Italian Twist on Yuzu

pignoli yuzu gremolata
pignoli yuzu gremolata

Yuzu is a captivating versatile citrus that has been valued in Asian cuisines for centuries. This twist on an Italian condiment employs the yuzu in a fusion-style preparation. The young green yuzu fruit of September has turned a mellow golden yellow. Both the young green and the mature yellow fruits are used in cooking, so we’ve enjoyed fabulous yuzu all through autumn and winter. The rind is very aromatic, the juice is tart. Yuzu adds a striking bright note to vegetables. Its flavors are more complex than lemon – maybe like a combination of grapefruit plus mandarin orange with a hint of sour lime? Pair the zest with pine nuts, garlic, and a pinch of salt  – and this gremolata will brighten up any winter roasted vegetable dish!

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A Quinoa Meatball Landscape

meatballs, quinoa meatballs, meatball landscape, five star cooking group
Evolution of the Creation/
A Quinoa Meatball Landscape

Meatballs. Swedish meatballs. New Nordic Cuisine. Landscape design. Bed head. Tousled. Meatballs. Vegetarian. Quinoa. Fundamental naturalism. Foraging. Windy. Wavy. Ruffled. Native. Tasty. Satisfying. Elemental. Pickled. Fresh. Healthful. Tumbled. Unordered. Artfully disheveled. Meatballs…

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purple sweet potato soup – coconut, red chili, toasted cumin

purple sweet potato soup, potato soup

purple sweet potato soup – coconut, red chile, toasted cumin

Color, color, color. This is one intensely hued soup. It is warm and comforting because it is soup, after all. But it is also exotic, spicy, jazzy. Made from purple-fleshed sweet potatoes from the farmers’ market. But what if one was to close the eyes? No “Taste With The Eyes” allowed. Would this soup still hit the mark? Flavor, texture, balance, intrigue…yes, yes, yes.

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Sweet, Spicy, Savory Kale Salad

kale salad
Organic Kale with Dried Cherries & Shirataki Noodles
Garlicky Chili Lime Dressing

I’m not usually a fan of those free food samples at the supermarket. Seen too many “grazers” with poor manners and questionable hygiene, I suppose. But every once in a while, when there is a conscientious host passing out tastes of a unique offering, I might give it a try, as was the case this past weekend at Whole Foods.

A charming older woman was enthusiastically portioning out little cups of this interesting raw kale salad. It turned out to be an outrageous combination of flavors and textures, so fresh and bright, with an unexpected umami note. I put a bag of her shirataki noodles in my cart, and went home to create a salad inspired by that sample.

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Enigmatic Korean Pancakes

korean pancake, bindaetteok
Korean Pancakes
Bindaetteok

korean embroidered tablecloth
Mrs. Lee’s Embroidered Tablecloth

Gina Lee tells her Korean Pancakes story:

“She was a fabulous cook. When Scott and I were first married she would often bring Korean dishes over to our house, including these wonderful savory pancakes. I would ask her: What is this? It’s so delicious.  I’m good at figuring out the ingredients in a dish.  What’s in the batter? Is it egg, or corn meal? I’m Italian, I thought about polenta…What makes it yellow?

But my mother-in-law would just smile.

Korean.

Pancakes.

I gave up trying to figure it out and just enjoyed them over the years. Fast forward, my husband made Korean pancakes at home as a test for our restaurant menu. And it was then I finally learned the secret. Mung beans? Mung beans and water. Really?”

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