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Salt, Acid, Fat, Crunch – Making Your Food Pop, Part 1

Ask a professional chef to taste and evaluate a dish, and odds are that if they think it needs something, that something will be salt, acid, fat, or crunch.

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Salt
Acid
Fat
Crunch
A Telling Failure

Why? Because these are fundamental elements that make food pop. They aren’t going to turn undercooked eggplant into a silk purse, but if …

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Block Party Empanadas

Tonight was National Night Out and I hope many of you had rockin’ block parties. Ours was fun as always, with lots of munchkins on bikes, scooters, toy cars, rollerblades and strollers. Zeb the kooky dog barked at everyone and ate liverwurst training paste, and our neighborhood police sergeant put up with the usual grilling …

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Creamy Grits with Crispy Leeks, Leek Jus, and Cilantro-Epazote Pesto – Recipe

 

Breakfast for dinner doesn't have to be just pancakes or eggs and toast. I grew up in the South, and was always appalled to watch folks mix together waffles, bacon, maple syrup and everything else on their plate. Thirty years later, I think that mixing sweet, savory and salty flavors is pure genius. …

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The Wrath of Grapes; Grape Expectations; You Ungrapeful Bastard

Never stop playing with your food! This is one of my favorite kitchen creativity games. Take a single ingredient, and cut it as many ways as you can think of, then observe the way the cuts and textures change your perception. Then take it a step further and let those new perceptions suggest simple flavor …

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Black Bean Soup Recipe – With Mild and Intense Variations

 

Years ago I used to make a (supposedly Cuban) black bean soup that included a fair amount of orange juice. I have no idea how authentic that is; I think the recipe came from the Moosewood cookbook so it may well have been hippified. As far as I can remember, it tasted pretty good.

I …

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Gateau de Crepes with Chocolate Pastry Cream and Dulce De Leche – Recipes

 

Sometimes I read a recipe and it burrows into a corner of my brain, gathers twigs and moss, builds a little nest, and refuses to move out until I make it. That was the case with this Gâteau de Crêpes from Amanda Hesser in the New York Times magazine back in 2005. The …

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Caramelized Caulifower Frittata – Recipe

  Caramelized Cauliflower Frittata

Cauliflower has a split personality. Boiled or steamed, it is kind of cabbagey, bland and slightly bitter. But roasted or sauteed until it has lots of dark brown caramelized spots all over, it becomes luscious and savory and altogether craveable. Deep fried, it is so good that my wife and I …

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