Almost every culture in the world has a holiday honoring the departed. In Japan there’s Obon, in Mexico there’s Día de los Muertos, and Catholics around the world celebrate All Souls’ Day. In China, and ethnically Chinese communities around the world, there’s the Hungry Ghost Festival. Since Singapore is such a melting pot of various culinary traditions, I enlisted the help of my friend Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, author of A Tiger In The Kitchen to tell us more about how the Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated in Singapore. She’s also shared a recipe for her aunt’s Teochew braised duck (see end of post).
The first dish I ever made in culinary school was ratatouille. I remember like it was yesterday. We were working on our precision knife skills, so everything had to be sliced and diced to perfection. I had no idea how just a simple stew of summer vegetables could be so flavorful and satisfying.
Ask most people and they’ll tell you that tuna is best served raw. That’s because it’s a very lean fish and the lack of fat makes it dry out easily when cooked. Most grilled preparations of tuna will have you sear the outside, but leave the middle raw.
If there’s one thing I really love in life, it’s a good falafel pita. Spicy, hot and filling, those little fried chickpea patties never fail to please.
Grilling season is going full-bore and I’m out barbecuing almost every day while I still can. Unfortunately I always seem to end up with coals so hot that they’ll turn the surface of any meat into carbon before the middle is cooked.
I can pack away some serious stuffed shells.
Cheesy, warm and delicious, stuffed shells are the ultimate comfort food out there in my opinion. They’re also a great make-ahead dish for company. Whose eyes don’t widen when they see a huge pan of shells coming out of the oven?
I love a good crusty loaf of bread, but unless I’m having friends over, I can rarely finish an entire loaf before it’s hard enough to cause injury.
At this point, most people would throw the bread away, but my Japanese upbringing always leaves me with a nagging feeling of my mother saying “mottainai”, or “what a waste!”. In Italy, people take a similar approach to food, where nothing is wasted and stale bread is often turned into breadcrumbs.
One of the things I love the most about where I live in California is that we get such amazing produce, especially in the summer! There are farmer’s markets year-round here, but everything just seems to come in full force during the summer months and I just can’t get enough. This is my second year participating in a CSA program with a local farm here and I’ve been just loving getting a huge bag bursting with fresh veggies once a week. And one of the veggies that has been the spotlight lately is Swiss chard!