At any given time I have a handful of food obsessions rolling around in my head. I find ways to incorporate them each week in my cooking and I often spend down time poking around online for creative ways to use them. Some fall off the list, others stick around and new ones are always finding their way to my dinner table. When the whole family loves them like I do, everyone is happy. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case… said the lentil salad I keep making.
My current obsessions…
Frisée – A crisp frisée salad with radicchio, farm picked diced apples and a little crumbled blue cheese could be one of the best salads. Skip the apple and cheese, and toss in some crispy pancetta or bacon lardons if you “Parlez-vous français.” Top with a poached egg and voilà! A Salade Lyonnaise. My recent dinner at the très chic restaurant La Chéri, in the Philadelphia Art Alliance building, included a delicious Salade Lyonnaise and too much French white wine I’m sorry to admit (nice segue to my next addiction).
French White Wines – Extra dirty martinis and sazeracs no more… I don’t know what’s happened to me in the last 6 months but my alcohol tolerance has plummeted to its lowest levels. I’m sad to report my days of cocktails before having wine with dinner are over. I have however, found a new love of French whites. Our dinner at La Chéri introduced me to Vouvray, a refreshing white wine with a hint of effervescence. Sancerre and white bordeaux are also on the list. Here are a few delicious bottles. Sophie Bubbles is not impressed.
Lentils – To me, lentils are a perfect food. I love these lentils with chorizo and making lentil soup with sausage and spinach, and I even love canned lentils for this quick cold salad. I could go on and on. Below is Ottolenghi’s Mejadra, an ancient rice dish with lentils and fried onions (I could eat the whole bowl). It’s from his Jerusalem cookbook. If you love Middle Eastern food, check out his cookbooks. Love!
Gochujang – Gochujang is a Korean fermented chile paste. I’ve used it to make stir-fry, fried rice and chicken lettuce wraps. It’s spicy but not overpowering. You definitely need to mix it with other seasonings like sesame oil, soy sauce and fresh ginger. It has a wonderful umami type flavor. If you’re interested in learning a little more, Bon Appetit has a nice article about gochujang. Here’s the stir-fry sauce that I always make, adapted from Eating Well magazine. It’s an easy weeknight dinner with a spicy kick. Yum!
Gochujang Stir-Fry Sauce
- 1/4 cup gochujang
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons sugar
Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir-fry any combination of veggies and protein you like. Pour the stir-fry sauce over the ingredients in the pan and stir until everything is coated and the sauce is heated through. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve over brown rice.
** I’ve found Gochujang at some Wegmans and at Mekelburgs in Brooklyn.