T. Susan Chang http://krwg.org en These 10 Summer Cookbooks Will Make The Good Life Even Better http://krwg.org/post/these-10-summer-cookbooks-will-make-good-life-even-better Toss out the china and pick up the picnic basket! Summer cookbooks are fanciful creatures — high on whimsy and shamelessly devoted to making a good life better. For some, that means lingering in the farmers markets or gardening with the kids. For others it's indulging in some usually forbidden pleasures — the fried, the icy sweet, the charred and meaty. And for some, it means crossing oceans to sample less familiar fare — without ever leaving the porch. There's something for everyone, but all go just fine with bare toes and a sun hat. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Mon, 09 Jun 2014 13:38:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 67898 at http://krwg.org These 10 Summer Cookbooks Will Make The Good Life Even Better Sous Vide Makes Its Way To The Home Kitchen http://krwg.org/post/sous-vide-makes-its-way-home-kitchen <em>Sous vide.</em> Not that long ago, it sounded so exotic — or, at least, so <em>French</em>. It was a phrase that belonged in restaurants, amid white tablecloths and flower arrangements and hushed conversations. Alternatively, it was a word that belonged to the modernist kitchens just beyond the swinging doors — kitchens filled with gleaming dehydrators and transglutaminase "meat glues" and spherification siphons and more.<p>I first heard it in the kitchen of now-famous Wylie Dufresne's first restaurant, 71 Clinton Fresh Food, where I was a clueless intern in the spring of 2000. Wed, 16 Apr 2014 04:18:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 64128 at http://krwg.org Sous Vide Makes Its Way To The Home Kitchen Oranges: Secret Agents Of The Food World http://krwg.org/post/oranges-secret-agents-food-world For me, the citrus fruits of winter have been bright spots in a long, frost-bound season. The lemons, the oranges, the sweet little clementines, the tart, brawny grapefruits — they glow like miniature suns on the grayest afternoons. As we — finally — turn the long, slow corner in the spring, I love them all the more for knowing they will soon be gone.<p>The flavor we love in the flesh of a citrus packs even more power in the zest. Wed, 19 Mar 2014 04:13:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 62226 at http://krwg.org Oranges: Secret Agents Of The Food World Valentine Hearts That Are Meant To Be Broken http://krwg.org/post/valentine-hearts-are-meant-be-broken In first grade, my heart was stolen by Mark, who sat next to me and had an advanced phonics book (which I also craved). Then there were Peter, Eddie, Raja and Michael. These serial crushes continued right on up through my early 20s, at a rate of approximately three a year. Boys. I fell for their incipient mustaches, their bad attitudes and foul mouths, their poor poetry and bass guitars, their careless humor. I saw their swagger for what it was, but I loved it anyway.<p>When you're a kid, conversation hearts, waxy chocolates and powdery-smelling carnations are the currency of Valentine's Day. Wed, 12 Feb 2014 08:41:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 59762 at http://krwg.org Valentine Hearts That Are Meant To Be Broken The Stars Come Out For Holiday Bakers http://krwg.org/post/stars-come-out-holiday-bakers As a young woman, I had an attack of nostalgia for a possibly imaginary cookie. It was prompted by a walk up New York's Third Avenue, where I saw in the bakery case of a local delicatessen a stack of small round cookies, covered in the tiny rainbow sprinkles known as nonpareils. Wed, 18 Dec 2013 08:03:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 56119 at http://krwg.org The Stars Come Out For Holiday Bakers Roasted Tomatoes, The Perfect Accessory For Summer Dishes http://krwg.org/post/roasted-tomatoes-perfect-accessory-summer-dishes At this time of year, we all love tomatoes. Many of us claim we'll "take a big juicy tomato and bite into it like it's an apple," although you won't often see that happen in actual fact.<p>Yet, even people who love a juicy fresh tomato also are likely to enjoy it with all the juice sucked out, as in sun-dried tomatoes and — especially — roasted tomatoes. It's the way the process acts on flavors, caramelizing what's on the outside, concentrating what's on the inside. It's true even for a soulless, pale-pink January tomato. Wed, 28 Aug 2013 04:08:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 48410 at http://krwg.org Roasted Tomatoes, The Perfect Accessory For Summer Dishes Wandering Appetites: Hunting The Elusive Noodle http://krwg.org/post/wandering-appetites-hunting-elusive-noodle <em>On the Noodle Road</em> is one attempt to answer an old chestnut: Did Marco Polo really bring noodles from China to Italy? If not, where did they really come from? Or — to put it another way — from what point along the storied byways of the Silk Road did that humble paste of flour and water first spring into its multifarious existence?<p>This is the second outing from Asian-American food writer and Beijing cooking school proprietor Jennifer Lin-Liu. In her first, <em>Serve The People,</em> Lin-Liu chronicled her education in traditional Chinese food ways. Sat, 03 Aug 2013 10:25:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 46815 at http://krwg.org Wandering Appetites: Hunting The Elusive Noodle Buttermilk Makes Everything Taste A Little Better http://krwg.org/post/buttermilk-makes-everything-taste-little-better It started happening about 15 years ago. I'd be paging through a new cookbook or browsing through recipes online, and I'd suddenly stop. "Mmm, buttermilk biscuits. Doesn't that sound good?" I'd bookmark the site or dog-ear the page. The next week I'd see a recipe for waffles — buttermilk waffles, as it happened. What a splendid idea. Out came the yellow stickies.<p>Then it was fried chicken, first bathed in buttermilk brine. Buttermilk pork chops and buttermilk cornbread. Buttermilk ice cream and buttermilk panna cotta. Buttermilk <em>okra</em>. Wed, 31 Jul 2013 04:03:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 46552 at http://krwg.org Buttermilk Makes Everything Taste A Little Better Scape Velocity: Green Garlic Takes Flight http://krwg.org/post/scape-velocity-green-garlic-takes-flight If you've never grown garlic, here's how you do it: On a bright cool fall afternoon, before the ground has frozen, you pry an ordinary, unpeeled clove of garlic off the bulb. You plant it in the ground, about 4 inches down and pointy side up. Maybe you cover the soil with some straw to protect it from extremes of heat, cold and drought.<p>Then comes the easy part — you forget about it. Thanksgiving comes, and a procession of seasonal holidays in which a lot of garlic is eaten, but none is given much thought. Wed, 10 Jul 2013 04:03:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 45032 at http://krwg.org Scape Velocity: Green Garlic Takes Flight Feast For The Eyes: 3 Cookbooks Just For Looking http://krwg.org/post/feast-eyes-3-cookbooks-just-looking I'm a cookbook reviewer, which means that every night I try recipes from far-flung cuisines or idiosyncratic food bloggers or test-kitchen perfectionists. I've always made a point of steering readers towards practical, thoughtful cookbooks that they'll use every week and hand down to their kids. But privately, there are some cookbooks I never cook from at all: frivolous books full of whimsical sugar art, devoid of nutritional value, and really, best eaten with your eyes. Sun, 23 Jun 2013 10:01:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 43925 at http://krwg.org Try A Do-It-Yourself Mother's Day http://krwg.org/post/try-do-it-yourself-mothers-day My mother didn't plant a great many spring bulbs. But over by the pachysandra patch, there was a single lovely pink tulip, and I kept my eye on it for two weeks before Mother's Day. When that Sunday morning arrived, I rushed out, snipped it and ran inside to where she lay sleeping to present it to her. "Did you pick that outside?" she inquired, her expression shifting from sleepy surprise to something more complicated. I nodded proudly. "Oh ... Wed, 08 May 2013 12:24:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 40702 at http://krwg.org Try A Do-It-Yourself Mother's Day Preserved Lemons: Older, Wiser And Full Of Flavor http://krwg.org/post/preserved-lemons-older-wiser-and-full-flavor On many occasions in my longtime relationship with cookbooks, I have had this experience (which will sound familiar, if you like Middle Eastern flavors as much as I do). I'm happily paging through my new Moroccan or Lebanese or Israeli book, lost in dreams of lamb and sumac, saffron and figs. "Mmmm," I murmur over a glossy page, "<em>that</em> looks delicious."<p>I trace my finger down the ingredients list. Shallots, check. Tomatoes, check. Cinnamon stick, check. And then there it is: <em>Preserved lemon</em>. "Drat," I think. Wed, 10 Apr 2013 06:11:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 38733 at http://krwg.org Preserved Lemons: Older, Wiser And Full Of Flavor In Praise Of The Humble Lentil http://krwg.org/post/praise-humble-lentil The year I discovered lentils, I was broke and lonely and didn't know how to cook. Lentils, it turned out, would have gone a long way toward providing the solution to some of these problems. However, when I first had them, they were a mystery.<p>They also were the cheapest thing on the menu at the Middle Eastern deli around the corner. The dish was <em>mudardara</em>, I was told. "What's that again?" I said, unable to untangle the knot of plosive consonants. Wed, 27 Feb 2013 06:54:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 35927 at http://krwg.org In Praise Of The Humble Lentil Understanding The Brussels Sprout http://krwg.org/post/understanding-brussels-sprout "What are <em>those</em>?" I asked my mom, suspiciously eyeing the little cardboard tub with its cellophane cover. It held a heap of pale, miniature cabbages. "They're Brussels sprouts," she said. "They're supposed to be good for you," she added, sealing my doom.<p>At dinnertime, the mystery vegetable reappeared, steaming hot and greenish-yellow but otherwise unaltered. It gave off a sulfurous stench. I recoiled, but I knew my job. Wed, 30 Jan 2013 06:47:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 34121 at http://krwg.org Understanding The Brussels Sprout Recipe Rebellion: A Year Of Contrarian Cookbooks http://krwg.org/post/recipe-rebellion-year-contrarian-cookbooks "Just throw the whole lemon in the food processor for lemon bars."<br />"Don't just soak your dried beans — brine them!" Tue, 04 Dec 2012 12:03:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 30793 at http://krwg.org Recipe Rebellion: A Year Of Contrarian Cookbooks The Hard-Boiled Truth About Egg Soups http://krwg.org/post/hard-boiled-truth-about-egg-soups The chicks arrived five months ago — eight gray, blond, black and tawny puffballs no bigger than the eggs they'd been hatched from a day earlier. They had a slavishly devoted audience within minutes and names within 24 hours. Wed, 31 Oct 2012 07:26:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 28826 at http://krwg.org The Hard-Boiled Truth About Egg Soups A Roll For All Seasons, Wrapped In Rice Paper http://krwg.org/post/roll-all-seasons-wrapped-rice-paper It all started several months ago, when I was fishing around for something not-too-unhealthy for lunch. Spring was over — the once-tender lettuces now milky-hearted and stiff-leaved — and I was bored with salad. I love sandwiches, but every time I gorged on bread I stepped a little heavier onto the scale. "If you're going to eat constantly," I said to myself, knowing that I would, "you simply can't afford to pack on that many carbs at a time."<p>It was at that point that I discovered rice paper, in the noodle section of my Asian grocer. Wed, 26 Sep 2012 11:42:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 26847 at http://krwg.org A Roll For All Seasons, Wrapped In Rice Paper Zucchini You Actually Can't Resist http://krwg.org/post/zucchini-you-actually-cant-resist "Ugh," my sister exclaimed one evening as we were making dinner. It was supposed to be an easy poached chicken with a ginger-scallion sauce, eaten with cold cucumber wedges, and we had just discovered that what we had bought at the store was not cucumber, but zucchini. It was an easy mistake to make — they were the precise same shade of green. But where the zucchini's skin was mostly smooth, the cucumber's was lumpy. We were not happy.<p>Let's consider, for a moment, the many faults of zucchini. Wed, 29 Aug 2012 11:43:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 25155 at http://krwg.org Zucchini You Actually Can't Resist Just Add Water: The Miracle Of Seaweed http://krwg.org/post/just-add-water-miracle-seaweed A while back, a craze hit my kids' school. It seemed as though everyone in the lunchroom was bringing in those little green packs of seaweed from Trader Joe's — roasted, salted nori, sometimes flavored with wasabi. (Most of these kids like yogurt and olives, too.) Granted, our town has an idiosyncratic population, and many of the parents are health-minded. It was the kids, though, who couldn't get enough of them.<p>I understood how they felt. When I was pregnant, for a while I wouldn't eat anything but cucumber rolls, and it wasn't about the cucumber. Tue, 17 Jul 2012 21:29:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 22353 at http://krwg.org Just Add Water: The Miracle Of Seaweed Just A Pinch Of Thought Brightens Fruit Salad http://krwg.org/post/just-pinch-thought-brightens-fruit-salad Around the time I was just old enough to know how to cook but still young enough to have some free time, I started throwing brunch parties. The menu was always the same. I would bake a braided challah or Belgian waffles or blueberry muffins or all three. (This was show-off food, since none of my other friends had yet developed an interest in baking.) I'd prepare some mimosas and strong coffee. Wed, 13 Jun 2012 04:28:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 20078 at http://krwg.org Just A Pinch Of Thought Brightens Fruit Salad Stand Back When Snapping Turtles Crop Up In The Garden http://krwg.org/post/stand-back-when-snapping-turtles-crop-garden Late spring in a New England vegetable garden is usually a time for the last asparagus, the crisp lettuce and arugula, the first pea shoots, and the first sprouting of warm-weather crops like peppers and zucchini. What you don't expect to see planted in your beds are <a href="http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/snappers.htm">snapping turtles</a>.<strong> </strong> But that's just what turned up in mine twice this week.<p>I was talking in my garden with a friend when I noticed what looked like a large leather satchel tossed in the strawberry bed. Fri, 25 May 2012 15:59:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 18947 at http://krwg.org Stand Back When Snapping Turtles Crop Up In The Garden Plant Eater's Paradise: 2012's Best Summer Cookbooks http://krwg.org/post/plant-eaters-paradise-2012s-best-summer-cookbooks This summer, cookbooks are going for the low-hanging fruit. And the low-growing vegetables, the high-hanging nutmeats, and the free-standing grains. Out of orchards, farms and gardens, food you don't have to chase or butcher is taking center stage in some of the season's best recipes.<p>Summer is, after all, so often a time of accidental vegetarianism. It's when even carnivorous folk (myself among them) are seduced by fields and farm stands, lured in by lettuce and tempted by tomatoes. We don't necessarily set out to go meatless. Wed, 23 May 2012 12:43:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 18758 at http://krwg.org Plant Eater's Paradise: 2012's Best Summer Cookbooks Overnight Breakfast: A Feast For Reluctant Risers http://krwg.org/post/overnight-breakfast-feast-reluctant-risers I've never been much good at mornings. For most of my life, I prided myself on being a night owl, the type of gal who could always handle one more thing after midnight — another phone call, a few more pages of a novel, a last turn on the dance floor. For years, I even showered at night. And if, in the morning, I couldn't produce a civil word before my first sip of coffee, well, that was a small price to pay.<p>The other price was breakfast. Tue, 24 Apr 2012 22:44:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 16886 at http://krwg.org Overnight Breakfast: A Feast For Reluctant Risers