T. Susan Chang http://publicradioeast.org en Sous Vide Makes Its Way To The Home Kitchen http://publicradioeast.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 39016 at http://publicradioeast.org Sous Vide Makes Its Way To The Home Kitchen Oranges: Secret Agents Of The Food World http://publicradioeast.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 36763 at http://publicradioeast.org Oranges: Secret Agents Of The Food World Valentine Hearts That Are Meant To Be Broken http://publicradioeast.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 34130 at http://publicradioeast.org Valentine Hearts That Are Meant To Be Broken The Stars Come Out For Holiday Bakers http://publicradioeast.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 30113 at http://publicradioeast.org The Stars Come Out For Holiday Bakers You Can't Judge A Celery Root By Its Looks http://publicradioeast.org/post/you-cant-judge-celery-root-its-looks Imagine how celery root feels at the vegetable beauty pageant. Everyone's falling over the tomato, that smug beauty queen. The cameras love elegant long carrots and parsnips, and the radishes blush in the spotlight. People coo over the potatoes even though they're not much to look at, because they're in it for the fries.<p>But homely celery root hovers by the concessions table with big, unremarkable rutabaga and antennaed kohlrabi.<p>The fact is, celery root devastatingly combines the unfamiliar with the unprepossessing — all gnarly tendrils and clod-like form. Wed, 20 Nov 2013 05:03:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 28124 at http://publicradioeast.org You Can't Judge A Celery Root By Its Looks In Roasts, A Touch Of Fruit Brings Out The Best In Meat http://publicradioeast.org/post/roasts-touch-fruit-brings-out-best-meat When the late, great Marcella Hazan passed away a few weeks ago, many people recalled with fondness her recipe for roast chicken with two lemons, and so did I. It was one of the first recipes I ever learned. I loved it at every time of year, but never more than in fall. Did it even count as cooking? It was nothing more than a small chicken, seasoned and roasted with two pierced lemons in the cavity, but it had a way of warming people from the inside out. The juices deceived the senses, suggesting hours of care and attention. Wed, 23 Oct 2013 17:23:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 26130 at http://publicradioeast.org In Roasts, A Touch Of Fruit Brings Out The Best In Meat Roasted Tomatoes, The Perfect Accessory For Summer Dishes http://publicradioeast.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 22014 at http://publicradioeast.org Roasted Tomatoes, The Perfect Accessory For Summer Dishes Wandering Appetites: Hunting The Elusive Noodle http://publicradioeast.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. Mon, 05 Aug 2013 19:54:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 20326 at http://publicradioeast.org Wandering Appetites: Hunting The Elusive Noodle Buttermilk Makes Everything Taste A Little Better http://publicradioeast.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 19912 at http://publicradioeast.org Buttermilk Makes Everything Taste A Little Better Scape Velocity: Green Garlic Takes Flight http://publicradioeast.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 18271 at http://publicradioeast.org Scape Velocity: Green Garlic Takes Flight Feast For The Eyes: 3 Cookbooks Just For Looking http://publicradioeast.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 17067 at http://publicradioeast.org Try A Do-It-Yourself Mother's Day http://publicradioeast.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 13533 at http://publicradioeast.org Try A Do-It-Yourself Mother's Day Preserved Lemons: Older, Wiser And Full Of Flavor http://publicradioeast.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 11348 at http://publicradioeast.org Preserved Lemons: Older, Wiser And Full Of Flavor In Praise Of The Humble Lentil http://publicradioeast.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 8171 at http://publicradioeast.org In Praise Of The Humble Lentil Understanding The Brussels Sprout http://publicradioeast.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 6050 at http://publicradioeast.org Understanding The Brussels Sprout A Roll For All Seasons, Wrapped In Rice Paper http://publicradioeast.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 2273 at http://publicradioeast.org A Roll For All Seasons, Wrapped In Rice Paper