T. Susan Chang http://ktep.org en These 10 Summer Cookbooks Will Make The Good Life Even Better http://ktep.org/post/these-10-summer-cookbooks-will-make-good-life-even-better Toss out the china and pick up the picnic basket! Summer cookbooks are fanciful creatures — high on whimsy and shamelessly devoted to making a good life better. For some, that means lingering in the farmers markets or gardening with the kids. For others it's indulging in some usually forbidden pleasures — the fried, the icy sweet, the charred and meaty. And for some, it means crossing oceans to sample less familiar fare — without ever leaving the porch. There's something for everyone, but all go just fine with bare toes and a sun hat. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Mon, 09 Jun 2014 13:38:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 42299 at http://ktep.org These 10 Summer Cookbooks Will Make The Good Life Even Better Sous Vide Makes Its Way To The Home Kitchen http://ktep.org/post/sous-vide-makes-its-way-home-kitchen <em>Sous vide.</em> Not that long ago, it sounded so exotic — or, at least, so <em>French</em>. It was a phrase that belonged in restaurants, amid white tablecloths and flower arrangements and hushed conversations. Alternatively, it was a word that belonged to the modernist kitchens just beyond the swinging doors — kitchens filled with gleaming dehydrators and transglutaminase "meat glues" and spherification siphons and more.<p>I first heard it in the kitchen of now-famous Wylie Dufresne's first restaurant, 71 Clinton Fresh Food, where I was a clueless intern in the spring of 2000. Wed, 16 Apr 2014 04:18:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 38745 at http://ktep.org Sous Vide Makes Its Way To The Home Kitchen Oranges: Secret Agents Of The Food World http://ktep.org/post/oranges-secret-agents-food-world For me, the citrus fruits of winter have been bright spots in a long, frost-bound season. The lemons, the oranges, the sweet little clementines, the tart, brawny grapefruits — they glow like miniature suns on the grayest afternoons. As we — finally — turn the long, slow corner in the spring, I love them all the more for knowing they will soon be gone.<p>The flavor we love in the flesh of a citrus packs even more power in the zest. Wed, 19 Mar 2014 04:13:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 36939 at http://ktep.org Oranges: Secret Agents Of The Food World Valentine Hearts That Are Meant To Be Broken http://ktep.org/post/valentine-hearts-are-meant-be-broken In first grade, my heart was stolen by Mark, who sat next to me and had an advanced phonics book (which I also craved). Then there were Peter, Eddie, Raja and Michael. These serial crushes continued right on up through my early 20s, at a rate of approximately three a year. Boys. I fell for their incipient mustaches, their bad attitudes and foul mouths, their poor poetry and bass guitars, their careless humor. I saw their swagger for what it was, but I loved it anyway.<p>When you're a kid, conversation hearts, waxy chocolates and powdery-smelling carnations are the currency of Valentine's Day. Wed, 12 Feb 2014 08:41:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 34632 at http://ktep.org Valentine Hearts That Are Meant To Be Broken The Stars Come Out For Holiday Bakers http://ktep.org/post/stars-come-out-holiday-bakers As a young woman, I had an attack of nostalgia for a possibly imaginary cookie. It was prompted by a walk up New York's Third Avenue, where I saw in the bakery case of a local delicatessen a stack of small round cookies, covered in the tiny rainbow sprinkles known as nonpareils. Wed, 18 Dec 2013 08:03:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 31129 at http://ktep.org The Stars Come Out For Holiday Bakers Roasted Tomatoes, The Perfect Accessory For Summer Dishes http://ktep.org/post/roasted-tomatoes-perfect-accessory-summer-dishes At this time of year, we all love tomatoes. Many of us claim we'll "take a big juicy tomato and bite into it like it's an apple," although you won't often see that happen in actual fact.<p>Yet, even people who love a juicy fresh tomato also are likely to enjoy it with all the juice sucked out, as in sun-dried tomatoes and — especially — roasted tomatoes. It's the way the process acts on flavors, caramelizing what's on the outside, concentrating what's on the inside. It's true even for a soulless, pale-pink January tomato. Wed, 28 Aug 2013 04:08:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 23886 at http://ktep.org Roasted Tomatoes, The Perfect Accessory For Summer Dishes Wandering Appetites: Hunting The Elusive Noodle http://ktep.org/post/wandering-appetites-hunting-elusive-noodle <em>On the Noodle Road</em> is one attempt to answer an old chestnut: Did Marco Polo really bring noodles from China to Italy? If not, where did they really come from? Or — to put it another way — from what point along the storied byways of the Silk Road did that humble paste of flour and water first spring into its multifarious existence?<p>This is the second outing from Asian-American food writer and Beijing cooking school proprietor Jennifer Lin-Liu. In her first, <em>Serve The People,</em> Lin-Liu chronicled her education in traditional Chinese food ways. Sat, 03 Aug 2013 10:25:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 22276 at http://ktep.org Wandering Appetites: Hunting The Elusive Noodle Buttermilk Makes Everything Taste A Little Better http://ktep.org/post/buttermilk-makes-everything-taste-little-better It started happening about 15 years ago. I'd be paging through a new cookbook or browsing through recipes online, and I'd suddenly stop. "Mmm, buttermilk biscuits. Doesn't that sound good?" I'd bookmark the site or dog-ear the page. The next week I'd see a recipe for waffles — buttermilk waffles, as it happened. What a splendid idea. Out came the yellow stickies.<p>Then it was fried chicken, first bathed in buttermilk brine. Buttermilk pork chops and buttermilk cornbread. Buttermilk ice cream and buttermilk panna cotta. Buttermilk <em>okra</em>. Wed, 31 Jul 2013 04:03:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 22045 at http://ktep.org Buttermilk Makes Everything Taste A Little Better Scape Velocity: Green Garlic Takes Flight http://ktep.org/post/scape-velocity-green-garlic-takes-flight If you've never grown garlic, here's how you do it: On a bright cool fall afternoon, before the ground has frozen, you pry an ordinary, unpeeled clove of garlic off the bulb. You plant it in the ground, about 4 inches down and pointy side up. Maybe you cover the soil with some straw to protect it from extremes of heat, cold and drought.<p>Then comes the easy part — you forget about it. Thanksgiving comes, and a procession of seasonal holidays in which a lot of garlic is eaten, but none is given much thought. Wed, 10 Jul 2013 04:03:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 20619 at http://ktep.org Scape Velocity: Green Garlic Takes Flight Feast For The Eyes: 3 Cookbooks Just For Looking http://ktep.org/post/feast-eyes-3-cookbooks-just-looking I'm a cookbook reviewer, which means that every night I try recipes from far-flung cuisines or idiosyncratic food bloggers or test-kitchen perfectionists. I've always made a point of steering readers towards practical, thoughtful cookbooks that they'll use every week and hand down to their kids. But privately, there are some cookbooks I never cook from at all: frivolous books full of whimsical sugar art, devoid of nutritional value, and really, best eaten with your eyes. Sun, 23 Jun 2013 10:01:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 19508 at http://ktep.org Try A Do-It-Yourself Mother's Day http://ktep.org/post/try-do-it-yourself-mothers-day My mother didn't plant a great many spring bulbs. But over by the pachysandra patch, there was a single lovely pink tulip, and I kept my eye on it for two weeks before Mother's Day. When that Sunday morning arrived, I rushed out, snipped it and ran inside to where she lay sleeping to present it to her. "Did you pick that outside?" she inquired, her expression shifting from sleepy surprise to something more complicated. I nodded proudly. "Oh ... Wed, 08 May 2013 12:24:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 16390 at http://ktep.org Try A Do-It-Yourself Mother's Day Preserved Lemons: Older, Wiser And Full Of Flavor http://ktep.org/post/preserved-lemons-older-wiser-and-full-flavor On many occasions in my longtime relationship with cookbooks, I have had this experience (which will sound familiar, if you like Middle Eastern flavors as much as I do). I'm happily paging through my new Moroccan or Lebanese or Israeli book, lost in dreams of lamb and sumac, saffron and figs. "Mmmm," I murmur over a glossy page, "<em>that</em> looks delicious."<p>I trace my finger down the ingredients list. Shallots, check. Tomatoes, check. Cinnamon stick, check. And then there it is: <em>Preserved lemon</em>. "Drat," I think. Wed, 10 Apr 2013 06:11:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 14474 at http://ktep.org Preserved Lemons: Older, Wiser And Full Of Flavor In Praise Of The Humble Lentil http://ktep.org/post/praise-humble-lentil The year I discovered lentils, I was broke and lonely and didn't know how to cook. Lentils, it turned out, would have gone a long way toward providing the solution to some of these problems. However, when I first had them, they were a mystery.<p>They also were the cheapest thing on the menu at the Middle Eastern deli around the corner. The dish was <em>mudardara</em>, I was told. "What's that again?" I said, unable to untangle the knot of plosive consonants. Wed, 27 Feb 2013 06:54:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 11653 at http://ktep.org In Praise Of The Humble Lentil Understanding The Brussels Sprout http://ktep.org/post/understanding-brussels-sprout "What are <em>those</em>?" I asked my mom, suspiciously eyeing the little cardboard tub with its cellophane cover. It held a heap of pale, miniature cabbages. "They're Brussels sprouts," she said. "They're supposed to be good for you," she added, sealing my doom.<p>At dinnertime, the mystery vegetable reappeared, steaming hot and greenish-yellow but otherwise unaltered. It gave off a sulfurous stench. I recoiled, but I knew my job. Wed, 30 Jan 2013 06:47:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 9813 at http://ktep.org Understanding The Brussels Sprout Recipe Rebellion: A Year Of Contrarian Cookbooks http://ktep.org/post/recipe-rebellion-year-contrarian-cookbooks "Just throw the whole lemon in the food processor for lemon bars."<br />"Don't just soak your dried beans — brine them!" Tue, 04 Dec 2012 12:03:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 6380 at http://ktep.org Recipe Rebellion: A Year Of Contrarian Cookbooks The Hard-Boiled Truth About Egg Soups http://ktep.org/post/hard-boiled-truth-about-egg-soups The chicks arrived five months ago — eight gray, blond, black and tawny puffballs no bigger than the eggs they'd been hatched from a day earlier. They had a slavishly devoted audience within minutes and names within 24 hours. Wed, 31 Oct 2012 07:26:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 4143 at http://ktep.org The Hard-Boiled Truth About Egg Soups A Roll For All Seasons, Wrapped In Rice Paper http://ktep.org/post/roll-all-seasons-wrapped-rice-paper It all started several months ago, when I was fishing around for something not-too-unhealthy for lunch. Spring was over — the once-tender lettuces now milky-hearted and stiff-leaved — and I was bored with salad. I love sandwiches, but every time I gorged on bread I stepped a little heavier onto the scale. "If you're going to eat constantly," I said to myself, knowing that I would, "you simply can't afford to pack on that many carbs at a time."<p>It was at that point that I discovered rice paper, in the noodle section of my Asian grocer. Wed, 26 Sep 2012 11:42:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 1951 at http://ktep.org A Roll For All Seasons, Wrapped In Rice Paper Zucchini You Actually Can't Resist http://ktep.org/post/zucchini-you-actually-cant-resist "Ugh," my sister exclaimed one evening as we were making dinner. It was supposed to be an easy poached chicken with a ginger-scallion sauce, eaten with cold cucumber wedges, and we had just discovered that what we had bought at the store was not cucumber, but zucchini. It was an easy mistake to make — they were the precise same shade of green. But where the zucchini's skin was mostly smooth, the cucumber's was lumpy. We were not happy.<p>Let's consider, for a moment, the many faults of zucchini. Wed, 29 Aug 2012 11:43:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 387 at http://ktep.org Zucchini You Actually Can't Resist