Posts tagged Asian
Wednesday, March 28, 2012

deconstructed banh mi

deconstructed banh mi

It has been decided that wherever we happen to move after this apartment, our next home has to be within walking distance to a banh mi shop. I know it sounds like a trivial matter, but believe me – it’s not. Andrew agrees, and adds to it a list of foods that must be nearby and excellent: Thai, Indian (something we sorely lack!), Chinese and so on. Before he finishes, I add in Italian, a wine shop, a place we can get good prosciutto and cheese and oils and bread; oysters and bourbon (though not necessarily together), and root beer floats. There needs to be a good book store. And superlative baklava. These are all very important things. And to satisfy all those requirements, it’s pretty certain that we can’t move out of the neighborhood.

Thankfully, this is a conundrum that isn’t so pressing. Yet. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. For now, there’s another book project in the works and a wedding less than three months away.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

stir-fried chicken with scallions and oyster mushrooms

Stir-Fried Chicken with Scallions and Oyster Mushrooms

I am not sure that I can do this particular post justice –I’m not good with adulation. That is I’m good at feeling it, but I’m terrible at putting it in words. On paper.

For months now, I’ve been running around telling people to buy Melissa Clark’s new book, Cook This Now. And I always preface it with, “Yes, I know I work for her, and I might seem biased, but, really, trust me – you’re going to want to cook from it all the time.” And then I get the warm smile, “Yeah, we know and love Melissa Clark, but you are kind of biased. You can’t not like her book.” True, I can’t. But not because of you might think.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

coconut ginger shrimp

coconut ginger fried shrimp

What would you do on a day when it really, truly feels like spring? Us? Like the uncool and responsible adults that we are, we worked against deadlines. And then, after hours of slaving away at our respective laptops, we resisted the urge to order take-out and made shrimp for dinner! Delicious, dead-simple, ready-in-minutes shrimp, delicately flecked with coconut and ginger. I think we deserve a gold star!

And while we’re no strangers to Sunday work, it was made particularly painful given that it was so lovely out. We wanted to go and play hooky, but instead, we finally moved the two supremely ugly plastic storage bins out of our bedroom, which were mortifyingly depressing to look at (at least for me) and now the bedroom looks lighter, more airy, bigger (imagine that in NYC!). Have I mentioned that it’s been on our to-do list since mid-January when Andrew moved in? I finally broke down and requested that the one, single thing I want for my birthday, besides a pony, is for us to put those boxes away. Andrew, being a guy, looked at me as if I had two heads. Apparently, men have a whole different definition for clutter than women do.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

coconut ginger fried rice

coconut ginger fried rice

We eat a lot of coconut rice around here. Scratch that. We eat a lot of rice, period. It’s kind of a staple in our household – and while it may sound pedestrian, it tastes delightfully indulgent when instead of cooking it in water, you cook is in some coconut milk.

I got hooked on coconut rice a few years ago when I made it one night, after finding a can of coconut milk in my pantry. It occurred to me that I could use coconut milk and water instead of just water to cook my rice–and I never looked back. Granted, coconut rice isn’t exactly a novel concept – it’s a standard side at many restaurants, especially if you’re having Thai food – a side I managed to discover for myself.

herbs

But here’s what happens: you make rice, eat some of it, and then the rest of it is left languishing in your fridge until you, what, toss it out? Let’s face it – leftover rice is about as exciting as leftover scrambled eggs – there are few takers. It gets drier, compresses, and feels generally unappetizing. Some things are just better made fresh, unlike say a bowl of chili, or curried carrot soup, or stuffed cabbage. And what may seem like a duh moment to some, but was a definite “aha” moment to me.

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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.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

beef randang – malaysian beef curry

beef randang

Today in New York is a rainy, sleepy day. The kind of day that makes me want to take a long walk in the park, wrapped in a sweater, with a scarf draped around my neck. It’s the kind of day that makes me realize that there is no place like New York, no city that actually makes the rain so welcome. Paris is lovely in the rain, but Paris is lovely in any weather. In London rain is pretty much expected and has a long tenure. But to me New York is loveliest when the skies are grey, the rain is falling, and there are puddles on the ground. The grey and rainy New York is lovelier than the sunny New York, at least to me.

beef randang beef randang

I took a walk through Central Park today en route to work, making my journey slightly longer, but much more pleasant. I looked at the runners wishing I could join them – I love to run in the drain, and while I know that sounds counter-intuitive, trust me – once you do it, you’ll be hooked for life. It’s my favorite running weather. Now, I’m not talking a deluge here – just rain and slightly cooler temperatures. It makes for a refreshing, invigorating run. I smiled at all the dogs jumping from grass to pavement and back again, sniffing roots of trees, grasses, wet leaves, greeting one another, their wet tails wagging in excitement. The mothers were pushing their babies in strollers – some were running, some were walking briskly; all had an air of contentment about them. It was the perfect fall walk.

star anise, cardamom, cinnamon

I love days like this. I love weekends like this even more. When you’re “forced” to hang out in your apartment, putting around the kitchen, wearing sweaters and leggings, drinking endless cups of tea with Ma Rainey playing in your living room. Even better if you have a record player, and can hear the scratches in Ma Rainey’s voice. Give me more of such weekends, autumn, and I will make more beef randang in your honor. Who doesn’t love a hearty, soupy, spicy curry, spooned over rice and served in a deep bowl?

beef randang

I’ve been thinking about beef randang, ever since the lovely Colleen and I went out to Laut near Union Square. I haven’t had Malaysian food in I can’t tell you how long, but I realized after our dinner, just how much I had missed it. Malaysian food is made for days like this when you want something cozy and warm, and salads just won’t do, and soup seems to be not filling enough. It’s the equivalent of a wearing a blanket, minus the actually literally wearing one. But should ever decide that blanket-wearing is a must for dinner, you are now equipped with the perfect recipe for such an occasion, where sit at your table and eat it wearing whatever you like: a blanket, flannel pajamas, fleece pants and a hoodie, or yoga pants and a sweater. Sometimes, it’s just best to stay in and dress down, don’t you agree?

beef randang

Continue reading beef randang – malaysian beef curry.