The kabocha is a Japanese squash, available at most Asian markets and many farmers' markets in autumn. Its vibrant orange flesh is naturally sweet, and Sabrina Chin's family has served these light, airy, Chinese-style buns for dessert in lieu of American pumpkin pie. "A traditional Asian palate prefers something a little less sweet," she says. Sifting the flour helps give the buns their appealing lightness. (A conventional vegetable steamer in a lidded saucepan works well, but a traditional bamboo steamer may also be used.)
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A black-eyed-pea fritter that originated in Nigeria, akkara is popular throughout West Africa. We've adapted the recipe from Jessica B. Harris's cookbook Iron Pots & Wooden Spoons: Africa's Gifts to New World Cooking (Simon & Schuster, 1999) so it's only lightly fried to maintain a crispy exterior and creamy center. Red palm oil, nonhydrogenated and rich in antioxidants, is traditionally used in West African cooking. Fritters may be served with either chile sauce or tomato chutney. (Tomato chutney and red palm oil are both available at specialty food stores.) Read More
In Yiddish, to "make a big tsimmes" means to make a big deal out of something. In Jewish cuisine, a tsimmes is a simple baked mixture with a base of root vegetables, dried fruit, and a sweetener. This meatless version features sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and carrots, and uses prunes and honey for sweetness. Read More
Argentine cooking, like that of many Mediterranean cultures, is based on combining fresh ingredients that complement one another. This flavorful salad couldn't be simpler, working miracles with the most basic materials. Prepare it just before serving, Patricia Arancibia advises. "The watercress is delicate, and the olive oil-lemon mix can easily damage the leaves if you wait." Read More
Miso and tahini are an irresistible combination, complementing and balancing one another. This dressing works beautifully over mixed greens and garden-fresh tomatoes, or over a simple salad of thinly sliced cucumbers and carrot ribbons. Miso paste and tahini can be found at specialty food stores and most ethnic markets.
Makes 1 half-pint jar Ginger and lemon give freshness to these cooked pears, and honey brings out their natural sweetness. For more dessert-friendly fare, try substituting one fresh mint leaf for the bay leaf. Before you begin, wash and dry your jar, lid, and seal. Read More