Fig Leaf Spice Blend from Dandelion and Quince

Fig Leaf Spice Blend from Dandelion and Quince

For a year we lived in a house with a big fig tree. It was the best thing about the house, along with the plum, kumquatorange, and avocado trees. During a year fraught with challenging life transitions, these magnificent trees, so exotic and peculiar to my tropical origins, blessed us with their alluring fruits. 

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Let's Talk About Cookbooks!

Let's Talk About Cookbooks!

In my first ever visit to New York early this year, I came across Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks in the East Village, a bookstore entirely dedicated to cookbooks. When I went back to New York again a few months later for the SAVEUR Blog Awards, my new friend Suchi took me to Kitchen Arts & Letters in Uptown, another bookstore filled to the brim with cookbooks and food-related reads.

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Kohlrabi Carpaccio + What I Learned from The Vegetable Butcher

Kohlrabi Carpaccio + What I Learned from The Vegetable Butcher

Kohlrabi! 

For months, ever since I first saw it at the farmer's market, this bulbous vegetable haunted me with its elusive identity, tantalizing me with the potential of its portly presence and slinky tentacles. 

What is this? How do you cook it? What does it taste like? TELL MEEE. 

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Soba Noodle Salad with Tamari Dressing

Soba Noodle Salad with Tamari Dressing

I love tamari sauce and use it interchangeably with soy sauce, which I wrote about at length when I shared a recipe for Malaysian soy sauce stir-fried noodles. Both are excellent umami agents. I find Chinese soy sauce to be saltier and more pungent, which is great in stir-fries and marinades, and the mellower taste of tamari sauce lends itself very well in a cold salad like this Japanese-themed noodle salad. 

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Chopped Salad with Spiced Chickpeas from Eating in the Middle

Chopped Salad with Spiced Chickpeas from Eating in the Middle

I've become a huge fan of salad for lunch. It's quick and easy to throw together, and can be prepped ahead of time. Plus, I love vegetables, and making salad my standard lunch fare is a commitment to incorporate fresh, healthy, and wholesome ingredients into my diet regularly. But when salad is the main part of a meal, there are some things to consider. Satiety is one. What I've learned to do is pack my salads with plant-based protein. Another consideration is the weather. Cold, raw salads just don't do it for me on cool or rainy afternoons. So I learned to make warm salads

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Quick Kimchis from Koreatown: A Cookbook

Quick Kimchis from Koreatown: A Cookbook

The first thing I learned from Koreatown: A Cookbook is to think of "kimchi" as more of a verb than a noun, and to go beyond the jar of napa cabbage kimchi that's always present in my refrigerator. A quick flip through the book and I was rushing out the door to the nearest Korean grocery store, followed by a meal in a Korean restaurant where I ordered something other than my favorite Bibimbap (mixed rice bowl). 

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Shakshuka + The Language of Perfectly Cooked Eggs

Shakshuka + The Language of Perfectly Cooked Eggs

When I need to feed myself but lack the time or flexibility, the first thing that comes to mind is an egg. Fried. Hard-boiled. Poached. Scrambled. It doesn't really matter. Whichever way is in sync with the timing and rhythm of the circumstances. Sometimes my husband offers to cook it for me. If he decides to fry the egg, I usually say, "Minimal oil, crispy edges and runny yolk, please." It sounds like a tall order, but he's perfected it with practice, and I make sure he knows it, every time, at the first sight of oozing golden liquid. "Look!" I exclaim with unrestrained exhilaration, like a child unearthing a secret treasure.

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Recipe Confidence: Rye Pound Cake with Seed Medley

Recipe Confidence: Rye Pound Cake with Seed Medley

Rye flour. Caraway seeds. Pepitas. Funny how some ingredients draw you in instantly. This cake, to quote Heidi Swanson in her latest book Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel, "is a tender-crumbed, highly seeded, unfussy affair". Unfussy. I like that. Part of the pleasure of reading a cookbook is letting the words roll around in your mouth, like a teaser before the big reveal. Tender-crumbed. Yes, I would like to be responsible for that sensation. 

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Recipe Confidence: Ginger-Apple Crumble Pie (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Recipe Confidence: Ginger-Apple Crumble Pie (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

There's nothing more satisfying than successfully making a vegan, gluten-free apple pie from scratch with apples freshly picked from the orchards. Dutch apple pie has always been my favorite. I love everything about it, from the flaky crust that gently cradles the spiced apples to the crispy crumble top. Making the appropriate ingredient substitutions is the main challenge in creating a dairy- and gluten-free version of it, and I knew I needed a recipe I could fully rely on.

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Recipe Confidence: Fig and Carob Muffins (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Recipe Confidence: Fig and Carob Muffins (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

I'm a big fan of garden-to-table cooking, but my relationship with the fig tree in our backyard is more tree-to-mouth. This tree just gives and gives. To me, figs have got to be the strangest, most alluring fruit anyone can have in their backyard. And I feel extremely lucky to be within reach of so many fresh figs. Inspired, I was eager to try baking with them. So I hit the search button for recipes that feature fresh figs as the star. I found a muffin recipe that has figs sharing the limelight with another favorite ingredient of mine: carob powder. 

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Recipe Confidence: Gluten-Free Vegan Bread

Recipe Confidence: Gluten-Free Vegan Bread

In my search for a good gluten-free bread recipe, I recently got my hands on Bread & Butter, the latest book by Erin McKenna, founder and chef of BabyCakes NYC. Recipes from a pioneer in vegan gluten-free baking with a foreword by David Lebovitz should be a good choice, I thought, especially when the pages are this bright and cheerful with simple, friendly instructions that make the task ahead seem like a fun slumber party with your girlfriends.

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