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mala oil

Sichuan Hot-and-Numbing (Ma La) Chile Oil

Until the last decade, the classic Sichuan flavor combination ma la (numbing and hot) was hard to come by in the United States. Sichuan peppercorns, the only common source of the numbing, tingly sensation called ma in Chinese, were banned from import to the US because they could transmit a kind of citrus canker. Fortunately,…

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tiabb burro open

Eating ABQ: Tia Betty Blue’s

This is another one of those “I can’t believe I didn’t share it earlier” reviews. Tia Betty Blue’s opened about three years ago on a neglected stretch of San Mateo not far from Gibson, in a two-story building that used to house a cleaning business. It was a surprise to see someone try a restaurant…

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sake-don 1

Salmon Rice Bowl with Soy-Wasabi Sauce (Sake-Don)

My recent obsession with Kokoro Japanese Restaurant finally bled over into my own kitchen. I wanted more Japanese food, but I wanted it to be as quick and simple as it was delicious. Paging through my copy of Japanese Soul Cooking, I saw a gorgeous picture of a bowl of vibrant red tuna slices brushed…

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kokoro abura-age

Soulful Japanese Food at Kokoro Restaurant

Once upon a time, I read in a now-forgotten cookbook that “There is no such thing as al dente in Japanese noodles.” That author had never had a proper bowl of ramen. To be fair, a proper bowl of ramen is a rare thing. As viewers of the classic Japanese film Tampopo and the less classic…

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fried apples

Fried Apples with Cinnamon

Cinnamon- and butter-laced fried apples are an easy but luxurious breakfast treat – or try them with ice cream for dessert.


Easy Oven-Roasted Brown Sugar Bacon

I love bacon. It’s hard not to. Sweet, smoky, salty, chewy, crisp, rich… Good bacon hits on all cylinders. But I’ve always considered it a pain to cook. Standing over a skillet, laboriously flipping each floppy strip, grease spattering everywhere – even if you’re using a splatter screen, because you can’t flip without removing it….

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The riddle of Ethiopian injera: Is sourdough starter the answer?

Ah, injera. Ethiopian food is unthinkable without injera, the flexible, sour teff-flour flatbread that doubles as both edible utensil and plate. (And, at the end of the meal, is the best part, soaked as it is with the juices of all the stews.) I remember the first time I saw injera, folded and tucked in…

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Spiced Apple Cider Caramels

Caramel is magic. Caramelization (and its close cousin, the Maillard reaction; colloquially we use the term “caramelization’ for both) takes bland foods and makes them incredibly complex and delicious. It’s responsible for so much of the deliciousness of cooked foods.  And you can just unwrap all that and pop it in your mouth. Recently, caramel…

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