• Asian,  Fish,  Gluten-free,  Noodles,  Vegetables

    Boondock Shrimp and Green Beans With Rice Noodles

    The basics for this dish came from my baking buddy Joanne Hofmann Sexeny, whom I met during a tour of Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street when it was a shiny new enterprise. Joanne has the distinction of being an America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) recipe tester, and she authorized me to critique a shrimp and green bean stir-fry recipe under development for Cook’s Country Magazine. I gave it a positive review, while noting a few recipe errors. The mistakes were hard to spot and I wondered if ATK had planted them to test their readers. Now four years have passed, and while I haven’t seen the final version, I assume they fixed the errors. Meanwhile, we’ve…

  • Appetizers,  Asian,  Breakfast,  Chinese,  Snacks,  Vegan

    Caramelized Tofu Triangles: Simple Make-Ahead Appetizer

    Caramel-lacquered tofu triangles hit all the sweet, savory and salty notes that put guests in a good mood. The dark, shiny syrup sinks into the chewy triangles, so you can eat them with your fingers if you like. Since they keep well in the fridge, you can make them way ahead and bring them out any time, as you would a wedge of brie. They travel well, too. Carry them to a holiday party in a Ziploc bag and free yourself from having to retrieve your plate (or help with the clean-up) when it’s time for goodbyes. My daughter-in-law Raegan has made these for brunch, proving that they are as versatile as an eggy…

  • Asian,  Beef,  Chinese,  Main Dish,  Recipes,  Turkey

    Ma-Po’s Bean Curd from Pei Mei

    In the 90s sitcom Frasier, the sardonic Niles winces when he meets his first hatchback. “Well, there’s a novel idea,” he says. “Name the car after its most hideous feature.” I winced, too, when I found out “Ma-Po” means “pockmarked grandmother.” It refers to the Sichuan woman who first tossed tofu with ground meat in a spicy bean sauce more than a century ago. Was she feisty? Did she like to wear red? We’ll never know because some dunderhead immortalized this gifted chef and her luscious creation by her most unpleasant feature. (We might think the name sounds cute because it includes “Ma,” but actually “Ma” is the part that means “pockmarked.”) Brody’s Second…

  • Asian,  Chicken,  Main Dish,  Recipes

    Olympic Seoul Chicken, or How My Mom Met Frank Perdue

    My brother’s prize-winning peanut butter and provolone sandwich (see the PS in the last post) stuck in my mind like it stuck to the roof of my mouth. So decades later I started dabbling in cooking contests. Once I entered one of my mom’s heirloom recipes with only a minor substitution and it came in third. My mom could have been ticked off. But instead, it stirred up her competitive juices. If her daughter could do well with her recipes, why couldn’t she? Her target: the 1988 Delmarva Chicken Cooking Contest. Her concept: an adaptation of a favorite Asian dish with the name “Saigon” in it. “I added lots of garlic because garlic was…