactions to fava beans. I wonder if the same holds true for their leaves, or if fava leaves are safe for everyone. I mean, I was shocked to find out that tomato plant leaves were poisonous!

A Big Big Bag of Spinach

Hey all, I went with enchiladas, but next time I'm going to make some of these other wonderful suggestions. Thank you!

Fainting Imam (Turkish Baked Stuffed Eggplant)

How good could it be if no one fainted?

Actually, this looks pretty amazing.

Favorite On-The-Go Bars

I use Larabars as well. There's nothing bad in them, but they are pretty small. My one-year old likes the peanut one. They can be pricey unless you buy them in bulk at Costco.

Favorite Japanese Food?

@beth1, ah but to get even more specific, you should try the soft-serve in Funadomari on Hokkaido's Rebun-tou island. Seriously the stuff of dreams. My spouse and I still talk about it 10 years later!
@Zinnia1, I totally agree about the miso soup.
@plazmaorb, what fillings/ toppings do you like with your okonomiyaki? I'm feeling nostalgic right now.

First time in Chicago

Here's a link to all the Greek restaurants and their websites:

Really highly rated Greek restaurants are Greek Islands Restaurant, Athenian Room, and Mythos Greek Taverna.

First time in Chicago

Chicago is one of the few American cities with a fantastic Greek town. If you go to a Greek restaurant, start with the saganaki... I doubt you've experienced anything like that before!

Cereal Eats: If You Could Bring Back One Discontinued Cereal...

Kellogg's Raisin Squares! I also feel like there was a shredded wheat cereal stuffed with blueberry, but I can't find the name of it.

I guess Barbara's makes something like that now, but it's not what I used to eat.

Seriously Asian: Perilla Leaves

@Karen, shiso will definitely grow in Colorado. It is weedlike and related to mint. Buy some seeds and start it in a pot indoors and it will thrive.

gochujang sauce uses

I use it solely for Kimchi Tofu Soup. Try the recipe on Serious Eats or the Mark Bittman one.

Friday night dinner @ home - Brainstorming a new tradition?

"Moderately elaborate." I love it!
Well, I'm one of those people who likes to make a moderately elaborate Sabbath dinner every Friday night, so I'm on the same page as you. Three hours is quite a decent amount of time, so what I like to do on Fridays is cook double what I need and thereby earn a break on Saturday, when I can still enjoy delicious fancy food. Some popular Sabbath dishes in our house:

Mollie Katzen's Gado Gado -- you store the turmeric rice, peanut sauce, and all the vegetables separately, so that you can make a plate of whatever combination you like.
A Meze plate -- a Mediterranean entree like shakshuka or imam bayildi, stuffed grape leaves, hummus, pickled onions, tzatziki, pita, yogurt cheese, tabbouli, fattoush, steamed artichokes, prunes, dates, raisins, almonds, olives, etc.
An elaborate soup (the divine Onion Sonata soup in The Voluptuous Vegan takes 3 hours, mostly of stirring) plus fresh baked bread (Bittman's dinner rolls in HtCEV take 2 hours) paired with a fancy salad combining green leaf lettuce with raddichio, Belgian endive, chopped toasted hazelnuts, slivered Asian pear, and a homemade Blue cheese dressing. Serve the dressing on the side so the salad doesn't wilt overnight.
Mollie Katzen's Russian Cabbage Borscht and marinated mushrooms, fresh-baked potato bread, steamed green beans, and some really good cheese. Alternately you can just make cheeze blintzes, the mushrooms, and the borscht. This is one of our favorite meals.

Hope these ideas inspire you a little!

mother's day lunch, I get to bring desert

Tapioca pudding made with soymilk. I've done it and it's delicious. Or you could make mochi (Red beans and rice). Sounds difficult but you just stuff cooked sweetened adzuki beans (you can buy cans of prepared beans at many East Asian grocers) into prepared rice flour (mochiko).

Cook the Book: 'Gluten-Free Girl Every Day'

My spouse just went GF last month. I guess our favorite gluten-free meals right now are a casserole of corn tortillas, black means, and sauteed mushrooms, or a Persian stir-fry of leeks, spinach, parsley, and black-eyed peas.

A vegetarian + bacon= meltdown

I would notice if there was bacon in what I was eating, but it might take me a while to place the flavor because it's been quite a while since I partook! I have gotten my burrito mixed up with my spouse's on occasion and it can take me a few bites before I realize the weird thing I'm tasting is chicken and not just unusual seasoning.

I don't think that women was 100% all there. Was she of an advanced age?

Stories of Food Magic

@Littauer, my friend was nineteen when she made those scone things. She just invented them on the fly that day, never wrote down what she did, and never made them again. She doesn't even remember them. She can just do stuff like that. When I read about baking, it's supposed to be like chemistry, and exact measurements are supposed to matter. But not for Justine! She just bakes straight from her imagination and doesn't ever plan ahead of time--except for this one time last year when she baked her own 13-layer wedding cake. That day she measured quite carefully.

Garlicky Eggplant and Tomato Spread (Mirza Ghasemi) from 'The New Persian Kitchen'

As a shortcut, you can also microwave the eggplant until it's tender. It takes less than ten minutes. It probably won't taste quite as good as the baked version.

Summer Fruit, creatively

I've been enjoying fresh blueberry and strawberry shakes this summer, and I'm wondering about all the other delicious food that people make with their favorite fruits. Which fruits do you eat most eagerly, and how do you like to prepare them in the summertime?

Refreshing Food for Hot Weather

How do you guys cool off at the table? Do you rely on certain ingredients over and over again? (Yes, I know about ice). Any particularly refreshing dishes or recipes you want to share?

At my house we love cucumber spears mixed with lime juice, salt, and minced cilantro. We also like water chilled in the refrigerator with cucumber slices. I guess we're a cucumber house.

For breakfast we eat cereal bowls of fresh berries mixed with whole milk Greek yogurt and slivered almonds, or we make smoothies of berries, bananas, and soymilk. I guess we're a berry house.

We constantly have sun or refrigerator-steeped tea, both black leaves and sencha bags. And I make a lot of Thai Iced Tea, with chai tea bags and soymilk in place of Thai tea and sweetened condensed milk. Yes, we are a tea house also.

Cucumbers, berries, and iced tea.

How do you like your potato salad?

I've been experimenting with different potato salad recipes. I just made one with blue cheese, celery, scallions, and parsley with a bit too much white wine vinegar. My mom makes one lightly dressed with a French vinaigrette from the Joy of Cooking, tossed with celery and capers. My spouse's favorite involves Japanese msg mayo, shiso leaves, and chopped pickled plums.

How do you prefer your potato salad? Do you like it with vinegar? Mayo? Mustard? What sort of herbs? Do you like it creamy or not, with crunchy bits or not? Cold or warm?

Favorite Japanese Food?

Usually I go for zaru soba above anything else, but lately I've been craving the simple manju. What about you? Do you have a favorite Japanese food?

Stories of Food Magic

Have you ever seen someone pull off a jaw-dropping kitchen feat?
During her birthday party, my friend Justine casually tossed together a bunch of ingredients without measuring them, and then put them in the oven without setting a timer. In the middle of unwrapping her presents, she suddenly walked over to the oven and took out a huge load of perfect scone-ish things. They were amazing. I can't imagine how she was able to pull that off!

What Mexican Food Should I Order Next?

My neighbor cooks to order from her home kitchen. She hails recently from Mexico and speaks about ten English words total, which means I struggle to communicate with her. So far I've ordered whatever another neighbor from Mexico has suggested but the well's run dry. I've eaten her enchiladas, empanadas, taquitos, and tamales. Everything comes with tomato rice and refried beans. She appears to make mostly working class or home cookin' types of meals. I don't want to ask her to cook something she's unfamiliar with but I'm no expert on Mexican food. There is NO menu. So, any suggestions? What should I order next?

Vegetarian Meats and Cheese

I know many (most?) Serious Eaters revile ersatz meat and dairy products, but I can't shake my inexplicable addiction to vegetarian bacon and also some Tofurky sausages. On camping tricks I've even been known to eat some of those truly un-hot dog-like Smart Life dogs (they're better roasted over the campfire)...and then smack my lips and sigh contentedly. I will even eat these things raw if I am hungry enough.

I won't apologize for loving mock goose at my favorite Chinese restaurant in Massachussetts, but when I lived in Berkeley, California, the Chinese restaurants took vegetarian substitutes to a whole new level. I even tried vegetarian shrimp and EEL. They were gross, to say the least! But I want to give all 5 of those restaurants serious props for trying.

Please share your experiences with vegetarian meats and cheeses. I want to hear it all: good, bad, offensive, and Twilight Zone-ish!

Movie Food

You're going to the movies with your friends or your s.o. Are you going to get food and drinks (or sneak some in under your winter coat?) What food completes the filmic experience for you?

I just like a cold bottle of root beer, myself. But my college friends and I used to sneak ice cream in from the diner in the mall. Those were halcyon days.

Do You Frequently Get Take Out?

I've gotten into a habit of ordering takeout every Friday from my neighbor Laura. She cooks Mexican food out of her kitchen and everything is quite affordable, usually $10 for 6-8 servings of decent homemade food. I always invite my friend over and we have a great time together chatting and not worrying about cooking or clean up. It's a nice way to end the week when you're exhausted and you have to take care of a 1 year old.

So I've been wondering if other people have a regular habit with a local takeout place or two. Tell me all about your takeout rituals. Do you eat it alone, watching TV and drinking liquor? Do you have friends over? Is it always a certain day of the week? What cuisine do you favor? Are you friends with the owners/ chefs? Can you walk there from your house? Tell us about your secret take out life.

Homemade Condiments You Keep on Hand

I keep reading about people who make their own condiments and keep them "on hand" pretty much all the time. I think I read in a banh mi recipe that Kenji keeps pickled daikon radish and carrot slices in his refrigerator all the time, but it only lasts a week so he must keep making it. I think he also wrote that he keeps pickled onions on hand.
Somebody else wrote that she makes her own garlic hot sauce and always has some around. And then of course many people make their own salad dressings and store those in the fridge.

I don't do this at all! So I'm wondering how many of you make your own condiments so regularly that you have them on hand about once a month at least? Which condiments ? And finally, what are you eating with these condiments?

You are welcome to give us recipes if you feel like sharing. :-)

Celebration Food

I'm not going to lie, I just finished a crazy amount of work and, being in excellent spirits, I celebrated with my friends and a homemade pumpkin pie milkshake.

Have you done any celebrating lately, or will you soon? What sort of food makes it festive?

Stress Eating

Tell us all about how you eat when you're under unusual stress. Do you eat less? Do you eat more? Do you swerve into junk food or food that Mama used to make? Do you pull out all the stops and cook yourself something super fancy? Is it breakfast for dinner every day?

I tend to refuse to cook, then buy 3 vegetarian burritos from my local taqueria, stash them in the fridge, and slowly chow down on those for 3 days, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After that I drink pureed vegetable soup (preferably tomato or pumpkin or broccoli-and-cheese) in a mug for the next several days. If stress continues after that, I pretty much stop eating and sleeping until I've solved the problem at hand.

I'm currently at the considering-buying-burritos phase.

What is the Worst Food You Made This Week?

Yes, I know it's only Tuesday. But come on, guys, make me feel better! The 3 pounds of sauteed turnips with dill, the boiled Rainbow chard with lemon...even the can of Bush's Vegetarian Baked Beans that I opened has been better.

Tell me how you've ruined a meal or at least made a mediocre attempt. Perhaps I won't weep myself to sleep.

Your Experience of Time While Cooking

How does time pass for you while you cook? Are you constantly realizing that you should have added something several minutes ago, or that you should be doing something right now? Is your mind always whirring ahead, thinking to the next few steps? Or are you in a Zen state of total focus on the present, while time flows harmlessly around you?

Food You Wouldn't Offer to Company

Do you guys make (and happily scarf down) food you would NEVER offer to company?

My kimchi quesadilla is one such dish. It's stinky, spicy and weird and I love it. Also my vegetarian hot dogs and veg bacon, which I occasionally eat raw--yes, I'm disgusting.

So share, Serious Eaters!

Pre-emptive Spring Cravings

I know it's still mid-March and the snowdrops haven't disappeared yet, but I find myself buying terrible spring and summer produce before the season has really arrived. I bought blueberries! They tasted horrible. Now I'm craving berry fruit parfaits and garden lettuce.

Do you Serious Eaters have spring food cravings already? What are they?

Taco Innards -- What do you make at home?

I've been rummaging through Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday cookbook and found myself inspired after making his spinach enchiladas. Since then I've made a whole container of mushroom-onion-poblano- cheese filling for my tacos, but I just hit on a new favorite: Mexican crema and steamed broccoli. You can stop clapping now, I already know I'm a culinary genius. Now what do you put in your home tacos?

Please Reminisce about Birthday Cake

Hey Serious Eaters, my birthday is months away, but I've already started obsessing about the cake because I finally found whole wheat pastry flour, a key and (around these parts) rare ingredient in the vegan chocolate-hazelnut mousse cake I eat every year. This cake is so moist and light that my spouse and I eat it for breakfast the entire week of my birthday. It includes agar agar, arrowroot powder, and kudzu and may I just say it is the best cake in the world. Thank you Voloptuous Vegan Cookbook author, Myra Kornfeld.

When I was a kid, my birthday cake every year was a chocolate cake layered with strawberries and bananas and slathered in a chocolate whipped cream frosting. That was awesome too.

How about you? Do you guys make Serious birthday cake for your birthdays? Buy ice cream cake? Any fond birthday cake memories? Has someone ruined your birthday with bad birthday cake? Let us know all about it.

Tasty Hot Desserts

It's snowing and sleeting in North Carolina and my laundry detergent has frozen. But I've got 12 children descending on my house soon. What are some great hot desserts you enjoy making?

A Chinese Food-Themed Birthday Party

I'm throwing a birthday party for my 1-year old. I want it to be Chinese-food themed because I went into labor with him on the Chinese New Year in a Szechuan restaurant. There will probably be 5 to 7 adults and 10 kids of various ages. I'm vegetarian and Jewish so no pork, etc. Three of the people invited are extremely familiar with Chinese food but the others couldn't tell the difference between Chinese and Vietnamese food. !!!

I have no idea what to do. Suggestions? Recipes? Buying food from a restaurant? A combination? Games? My brain isn't contributing anything. Should I just give up and bake a cake? I can't spend a LOT of time cooking because my son slows me down so much in the kitchen.

Turnip Recipes, please!

Eaters, I have recently come to adore turnips. I cannot get enough of them--they are so juicy, sweet, tender. And I guess it's turnip season right now, so if you have some favorite turnip recipe from your great-great-great grandmother, please pass it on! How do you like to eat or prepare turnips?

My favorite two ways right now are first, to cube and steam the turnips, then saute them with butter, salt, and fresh dill (thanks, Deborah Madison!). Second, I like cubed turnips boiled with turnip greens and then drained and tossed with salt and pepper. The slightly spicy, bitter cooked greens nicely compliment the sweetness of cubed turnip flesh. I highly recommend it!

Late Late Late Night Snacks this week

Pulling all-nighters seems to be the rule rather than the exception lately. I know many people are suffering from deadline syndrome this time of year. How are you stuffing your face at 3 in the morning?

My spouse bought some kind of chocolate on square cookie things with a picture stamped on the chocolate part. Absolutely fabulous. I've also been frying up eggs with scallions.

Non-kitchen items in your kitchen?

Is your kitchen dedicated purely to the creation and clean up of food? Or do other things hang out in the kitchen?

My mom keeps a TV in her kitchen and not just for watching cooking shows. She also keeps stationary, the telephone, staplers, and stamps plus two bulletin boards containing loads of random scraps of papers. I think she's got a few photos stashed around as well.

My kitchen, however, is almost pure. Even the calendar in there comes from our take-out place, so that we can look in the fridge, find it bare, and pivot smoothly to the calendar for the tacos-to-go hotline. The only non-food habitants are two philodendrons that I am sure will eventually take over the state of North Carolina if they keep growing at this rate.

Red Curry Mussels with Kimchi Puree from 'The Kimchi Cookbook'

Mussels are one of those easy dinners that can so easily get overlooked when bombarded by quick-cooking fish fillets and chicken breasts at the market. But mussels are just as quick and easy (if not easier) to prepare than fish, and they're a year-round sustainable source of seafood. Pop them in a pot of flavorful broth, and they'll be done before you can set the table. Adding even more reason to pick up a couple of pounds of shellfish is the Red Curry Mussels with Kimchi from Lauryn Chun's new Kimchi Cookbook. Here, she swaps in kimchi for more traditional lemongrass in a coconut-red curry sauce. The kimchi brings funk, spice, and salinity to the broth, enhancing the creamy brininess of the mussels. More

Serious Entertaining: A New England Seafood Dinner

I was born in Boston and was raised New York as a kid before going back to live in Boston for another 10 years during and after college. Whenever convenient, I like to consider myself a New Englander. That time is usually in the summer, when the rocky beaches are at their drizzliest and the coastal clam shacks fire up the boilers and fryers.

I still make it a point to make at least one or two New England road trips every summer so that I can get my seafood fix. But even when I can't get up to Yankee-land, I'll do my best to get my fix right at home. You can do it too with these recipes for clam chowder, lobster rolls, blueberry pie, and more.


Garlicky Eggplant and Tomato Spread (Mirza Ghasemi) from 'The New Persian Kitchen'

Eggplants and tomatoes are far from culinary strangers. Whether baked gently in a ratatouille or simmered in a rich pasta sauce a la Norma, these friendly nightshades blend seamlessly in many cuisines. This super garlicky eggplant and tomato dip in Louisa Shafia's cookbook The New Persian Kitchen is no exception. Adding a new layer of complexity, however, is the inclusion of a couple of eggs, which thicken and bulk up what would otherwise be a glorified tomato sauce. The eggs transform the vegetables into a spread equally at home on a crudite platter, in a pita sandwich, or dolloped atop a warm bowl of rice. More

What Mexican Food Should I Order Next?

My neighbor cooks to order from her home kitchen. She hails recently from Mexico and speaks about ten English words total, which means I struggle to communicate with her. So far I've ordered whatever another neighbor from Mexico has suggested... More

NY Dosas' Pondicherry Dosa from 'New York a la Cart'

Until picking up Alexandra Penfold and Siobhan Wallace's new cookbook, New York a la Cart, I didn't know the first thing about making dosas at home. I didn't even know you could make dosas at home. The tangy, ethereally light and crisp oversize Indian pancakes seem like the kind of dish unwise to attempt on a tiny stove, in a tiny kitchen with little practice at spreading gloppy, sticky batter. But with a little practice, dosas pretty darn close to what you'd be served at food cart NY Dosas can be had in your kitchen. More


Named after the two little peepholes that resemble reading glasses, La Boulange: Cafe Cooking at Home presents these lunettes, with two kinds of jam sandwiched between buttery cookie squares. More

Passover Recipes We Love

Passover starts at sundown tomorrow. We've rounded up the brisket, matzo brei, Passover-friendly quinoa, and flourless cake recipes—please share your favorite recipes too! Particularly one for homemade gefilte fish...anybody? More