Package from the Islands


When Puerto Ricans prepare asopao, a hearty stew, they pack it so full of  local goodness it becomes a care package from sugared beaches and palmed shores.  So much so it’s a favorite among homesick Puerto Ricans (and non-PR people who happen to try it) all the way up in New York.  Asopao finds its… Continue reading Package from the Islands

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En la Cocina de Mama


Or, for Anglos, translated to English, “In Mom’s Kitchen.”  That’s where Mexico City chef Enrique Olvera had the best Entomatado de Res, or Beef and Tomatillo Stew, he ever experienced (or created) in his illustrious career.  Splendid as a standalone dish or in filling warm corn tortillas, it’s home-cooked meat and potatoes made infinitely more… Continue reading En la Cocina de Mama

There Once Was a Chef on Nantucket…


Who used oysters and clams by the bucket Until one day the market ran dry So the chef asked, “Why not give lobsters a try?” To those who think chowder means clams, I say…” The rest has been lost, but you might speculate. Point is, summer often includes a trip to the beach, and shore… Continue reading There Once Was a Chef on Nantucket…

Malabar Coast


On India’s southwestern coast, the sun bejewels a sea washing tropical shores fragrant with flowering spices.  Can somewhere as lavishly endowed with vibrant vistas, aromas and colors produce anything other than an exuberant cuisine?  Definitely, the state of Kerala does, and one of its favorite creations, Chemmeen Moilee, Curried Shrimp and Coconut Soup, headlines today.… Continue reading Malabar Coast

Tried and New


Whatever else its challenges, the oncoming coldness makes hearty meals beautifully satisfying and even more delicious. These charms glow with additional radiance when novel ingredients take their appreciation to brand-new levels. Food which already was warmly comforting becomes bracing in its newfound delights. Chicken stew is a great example. The Korean version is called Dak… Continue reading Tried and New

Crunchy Is Better


Peanuts are woven richly into Indonesia’s culinary livelihood, and any attempt to recreate the experience at home must include crunchy peanut butter.  Preferably the “natural” variety, as it comes closest to expressing the nut’s pure essence that so animates Spice Islands cooking.  Other options may provide adequate taste, though natural crunchy peanut butter best captures… Continue reading Crunchy Is Better

Easier Done than Said


Today’s recipe is labeled Southeast Asian Beef and Rice-Noodle Soup, at least that’s what Gourmet called it when it showcased the dish in February 2009, but in reality, it’s phở. The ingredients list is unmistakable; this is the deeply flavored and intensely aromatic Vietnamese soup that is perhaps its country’s most famous culinary treasure.  Thanks… Continue reading Easier Done than Said

Jeweled Ingredients


Those familiar with Thai cuisine know cooking is all about building layer upon layer of taste.  This ensures each ingredient is distinct, identifiable and doesn’t get lost.  Still, they make up a chorus of flavors all equally assertive, yet complimenting each other beautifully.  That combination is no more exquisitely balanced than in today’s creation, Guay… Continue reading Jeweled Ingredients

Near the Main Line


Travelers aboard the Main Line of Philadelphia’s commuter rail pass through Valley Forge, today an affluent suburb, but nearly 250 years ago coincident with perhaps the direst moment in America’s struggle for independence.  The British Army having chased the Continentals from their capital (at the time, Philadelphia), George Washington sought refuge in a farming community… Continue reading Near the Main Line