This will be an ever-updating post, lasting as long as we need it to. It's created with the belief that we must continue to find ways to nourish each other. You can turn here when you need a recipe by your favorite poet, or maybe by an artist you don't know. "A Centre in a Table" is named after a line in Gertrude Stein's poem "Food", from Tender Buttons. Thanks for being here, sign up here to receive the occasional update.
2 32oz containers of plain whole milk Greek yoghurt (anything less than whole
is much too watery)
2 medium sized but fat cucumbers
At LEAST an entire bulb of garlic, if not 2
Salt to taste (my taste tends to be more Dead Sea than brackish)
A bundle of dill
splash of olive oil
splash of lemon juice
Prep time: I dunno, half an hour? I’m slow, though.
Serves a whole party, or one person.
Place a mesh strainer atop an appropriately sized pot. Skin the cucumbers, careful not to cut away too much flesh. Over the strainer, grate the cucumber on each side down to but not including the mushy, seedy center. Salt the grated cucumber liberally; let sit for about 20 minutes or until you’re finished with everything else. Stir finely chopped garlic (I’m serious, a lot of it), finely chopped dill, yoghurt, salt, and pepper vigorously together.
Taking the cucumber in your hands, squeeze out as much liquid as you can through the strainer. When you’ve dehydrated the cucumber as much as possible, add it to the yoghurt. Stir until evenly distributed. Add olive oil and lemon juice (just a little!).
Ideally, let the tzatziki sit in the fridge overnight. The longer it sits in the fridge the more the garlic starts to really blend with the yoghurt and become truly delightful—the garlic loses a bit of intensity.
Serve with sliced raw veggies and pita bread, lightly salted and lightly toasted in a skillet in olive oil on both sides, then cut into triangles. If you want a real feast and you know how to cook anything else (I do not), include other Greek mezethes: olives, feta, dolmathakia, grilled octopus, taramasalata et cetera. If you drink alcohol, pair with an ouzo or raki.
Or just shovel the tzatziki directly into your facehole with a large spoon, like I do.
Subtle Sweet Potato Dessert
This recipe attempts to recreate a dessert we shared at Kururu Natural Cafe in Nara, Japan. The dish’s simplicity is both surprising and grounding. Making and eating it can lighten one’s mood and inspire a little calm.
Quarter a medium-sized japanese yam and steam. Once soft and tender, place pieces in a dish over a thin layer of honey or agave, with a flesh side down so that the yam can soak up the sweet stuff. Put in the refrigerator to chill.
Make a sauce with a few tablespoons of yogurt and maple syrup to taste. Water it down just a bit for a nice consistency. Put in the refrigerator to chill.
When ready, serve on a plate, perhaps with a little more honey/agave. Drizzle sauce lightly on the yam for visual presentation. Bring the remaining sauce to the table and let everyone spoon it on themselves.
I am from the Midwest. I often forget this until I encounter certain foods. Sometimes, but not always, these foods can be found in gas station convenience stores. Shitty trail mix with M&M’s in it (my favorite), OG candy bars (Twix), sour cream and onion chips of any kind, maybe just Lays, pickles in plastic packaging by the cashier, random pints of ice cream, and yes, Pop. I’m trying not to generalize here; many people grew up in the Midwest eating very healthy, but I think I’m not wrong in saying these things were around. Other reminders in the world include: corn on the cob, casseroles with crumbled potato chips on top, bratwurst, curly fries, “salads” with a mayonnaise base, sloppy Joes, ranch dressing, grilled cheese (favorite thing), root beer, and in general anything bland with a slightly savory, high-caloric flare, like biscuits and gravy.
During quarantine I made a banana bread like many of you, but I also got back into biscuits. They’re so good because they require few ingredients and you get to knead! Which is amazing. Here are the basics:
2 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup cold butter
1 cup cold buttermilk
however much honey you want
Preheat oven to 425F.
Put flour, baking power and salt together in a bowl. Whisk or just mix. You might want to put it all into a food processor – cube the butter and add it and pulse several times. I’ve also just added the cubes directly to the bowl and kneaded it until it’s crumbly (I prefer this!). I’ve also done something weird, which is melt the butter and do the same kneading thing, with non-cold butter. This makes knob-like biscuits which I actually love, but you may want to make more symmetrical, flakier ones (and it’s true cold butter makes a crisper consistency), in which case you can do this:
If the dough is in a food processor, put it in a wooden bowl. Then make a center in the middle of the mixture and pour the buttermilk in. Also pour the honey in. Tbh I don’t always use honey, and I just put it on at the end with tons of butter, but up to you. The dough should still be crumby once you stir and knead it all together. Add thyme and black pepper! No set out amount, but I add a lot, especially thyme. It goes well with honey and the black pepper goes well with the butter.
Now turn the dough onto a floured work surface and mold it into a rough rectangle with your hands. Take turns folding the sides into the center, pausing to turn the dough so it’s long horizontally, then flatten and repeat. You can do this like three times.
Then, you can either roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it’s about ¾ inches thick or just shape the dough yourself. Cut or shape into 3-inch circles or shape dough into 9-10 biscuits. You can brush buttermilk on top if you want! Arrange into a cast iron skillet or parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake – not touching – for 15 minutes. Take out and eat immediately with a lot of butter. I promise they are very good :)
Szechuan Fish with Pickled Mustard Greens
- 1 pack pickled mustard greens—about a cup, cut into pieces
- 3-4 fillet of a white fish (I prefer tilapia) or a whole fish if you’re ambitious!
- white pepper powder
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 3-4 dried red chili peppers, cracked open
- around a cup of sliced yellow onion
- box of vegetable or chicken stock [can also use water]
- 1 can of bamboo shoots or whole bamboo
- green onion or cilantro for garnish
- white rice
1. Make a pot of white rice (I prefer short grain).
2. Chop fish fillets into large pieces and lightly salt.
3. In a medium-to-large pot, heat garlic, onion, ginger, and dried peppers in sesame oil for 2
minutes. Add a pinch of salt.
4. Add stock or water, around 2L or more—enough to generously cover the fish. Option here to
add dried/fresh shitake mushrooms, especially if using water instead of stock.
Simmer for 10-20 minutes.
5. Add a handful of the pickled mustard greens and bamboo. Simmer for another 5 minutes. White
pepper powder and salt to taste (keep in mind that the mustard greens are quite salty).
6. Add fish fillets and the rest of the pickled mustard greens. Allow fish to poach in broth until just
tender, usually no longer than 5 minutes.
7. Ladle fish, broth, bamboo, onions, mustard greens over a bowl of rice. Garnish with green
onion, (lots of) cilantro, and more white pepper powder. Pairs well with sake. :)
1. Parboil 4 large artichokes. Allow to cool.
2. In a large pot, saute aromatics (garlic, onion, chopped artichoke stem, crushed red pepper, maybe chopped fennel) in some butter and olive oil.
3. Add several cups of good bread crumbs (and salt & pepper to taste) and some grated parmesan cheese. Stir until browned. Turn off the heat.
4. Prepare the artichokes - cut the tops off, cut the sharp points of all the outer leaves, use a spoon to scoop out the choke from inside.
5. Stuff the artichokes with the breadcrumb mixture. Use a spoon to scoop the stuffing into the center of the artichoke and behind all the leaves.
6. Steam the stuffed artichokes. Place them standing up in the large pot used earlier. Fill the pot with a half-inch or so of water and cover the pot. Allow to steam for almost an hour.
7. Place the cooked artichokes on a baking pan, sprinkle generously with grated parmesan and put under the broiler for a few minutes, until the tops brown.
Enjoy! Peel off the leaves and scrape out the stuffing with your teeth. They are the most delicious mess.
can be vegan or not, based on stock choice
2 c. lentils
4-6 c. chicken or veggie stock
1 T. oil
small white or yellow onion
Alright, first of all you are saving your food scraps for homemade stock, right? I usually have 6-8 c. of homemade stock in my freezer. At $3 for about 2 cups off the shelf, think of the savings! Better Than Bouillon is also good stuff, but it really feels like a victory to make something out of trash. Plus, homemade stock tastes better than store bought. Squeeze one more use out of your scraps before you turn it into compost, if you're lucky enough to have the space or a good program where you live.
Ok, so we thaw out some stock. Often it's pretty dense, so I usually do about 2/3 stock and 1/3 water. It's ready to go. Combine your lentils and stock in a pot, and cook on low for 20-30min.
While that's going on, whirl your onion and jalapeño in a food processor, or chop real small if you don't have one. Give your carrots a rough chop so they're about the size of a 10mg pill. Heat your oil in a pan, add your curry spices (this means turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, chili powder, and can mean more items than that. or a jar that says curry spice. I like food to be different every time so I toss a few things together.). When it smells nice, add your onion. When that looks wet, add your jalapeño and then your carrots. This should take about 20-30min starting from your chopping, so by now you're ready to combine with the lentils.
So go ahead! I like to use an immersion blender and partly blend it to be smoother. You can use a regular blender, but it's more dangerous because you're pouring hot stuff and that's a little scary. My notes say optional can of coconut milk to be creamier, but I don't know if I've ever done this.
If you want to freeze for later or feed a kingdom, use a whole bag (16oz by weight) of lentils and increase everything else to your liking.
ENJOY AND BE NOURISHED
Low Country Boil
When my grandfather Pop was alive, he, my dad, and my uncles would go out on the May River in the dinghy we’d nicknamed "The Bateau" to pull up crab traps. I remember running down to the dock with my cousins to watch them haul them onto dry land. When Pop tossed the still-living animals into scalding hot boiling water, I’d hide behind the kitchen door frame, staring in awe and terror, trying to imagine what it felt like to be those crabs.
The lowcountry boil is said to have originated on St. Helena's Island, one of the South Carolina Sea Islands home to the Gullah. Since the late 20th century, the Gullah people have been fighting to keep their culture, language, and heritage alive, despite the ever-increasing presence of resorts, real estate, and vacation properties, mostly catered to white people, which threaten to push them off land they've owned since Emancipation.
- 2 lbs shrimp
- 2 lbs crab
- 4 lbs red potatoes
- 3 Vidalia onions
- 6 ears sweet corn, halved
- Seasoning: mustard seed, allspice, coriander seeds, cloves, ginger, red pepper flakes,
bay leaf, celery leaf, dried chives, oregano. The lowcountry boil is traditionally less spicy
than its Louisiana cousin.
- Giant stockpot
- Crab claw crackers, if you have them. If you don't, the blunt, heavy end of a fork
or knife should do.
Instructions 1. Fill pot halfway up with seasoned water and boil.
2. Add potatoes. Boil for five minutes or so.
3. Add onions. Let those cook for fifteen minutes with the potatoes.
4. Add corn and crabs for an additional fifteen to twenty minutes.
5. Finally, add shrimp for three minutes or so.
6. Drain through colander and dump onto newspaper-covered table.
7. Enjoy with your hands.
In the summer what I want to eat is whatever I don’t have to cook. I like a roll because it is forgiving, tactile, substantive, flexible, portable, and cold, and because it is neither salad (masochistic) nor juice (I love though not really food). Also roll is an excellent vessel for peanut sauce. I have sought to make a perfect peanut sauce for ten years after eating it with great dedication and admiration weekly at a favorite restaurant that eventually closed. Recently I found a secret to peanut sauce is almonds.
Rice paper wrappers
Rice vermicelli Vegetables – I like carrots, cucumbers, celery, radishes,
scallions, red peppers
Leafy green – I think we could all love escarole more
Herbs – basil, cilantro, mint, shiso is a star
Peanut Almond Sauce
6 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp lime juice
Grated ginger + some of the brine from a jar of pickled ginger
Hot water enough to make it saucy
Sauce is easy, mix it. Actually rolls are easy too. First everything for a long time is chopping into sticks of roughly equal proportion. You can arrange these into little dishes for the pleasure of achievement. Vermicelli goes in boiling water then cold water. Now the business is you dip each rice paper wrapper into hot water, just 5-10 seconds and it becomes membranous. I put a thin plastic cutting board on top of a wooden board, and then the wrapper on top of that so that I have a lip to pull from. You want to put your bundle of vegetable sticks between leafy options. Less of course is more. You cannot make a roll with fear! Or too much will. But if holes – fine. These make perfectly good bowls.
Zucchini Bread (2 loaves)
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini, well drained
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans)
1. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in oil, sugar, zucchini, and vanilla.
2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt onto wax paper. Stir into egg mixture until well blended. Stir in raisins and nuts. Spoon batter into 2 well greased 8x5x3 inch loaf pans.
3. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until center springs back when lightly touched with fingertip. Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.
Coconut Milk Chili Stew
A favorite recipe of mine is actually my mother's, so I will let her describe how she makes it:
First, make a pot of rice. I sautéed thyme in olive oil before adding the rice. Coated the rice and toasted it a bit before adding the water.
2 med sweet potatoes
1 large red onion
½ red bell pepper
1 summer squash
1 lb extra firm tofu
2 handfuls of green pea pods with the strings pulled out
½ bunch of cilantro
2 cans of coconut milk
3 cups of vegetarian broth ( I made it with “better than bouillon”)
About 3 Tbs olive oil for sautéing
1 heaping teaspoon of red hot chili paste
Cube all of the first 6 ingredients. On medium-low heat in a soup pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil until it gets a little bit soft. Add the bell pepper. Stir it up and keep cooking. Meanwhile, mix the chili paste with the back of a fork or small whisk with the bouillon in a measuring cup with 1 cup of water. Add the tofu to the pot and try to coat it with the oniony oil. Add a little more oil if it’s sticking. Add all other cubed vegetables. Add the coconut milk. Judge whether or not to add one or two more cups of vegetable broth so that the vegetables are covered. Cook for about 20 minutes on low heat. At the end, add the pea pods. Stir it all up. Test a cube of potato. If you can put a fork through it easily, it’s done! Serve over the rice with chopped cilantro as a garnish. Faint from happiness!
eggs and tomatoes
I have eaten this more days than not over the past two years, and converted everyone I’ve shared a kitchen with into fellow devotees. It's equally delightful as breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and although there are many ways to modify the recipe I more often than not prefer it in its barest, most essential form:
1. Sauté roughly chopped tomatoes over high heat in a drizzle of olive oil until the tomatoes begin to lose their shape. Use the ripest tomatoes you can find, which might be from a neighbor's garden, though any tomato will do, including whole peeled tomatoes from a can.
2. When the tomatoes are cooked and bubbling, crack 3-6 eggs on top of the tomatoes and cover with a lid over medium heat until the eggs are cooked to your liking. I like the yolks as runny as my companions will permit.
3. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with fresh naan, pita, a loaf of crusty bread, or toast. Also goes well over warmed-up rice.
1. Add 1 chopped jalapeno or other hot pepper to the pan along with the tomatoes.
2. Sauté an onion and/or garlic before adding the tomatoes.
3. Add curry, turmeric, cumin, or spice blend (berbere seasoning is excellent, as is garam masala).
4. Add spices, and coconut milk, half-and-half or heavy whipping cream for an intensely rich,
intensely quick curry.
5. Before adding the eggs, add 1/2 can of tuna to the tomatoes.
6. After adding the eggs, add slices of mozzarella.
7. When the tomatoes are hot, add farfalle or any other pasta and cook for an additional 5-10
minutes until the pasta is al dente, and then add the eggs (this is sort of like a quick lasagna,
especially if you add the cheese, and obviates the need for bread).
juniper peppermint tisane
-fresh mint (2 tablespoons or so, packed)
-10-15 Juniper berries (found in the spice section at many grocery stores)
-3 cups water
-lemon zest (optional)
Crush/pound the mint and juniper berries with mortar and pestle. Do this for a minute or two then
transfer to a teapot or heat-safe vessel.
Pour 3 cups of hot water over crushed leaves and berries. Add a bit of lemon zest if you desire brightness.
Give it a stir.
Wait 7-10 minutes. Sit, plant your feet on the floor, close your eyes, breathe for a bit.
Pour some tisane through a strainer into a cup, and let the rest continue infusing. Or, strain all of it at
Can also be served over ice.
One of my first food memories came from my mother’s boyfriend - an excellent self-taught chef from Louisiana. He served up Squirrel gumbo with a fat wedge of savory, crumbly cornbread.
Cornbread bends to your will. There is no correct way to make it. But I suggest you use it to sop up. I’ll spare the drama of the sweet vs savory, dry vs moist, - mostly mythical - debate on cornbread in the American South. But here is an easy, familiar recipe I always fall back on. This one is of the sweeter, moist variety.
1 box of Jiffy cornbread mix (you can make your own with cornmeal, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar but I find the jiffy consistent and comforting)
1 large egg
¼ cup milk
Roughly 2 heaping tablespoons of sour cream
Crystal hot sauce – just use your intuition. No Crystal? Reach for a vinegary pepper sauce.
Optional: handful of roughly chopped pickled jalapeños
Preheat oven to 400
In a small bowl, whisk together milk and sour cream
In a larger mixing bowl, combine jiffy, milk/sour cream, and egg with a wooden spoon. Some lumps are okay.
Feel out your hot sauce. Add jalapeños if you have chosen to do so.
Let the mix rest a few minutes and give it one final stir. Pour the mix into a buttered pan. I use a 9 in. cake round, but the choice is yours. Bake 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.
This is a recipe for a regular salad. If you follow this recipe you should end up with something that, I was told, looks like you bought it at the Chili’s express airport to-go kiosk. You might think, Alicia, I don’t want to eat that. I get it. But sometimes you need all the vegetables, and you want it to look familiar and taste familiar and things are bad, but they aren’t that bad, but they’re still pretty bad. When I’m depressed, the people who love me tell me to eat a green vegetable. This salad is kinda green, it’s a lot of vegetables, some of them are different colors. No matter the color, there’s a way in which it will always be a pale salad. But make it the way you like it so you think it tastes good. Substitute what you have for what you don’t.
a kind of lettuce that you like
a bunch of vegetables (I use carrots, shredded beets, celery, onion/shallot/leeks, cucumbers,
radishes) a cheese (if you do cheese)
a nut or seed (if you do those)
a fruit (like apple, dried apricots, dried cherry/cranberry, pear)
a vegetarian chicken-like product (if you’re me. i’m into veggie chicken nuggs or veggie breaded
a dressing you like
1) if you’re going for a chicken element, start cooking that on the stove
2) wash the green and vegetables
3) cut it up
4) flip your chick
5) put the lettuce on the plate, put the veggies on it
6) get a little dressing on there
7) is your fake meat done? cool. cut it up.
8) cut up your cheese and nuts and fruit, put half on top along with the chicken
9) put a little more dressing on.
10) add the rest of the fruit and nuts so it looks appetizing.
Tell someone who loves you that you ate a salad.
Carrot Salad with variations and a hidden dish
3 tablespoons of olive oil with
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
(balsamic vinegar complements the sweet taste of the carrots but apple cider
vinegar lets the carrots retain their bright orange color.)
1 teaspoon of dijon mustard (or any unsweetened mustard)
some finely grated fresh ginger (important)
add some salt.
if you are in the mood add some finely chopped garlic but I recommend trying the
salad without garlic first.
grate 3 small to medium sized carrots, either finely or a combination of finely and
chop up some cilantro. you can also use parsley or dill.
lately I’ve been adding little cubes of cucumber. this adds crunch to it and goes
really well with cilantro.
mix it all up and grind fresh black pepper on top
for a while I had carrot salad every morning with my eggs. it’s a good breakfast dish especially in combination with zucchini frittata which you make by finely grating a small zucchini and pressing out the water with your hands (you can drink that water, but it tastes weird), mixing it with 2 eggs, salt, pepper, and cumin! (whole seeds or ground) and frying it in butter or coconut oil. when it’s browned on one side cut it onto quarters and flip each quarter separately. have a fun geometry moment when you try to flip them in a way that you still have a circle after flipping all four! the moist carrot salad and the fluffy zucchini frittata go together extremely well.
Stuffed Squash Blossoms
The first time I encountered the word cucurbit, there was a genie in it. Was that in A Thousand and One Nights? That kind of cucurbit is part of an alembic, a comfortable, curved place for a genie. I am, as I type this, growing several cucurbits — two kinds of melons (silverline and Minnesota midget), three kinds of cukes (Minime F1, Armenian, and an unknown that has grown about 12’ tall), as well as Costata Romenesco zukes. I grow the Costatas not for the zucchini (which I do like) but for the flower. The only genie I have encountered in these cucurbits are bees, and that was pretty exciting. The flowers are best picked the morning they open; they close later in the day and are harder to stuff. One late morning a few years ago, I brought my flowers in and put them under gently running water only to have two bees come stumbling out. It seemed that bees were being trapped in the flowers each night. Ah, how little I knew about bees! It turns out these were ground bees — a solitary, native bee, that lives in the ground and sometimes finds a perfect trysting place with another ground bee, in a squash flower. So, I learned to leave some flowers for amorous bees. If you can’t grow your own cucurbits (Costatas produce big flowers), you can sometimes find squash flowers at farmer’s markets. The Greeks like to stuff them with seasoned rice and simmer them (κολοκύθανθοι γεμιστοί), served with avgolemono or tzatiziki, and I’ve had them in quesadillas in Mexico. My daughter has loved these since she was little, probably because I stuff them with cheese. We do all kinds of combinations for the cheese filling, but just straight goat’s cheese is delicious.
Batter: water, coarse salt, flour. This is really by eye and by trial and error. The batter shouldn’t be too thick or too thin. Some recipes call for seltzer water, but I don’t think that adds much.
Filling: any combination of goat cheese, ricotta, basil, etc. Experiment to find your favorite combo, just as you do with strings of words.
Carefully stuff each flower with a bit of cheese. Close up the flower end around it (I gently twist it). Dip in batter, and fry in a shallow layer of olive oil until golden on each side. (Make sure olive oil is hot before you put the stuffed flower in.) I find it helpful to keep the stem fairly long when I’m picking the flowers, so that I can use that as a little handle while cooking.
black-eyed peas with bacon (for Isaac)
My five-year old son is a picky eater. He likes complex flavors (will eat a curry but not a burger, red pepper but not cheese). He will also eat almost any kind of bean. This is a recipe for black-eyed peas that he calls "bacon beans." Black-eyed peas are sacred in the cooking of Southern black people. My grandmother grew a variety known as "purple hulled peas" in Scott County, Mississippi, the flavor of which cannot be replicated as far as I know. Any canned or dry black-eyed pea will work. Not for the calorie conscious, but this is rich and delicious, can be served over any kind of rice, with an egg on top, or with a side of sauteed greens.
3 slices of thick cut (preferably uncured) bacon (diced into 1/2 in squares)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 can or about
2 cups of fresh black-eyed peas*
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
Using a heavy stock pot or dutch oven, cook bacon over medium high heat until crispy (careful not to burn). Pour off all but about a teaspoon of the bacon fat. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the onions and olive oil, cooking the onions with the bacon until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, cinnamon and tomato paste and cook another 3 minutes, stirring frequently. You'll have a paste that is in danger of burning. To this, add the black-eyed peas, salt, pepper, brown sugar and water. Bring to a boil and then barely simmer until a thick gravy starts to form. You might have to add a more water, like a 1/4 cup at a time to get it to the consistency you want. Should take 20 minutes for canned beans to cook down, less for dried.
*dried black eyed peas should be pre-cooked!
rinse and pick through about 1/2 pound of dried peas. cover with 4 cups of water or so that all the peas are covered by about 2 inches of water. bring to a boil, then remove from heat and soak 1-2 hours. drain and cover with 5-6 cups of fresh water. bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook until tender but not mushy (about an hour)
Korean Okra Kimchi
I love kimchi and I love okra, so I decided to try out an okra kimchi. This is enough for 2 16oz jars.
8 cloves garlic
1 small yellow onion
3 stalks scallions
8 stalks Asian chives (optional)
1 inch knob fresh ginger (optional)
1 Tbsp sea salt
1-2 Tbsp Korean red pepper flakes (or more if you wanna get wild and hot!)
1 Tbsp Korean salted fermented shrimp **
half cup, consistency like a runny yogurt
3 tsp fish sauce (optional)
1 Tbsp refined sugar
** Can’t find salted fermented shrimp? Make a paste from 1 cup water simmered with approx. 2 Tbsp sweet rice flour [you can substitute wheat flour if you don’t have sweet rice flour] to make a paste—should yield about a quarter to half cup, which will be plenty for this. If you’re using this paste and not the salted shrimp, you’ll need to add sea salt to your kimchi paste til its salty—if it’s not salted enough it might not pickle and just rot. Salt level should be enjoyable, like your kimchi!
Btw all measurements are estimates. Mix things til they taste good for you.
Rinse the okra well and let it sit in cold water with sea salt for an hour, then rinse and let dry
CHOP the garlic, ginger, scallions, and chives into small julienned size pieces
SLICE the onion thinly into strips
MIX all these ingredients with the salted shrimp (or flour paste), fish sauce, and
sugar til you have a thick fragrant kimchi paste
CUT the okra in half, toss with this kimchi paste and mix well, making sure all
surfaces of the okra are well covered
STORE in a SEALED GLASS container on your kitchen counter for 2-3 days. Pack it in! Press that okra down hard and try to eliminate spaces/gaps in the container. Turn it over a few times each morning and burp it (fermentation will release gas). After 2-3 days you can put it in your fridge to stop the pickling process. You can keep it out longer if you want them to be very sharp, but I don’t recommend going past 4 days, otherwise you’ll start to get a weird spicy okra beer slop that won’t be yummy.
Baked Mackerel with Herbs for Two (adapted from Anissa Helou’s Mediterranean Street Food)
2 mackerel (rubbed with salt if you like)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1½ lemons
4 cloves finely chopped garlic
Several leaves of fresh oregano, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350, place fish in baking pan just large enough to easily hold them, mix all other ingredients and pour over fish. Cook for 15-18 minutes.
Serve over baby arugula, drizzled in cooking juices, s&p, etc. Goes nicely with roasted potatoes and veggies, which you can place in the oven 20-35 minutes before the fish goes in, depending how well done you like them.
Recipe is forgiving and easily adapted to serve more people, play with different herbs and seasonings, etc. The only important thing is not to overcook fish.
Weird / Everything Rice II Adventure Geaux Sinangag
• rice (pref: long grain jasmine, old but not bad, & cold frm the fridge)
• garlic cloves (I use 7 or 10, but use as many as you like || as many as you can
stand, crushed, minced, chopped, thinly sliced—however u like && using sliced
fried garlic as garnish if you want)
• oil (drizzle)
• soy sauce
• mirin || sugar cane vinegar || coconut vinegar || vinegar
1. heat oil in pan: medium-high heat. fry the thin garlic slicies until golden brown
&& set aside for garnish.
2. lower heat to medium, add minced (or w/e) garlics, stirring 2 prevent burn 4 1
min until smells nice && cute—then add rice, breaking up clumps and
letting a lil crisp happen. Season w/ salt &&|| soy sauce (a glug glug), mirin ||
vinegar (sloosh). (black pepper for always) (even smoked paprika?)) You can
serve & eat immediately but also go on diff xxadventures such as:
a.) fry an egg(s)(s)(s) in hot oil until lovely deep crisp lacey edges occur but is
still runny on top mmmm
b.) hit w/ fresh dill or another tender herb (or tough herb).
c.) leftover beans. (roasted chickpeas—curried? even better) any leftover
proteins, rly. gotta loose hotdog? chop it up & do it!
d.) w/e pickles are around for some brightness—I like pickled Fresno peppers
&&|| radishes &&|| carrots
e.) quickly sauté some kale or frozen veg are delightful. nice!
f.) once when xxsad, I topped w/ a can of tuna. Good quality ( || not, w/e)
sardines or herring are much better than that.
Yogurt Sauce (and Yogurt Soup)
I like to make yogurt sauce because it is almost infinitely adjustable using different spices, herbs or vegetables to add protein and probiotics to just about everything (but especially rice and especially leftover rice). So here are some of my favorite combinations:
Mix yogurt with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and a dash of salt, spoon over cooked rice. Add a handful of mango chunks (can be frozen, especially if you're 12).
Mix yogurt with turmeric, salt and mustard seeds, add to cooked rice with whatever chutneys or pickles you currently have in the fridge (I have cilantro chutney and green mango chutney).
Mix yogurt with olive oil and za'atar (or fresh dill, finely chopped, if you have it), spoon over sliced lightly salted cucumbers with some good bread on the side. Or spoon over fish (baked or panfried). Roasted cauliflower is also delicious with yogurt sauce and some tahini.
Dice cucumbers finely and mix into yogurt with olive oil and za'atar; serve with pita, humus, olives, feta cheese, other mezze.
Yogurt sauce can also easily be turned into yogurt soup! Dilute yogurt with water, add cucumbers, a touch of garlic (I'm of the wave-the-garlic-gently-over-the-bowl school myself), salt, some chopped parsley on top. Sumac, if you have it, is also very pretty on the top. Or cilantro. Or dill. Or oregano. Whatever you have on hand.
As a lagniappe, I'm going to throw in my recipe for mustard vinaigrette: about a tablespoon of mustard, two tablespoons of olive oil, one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (these measurements are all approximate--adjust to how much acidity and bite you like in your vinaigrette). Some black pepper. Whisk briskly with a fork until emulsified. Excellent with freshly foraged dandelion leaves, one hard-boiled egg and anchovy filets.
Cooking by Number: Pot Roast
Written in 1988 for The Sun & Moon Guide to Eating through Literature and Art, ed. Douglas Messerli (Los Angeles,1994). Excerpt.
Why not get a whole brisket cut into two first cuts and one beef stew? I like the second cut but I get complaints at home about it – and if you push that sort of thing all you end up with is ulcers. I recommend using an apron whenever you step into the kitchen – and I mean a full length one, which I think of as being something like those long-riders coats you see in the Westerns, only with brighter colors. Because the flour that you pour on the beef is bound to get all over you and the floor and the table – no way around it. Before I "flower" the meat, though, I usually put slivers of garlic under the fat and in the cracks. And I peel some onions, cut them in half, stick some cloves in. The flowered meat needs to be browned on all sides – and there's nothing wrong with doing that in a little olive oil. I use a big cast iron pan for the cooking. After browning, I fill up the pan with half wine and half water, up to the level of beef: too much liquid dries the thing out, too little and you've got nothing to pour on your rice for the next few days. (This last is an issue of almost Talmudic complexity but I don't have the space to adequately address it here.) I toss the onions in, season with pepper, a tiny drop of salt, fresh parsley and dill, and oregano (yes that is odd but then there is very little else original about this recipe). After a while – you be the judge – I throw in some cut-up celery, carrots, maybe mushrooms. The whole thing needs to cook for at least two hours at a low simmer. It's even better the next day.
Kyuuri no Shiomomi, or Shiomomi for short, or Salt-massaged Cucumber
1. Slice cucumber into rounds, as thinly as possible.
2. Place in bowl, add about 1tsp of salt per cucumber.
3. Massage the salt into cucumber, about one minute. Let sit a few minutes.
4. Squeeze. Drain liquids.
5. Serve. Watch the kids fight over it.
ReciPJ's Big Apple Squares
350 degrees*, 45 mins
1 stick butter or 1/2 c margarine
1 c sugar, sifted
1 egg, well beaten
2 large apples, pared & chopped (or 3 small apples)
1 c flour sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1. Mix apples w/ a little sugar & cinnamon
2. Cream together margarine, sugar & eggs
3. Add dry ingredients all together to mixture
4. Pour on pan & sprinkle additional sugar & cinnamon
* cover in foil for a gooey batch
I fucking, fucking love sourdough pancakes. The texture is strange but appealing, somewhere between a bread’s cottony crumb and a cake-like fluff. They’re almost a shortcut to enjoying the pleasures of a really good doughnut: think sweet, tangy, fried bread.
You’ll need an active sourdough starter, and beyond that they’re pretty hard to fuck up.
I begin by pouring off the excess from my sourdough starter—the 100 grams or so that would’ve just gone down the drain otherwise. Weigh the excess, feed it with equivalent weights of flour and water and leave to ferment, you know, 4-6 hours at room temperature, until it’s very bubbly and full of air. Add 1C milk of your choice (I use oat), 2 tbsp sugar, 1tbsp neutral oil, ½ tsp kosher salt, and an egg or equivalent vegan egg replacement (I use a tablespoon of ground hemp hearts), then just enough flour till it forms a loose drop batter. (If you leave out the “egg,” the texture will be much more like a batter bread; when you eat it it’ll almost tear apart. If you put it in, you’re getting closer to traditional pancake territory. I forgot it last week and probably liked them even better.) Leave to ferment overnight, up to 24 hours, out at room temp.
When you’re ready to cook the batter, add 1½ tsp baking powder; if you want a little more leavening, you can also add ½ tsp baking soda. You do need a chemical leavener, cause the yeast in the sourdough won’t be able all on its own to give the batter the rise it needs for heat to penetrate and for the batter to cook through. Heat a neutral oil in a nonstick pan on medium heat until a flick of water spatters just a bit, then ladle about 1/3C of the mixture into the pan at a time. Cook for 2-3 minutes a side, depending on the heat in your pan; using a spatula, check the bottom regularly for browning. While you’re cooking pancakes, have a plate with a clean dish towel set to one side of the stove; as pancakes finish, you can set them in a stack wrapped in the towel, and they won’t lose heat till you’re done.
Carbonated Cognac Comfort
I am a huge fan of bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana. This recipe is his Southern Comfort with a couple changes for my pallet, which favors cognac over bourbon. This drink is made in a soda siphon, but can be adjusted for a non-carbonated drink. This makes several generous glasses.
8 ounces Cognac (I prefer Pierre Ferrand 1er Cru de Cognac)
9 ounces tea syrup*
1 ounce Peach brandy
1/2 Lemon juice
3 1/2 ounces water (I get generous with the water since this drink is strong)
1. Add all ingredients to a cold iSi soda siphon and charge.
2. Shake the canister vigorously, then place it in the
refrigerator for at least two hours, or preferably, overnight.
3. With the canister upright, very slowly release the pressure
by pressing down the lever.(Do this a little bit at a time over
the course of half an hour or so, storing in the fridge in between.)
4. Carefully open the top of the canister and pour the drink
into a highball glass over crushed ice. Bottle remained of drink.
* Tea Syrup:
1 heaping teaspoon earl grey tea
1 heaping teaspoon mint tea
32 ounces boiling water
2 1/2 cups white sugar
Horseradish Bloody Mary
ordinarily they wouldn’t but supposing they did pour their own drink, suppose they did it and very well indeed:
2 oz vodka, or tequila, to be honest
3/4 cup tomato-vegetable juice
2 tablespoons pickle brine
2 teaspoons grated horseradish
juice of 1/2 lemon
dash of liquid smoke
dash of habanero bitters
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
freshly-ground black pepper
1 clove of garlic
and what is bitter, and what does feeling mean
if they did their own feeling and surely they didn’t
shake all ingredients (except pepper, garlic, and salt) with ice
to decorate: cut a slit 3/4 of the way through a clove of garlic, run it around the rim of a cup
pour salt on a plate, roll rim in salt
in the interest of ease, do this before pouring
a lemon wedge is welcome, celery, pickled okra, etc. are welcome
grind pepper over top, drink at least two:
to take again is adorable is to adore is to take again
- In a heavy bottom soup pot, heat 1 tbs of butter or olive oil.
- When hot, add 1 small onion or shallot ( my personal preference)
- Saute until clear.
- Add 3-4 twists of pepper, 1 pinch of nutmeg, 1 pinch of all spice, and a dab of salt
Add 2-3 potatoes, diced and other veg. Sometimes I add carrots or mushrooms. Stir well, then add 4-6 cups of stock. ( I find veggie to be best but I bet a nice Bone broth could work well.) I also add noodles (usually angel hair or ramen.)
Cover and simmer on low until potatoes are soft (give or take, 20 -30 min)
Then add, 1 lb. of fresh spinach. It will shrink down considerably once cooked but will make soup quite thick.
You might want to add more stock around now.
Cook for about five min. Until spinach is cooked but about bright green.
Let soup cool a bit. Add salt for flavor and top with grated parmesan cheese before serving.
Video at the top: Martha Rosler's Semiotics of the Kitchen
Homepage Illustration by Josef Frank