Richard writes: I like to make large batches of steamed rice. Normally, I reheat the leftovers in the microwave, but I’ve always been curious about fried rice. Specifically, does it need to be Asian-influenced or could I take the method and apply different flavorings? Thanks, in advance!
Tony’s take: I’m always grateful for questions, but especially for ones like this (ie: something I’ve asked myself before, but have been too lazy to follow up on). Richard, your regular approach to … Continue Reading
Tony writes: I order hot and sour soup most every time I go to a Chinese or Thai restaurant. It’s my thing: the vinegary tang, the heat, the abundance (the broth usually contains some happy mix of unidentifiable, but good, stuff). Over the years, I’ve played around with hot and sour in my own kitchen, but never to great success. Replicating the Chinese version can be less than lovely: there are about 50 different things that go into a … Continue Reading
Michel writes: What am I missing with barbecued chicken? It’s always been my favorite, but every time I grill it, I burn it and not from not lack of attention. Should I just bake it? I’m thinking the oven might be the way to go. Agreed?
Tony’s take: Happy days….first grill question of the season! And make no mistake, Michel, this is a grill question. Baking bbq chicken is, at best, a compromise: no smoke, no fire, no fun. Yes, … Continue Reading
Tony writes: For a couple of weeks now, I’ve been mulling another go at 10-for-4 (a $10 meal, all in, for a family of 4). Each successive pass by the meat case has pushed me a little closer to country-style ribs. These faux chops from the blade end of a pork loin have always fascinated me; cheap, tasty, and slightly maddening to cook just right (their different muscles present a funky mix of dark and white meat). My vision … Continue Reading
Dee writes: My husband and I used to a go to an Italian place in New York for the shrimp scampi. I make it myself every now and then, but I think it could be better. It’s my mother in-law’s recipe: shrimp, garlic, butter, and a whole lot of white wine.
Tony’s take: Dee, thanks, for writing. But first things: I do not (repeat: DO NOT!!) want to mess with your mother-in-law (or anyone else’s mother-in-law for that matter). I’m … Continue Reading
Tony writes: “Peasant cuisine” connotes resourceful, old-fashioned cooking. Take a Tuscan classic like ribollita: simmer aging vegetables, stale bread, and dried beans and you get a smart stew that’s fed centuries of Italians. But that was then; what should affordable cooking look like now? For all the hand-wringing about our diets, what can you really make on a limited budget that doesn’t involve powdered cheese? Things were quiet on the question front, so I decided to take the … Continue Reading
Stacey writes: I’ve made a few frittatas over the years, none memorable. I have a brunch coming up next week and I’m thinking I’d like to try one. This, of course, could be a really bad idea. Advice? Also, two friends coming are vegetarians.
Tony’s take: I’m a big frittata booster. To start with, they’re scalable: easy to prepare, ample enough to feed a crowd, and ok to serve however (warm, room temp, re-heated). Frittatas also give off a composed, … Continue Reading
Tony writes: I’ve silently stood by and watched countless bunches of celery die slow, shriveled deaths in my vegetable crisper. And on more than one occasion, I’ve been asked that excruciating question: “What can I do with all this #$Q!W%! besides ants on a log?” ”No mas!” I decided this past weekend. From here on, all celery I purchase (or see somebody else purchasing) will be completely utilized; full-blown, nose-to-tail. I accepted the 3/4 bunch left from a grilled … Continue Reading
Dennis writes: I had this idea of starting up a dinner party club with 4 other couples. Each of us will host and prepare a meal: appetizer, main, dessert, and wine. Everyone has signed on and now my wife and I are going first. I want to make something different, challenge myself. I’m thinking something bird-ish for the main course – maybe quail? Any thoughts for this and for the rest of the meal? Thanks!
Tony’s take: Dennis, … Continue Reading
Tony writes: What would “carnitas” be like if reimagined with an Asian pantry? To some extent, Kogi has already answered this question with a flourish, triumphantly folding braised pork into Korean tacos and burritos. But I’ve never been to Kogi (the L.A. food-truck circuit still remains on my gastronomic bucket list), so I’ve been left on my own to indulge my new braise-and-wrap obsession (now, meets SE Asia). The braise-and-burrito technique is a good one. You can slow-cook something big … Continue Reading