Caramelized Cod


The perfect combination of sweet-salty-hot and a tangy kick from the pickled cucumbers, this caramelized cod was so good, I made it twice in two weeks! I even made the sauce in advance for a dinner party, allowing me to poach the fish last minute and not spend more than 10 minutes in the kitchen during the party. You could easily substitute tofu, shitake mushrooms, chicken or pork for the fish, but you’d have to adjust the cooking time accordingly. The recipe is inspired by the classic Vietnamese dish Ca Kho To, clay pot braised fish.

  • 1/2 cup palm or brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce (can use vegan fish sauce if needed)
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 minced chili (or to taste for desired heat)
  • 3 lbs fish or other protein, cut into large chunks

Melt the sugar in a medium saucepan until completely liquid. It will start to smell like a toasty marshmallow! Carefully (it will bubble and steam) add the fish sauce and coconut water and return to heat, stirring to dissolve the caramel.

Meanwhile, saute the shallots, ginger, garlic and chili in a small fry pan until just golden. Add to the caramel liquid and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

When you are ready to eat, bring the sauce to a bare simmer and add the fish chunks, swirling the pan to coat. Cook for 3-5 minutes until fish is just cooked through and opaque looking. If you are using a different protein that needs more cooking time, move the pan to the oven and braise on low heat until tender.

Serve over rice or greens with a side of pickled cucumbers and coleslaw for crunch.

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Toum with roasted veggies (aka garlic sauce)

Toum may be a new favorite in my house – a cross between hollandaise and a very garlicky aioli – I am trying to imagine anything that it wouldn’t taste good on. It’s tangy and creamy and definitely full of garlic (so maybe a bonus for cold season?) – AND – super easy to make if you have a blender.


  • 1 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup garlic cloves (I used a full head but might use a little less next time)
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt to taste

I adapted this recipe from Andy Baraghani, and he recommends chilling your oil in the freezer first to help the emulsification. I did do that but am not certain it’s necessary.

Pulse the garlic and lemon juice with 1/2 cup of oil in a blender or food processor. Scrape down the sides and make sure the garlic is fully pureed. With the motor running, drizzle in the remainder of the oil to create the emulsion. The mixture will turn into something that looks like mayo and will make a slapping sound against the side of the blender.


Season with kosher salt and adjust the flavor by adding more lemon juice, more oil, and even a little water to tame the burn of the garlic. I like mine a bit tangy-er, and I might try adding a bit of chili paste next time as well!

Eggs with herbed yogurt, pickled green tomatoes, and shishito peppers


When a favorite local breakfast spot took my favorite dish off the menu, this is what happened. I like trying to recreate restaurant dishes at home anyways, and I definitely did not want to live without this yummy breakfast. The tangy herbed yogurt sauce reminds me of a brighter, more interesting hollandaise sauce (and is much easier to make). The herbs, pickled veggies, and peppers could all be swapped out for what you happen to have on hand.

Ingredients for sauce

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, full fat preferred (always!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped herbs (I used mint, chives and celery leaves)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all sauce ingredients and season to taste. Feel free to add something spicy too if you like – crushed red pepper or your favorite hot sauce to taste.

For assembly

I happened to have some shishito peppers in the crisper, so I tossed them in olive oil and salt and blackened them under the broiler for about 3 minutes. I really liked the bitter edge they lent the dish, but I think other broiled veggies would be really delish as well (eggplant, carrots, spring onions).

While you fry your eggs, chop up about 1/3 cup pickled veggies (I used green tomatoes) and slice and toast some bread (I used a simple flatbread dough, also broiled on the oven rack with the peppers).

Spread some yogurt sauce on two plates and top with veggies, eggs, peppers and toast. Enjoy!


Sour and spicy ramen soup

Today’s post is more of an idea rather than a recipe, but I’ll try my best to give instructions for those that are interested. It came about based on what I had in my fridge combined with what I was craving. Three of the ingredients were gifts from folks who are part of this neighborhood swap group: the cornish hens, the mushrooms, and the basil. I love Bull City Swap!


First, I made some broth using two cornish hens that a friend raised and gave to me. The hens were older, so I stewed them for a long time with onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and herbs. Some people discard the meat after making stock, but I like to use it for salads, soups, tacos, etc.

To make the ramen, I took 5 cups of the stock and some of the torn up meat and reheated it in a medium pot. I added 1/4 cup dried wood ear mushrooms, 1/2 cup pickled mustard greens (you could use any kind of greens, including fresh or frozen), 1 Hawaiian chili pepper (very spicy! you can use other hot peppers or pepper paste as you like), and the juice of 1/2 lime. As the broth heats, taste it and adjust to your liking. I ended up adding a tablespoon of white miso for some more salt and umami.

When the broth is boiling, add the noodles and cook for a few minutes less than what the packaging calls for. The noodles will finish cooking as you are serving it up. Divide the soup into two bowls and top with basil, chives, and/or cilantro. You may also want to garnish with some toasted sesame oil, roasted seaweed, or fried shallots. Folks may want to add more lime or hot sauce to their individual bowl for more sour or spice.

Tacos de burro (aka: donkey tacos)


As I mentioned in a previous post, I was lucky enough to be gifted some different kinds of meats, including donkey shank. I decided to braise it and make tacos. It was my first donkey, and I am definitely a fan.


Heat some oil in a large pot and brown the shank on all sides. Add in a couple of carrots, celery and an onion chopped rough, a head of garlic sliced in half, a few bay leaves, and a half teaspoon each of coriander seeds, fennel seeds, oregano, and chili flakes. Cover the shank with water and add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar.

Bring to a simmer, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Add 2 tablespoons salt. Cover the pot and place in a 275 F oven for 4-5 hours until the meat is falling off of the bone and the tendons are tender. Roughly chop the meat and finely chop the tendons.

Strain the aromatics out of the broth and reduce the broth to a thick gravy. Mix the chopped meat back in and adjust the seasoning as needed. This would be great with some gnocchi or mashed potatoes – and it was amazing in the tacos!



Pickled mustard greens

One of my favorite Szechuan dishes is a spicy stew of fermented mustard greens and fish. I have tried to recreate it at home using homemade sauerkraut and chilis, and it was good – but not the same.

Fresh local mustard greens inspired me to ferment my own, and I can’t wait to eventually try making the stew again (in maybe a month? I like my greens real sour).


  • 3 quarts water
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 3-4 star anise pods
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled, sliced thin
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 bird chilis or other hot chili to taste
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1.5 lbs fresh mustard greens, well washed (lots of grit!)

Boil all ingredients except mustard greens and cool brine back to room temperature. Pack glass canning jars with greens and fill with brine to cover greens. Evenly distribute the aromatics among the jars. Make sure all greens are below the brine level and set in a dark place to ferment for at least a week. Loosen the jar lid periodically to let gas escape. You can place in the fridge and let slow ferment for months- just be sure to keep releasing the pressure.


Pineapple-gochujang bbq sauce

What a foodie week I’ve had! I was lucky enough to be gifted some hunted and farmed meats from a friend of a friend and now I’m cooking with venison, game hens and … donkey! (that’s for another post though) Today, I made lunch for my mom, including roasted game hens glazed in a pineapple-gochujang bbq sauce.


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can pineapple chunks (yes I used canned)
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (often contains wheat, so if you are gluten-free, look for specific brands that don’t contain wheat)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion and garlic in a couple tablespoons of oil until starting to brown. Add the pineapple with its juices, and the remaining ingredients, simmering until thick and glossy. Adjust seasoning adding more sugar, vinegar, or salt as needed. Puree until slightly chunky in a blender or using an immersion blender.

For the hens, I spatchcocked them and seasoned with salt and sugar, letting the skins dry out overnight in the fridge.


I rubbed skins with butter and roasted at 450 F for 20 minutes, lowered the temp to 350 F for 20 minutes more and then glazed with bbq sauce, placing them under the broiler for a final 5 minutes. I added green beans to the pan for the last 15 minutes of cooking to make use of all the yummy juices.



Ugly-delicious: cod with sauerkraut and Szechuan pepper

I didn’t take the time to figure out how to make this meal look appealing, but I promise that, in person, the smell and taste more than made up for it. That said, I figured I should just call it like it is and name the dish ugly-delicious.

img-3046.jpgSzechuan-inspired cod with sauerkraut

  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil (or other light-tasting oil)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sauerkraut
  • 2 tablespoons fermented black beans
  • 1-3 tablespoons chili paste or fresh chopped jalapenos or serranos
  • 1 tablespoon ground Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1 lb cod, cut into large chunks

Sautee the onion, celery and garlic in the oil over medium-high until they begin to brown. Add the sauerkraut, beans, chili and peppercorns and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more salt, heat or sour (by adding sauerkraut juice or vinegar). Add the fish and cook until just opaque, turning very gently so as to not break up the filet.

I served the fish with basmati rice cooked with amaranth and some shredded greens.


Apricot-Salted Caramel Ice Cream

This lightly tropical ice cream is so luscious you wouldn’t know that it’s dairy free! I used coconut milk and eggs to add richness, and the pureed apricots add a velvety texture and perfume. You could go all the way vegan with this recipe by thickening with cornstarch instead of eggs.



  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 3 large eggs (for vegan ice cream: omit eggs and dissolve 1/4 cup cornstarch in 1 can of coconut milk and add to the blender before the apricots)
  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup toasted cashews

Melt sugar in medium saucepan over medium heat and continue to heat until it turns a deep brown and smells a bit like burnt marshmallows. Swirl the pan as the sugar browns to even it out. If you don’t let it go long enough at this stage, you won’t get much caramel flavor. I always think of it like this – if I go too far and it burns (has a bitter smell/taste), I can always start over – it’s just sugar.

Pour in the coconut milk (mixture will bubble and spit) and carefully stir over medium heat to re-melt the caramel. Pour mixture into a blender and, with blender running, add the eggs one at a time. Add 3/4 cup apricots, salt, and vanilla and let run until smooth.

Pour the mixture back into your saucepan and slowly heat to fully thicken, whisking constantly. Do not let boil – but, if you do, pour the mixture through a strainer before cooling to get any lumps out. Cool custard overnight and then churn in an ice cream maker. Top with thinly sliced dried apricots and toasted cashews.


Kimchi pancakes and caramelized delicata squash


Kimchi makes me so happy. So so happy. These pancakes especially with their crispy, spicy, chewy, tangy, juicy-ness, are one of my favorite ways to have kimchi. You could sub in all sorts of ingredients here, and I’ll share suggestions below. (a previous post has the salad recipe)

Kimchi pancakes

  • 1 cup kimchi sliced thin
  • 1 scallion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup bay shrimp (could sub in other proteins like drained tofu, sauteed mushrooms, scallops or leave out completely. My kimchi is vegan and gluten-free, so I can easily accommodate dietary restrictions. Many store-bought brands of kimchi contain fish sauce or oysters and may have gochujang with can be made with wheat or barley paste both of which contain gluten – check it closely to be sure)
  • 1/2 cup flour (can use gf flour blend or rice flour)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all of the ingredients together and thin with a little kimchi liquid if needed. Heat oil on medium high in a large nonstick pan. Scoop about 1/4 cup mixture into the pan and flatten so ingredients are more or less in one layer. Let the pancake cook until it is golden brown and crispy, then flip and cook to crisp the other side, about 5-7 minutes total.

These can be served with or without an easy dipping sauce of equal parts soy sauce and rice vinegar with a dash of toasted sesame oil and chili paste. You can use tamari if you are trying to keep this recipe gluten-free.

Caramelized delicata squash

  • 1 delicata squash, scrubbed clean, cut in half longways, seeds scraped and then sliced (skin on) into thin half moons
  • Oil and salt/pepper

Not really a recipe, but after you have cooked the kimchi pancakes, throw the squash into the same pan and cook for about 5 minutes per side until they are dark brown and tender. Season with salt and pepper.