There are days – you know the ones – when you must make a meal out of nothing. In winter, my go-to is Jen’s Linguine with Sardines, Fennel, and Tomato (often with onion instead of fennel, since that’s always around). In summer, it’s slices of sourdough and perfect tomatoes and some sort of cheese. When it’s not that, it’s migas or chilaquiles. I really like tomatoes.

But still, it’s nice to have other options. And last night, while planning Friday night dinner, I came across a Guardian article about making dinner from the pantry. Bookmarked, saved.

I had been gushing over yet another round of videos about Turkish cooking, trying to back my way into a decent recipe for Kanafe. Not so simple. Turned out it was much easier to figure out a dinner plan for the evening. I revisited that Guardian piece, saw Fuchsia Dunlop’s recipe for spicy sesame noodles, and called it a day.

Good Chinese food is all about balancing the hot, sour, salty, and sweet. So why do sesame noodles always get a pass? We load them up with peanut butter until they’re gluey and cloying. If we’re being honest, here, I find it sort of gross. But thanks to Fuchsia, there is a better way. I’ll never make sesame noodles the same again.


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Reading: July 2014

by rivka on July 28, 2014 · 7 comments

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Turkey’s on my mind this month, since my brother has spent his summer doing research and meeting interesting folks in Kurdistan, Tel Aviv, and now, Istanbul. I spent a week in Istanbul back in 2006, but according to my brother, so much has changed since I visited. I feel like I missed at least half the great food Istanbul has to offer, and he’s definitely making up for my poor planning. For the rest of us, though, here are some great links to food in Turkey, specifically Istanbul, and then a slew of other links that caught my eye this month.

  • The dough for Katmer, one of my favorite Turkish pastries, is notoriously thin. Watch an expert make it effortlessly (then go find some – it’s amazing.)
  • Anissa Helou’s whole vimeo channel, while we’re at it. From baklava to lavash to tagliatelle, she’s caught it all on video.
  • Robyn’s food tour with Istanbul Eats, run by my buddy Yigal. I’m full just reading it.
  • As if they knew I’d be doing a Turkey edition of link love, Yigal and team recently posted an awesome-looking tour of Gaziantep, the food capital of Turkey. Wish I could go on this so, so bad.
  • Last but not least, if you’ve never had isot biber, you’ve been missing out. It’s a Turkish chile (also called urfa biber) that’s similar to Aleppo chile, but, I would argue, better. Also, Aleppo chile is really hard to come by these days, for obvious reasons; isot is a great substitute. it’s smokey and floral and in some cases, mixed with sumac and salt and other stuff. It’s what I use in my green beans and in so many other things. It’s really a staple around here. You can get it from igourmet (linked above) or Kalustyan’s. To give some perspective on how essential it is to my cooking, I have two different jars of it that live permanently on the counter, and at least one kilo stowed away. It’s that essential.


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Absolutely Perfect Bittersweet Chocolate Eggless Ice Cream

July 23, 2014
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In trying to avoid hyperbole when sharing this ice cream, I have rewritten the first paragraph of this post twice. I started to try and tell you about why I made it, about what I was looking for, and about how I was pleasantly surprised by the results. And then I decided that my measured approach […]

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Summer Squash and Herb Gratin

July 21, 2014
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The most obvious solution to the “problem” of those oversized, seed-filled summer squash is to make a gratin. When you slice those massive squash as thinly as possible, blanket them in something creamy, and top the pile with something crunchy, the so-called problem is a problem no more. However, gratins cause a problem of their […]

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July 16, 2014
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This is the most glamorous thing to do with the half-bag of stale tortilla chips languishing at the bottom of your snack drawer. (Come clean: it’s there.) Instead of throwing them away — or, as I do, letting them sit there getting even more stale until not even the greatest of hunger pangs can motivate […]

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Ranchera Sauce

July 14, 2014
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My usual version of enchiladas starts with a glance in an empty fridge, a brief utterance of four-letter words, a recollection that the pantry has both a jar of salsa and a jar of tomato sauce, and a dash to the corner bodega for corn tortillas. It’s not glamorous, but it gets the job done. […]

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Perfect Asian Quick-Pickles

July 9, 2014
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There are times when I get home from work, drop my bag, open the fridge, and dinner just jumps out at me. I see the garlic scapes on the middle shelf, the tomatoes on the counter, some good ricotta lurking in the back, and it’s done: summer pasta. But other times, despite what others surely […]

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Ina Garten’s Sagaponack Corn Pudding

July 3, 2014
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The experts report that corn pudding is a specific thing. Before angering the purists with this hacked-up version, I figured I’d look into what the original actually is. After an earnest attempt to track down true corn pudding, I’m here to report – somewhat cheerily? – that Google is so full of riffs and adaptations, […]

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