Jun 102013
Braised Peanut Curry Chicken with Thai Gremolata

I used to make my Thai curry paste from scratch; it was an afternoon-long affair, (longer, if you count the time I spent running down all the ingredients), but I was smug in my commitment to authentic flavor. I had learned to make green, red, and Panang curry pastes at the Somphet Thai Cookery School in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from the wonderful chef who runs the school out of a six-station kitchen attached to her home. She was adamant that using a food processor ruined the taste and soul of the curry paste, and that it must be done with […]

Mar 252013
Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenders with Honey Butter-Glazed Spring Vegetables over Goat Cheese Polenta

  Turning out a crunchy and delicious fried chicken tender is easier than popular mythology would have you believe. The chicken tender is a small, oblong piece of white meat connected to each breast, which is usually separated during the butchering process– almost like a breast in miniature. These 4-6 inch long, thin, boneless pieces will fry up quickly in the pan, and you’ll get a favorable ratio of crispy batter to meat, if you’re into that sort of thing– and who isn’t? Here’s what you do: marinate 12 chicken tenders in a mixture of buttermilk and your favorite hot […]

Jul 082012
Working With Dried Chiles; Making Chile Colorado

  Dishes derived from Mexican and Southwestern US culinary traditions have a special place in my heart; I grew up on them, and when I’m apart from these foods while traveling, I crave them. One of the primary keys to these cuisines are the variety of sauces that underpin the traditional dishes.  Nail these sauces, and authentic flavors will burst from your kitchen. So let’s talk about a red chile sauce, known as chile colorado. Making dried red chiles into a delicious sauce is easier than it might have appeared to you previously, if you ever peered dubiously into a […]

Feb 062012
The Many Faces of Paprika

Paprika adds more than a red tone or generic “hot” flavor to your dishes; it lends a variety of flavors based on the type you choose.  This spice derived from ground, dried red peppers can range from sweet to spicy to smoky, subtle to intense. California produces paprika, although it has long been produced (and is a hallmark of) the cuisines of European countries such as Spain and Hungary. Hungarian paprika is typically sold as sweet or hot; and is used in traditional dishes such as goulash and paprikash. Spain, too, is a big producer of paprika.  In this country, […]

Dec 052011
Steak Au Poivre Du Diable

I developed this recipe as a submission to a Food52 contest, the theme of which was “Your best dish you (intentionally) set on fire.” When I think of foods intentionally set on fire, classical Steak Au Poivre springs to mind.  I came up with a riff on that stalwart French dish, and took it through the pantry of Puebla, Mexico… all the better to include the darkest and most devilish ingredients suitable for a dance in the flames. I held on to the technique, as well as the key elements (peppercorns, cognac, cream, and butter), but added a molé-reminiscent list of […]