About

A blog about cooking and food, and how to make it taste good and be healthy. The dishes are almost all gluten/dairy free, and many are vegetarian. The focus is on techniques and ingredients over recipes - this is about everyday cooking, and that means making it work with whats on hand!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Duck Fat

I had some duck skin and fat left over from some duck, and used it to render out the duck fat. Duck fat has a distinctive and delicious taste. It rivals pork fat in awesomeness.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ginger Tea

This ginger tea is super strong, and will clear out your head if you're stuffed up.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Urad Dal

Dal is a soupy dish made of lentils and spices, and is a staple of Indian diets. Lentils are high in protein, so dal is served almost everyday as an important part of a vegetarian diet.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Secret Ingredient: Szechwan Pepper

Szechwan pepper is a common ingredient in Chinese and other Asian dishes. It looks like peppercorns, but is from an entirely different family of plants. It isn't hot like black pepper or chilis, and instead gives a tingle like a mild electrical current, enhancing the pleasure of other flavors.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Gluten free desserts are tricky, especially when they also need to be dairy free. Tonia (who sells cakes on the side) took up the challenge and successfully pulled off this flourless chocolate cake.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pakoras, Part II

These chicken parkoras are similar to the apple pakoras, except they are one big chunk coated in the chickpea batter, and I found a new spice blend specific to pakoras.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kobe Beef Tacos

These are not traditionally made tacos.  Because I was using high-quality beef, I skipped the spices to let the flavor of the meat (fat) come through, and topped it with collard greens.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Secret Ingredient: Applewood Smoked Salt

Some ingredients kick a little more ass than others, and the more of them you know how to use, the better your food will taste.  One of these ingredients is applewood smoked salt.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sweet Potato Curry

I went to a Diwali/Eid potluck dinner over the weekend and made this dish, which also works in a Thanksgiving context.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ducken Roll


This was supposed to be a turducken roll (chicken in duck in turkey), but the turkey I had smelled funny, so I cut it down to a ducken roll (duck in chicken).  I had never tried anything like this, and realized halfway through I had never cooked duck before.  Things didn't turn out perfect, but it wasn't bad, and some parts, like the prosciutto crust were great.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Vaguely Middle-Eastern Rice with Lamb Sausage

I wanted to try to a rice dish along the lines of pulao, and had some nice lamb sausage on hand. This is what I came up with...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blackened Shrimp

I like to use shrimp as a quick protein, and cooked like this it can go with a side of rice and vegetables, go in a salad, or be a finger food by itself. They are especially good when cooked crispy, and it is ridiculously easy. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Risotto Noodles

When rice is cooked risotto-style, the liquid is added slowly until the rice  has absorbed just the right amount of liquid, giving you perfectly al dente grains in a starch-thickened sauce. The same technique can be used with noodles to get just the right amount of doneness. This approach also lets you use a flavorful liquid, like broth, to cook the noodles without wasting the excess when you drain the noodles.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Apple Pakora

A friend said about pakoras "I get it, its another name for a fritter".  That is exactly correct. Its anything you want, battered and fried. Onions, potatoes, cauliflower, chicken, eggs, bread, sandwiches - whatever you want. What makes it a pakora is that the batter is made from besan (chickpea flour).

These are apple pakoras, which I never saw in India. They do have apples, and like a state fair, there's nothing they won't cover with batter and drop in oil, so I'm sure these get made somewhere.  At home, they're fast and easy to make.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pork/Asparagus/Red Pepper Stir Fry

This is a quick stir-fry that can be done quickly, and used with almost any combination of meat and vegetables.  Here I used pork, red peppers, and asparagus.  These three complement each other well - they are all strong flavors that don't interfere with each other, and visually, they are all different colors and are easily cut into a long thin shape.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Skillet Potatoes

I don't eat many potatoes; I basically only like french fries and breakfast potatoes, and then only when done right.  To me, "done right" means crispy and bit spicy.  Here's one way to make that happen.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Homestyle Chicken Soup

Vegetable broth isn't much of a meal by itself, so I used it to make some chicken soup!  I call this "homestyle" because I'll often make a hot and sour "Asian" soup, and this uses no spices or soy sauce and is neither spicy nor tangy.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Homemade Vegetable Broth

Making homemade broth has a reputation for being a long and difficult process.  This is true for meat broths, as it takes a lot of time for the collagen and other proteins to break down.  You don't have to worry about this in vegetable broth, and you only need to simmer for about an hour.  By making your own, you can control the flavors, the amount of salt, and whether the ingredients are organic.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Char Siu

Char siu is the red barbecue pork you find in Chinese restaurants.  In Boston, Hong Kong eatery has good char siu (along with skin-on roast pork and roast duck), but I wanted to make some myself... so I thought of how it tasted and poked around the Internet and bought some pork.  Pork butt seems to be the recommended cut, and I found some at Market Basket.