Recently in Meat and Stews
Monday, December 3, 2012

kimchi chili

The remains of the pretzel croissant is always a very sad sight.

Hi, friends. I have a chili recipe for you today* — and then I’m off to San Francisco. Andrew is attending the biggest earth science conference and I’m tagging along with my own list of to do’s. I hope to come back with a full report of new, awesome things I’ve discovered. And I’m taking not one but two cameras with me.

The chili today is slightly different: it’s kimchi chili. Some of you might have gasped in horror, and some of you might have gotten really excited. Chili purists will probably give me a wag of the finger. I’m not sorry.

You might have heard on the interwebs or Twitters or Facebooks that a book that I co-authored came out last Tuesday. It’s funny to have to tell people about a book you wrote that’s on a subject that still requires plenty of explanation.

“You wrote a book on what?? Kim-what??”


“Oh, what is that?”

“Well, it’s a Korean way of fermenting produce to preserve it.”

“Is it spicy?”

“It can be but it doesn’t have to be. It’s very flavorful.”

“Well, I’m probably not going to like it then. I don’t like anything spicy. Or anything that smells funny.”

Yes, folks, those are actual conversations I’ve had (as in many conversations). And it always delights me when, on a rare chance, I hear, “I looooove kimchi. I’ve been playing around with making it at home.”

Honestly, just having to not explain what kimchi is, is a joy in and of itself.

Continue reading kimchi chili.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

brisket with rhubarb and honey

brisket with rhubarb and honey

Perhaps it’s unfair that I’m writing this mere days after both Passover and Easter have ended. But spring comes late to us this year, after a prolonged winter has delayed spring crops by a few weeks.

For the last few weeks, every time I’ve chatted with the farmers, the consistent complaint has been a late spring harvest. Just last week I spied ramps and asparagus and squealed with delight. I filled my bags to the brim with verdant produce, eager to devour it in the coming days.

Continue reading brisket with rhubarb and honey.

Friday, March 4, 2011



I’m worried that by writing about pelmeni, the famed Russian meat-filled dumplings with a cult following, I might inadvertently open the Pelmeni Pandora’s box and pandemonium will ensue. This is a dish that elicits passionate responses as there are just as many different persuasions on how to make pelmeni and how to eat them as there are Russians, probably more. And while the gist might be the same, the nuances, the proportions – will vary vastly. Whether or not you put garlic in your filling can become a central argument point of the evening. And believe me, it’ll turn into a very long evening, indeed. As far as my personal experience goes, every Russian family I’ve ever met (and I’ve met many given my background) equipped with a recipe will lay claims to making not only the best pelmeni, but also the most authentic. Authenticity is huge with Russians. The number of times I’ve heard at a dinner table, “That’s not a real [],” – I’ve officially lost count. To prevent another heated debate, I’d like to tell you, right off the bat, that this is just my family’s version. And, as expected, I like my version the best. But that’s entirely a matter of opinion.

If given the opportunity, I could wax poetic about pelmeni – I’d like to write it little haikus about how delicious they are, how they make a night of no-time-cook-dinner into a veritable feast. But then I’d be writing poems and totally forget to give you the recipe. So you’d be looking at pictures of pelmeni and how to make them without actually know how to bring this bounty to your own table.

Continue reading pelmeni.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

sloppy bao

sloppy bao

About a year ago on a day much like today I was stranded in the West Village waiting on a friend who was stuck at work, and thus running late for our dinner date. So late in fact that we wound up catching up over a late night drink that night. But there I was, stuck downtown, cold, hungry after my work-out, emerging from the gym to a text message telling me dinner was getting pushed back to even later. And as many of you know, an intense workout renders one famished and pushing dinner to later is not an option.

julienned mango

I texted back that drinks later were fine, but that I was going to find myself something to eat, lest I expire. Besides, unexcited about having to wander outside in freezing rain, I set out to find a suitable solution: dinner that was simple and casual enough that would allow me to pop in without a reservation and linger there indefinitely until my friend would show up. While it sounds easy enough in a city like New York, I should also tell you that I’m a picky eater in restaurants, who looks for various details that will provide me hints if a place is worth visiting. Somehow, my restaurant-picking gut has never led me in the wrong direction, and I trust it entirely. What this decision-making is comprised of, I can’t exactly say. It’s more art than science, that’s for sure.

Continue reading sloppy bao.

Friday, January 7, 2011

beef stew with carrots

beef & carrot stew

Wow. You guys are, just… well… wow! I don’t know what to say except for a heartfelt “Thank You!!” I didn’t expect this much support and of such caliber. In those moments when I get a little scared and doubtful, I just go and reread your comments and emails. Thank you for being so supportive and encouraging. It means more than I can put into words, which is a funny way to be for someone who relies on language so much. All I can say is that you make this little wee space here very much worth while. You make it what it is. And I am so so grateful each and everyday. To you. For you. I am so excited to be taking this plunge, and, in a way, taking you on this journey with me. It’ll be fun, I think. We can revel in the good, and find humor in the bad, and hopefully in the end, it all will fall into its proper place.


I wanted to share this beef stew with you tomorrow. To write today and take some time to edit, but if you’re in the New York area, or anywhere where it’s cold and snowy, this will come in handy tonight. It’s my way of thanking you for being so wonderful. So if you see any typos here, please forgive me.

Because it’s snowing and I feel like snow is the perfect kind of stew weather, I want to give you this today. Beef stew, no matter how you make it, makes the house smell simply amazing, and is the kind of thing that begs to be ladled over buttery egg noodles. My favorite part is when I’ve finished all the beef, and have some sauce and noodles left in the bowl. I eat the noodles with a spoon, and, if I’m eating alone, always slurp the noodles; somehow it makes for a more satisfying meal. At this very moment, however, I’m sitting in a windowless office, staring at a window all the way across the hall and watching the snow fall softly.

Continue reading beef stew with carrots.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

cider-braised pork shoulder with caramelized onions

brown food ain't pretty, but it sure tastes good

Perhaps because I wasn’t reared in the culture of pork eating, I am at odds with the animal. It’s not like I didn’t have pork growing up – I remember slivers of lardo and slices of speck, and an occasional pork loin, slow-cooked, studded with garlic cloves and bay leaves. There might have been a cutlet or two in there somewhere. But pork, at least in my memory, wasn’t a staple in our household in Russia, and became almost non-existent the minute we landed in America. My father, for reasons he still can’t furnish, considers pork to be somehow less kosher (or more unkosher, to be exact) than other tref foods. His ruling was final – pork was out – and so it didn’t enter our house unless my mom and I snuck some in, mostly in the form of bacon.

flying pigs, who else?

And so, based on this history, I’m really weird when it comes to pork. Really, oddly, inexplicably weird. First of all – we must exclude bacon from the pork umbrella. Bacon is special and is a food group in and of itself. So is speck and lardo and other cured meats like prosciutto. But other stuff is fair game. Pulled pork sandwich? Yes, please! I’ll take seconds too! Pork chop? No, thanks. Pass. Yawn. Pork cutlet? Pass, again. How about an apple-cider braised pork shoulder? Um, here’s my plate, please pile some meat on it! Confused yet?

Continue reading cider-braised pork shoulder with caramelized onions.