WHAT'S AFTER DINNER

Adventures in eating with Miki Kawasaki

#Mains

Accessorize It

There’s some vague, unofficial rule in fashion about never matching too much. If this plate were an outfit, it would surely be in violation: chickpea hummus, chickpea falafel, even pita bread made from chickpeas. I suppose the best solution to this […]

#Mains

Red hot

These tostadas, adapted from Simply Recipes, were the perfect answer to my hankering for some lighter summer fare as well as the visions of tortillas occupying my head after coming across a copy of Diana Kennedy’s Oaxaca al Gusto at the library. […]

#Reflections

Odds and ends

Unpublished photos from the files. Chicken skin wrapped shrimp bites One of the dishes from my culinary final. You haven’t been truly intimate with a chicken until you’ve deboned it and stuffed it with another animal. Tomato curry with beef […]

#Mains

Red, white, and stew

Although cumin lamb is associated with Sichuan province, there is an unmistakable Muslim influence in it, a testament to the diverse cultures that have left their imprint on China’s foodways. This version, however, adapted from Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese […]

#Baking & Sweets #Recipes

Some like it raw

I don’t eat delicious, lovingly prepared homemade meals every night. Sometimes I end up getting takeaway from Whole Foods—bad sushi is a very guilty pleasure of mine (seriously—did you know that the Unification Church is by far the largest distributor […]

#Mains

Work with what you’ve got

Although I’ve tried to become something of a connoisseur of ethnic groceries, first in DC, now in Boston, I admit that stepping into them still feels like a gamble. I revisited Phu Cuong grocery this weekend, with a shopping list for […]

#Mains

Sacrilicious

Leftover broth from the braised chicken was used to create a soup for this ramen, which includes homemade noodles and roast pork loin. The distinctive red hue comes from the addition of lots of chili bean paste. My roommate pointed out […]

#Mains

A NOSE KNOWS

I’ve never been to Mission Chinese Food, but it must smell like heaven. This chicken stew, adapted from head chef Danny Bowien’s recipe, should be made into an aromatherapy candle. With the copious amounts of cumin, fennel, and Sichuan pepper […]

#Mains

Not Crap

Since kung pao chicken usually appears as some sort of deep fried catastrophe in red gloop at most American Chinese restaurants, I was surprised to find out that it actually has roots in a legitimate Sichuan dish. This recipe, from […]

#Mains

¿Como se dice?

I’ve never taken Spanish lessons, but having worked in the service industry, I’ve managed to pick up some of the food lingo. I tried to think of what you would call these in Spanish: tacos de chorizo con papas, queso […]

#Mains

SMELLS LIKE…

Last week I made some rather forgettable jerk chicken that was saved by the addition of this rice and beans recipe from Simply Recipes. I loved the creamy, fragrant rice so much I made it again. Happening upon this beef stew […]

#Mains

OH THE DRAMA!

The problem with watching films and TV shows about food (the gastronome’s second favorite pastime) is that they’re impossible to get through without craving what’s on the screen. I’ve been making my way through Korean drama Pasta, in which aglio e […]

#Mains

GLAZED OVER

Braised goat in drunken glaze with jasmine rice and green beans Last weekend, I went to Phu Cuong, a recently opened Vietnamese supermarket in Dorchester to get some of the ingredients for my Pad Kee Mao. There’s nothing that will […]

#Recipes #Sides

MISO MAD

Swedish style mustard with Saikyo miso A couple years back, Eater.com declared “stealth miso” to be one of the next big trends in food. Not surprise attack miso, but miso in places you wouldn’t expect to find it. They were […]

#Mains

A WALK IN THE WOODS

Udon with mushrooms J. Kenji López-Alt has been posting some wonderful vegan recipes over at Serious Eats, the sort written for those of us with tastebuds. I don’t mean that as a dig at my vegan and vegetarian friends. But really, every time I see…

#Mains

SO OVER IT

Spiced lentils with lamb (yakhni’l-adas) and swiss chard in yogurt (siliq bil laban) These recipes come from Nawal Nasrallah’s Delights from the Garden of Eden, a historically-minded Iraqi cookbook. According to Nasrallah, yakhni not only describe…

#Mains

NO GUTS NO GLORY

Laab with mushrooms and pork So I suppose the news story of the moment is that Boston is going to get 2+ feet of snow this weekend. Right now, it’s barely a few hours into the storm and the window in my room is so clogged that I can’t see anything…

#Mains

IT’S ALL GREEK

Chicken giouvetsi I made shrimp giouvetsi once a few years back and have returned to the dish, and variations on it, rather often. Rather than boiling the orzo that goes into it, everything is baked casserole style, infusing the pasta with the fla…

#Mains

MELTING POT

Chettinad curry, green beans with coconut and mustard seed, broken rice This recipe was designed for someone like myself: a home cook with a seriously overstuffed spice cabinet that never seems to declutter no matter how many times I make curry. T…

#Mains

EASY DOES IT

Red curry with chicken, squash, string beans, and eggplant There are as many red curry paste recipes as there are Thai cookbooks and Thai cooking blogs. I don’t have any particular favorite and usually only end up consulting them to remind myself …

#Mains

ON A SOUR NOTE

Laksa asam – Penang hot and sour noodles After a truly hectic end to my first semester in grad school, I finally have some time to get back to cooking and other important things in life, like marathoning episodes of Breaking Bad and reading all of…

#Mains

IT TAKES TWO

Navel oranges and oil-cured olives with tarragon and sea salt Orange and olive is one of my favorite flavor pairings. After seeing it on a menu with yellowtail crudo a few years back, I encountered it again via old school, pre-soapbox Bittman. It’…

#Mains

A-MAIZE-ING

Corn and miso ramen with vegetables and ground pork Yes, even I will stoop to terrible puns sometimes. I still have some corn flour left over from making the corn cookies, which I’ve already tried using in pancakes. For some reason, corn and miso …

#Mains

WE ARE NOT WORTHY

Yellow rice with sausage, edamame, okra, and pickled onions It’s been a few weeks since any dinner has appeared on this site. Not that I haven’t been cooking – life just hasn’t been able to accomodate the massive “project” meals I usually post. So…

#Mains

ACROSS THE OCEAN

Tamarind soup with shrimp, rice, and peas This week I finally had an opportunity to attend a lecture in Harvard’s Science and Cooking series, which normally I wouldn’t be able to do due to classes (thank you Christopher Columbus for the day off?)….

#Mains

IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE

Squid and baby bok choy over egg noodles This stir fry is a favorite of mine for when I want something fairly quick and easy. I used leftover homemade noodles from last week’s Khao Soi to soak up the briny juices that the marinade for it gives off…

#Mains

IDENTITY CRISIS

Khao soi – curry noodles with chicken, pickled mustard, shallots, crispy noodles, cilantro, and lime Recently I’ve been reading a lot about matters of authenticity and what it means in the food experience. Since about ninety nine percent of the fo…

#Mains

ANOTHER TIME AND PLACE

Doro wott and ye’abesha gomen (Ethiopian chicken stew and collards) with farro More than a week after I moved, I finally got around to cooking a proper meal. That first week was painfully ridden with canned tuna and greasy quesadillas, but hey, at…

#Mains

THE LAST SUPPER

Linguine with meatballs In the last few months my cooking has leant towards spice and flavor heavy dishes – a lot of Thai and Chinese. Of course I love these sorts of foods, but I also had a practical motive in making them: to get rid of as much o…

#Mains

MYSTERY MEAL

Niu Rou Mian – egg noodles with beef and Chinese broccoli Last week, after four years in DC, I finally made it out to Eden Center, a mega strip mall for Vietnamese businesses just over the river in Virginia. All the talk I’d head about it being a …

#Mains

REPEAT PERFORMANCE

Som tam and pad thai I’ve already explained my love/hate relationship with pad thai. Right now, I’m trying to focus on the love, which is that it’s great for cleaning out my pantry. I’m guessing that in Thailand it’s not typically served with som …

#Mains

FOR ALL SEASONS

Minnesota wild rice soup with mushrooms It’s quite obvious looking through my photos that rice is a big staple of my cooking. I usually opt for jasmine, but I ran out of my last bag of it a few weeks ago. I’ll be relocating to Boston at the end of…

#Mains

COMPLEMENTARY COLORS

Corn and potato soup with sorrel pistou, berbere roasted eggplant with merguez sausage / baby eggplants at sunset I’m not sure what I was thinking when I bought yellow corn and purple potatoes for making soup. Any third grader could tell you that …

#Mains

CABIN FEVER

Lemongrass chicken with coconut rice and sauteed kale with mushrooms I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve come across an interesting recipe, only to find that the instructions are designed for the charcoal grill. It’s as if all the…

#Mains #Recipes

TOTALLY MOD

Drunken noodles, revised / Stir-fried broccoli tips This past weekend I had set out to make Yotam Ottolenghi’s Malaysian duck curry. However, upon getting to the grocery and experiencing a bit of sticker shock at the price of duck ($15 for one bre…

#Mains

CROSS CULTURAL

Pad Horapa – Thai basil chicken with crispy skins This dish is closely related to the Teochew style chicken I made a few weeks back. The Thai version seems to have been heavily influenced by the Chinese, due to the fact that many Teochew migrated …

#Mains

KO’d

Rice with shrimp and chorizo, baked plantains, chayote pickles I’ve got my method for cooking rice on a stovetop mastered. It always comes out perfectly cooked — never burnt, never hard, never soggy. I should have realized earlier that adding a w…

#Mains

BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

Salted salmon, grated beets with dill, Russian kale, and brown Basmati rice Although the main components of this dish suggest something vaguely Nordic, each item was seasoned with quintessentially Japanese ingredients: rice vinegar and sesame oil …

#Mains

FROM THE SOURCE

Cha ca la vong – Rice noodles with hake, herbs, peanuts and fried shallots Another recipe that is a copy of a copy of a copy. Even if far removed from the source, the abundance of herbs picked straight from my own and from neighbors’ yards made th…

#Mains

DO IT LIKE NO ONE ELSE

Dan dan noodles I love being able to roll out of bed on Sunday mornings, literally walk about 30 paces to the west, and then in a half-asleep haze stumble my way through the Bloomingdale Farmer’s Market. For a fairly small market, it packs an incr…

#Mains

A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING

Homemade linguine with basil pesto, trumpet mushrooms, pecorino romano, and pine nuts I had never heard of pesto until I got to college. During my freshman year I had a crummy work-study job ladling food at the cafeteria. On my first day I was ass…

#Mains

DESTROY EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH

Teochew style chicken with basil and Sichuan peppercorn Another recipe from Eileen Yin Fei Lo’s Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking. The greens are deep fried basil leaves. I love how luminously translucent they become after cooking. Of course, t…

#Mains

COOKING WITH KIDS

Goat curry with coconut milk Goat is the most widely consumed meat in the world, yet it’s difficult to come by in the U.S.. Luckily for me, there’s a sweet lady who offers it at my neighborhood farmer’s market every Sunday. Goat is ideal for brais…

#Mains

BEING BORING

Pad Thai I never order Pad Thai when I’m eating at a Thai restaurant. It’s like ordering a hamburger at a high end steak house — incredibly pointless and lacking in all the real action. Why order noodles that have likely been adulterated with sic…

#Mains

MASTERPIECE-A PIZZA

Aloo Gobhi Naan Pizza One time when I was shopping at Lotte Plaza, I came across a giant freezer full of naan pizzas on sale for $1.50 each. Although I generally try to stay away from frozen meals, I nevertheless proceeded to load my cart with a h…

#Mains

CUCINA POVERA

Tagliatelle with asparagus and clams A riff on the ubiquitous linguine with clams using leftover bacon and konbu dashi from shrimp and grits combined with sherry, soy sauce, and a seafood broth made using the shrimp shells.

#Mains

EASY A

Fried yellow rice with chickpeas, baked spinach, onions, and feta One thing I’d like to get better at is creating my own dishes without recipes. This is probably when studying old episodes of Iron Chef would come in handy, applying their lessons t…

#Mains

WHATEVER I WANT, WHENEVER I WANT IT

Shrimp and grits with bacon, spinach, scallion This one’s adapted from the Momofuku cookbook. Naturally, it’s got a bit of a Japanese twist, with a konbu and soy sauce base for the grits’ cooking liquid. I was inspired to make this after I got the…

#Mains

IN DEFENSE OF PROCESSED CRAP

A sea of sunny yellow / Mac ‘n cheese making fun of side dish raw, macerated kale Here is how I normally prepare mac ‘n cheese: Take one box of Velveeta with shells (the kind that comes with a silver pouch of liquid cheese). Boil approximately thr…

#Mains

SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE

Oxtail in berbere sauce with collard greens and rice This is an adaptation of Marcus Samuelsson’s recipe for doro wott from his pan-African cookbook The Soul of a New Cuisine. I don’t think I’ve ever seen oxtail in Ethiopian dishes before, but it’…

#Mains

COCO LOCO

Spaghetti nero with dandelion greens, shrimp, squid, tomato jelly, and tom kha broth / Telephone brand agar agar / Tomato jelly fingers I guess I’m going coco loco this week. I returned recently from a trip to Germany and Switzerland, where I ate …

#Mains

PLAYING FAVORITES

Goan-style curry with tofu over a brown basmati and red rice blend Coconut milk curry was one of the first things I ever tried to make on my own and throughout the years has remained one of my chief culinary obsessions. I will probably be forever …

#Mains

NO SUGAR NECESSARY

Sopa Tarasca (black bean soup, Michoacan style) Mexican cream (crema Mexicana), which is what that squiggle is, is one of my favorite condiments. Creme fraiche ain’t got nothing on it.

#Mains

NO JERK, NO CRY

Jerk chicken with fried cabbage Ever see this meme? I think the same thing happens every time I try to make Jamaican, or Ethiopian, or Thai, or any other food that I dearly love that is from a place I will likely never visit. I got the recipe for …

#Mains

REMIX

Homemade tagliatelle with lentils, pecorino romano, dill, and tomato Leftovers meal inspired by a recipe at the excellent Greek cooking blog Kalofagas.

#Baking & Sweets

TRASH TALKING

Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookies. Sometimes I can’t decide which photo to use, with or without props. So I lied when I said I would stay away from the Milk Bar cookbook. Lindsey made the big mistake of leaving a jar full of peanut butter cups in …

#Mains

THE ROOF IS ON FIRE

Larb nuaa gae (Minced lamb salad) Last week I went to Little Serow, a basement restaurant run by the same people who own the esteemed Komi. Little Serow serves up Isan cuisine, from the northern countryside provinces of Thailand. I’d had Isan befo…

#Mains

YESTERDAY’S CREPES

Crepe with Brussels sprouts, andouille sausage, pecan, and pecorino romano A dinner (or breakfast) made entriely out of leftovers: sausage and nuts remaining from this week’s farro dish, buttermilk left from making the funfetti cake, Brussels spro…

#Baking & Sweets

FUNfetti

Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake, for my roommate Lindsey Because even though she claims to be a grown ass woman, we all know Lindsey is really a kid at heart. Although it was quite tasty and not too difficult to make, I probably won’t be trying an…

#Mains

NEW YORK TO LOUISIANA

Farro with andouille sausage and pecans Remember back in the early noughties when a then 20 year old Britney Spears opened the doomed to fail restaurant NYLA in midtown Manhattan? It featured Britney’s favorite Louisiana home cooking crossed with …

#Mains

A FRENCH DISH, ETHIOPIAN FLAVORS

Arctic char and lentils cooked in berbere I don’t mind making my own berbere powder in a pinch, but the best of that paprika heavy spice mixture can be bought at Zenebech Injera. Tyler Cowen was not exaggerating when he declared Zenebech the best …

#Mains

DINNER IS SERVED…

Pan-fried noodles with tofu and peppers I’ve been posting photos of my creations in the kitchen to Facebook for almost a year. When I started, I had no intention other than to document the activity that brings me the most consistent joy and sense …