mercredi 30 avril 2014

Caramel popcorn and mixed nuts recipe


  • 45 g vegetable oil
  • 100 g popcorn
  • 10 g butter
  • 45 g water
  • 180 g sugar
  • 50 g cashews, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 50 g almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 5 g sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Cover bottom of heavy pot with oil. Add corn. Cook over medium high heat for 6 minutes, shaking frequently to get evenly popped kernels. Cook until all kernels have popped and turn off heat. Keep lid on and set aside.
  • Combine butter, water and sugar in another pot and bring to a boil. Stir continuously to avoid burning. Cook the mixture for 4 minutes, till it starts caramelizing.
  • Turn off heat. Add popcorns and nuts. Stir quickly to get them evenly coated with caramel.
  • Sprinkle with salt.
  • Spoon into greased moulds immediately, if using. Serve warm.

Potato croquettes recipe


  • 1000 g potatoes, peeled
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil,
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 3 garlic, minced
  • 200 g ground chicken
  • 50 g fresh coriander seeds, ground
  • 1/2 nutmeg, ground
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 30 g chinese celery, chopped finely (1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tbsp warm water
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Cooking oil for deep-frying


  • Deep fry potatoes till golden. Drain excess oil on paper towel
  • Smash potatoes using potato masher till fine
  • Heat cooking oil on a wok over high heat. Stir fry shallots and garlic till fragrant, about 2 minutes
  • Add chicken. Cook for 2 minutes. Combine ground coriander, nutmeg, salt into the wok. Mix well
  • Add celery, tapioca starch and warm water. Cook till everything is well done and water evaporates
  • Combine mashed potatoes and cooked chicken in a bowl. Add egg yolk. Mix well
  • Shape the mixture as desired. Roll in white egg mixture and cover with breadcrumbs
  • Deep fry till golden. Serve warm


  • Potatoes can be prepared boiled or steamed, then mashed
  • Chicken can be substituted with beef or prawn
  • If the spices used are too overwhelming, feel free to halve the amount of coriander and nutmeg called for in the recipe
  • One coating as listed up in the recipe can only result in the croquette staying crunchy and fluffy for up to half an hour. If you wish the croquettes to be crunchy and fluffed for longer period of time, coat them twice. Dip them in white egg, then roll them in breadcrumbs. Dip one more time in white egg and apply breadcrumbs then fry
  • Also known as Kroket Kentang

Chicken rendang recipe

For spice paste

  • 100 g red chilies
  • 65 g (12) shallots
  • 25 g (6) cloves garlic
  • 25 g (6) candlenut
  • 10 g (1/8 cup) coriander seeds
  • 4 dried chilies, soaked with hot water and pat dried
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp whole white pepper
  • 1/4 fresh nutmeg

Other ingredients

  • 1,2 liter coconut milk, pressed and strained from 4 freshly grated coconut
  • 1 turmeric leaf (alternatively, substitute with a pinch of turmeric powder)
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 10 salam leaves
  • 4 stalks lemongrass, halved and pounded to release juice
  • 50 g galangal, pounded to release juice
  • 2 whole cardamom
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 kg chicken, cut into medium size pieces
  • 1 medium size potatoes, peeled and quartered


  • Grind spices for paste until smooth
  • In a big heavy stainless steel pot, cook half of coconut milk, spice paste, turmeric, kaffir lime leaves, salam leaf, lemongrass, galangal, cardamom, star anise and cloves over low heat for 10 minutes
  • Add sugar and salt. Increase heat to medium. Cook for 5 more minutes
  • Pour in the rest of coconut milk. Cook over medium heat for 1 hour, stirring constantly to avoid burning till the coconut oil starts to separate from the milk. The dish should be simmering slowly with small bubbles. Cover partly to avoid splatter
  • Toss in pieces of chicken. Cook for another hour. Season with more salt and sugar if desired. If potatoes are used, add potatoes at this stage. Cook for another half an hour
  • Serve warm with steamed rice or country bread


  • All spices are to be washed and dried before using. Galangal doesn't need to be peeled, scrubbed the peel till clean of dirt traces.
  • Also known as Rendang Ayam in Indonesian

mardi 29 avril 2014

Chocolate Cream Puff Swans – Oh, Mama!

Mother’s Day is coming up soon, and these chocolate ganache-filled cream puff swans would be a great way to say thanks to her for that whole giving you life thing. I think once she tastes them, she’ll agree that it was all worth it after all.

This is mostly a technique video, as these beautiful birds would work with any number of fillings. Pastry cream, lemon curd, mousse, and fresh fruit are all perfect with this pâte à choux delivery system. This classic French dough has a thousand uses, and must be mastered by any serious cook. 

By the way, these are much better chilled, so make them an hour or two ahead. The one I eat in the video wasn’t well chilled, and you can see was pretty soft. Once cold, the chocolate ganache becomes very truffle-like, the whipped cream firms up, and you get something much more toothsome. So whether you do these for Mother's Day or not, I really hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!

Pâte à Choux (Cream Puff Dough)
*enough for about 8-10 “swans”
1/2 cup water
1 tsp sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
pinch salt
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
*Bake "bodies" at 425 F. for 20-25 minutes, necks for about 12 minutes

For the ganache (makes extra):
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
4 oz boiling heavy cream

For the whipped cream:
1 cup very cold heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp sugar or to taste
*whip cream to soft peaks, add sugar, and whip to firm peaks

Fruit konnyaku recipe


  • 200 g sugar
  • 15 g konnyaku powder
  • 900 g water
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 tsp basil seeds, soaked and strained
  • 2 kiwi fruits, cubed
  • 150 g strawberries, sliced
  • 312 g canned mandarin oranges, drained


  • Combine sugar, konnyaku powder and water in a saucepan. Stir till powder dissolves.
  • Add kaffir lime leaves into the pan.
  • Bring mixture to a boil, high heat. Let boil for a couple of seconds.
  • Turn off heat and add basil seeds into mixture.
  • Pour into prepared moulds. Decorate with fruits

Icebox cake with homemade chocolate wafer recipe


  • 250 ml heavy cream
  • 30 g sugar
  • 20 chocolate wafers
  • Cocoa powder for dusting


  • Whip cold heavy cream with an electric beater over medium speed.
  • When the cream turns slightly thicker, about 2 minutes later, add sugar into the cream.
  • Continue whipping fast speed until soft peak, about 2 minutes.
  • Line container with plastic wrap.
  • Fill bottom of container with whipped cream. I used piping bag because the container is quite small.
  • Layer the cream with wafers. Top the wafers with more cream.
  • Continue until the top of the containers. Cover it up with plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate overnight. Serve cold.

Chocolate ice cream recipe


  • 500 ml heavy cream
  • 21 g unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch processed
  • 140 g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 250 ml whole milk
  • 150 g sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Combine 250 ml cream with cocoa powder in a saucepan and bring them to a boil.
  • Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate. Stir until mixture smooth.
  • Pour the rest of the cream into the saucepan. Mix well.
  • Transfer the cream and chocolate mixture into a large bowl. Set a strainer on the bowl. Set aside.
  • Prepare an ice bath.
  • In the same saucepan, warm milk, sugar and salt until steamy.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Whisk egg yolks in another bowl. Slowly pour warm milk into yolks and continuously whisking.
  • Transfer yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan and cook custard over medium heat until thickens.
  • When the custard is ready, pour it into cream and chocolate, whisking steadily and transfer to ice bath immediately.
  • Add vanilla extract.
  • Continue whisking until mixture cools down.
  • Chill thoroughly in refrigerator for an hour.
  • Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

Next Up: Something for Mom

Stir fry papaya buds with eggplant recipe


  • 500 gr papaya flower buds
  • 100 gr pea eggplant (rimbang)
  • 20 gr (3 cm) galangal
  • 5 gr (5 cm) fresh ginger
  • 50 gr green chili (for aesthetic purposes, throw in a couple of red ones)
  • 1 tablespoon fermented soy sauce (taoco)
  • 5 salam leaves
  • 2 stalks Wild Ginger Flower Buds or Torch Ginger (Bunga Kantan), remove the outer layer - use only the soft center part of the buds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup water


  • Wash and pick flowers into bite sizes. Blanch with boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside
  • In a food processor, add pea eggplants, galangal, ginger, green and red chili, fermented soy sauce, wild ginger flower buds and hit pulse for 2 - 3 minutes until everything is mixed well and turned into grainy paste
  • Heat cooking oil in a wok / pan. Stir fry paste and salam leaves for 1 minute over high heat. Add water
  • Toss in blanched papaya flowers. Stir fry quickly for three minutes
  • Add sugar and salt. Cook for another minute
  • Remove salam leaves and serve warm

Fermented soybean paste with eggplant and beancurd skin recipe


  • 2 red chili, cut thinly and diagonally
  • 4 (40 gr) green chili, cut thinly and diagonally
  • 7 stinky beans, halved
  • 4 (30 gr) cloves shallot, sliced thinly
  • 1 (5 gr) clove garlic, sliced thinly
  • 2″ (15 gr) galangal, flattened
  • 0.5″ ginger, flattened
  • 1 lemongrass, flattened
  • 15 gr palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 225 gr round eggplant, halved
  • 75 gr dried beancurd
  • 1 tablespoon South East Asian fermented soybean paste
  • 5 salam leaves
  • 1 tomato, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cooking oil for deep frying
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil for stir frying
  • 1 1/2 cup water


  • Heat 2 cups cooking oil in a wok / saucepan. When the oil is hot enough (smoke starts to come out), deep fry the whole beancurd skin sheet for one minute each side, until the skin fluff out. Remove and continue with the rest. Run the fried bean curd under runny water and tear them up to bite sizes by hands. Drain and set aside 
  • In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil over medium heat. Stir fry sliced shallot and garlic for two minutes
  • Toss in stinky beans, galangal, ginger, lemongrass and salam leaves. Cook for two more minutes
  • Add eggplant halves, tomato, fermented soybean paste (taoco) and salt. Mix well for two minutes
  • Reduce heat, add chili slices and 1 1/2 cup of water. Simmer for 5 minutes
  • Add beancurd skin and soy sauce. Mix well and remove from heat
  • Serve warm

Stewed banana compote with coconut milk recipe


  • 100 gr palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 (200 gr) medium sized sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 4 (450 gr) ripe cooking banana
  • 4 pandan leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup thick coconut cream
  • 1 cup thick coconut cream, diluted by 2 cups water


  • In a medium saucepan, add diluted coconut cream, pandan, banana pieces, sweet potato cubes and salt. Bring to boil over medium heat and stir constantly for 10 minutes
  • In a smaller saucepan, melt palm sugar with 1/2 cup of the coconut water from the first boiling saucepan. When fully melted, strain the liquid to remove foreign objects / insects (very possible to find dead flies trapped in the palm sugar block)
  • Add the palm sugar syrup and the rest of the thick coconut cream into the saucepan, lower heat
  • Simmer for another 15 minutes
  • Remove from heat, serve warm or cold (with ice or chilled thoroughly in refrigerator

Ridged gourd with scrambled eggs recipe


  • 400 gr ridged gourd / luffa (2 medium sized)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ tablespoon white pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons water


  • Peel the thick skin of lady’s fingers and chop them up into 1 inch cubes / 2 cm cubes.
  • Break eggs in a bowl and lightly whisk them till slightly frothy.
  • Heat one tablespoon of oil in a non-stick pan.  On medium heat, slowly pour the egg onto the pan. Before it set, use a wooden spatula scramble up the eggs for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. 
  • Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan / wok. Stir fry garlic till fragrant, around 2 minutes. Add chopped lady’s fingers, salt and pepper. 
  • Stir fry quickly for two minutes until the vegetables soften. 
  • Add scrambled eggs and water. 
  • Lower heat and cover. Steam for 5 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat and serve. 

Dried beancurd soup recipe


  • 250 gr lean pork cutlet
  • 100 gr dried beancurd
  • 1 tablespoon Tianjin preserved vegetable (optional)
  • 1/2 tomato
  • 300 gr (1 pc) carrot
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 litres water


  • Cut carrot and pork cutlet in bite sizes
  • Soak dried beancurd in a pan of cold water till soft / pliable. Cut them lengthwise, 2″ in length. 
  • Fill a saucepan of 2 litres of water. Add in the meat. Boil the pan in high heat. 
  • After the water boils (this will take 5 minutes), add in half of tomato (whole), carrot, salt and light soy sauce.
  • Turn down the heat to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes.
  • Add in the soaked beancurd skin and preserved vegetable. 
  • Check on taste, if not salty, add some more salt. 
  • Serve warm with other dishes

lundi 28 avril 2014

Spicy Coconut & Calamari Salad, Formerly Know As Failed Squid Ceviche

There’s nothing quite as satisfying in the kitchen as snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. I was playing around with some squid ceviche preparations, and while it did “cook” in the acidic marinade, I really didn’t enjoy the texture. I actually hated it. 

I’m not sure if it needed more time, or more acid, but it wasn’t good. Not wanting to toss it, I decided to fry it up, and maybe hide it in some pasta, or something. I went with “or something,” and this cold, coconut-spiked salad was the result. I haven’t been this happy about a failed recipe in a long time.

Not only did it make a fantastic, sort of Thai-like salad, I can see this being quite versatile as well. It was very tasty hot, and would be great over rice with some of the cooked-down marinade. It would also be amazing over a big bowl of crunchy greens. Just don’t skip the toasted coconut, as it really does make the dish. I hope you give this delicious accident a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 Portions Spicy Coconut & Calamari Salad:
1 pound calamari, cleaned, cut into thin rings
1 small green Serrano pepper, minced
1 red Fresno pepper, sliced thin
2 tablespoons green onion
1 teaspoon palm sugar (aka coconut)
1 generous tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons Coconut milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil to cook calamari
- After calamari is marinated and cooked:
1 tsp Lime juice, or to taste
1 tbsp chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes (unsweeted)

dimanche 27 avril 2014

Chinese corn and crab soup recipe


  • 1,250 cc water
  • 300 g crab meat
  • 270 g canned asparagus, alternatively use fresh asparagus, rinse well and halved
  • 432 g canned whole kernel corn
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 eggs, whisked lightly
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • Boil water in a stockpot. Add crab meat, corn and asparagus. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes till boiling again
  • In a small bowl, combine flour and starch with 1/2 cup cold water and stir well
  • Turn off heat and quickly stir in whisked egg in a stream
  • Over low heat, add the flour mixture. Season with sesame oil, pepper and salt
  • Simmer for a couple of minutes, till the soup slightly thickens
  • Remove from heat and serve with warm rice or bread

Vegetable stir-fry with melon recipe


  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 5 grams ginger, peeled and julienned
  • 300 grams broccoli
  • 50 grams dried black fungus (cloud ear fungus), soaked for half an hour
  • 200 grams fresh baby corn, alternatively canned baby corn can be used
  • 200 grams cauliflower
  • 200 grams carrot
  • 1 can button mushroom
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • melon, halved


  • Cut all vegetables into same sizes chunks, except for carrot. Peel and halve the carrots lengthwise and make indentation using a sharp knife and cut them into 0,5cm slices
  • Heat cooking oil in a wok. Add ginger and stir fry till fragrant over high heat. Toss in black fungus and add water.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and cook over high heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and lower heat, cook covered for 5 minutes
  • Remove the vegetables from heat and fill melon with stir-fried vegetables
  • Steam the filled melon for 3 minutes. Serve warm

Strawberry jam recipe


  • 600 g fresh strawberries, quartered
  • 200 g sugar
  • 50 g lemon juice (from one lemon)


  • Combine all ingredient in a medium-size stockpot and bring to boil over high heat, about 5 minutes
  • Lower heat to a simmer. Cook for another 20 minutes, or until the jam thickens
  • Remove from heat and let cool completely
  • Keep in clean jar and refrigerate. Consume within two weeks

Espresso brownies recipe


  • 57 g butter
  • 57 g dark chocolate, chopped coarsely
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 200 g sugar
  • 64 g flour
  • 20 cm square pan, buttered and lined with buttered parchment or foil


  • Preheat oven 180 degree Celcius.
  • Melt butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, stir in chocolate bits till all melt. Set aside and let cool
  • Combine eggs, coffee and salt in a big bowl. Whisk in the sugar in a stream, and then whisk in the butter mixture
  • Fold in flour with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into prepared pan
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or till the top crust is shiny and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the pan
  • Let cool down completely. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. The cake will solidify in cool temperature and makes it easier to cut.
  • Remove from fridge. Cut into 4 cm-squares

Vegetarian spring rolls popiah recipe


  • Filling 1 (jicama and carrot)
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 250 grams french bean, sliced diagonally (0.25 cm width)
  • 4 (250 grams) carrots, grated with largest setting
  • 1 (600 grams) jicama (yam beam/chinese turnip/bengkoang), grated into same size as carrots
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)

samedi 26 avril 2014

How to Make French Toast like Noah Greene

It’s been far too long since I shared a video from some of the new blood on YouTube. And by “new blood” I mean the young punks who will eventually put me out of work. Oh well, we had a good run. Anyway, Noah does a great job here, and I hope he keeps adding to his channel. By the way, I really like the music. Enjoy!

Voila! Ground beef!

Before shaping the burgers, gently blend 1 teaspoon sea salt into the meat. Try to distribute the salt evenly, but handle the meat as little as possible.

Shape the beef into patties about 3/4-inch thick. (I like to make them on squares of wax paper. It makes it easy to transfer them to the grill.) With 1½ pounds of beef, you can make four 6-ounce burgers or six 4-ounce burgers. (Using my kitchen scale, I actually made two manly 6-ounce burgers and three daintier 4-ounce burgers.)

So here’s your tip of the day for shaping the burgers. Don’t pack them too tightly. Just shape them enough so they hold together. Make an indentation in the center of the burgers. When burgers cook, they swell up in the center. If you make an indentation, you’ll end up with a nice, even flat burger, instead of a puffy burger. (Thank you to the food scientists at Cooks Illustrated for the indentation tip!)
Once your burgers are shaped, it’s time to get the rest of the dinner ready.


  • 1. If you’re not planning on toasting the buns on the grill, toast them under the broiler before you start the potatoes.
  • 2. Preheat the oven to 425˚ for the potatoes. Scrub the potatoes and cut each into 8 or 10 wedges. Put on a baking sheet and toss with a bit of olive oil. Arrange them skin-side down and sprinkle with salt and a bit of paprika. Put in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes.
  • 3. Get the condiments ready for the burgers. Wash and dry lettuce, slice onions and tomatoes, slice cheese for cheeseburgers. (Slice pickles, if you have them. We were out. A “pickle emergency” as Bob says.) Get the ketchup and mustard out.
  • 4. Wash and dry lettuce for the salad, and add whatever salad vegetables you’re using. (The lettuce could have been washed and dried in advance and stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in paper towels in a plastic bag.)
  • 5. After the potatoes have cooked for about 10 minutes, turn on the gas grill to preheat. (Or preheat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, if you’re cooking the burgers on the stove. If you’re using a charcoal grill, you’re on your own figuring out when to start the fire. It should have been a while ago, though, for the coals to have time to cook down.)
  • 6. When the 20 minutes are up for the potatoes, take them out of the oven. Gently stir them, and put them back in the oven for about 10 minutes more.
  • 7. Now it’s time to start cooking the burgers. Put the burgers on the grill (heat lowered to medium works on mine) and set the timer for 5 minutes. (Or generously sprinkle the pan with salt and put the burgers in the pan.)
  • 8. While the burgers are cooking, you can toss the salad. Use a bit of olive oil and toss well. Add salt and pepper and a bit of vinegar or lemon juice and toss again. Slice up an avocado if you’re using it for your salad or burgers.
  • 9. Put the salad bowl and condiments on the table.
  • 10. After five minutes, flip the burgers. Cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes, depending on how well done you want them. I cook them for about 5 more minutes, but check them. If your fire is too hot, you may need less time. Add cheese slices, if you’re using them, for the last minute or so.
  • 11. Put the burgers together; take the potatoes out of the oven and serve them with the burgers.

Korean-Style Grilled Flank Steak recipe

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons Sriracha (decrease to 2 teaspoons for less heat)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons Asian sesame oil
  • 1 – 1¼ pounds flank steak
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (optional; I didn’t use)
  • Steamed rice for serving, if desired

  • Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together and set aside.
  • Heat a gas grill for 10 minutes with the burners on high.
  • Turn the burners down to medium. Grill the steak for 4 minutes.
  • Turn the steak and grill for 4 more minutes.
  • Put the steak on a cutting board and pour 2 tablespoons of the sauce over the steak. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • Slice the steak. Top with the green onions (and sesame seeds, if using) and serve with additional sauce and Sriracha to add at the table.

vendredi 25 avril 2014

Ratatouille recipe

  • 1 pound (1 medium) eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pound (1 – 2 large) zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • ½ pound sliced onions (about 1½ cups)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1½ teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves (I omitted, since I didn’t have any)
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper

  • Put the eggplant in a colander over a large bowl. Toss it with 1 teaspoon salt. Let it sit for 1 – 3 hours.
  • Spread the eggplant on double layers of paper towels; put another double layer on top. Press to remove any extra moisture.
  • Heat the oven to 500˚.
  • Put the eggplant and zucchini in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  • Line a large rimmed baking sheet with heavy duty foil. Spread the eggplant and zucchini out on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and put in the preheated oven. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes so they will roast evenly. 
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, over medium-low heat until the onion is soft and starting to turn golden brown. This takes 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Add the garlic to the onions and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
  • Add the tomatoes; cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the roasted eggplant and zucchini to the pan and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in the parsley, basil, and thyme. Taste for seasoning and add salt, if needed, and freshly ground pepper.

Oven "Fried" Sweet Potato Fries recipe

  • One small sweet potato
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • Salt

  • Preheat oven to 375˚.
  • Wash and peel the sweet potato. Slice it into long, thin pieces.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Put the potatoes on the foil and toss with the oil. Sprinkle salt over them 
  • Bake for about 10 minutes. Gently turn them with a spatula.
  • Bake until done, about 10 more minutes. (Timing will depend on how thick your sweet potatoes are sliced.)
  • At this point, they could be eaten right away, but if you want a slightly drier, crisper result, add this last step:
  • Gently turn them again and put back in the oven. Turn the oven temperature down to 200˚ and leave them in the oven for up to 20 minutes.

Pasta e Fagioli...or Pasta e Ceci recipe


  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus ¼ - ½ cup more to make the Hot Pepper Oil*
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 canned and peeled plum tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon salt (perhaps a bit more if your tomatoes are unsalted)
  • 2½ - 3 cups cooked cannellini beans or chickpeas, with enough of their cooking liquid to barely cover them
  • 6 ounces large tubular pasta, like rigatoni, or ziti, penne, or ditali
  • Hot Pepper Oil, for serving

Hot Pepper Oil

Break 1 or 2 dried hot chilies (any variety), seeds and all, into ¼ - ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil. Let soak for several hours.


Cooking the Beans

  • Makes almost 3 cups.
  • Put 1 cup cannellini beans or chickpeas in a large pot. Cover with water so there is at least 2 inches of water over the beans and soak overnight. 
  • Or....if you don’t want to soak them overnight, cover with water so there is at least 2 inches of water over the beans. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let them sit, covered, for 1 hour.
  • Drain the beans and cover with plenty of water again. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Add 1½ teaspoons salt and simmer until tender, 10–15 minutes more. (Optional: Add a sprig of rosemary when you add the salt. Remove when the beans are done.)
  • Drain the beans, reserving enough broth to cover them.

Pasta e Fagioli or Pasta e Ceci

  • Heat a large pot of water for the pasta.
  • Put the ¼ cup olive oil, garlic, and pepper flakes in a 2½ - 3 quart pan.
  • When the garlic starts sizzling (don’t let it brown), crush the tomatoes into the pan with your hands. (Or cut the tomatoes up roughly and add them.)
  • Add the salt and simmer the tomatoes for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon, if necessary.
  • Add the beans and their liquid, and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using a spoon, smash a few of the beans against the side of the pan.
  • While the beans are simmering, add a tablespoon of salt to the cooking water and cook the pasta until it is almost done. (My rigatoni box said to cook for 10 minutes; I cooked it for 8 minutes.)
  • When the pasta is done, reserve ½ cup of the cooking water and then drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the beans; stir and cook for about 2 minutes so the pasta can finish cooking and absorb some of the flavors. Add a bit of the reserved pasta water if it seems too dry.
  • Cover the pot, remove from the heat and let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Serve and pass the Hot Pepper Oil at the table to drizzle on top of individual servings.

Oven Fries recipe

  • 1 small Russet potato (about 6 ounces), peeled and cut into thin French fries
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon oil

  • Preheat the oven to 425˚.
  • Put the potatoes in a bowl. Cover with water and stir in the teaspoon of salt. Let them soak for about 15 minutes.
  • Drain the potatoes and dry them with paper towels. You want to remove as much of the water as you can.
  • Spread the oil on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Put the potatoes on the baking sheet and toss them a bit with your hands to cover them with the oil.
  • Roast for about 30 minutes.
  • With a spatula, gently turn the potatoes over. Roast for an additional 10 minutes or so, until they are done they way you like them.
  • Sprinkle with salt and serve!