Remember our cookbook club (fun NY Times story here / tips on how to start your own here)? Our last meeting, a couple of months ago now, was focused on Small Victories by Julia Turshen. We read, cooked, and ate from Julia’s new release and I’ve been meaning to share some of her words of wisdom with you as well as the recipe that I made that night – Kimchi Fried Rice with Scallion Salad.
Take it away Julia….
“There’s a theory out there in the ether that even the best cooks stuggle with cooking rice. I’m afraid I’ve suffered from poor rice cooking for a long time. The fail-proof method I’ve grown to love, especially for long-grain rice, with grains that are best when kept separate (as opposed to cozy short-grain rice, where the grains hug their neighbors), is to cook rice just as you would pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the rice, and boil until the grains are tender (10 to 15 minutes for most types of white rice, 35 to 40 for more types of brown rice). When the rice is done, drain it in a fine-mesh sieve and serve immediately with butter and salt, or let it cool and use it the next day for one of the best foods in the world: fried rice.
Leftover rice is best for making fried rice because the grains become very dry and then act as sponges for whatever flavors you combine them with. My favorite is cabbage kimchi, the fermented condiment that’s eaten with every meal in Korea. I came to love it when I worked on Kimchi Chronicles, the companion cookbook to the PBS program of the same name. Served with a simple scallion salad (a popular accompaniment to Korean barbecue), this is one of my favorite side dishes, and it makes for a wonderful, savory meal on its own if you top it with a fried or poached egg.”
PS. Next month our cookbook club is throwing it back and reading, cooking, and eating from The Silver Palate Cookbook. Chicken Marbella 4-EVA.
Kimchi Fried Rice with Scallion Salad from Small Victories
4 scallions, roots and dark green tops trimmed off
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
One 16-ounce jar cabbage kimchi, including juice
3 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil, plus more as needed
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups day-old cooked brown or white rice
1 Tbsp soy sauce, plus more as needed
To make the scallion salad: Cut the scallions thinly on the diagonal or into small matchsticks. The best way to do this is to cut each scallion into three even pieces and then cut each piece in half lengthwise. Put each piece flat-side down on your cutting board and cut into thin strips. Put the scallions, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and sesame seeds in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and set aside.
To make the fried rice: Put a sieve or colander over a bowl and drain the kimchi. Reserve the juice. Finely chop the kimchi and set it aside.
In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm the canola oil. Add the onion and garlic and sprinkle with a large pinch of salt. Cook, stirring now and then, until the onion just begins to turn translucent, about 5-minutes. Turn the heat to high, add the chopped kimchi, and cook, stirring now and then, until the edges of the kimchi become ever so slightly crisp and stick to the pan, about 5 minutes.
Crumble the rice into the skillet and stir throughly to combine. Add the reserved kimchi juice and cook, stirring, until the rice is warm and red through and through from the kimchi juice, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, drizzle over the soy sauce, and taste for seasoning, adding a bit more salt and/or soy sauce if needed.
Transfer the fried rice to a serving bowl (or portion straight from the skillet) and top with the scallion salad. Serve immediately.
This week on Food52 I shared my favorite way to cook dried beans and how to stretch a pot of humble beans into a week of family dinners.
I was always intimidated by cooking dried beans. I would either forget to soak them ahead of time (ahhhh!) or keep them simmering in a pot, only to find them undercooked at the end of the day. After a while, I began to shy away from recipes that suggested I try it again.
Discovering the simplicity of preparing dried beans in the slow cooker has thrown my trepidation out the window. You just combine a few ingredients and turn on the machine! A few hours later you have a perfect pot of beans. Life-changing. (But if you don’t have a slow cooker, fear not: I recommend the method outlined in this recipe.)
Click here to read the full story and get four recipes from Feeding a Family including: Slow Cooker Black Beans, Buckwheat Crepes with Delicata Squash, Black Beans & Avocado, Kale & Sweet Potato Tacos on Homemade Corn Tortillas, and Black Bean Quinoa Burgers.
All photography by Elizabeth Cecil.
March is always a tough month. I desperately want it to be spring but day after day the weather sticks to its winter program. As much as I want to rush towards the next season, there is one thing about winter that I like to hold on to – soup.
It’s no secret that soup makes the perfect one-pot weeknight meal – little prep, minimal clean up, and, in the end, a big pot of warming food to feed a crowd or stretch throughout the week. Today I’m sharing a recipe for Ginger Squash Soup with Parmesan Croutons. This soup calls for a simple list of familiar ingredients but is made special by the addition of fresh ginger and crispy (addictive!) Parmesan croutons.
I am a huge advocate for taking smart shortcuts in the kitchen. High-quality canned beans, crushed tomatoes, and broths are always in our pantry. These items are the building blocks of many family meals and save precious time and energy at the end of a busy day. I hope you give this comforting soup a try while celebrating the early signs of spring.
2 ¾ pounds orange-flesh winter squash, such as butternut
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium leek, trimmed, white and green parts, cut into ¼-inch pieces (1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger, or more to taste
1 medium parsnip, (4 ounces), peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
4 cups of College Inn® Chicken Stock
2 three-quarter-inch slices whole-wheat bread, crusts removed
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and fiber, and peel. Cut into ½-inch pieces, and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Cook leek and garlic until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add ginger, squash, and parsnips. Stir, and cook over medium heat, 3 to 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and College Inn® chicken stock. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until the squash and parsnips are tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer half the mixture to a food processor, and puree. Return to the stockpot until warm throughout. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile, cut the bread into ½-inch cubes. Toast under the broiler until golden brown. Sprinkle with Parmesan, and return to the broiler, until the cheese begins to melt. Serve the soup in individual bowls with the toasted-cheese croutons on top.
To celebrate Valentine’s Day I made my loves a lemon tart while watching Beyonce’s grammy performance over and over and over again. Now I’m tearing up looking at these amazing pictures my pal Becca snapped of me and the boys in the fall. I love you Waldman boys – so very very much.
Lemon Tart from My Kitchen Year
makes 1 9-inch tart
1/2 cup cashews (or unsalted almonds or hazelnuts)
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup flour
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 large eggs, separated
4 large lemons
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Begin by making a tart shell. Toast the cashews then grind them in a food processor with the flour, confectioner’s sugar, and a pinch of salt. Add in 4 tablespoons of butter and pulse until it is the size of peas. Stir in the olive oil and 1 egg yolk.
Form the dough into a disk, put it between two pieces of plastic wrap, and roll it out to an 11-inch round. Press dough gently into a 9-inch tart shell with a removable bottom, and chill for half an hour. Bake in a 400-degree oven for about 15 minutes and allow to cool on a rack.
To make the filling, grate the zest from 1 lemon. Squeeze all 4 lemons and mix the juice with the zest. Put the lemon mixture into a heavy-bottomed pot and whisk in the sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in 2 eggs plus 2 additional yolks.
Put the pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium high. Whisk constantly until the mixture begins to boil, then keep whisking for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth and thick.
Remove from the heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter (cut into pieces), and whisk the mixture until the butter has vanished. Spread into the tart shell and allow to cool. Put the tart in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.
I sliced a few kumquats for the top and served slices with whipped cream.
I know weather talk is really boring most of the time but this has been a wild weather week for us so, forgive me. It was 55 degrees on Wednesday. We stayed late after school playing soccer, football, and sliding down the slide 1,000 times. Nobody had a jacket on. Then came Thursday. A storm blew in and dumped wet, heavy snow all across the island. Most houses lost power, the ferries stopped running, and school was canceled. Today, the island looks pretty and sparkly with its fresh coat of white but it hasn’t gotten warmer than 25 degrees and I do prefer those jacket-less winter days, however abnormal they are.
If you’re looking for an easy cooking project this weekend or simply want a new snack to toss into lunch boxes next week give these Popcorn “Granola” Bars a try. The list of ingredients is completely adaptable to your tastes and your pantry.
Popcorn “Granola” Bars slightly adapted from Food52
Makes 1 9-inch by 13-inch pan of bars
1 cup almond or peanut butter
1/3 cup honey, agave, or maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce or fruit compote
Olive oil, as needed
4 to 6 cups popcorn
1 1/2 cups whole walnuts or almonds or a combination
1/3 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup raw hulled sunflower seeds (I used raw sesame seeds)
1/3 cup ground flax seed
1. Line a 9- by 13-inch baking pan with parchment or wax paper so that you have overhang.
2. In a small pot over low heat, warm the nut butter, honey, and applesauce until melted. You want a sauce that is loose enough to cover the popcorn kernels and become evenly distributed amongst them. You may need to whisk in some olive oil (a couple of tablespoons) to achieve this consistency.
3. In a large bowl, mix together popcorn, nuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut, sunflower seeds, and flax seed. Pour over the nut butter mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.
4. Dump into the prepared pan, then use plastic wrap to mush the mixture down evenly. Freeze overnight, then slice into bars! Store in the freezer.