Bostock

1 1/2 tablespoons, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon rum, kirsch, or amaretto liqueur
a few drops orange flower water, (optional)
6 slices brioche, challah or firm-textured white bread, such as pain de mie, cut in 1/2-inch (2cm) slices
6 ounces (170g) almond paste
2 large eggs, at room temperature
a few drops pure almond extract, (optional)
1/2-3/4 cup (40-60g) sliced almonds
powdered sugar

In a small saucepan, heat the 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar with the water, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add the liquor and a few drops of orange flower water, if using.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or leave it unlined) and place the slices of bread on it.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or by hand in a medium bowl with a spatula, beat the almond paste with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, the eggs, and a few drops of almond extract, if using, at medium-high speed until smooth. But avoid whipping it up; mix it just until most of the lumps are removed. (A few little ones won’t matter.)

Brush each slice of bread generously with the syrup, enough so it saturates the bread all the way through. Spread each piece of bread with the almond topping then sprinkle sliced almonds over the top.

Bake until the tops of the Bostock are well-browned. I begin checking them at the 6-minute mark but they can take up to 10 to 12 minutes so best to rely on visual clues rather than precise minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: The almond topping can be made in advance and refrigerated up to one week. Let come to room temperature before using.

Golden Coconut Milk

1 (13.5-ounce) can full fat coconut milk
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger, to taste (from a 2-inch size knob)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch fine sea salt
Pinch ground black pepper
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons maple syrup

Cinnamon sticks and/or ground cinnamon or turmeric, to serve (optional) In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the coconut milk until you see a little bit of steam, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, sea salt, and black pepper, and gently whisk to combine. Add the vanilla extract, and whisk to combine. Take the milk off the heat, allow it to cool slightly, and add the maple syrup.

Taste the milk using a spoon, and adjust as needed. Does it need more spice? Add some ginger. Is it not sweet enough to your liking? Add a little more maple syrup. Do the flavors seem like they aren’t speaking loudly enough to you overall? Add another pinch of salt.

Let the golden milk come to a bare simmer—you might see some bubbles on the sides of the pot, you might see some frothy action on the surface—and then turn off the heat.

This step helps reintegrate the flavors after you’ve added the maple syrup and made any adjustment with spices. It also ensures you’ve got a hot beverage, not a lukewarm one.

Strain off any lingering fibrous bits of ginger through a fine mesh sieve.

Jamu (Balinese Turmeric-Ginger Juice)

1 cup cleaned and chopped fresh turmeric
1/2 cup cleaned and chopped fresh ginger
4 cups water
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice, from 2-3 limes

Blend the turmeric and ginger: Into a blender add the turmeric, ginger, and water. Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan set over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the mixture simmers for about 15 minutes

Add lime juice and honey: Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the honey and lime juice. Stir to combine.

Strain and refrigerate the mixture: Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Then pour the strained mixture into a glass bottle or jar and refrigerate until chilled.

Enjoy this drink warm, at room temperature or cold. You can adjust the drink by adding additional still or tonic water. Serve with or without ice.

BLT Lettuce Wraps

8 leaves from 1 medium head butter lettuce, such as Boston or Bibb
6 slices bacon (about 6 ounces)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 medium avocado, diced

Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat to 400°F. Lined a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Lay the bacon on the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until deep golden-brown and crispy, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Meanwhile, stir the mayonnaise, chives, lemon juice, and pepper together in a small bowl; set aside.

Once the bacon is cool, transfer it to a cutting board and coarsely chop it. Fill each lettuce leaf with tomatoes, bacon, and avocado. Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.

RECIPE NOTES

Make ahead: The bacon can be cooked and chopped a day ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Cream Cheese Pancakes

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1/4 cup flour, such as almond, coconut, or all-purpose
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
Cooking spray or butter, for greasing the pan
Sliced strawberries and powdered sugar, or maple syrup, for serving

Place the cream cheese, eggs, flour, baking powder, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth.
Heat a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Coat with cooking spray or butter. Once the butter is melted, pour in 2 to 3 tablespoons of the batter. Cook until deep golden-brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is golden-brown, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.

Repeat with cooking remaining batter. Serve with sliced strawberries and powdered sugar or a drizzle of maple syrup.

RECIPE NOTES

Make sure the batter is perfectly smooth before you begin cooking; start with room-temperature cream cheese. If you want to add a pinch of sugar, a dash of cinnamon, or even a splash of vanilla, go right ahead. I prefer them plain so I can load them up with flavorful toppings. You could even up the cheesiness of these tangy pancakes with a handful of shredded Parmesan or cheddar cheese and take them to the savory side.

Wait to flip. Give the batter enough time to set before cooking the other side. Three minutes gives a golden, lacy appearance.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Reuben Casserole

8 oz (226.8 g) Pastrami, thinly sliced
8 oz (226.8 g) Corned Beef, thinly sliced
2 cups (284 g) Sauerkraut
8 oz (226.8 g) Swiss Cheese, sliced
1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) Caraway seeds

For the Russian dressing
1/2 cup (112 g) mayonnaise
2 tablespoons (2 tablespoons) Low Sugar Ketchup
1 tablespoon (1 tablespoon) onions, chopped
1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) Louisiana Hot Sauce
1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) Smoked Paprika

Preheat oven to 400F.

Make the Russian Dressing: In a small bowl, mix together mayo, ketchup, onion, hot sauce, and paprika and set aside.

Butter an 9 inch pan or an 8 x 8 baking dish. Layer the ingredients for the Reuben: start with the three fourths of the corned beef, top with the sauerkraut. Sprinkle the caraway seeds across the sauerkraut. Drizzle the dressing over the sauerkraut. Top with the remaining meat, and then top with Swiss Cheese. So your layers will be: meat, sauerkraut, caraway seeds, dressing, meat, and Swiss cheese.

Bake at 400F for 15 minutes until the cheese has melted and is bubbling. Turn on the broiler and broil for 2-3 minutes if desired.

Notes:

Use a 9-inch cake pan or an 8 x 8 baking pan to make this casserole.

Use a combination of thinly sliced pastrami and corned beef.

Drain the sauerkraut as well as you can. Despite this, you will have some sauce in the bottom of the pan once it’s baked. I drizzled most of this over the casserole.

If you don’t care about making this low carb, you can always layer the bottom with pieces of rye bread. Top with rye bread as well, and bake as directed. In this case, the bread will soak up all the lovely dressing. But of course, for low carb, either skip the bread or try it with Sola bread which is currently my favorite low carb bread.

Use Swiss cheese or any other kind of melting cheese for the top.

The caraway seeds add a lovely crunch to this dish. You can also buy sauerkraut with caraway seeds and skip a step.

Blue Cheese (or Feta) Dressing

2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives or scallions
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
Dash of salt, if needed
Dash of ground black pepper

Place 1 ounce of the blue cheese, the chives, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, water, salt, and pepper in a wide-mouthed mason jar or cup that will fit an immersion blender without splashing. Blend with the immersion blender until combined.

Stir in the remaining 1 ounce blue cheese, as this dressing is best if it remains a bit chunky. Place a lid on the jar.

Allow the flavors to develop for 1 hour or more in the refrigerator. The dressing will keep for 1 to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Tip: Blue cheese varies greatly in saltiness and texture, so taste the dressing before adding salt and choose a variety that is crumbled or dry enough to crumble easily.

Broccoli Salad

FOR THE SALAD
kosher salt
3 heads broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 c. shredded Cheddar
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c. toasted sliced almonds
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 tbsp. freshly chopped chives

FOR THE DRESSING
2/3 c. mayonnaise
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a medium pot or saucepan, bring 6 cups of salted water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare a large bowl with ice water.

Add broccoli florets to the boiling water and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in the prepared bowl of ice water. When cool, drain florets in a colander.

In a medium bowl, whisk to combine dressing ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl and pour over dressing. Toss until ingredients are combined and fully coated in dressing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Almond-Crusted Chicken Parmesan

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 c. almond flour
3 large eggs, beaten
3 c. freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. dried oregano
Vegetable oil
3/4 c. low-carb sugar-free tomato sauce
1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella
Fresh basil leaves, for topping

Preheat oven to 400°. Using a sharp knife, cut chicken breasts in half crosswise. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.

Place eggs and almond flour in 2 separate shallow bowls. In a third shallow bowl, combine Parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper.

Working with one at a time, dip chicken cutlets into almond flour, then eggs, and then Parmesan mixture, pressing to coat.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add chicken and cook until golden and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Work in batches as necessary, adding more oil when needed.
Transfer fried cutlets to a 9″-x-13″ baking dish, evenly spread tomato sauce on each cutlet and top with mozzarella.

Bake until cheese is melty, 10 to 12 minutes. If desired, broil until cheese is golden, 3 minutes.
Top with basil and more Parmesan before serving.

Cauliflower Cheese Casserole

FOR THE MAC & CHEESE
Butter, for baking dish
2 medium heads cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 c. heavy cream
6 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
4 c. shredded cheddar
2 c. shredded mozzarella
1 tbsp. hot sauce (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE TOPPING
4 oz. pork rinds, crushed
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375° and butter a 9”-x-13” baking dish. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt. Spread cauliflower onto two large baking sheets and roast until tender and lightly golden, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium heat, heat cream. Bring up to a simmer, then decrease heat to low and stir in cheeses until melted. Remove from heat, add hot sauce if using and season with salt and pepper, then fold in roasted cauliflower. Taste and season more if needed.

Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. In a medium bowl stir to combine pork rinds, Parmesan, and oil. Sprinkle mixture in an even layer over cauliflower and cheese.

Bake until golden, 15 minutes. If desired, turn oven to broil to toast topping further, about 2 minutes.

Garnish with parsley before serving.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 slices bacon
1/2 cup (2 ounces) chopped white or yellow onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced or grated, about 1 tablespoon
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (2 to 3 medium), peeled and diced
4 cups no-salt chicken or vegetable low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or finely chopped scallion greens, for serving
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)

Set a paper towel-lined plate or a rack near the stove. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the bacon and cook, turning occasionally, until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the prepared plate to drain, leaving the oil and bacon drippings in the pan.

Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the potatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer about half the potatoes to a bowl and mash until almost smooth but still a little chunky. Return the potatoes to the pan along with the sour cream, 1/4 cup (about 1 ounce) of the cheese and the pepper.

Cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted and the soup is heated through, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.

Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the crumbled bacon, the remaining cheese and the chives or scallion greens, and serve.

Mushrooms Stuffed with Goat Cheese

24 large cremini mushrooms (1 1/2 pounds), stems discarded
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon rosemary leaves, plus one 3-inch sprig of rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons fine bread crumbs
6 ounces fresh goat cheese, cut into 24 pieces

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a bowl, toss the mushrooms with 3 tablespoons of the oil and the rosemary leaves and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mushrooms to a baking sheet, rounded side up. Roast for about 30 minutes, until tender and browned around the edges. Let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes.

In a skillet, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. Add the rosemary sprig and cook over moderately high heat until the leaves are crisp, 30 seconds. Drain on paper towels, then strip off the leaves. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of the rosemary oil and reserve it for another use.

Add the bread crumbs to the skillet and toast over moderate heat until golden and crisp, 2 minutes. Stir in the fried rosemary leaves and season with salt and pepper.

Gently press a piece of goat cheese in the center of each mushroom, sprinkle with the bread crumbs and serve.

Filipino Chicken Mami Soup

1 package (16 ounces) fresh egg noodles/mami
8 cups homemade broth
2 cups cooked chicken meat, shredded

Toppings
1/2 napa cabbage, shredded
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved
fried garlic bits
1/2 cup green onions, ends trimmed and chopped
boneless, skinless chicken breast

For the Homemade Broth
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 pounds bone-in chicken thigh meat
2 quarts boiling water
2 medium carrots, cut into chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 tablespoon salt
fish sauce to taste

For the Fried Garlic Bits
1 head garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup oil

In a pot over medium heat, bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add egg noodles and cook for about 10 to 15 seconds. Remove from water and drain well.

Divide noodles equally into bowls. Add chicken meat, julienned carrots, shredded napa cabbage, and hard-boiled egg.

Pour hot broth. Garnish with fried garlic bits and chopped onions. Serve hot.
For the Homemade Broth

In a deep pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and garlic and cook until limp and aromatic.

Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until it loses its pink. Lower heat, cover, and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or until chicken releases its juices.

Raise heat to high and add boiling water. Add carrots, celery, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Season with salt. Skim scum that accumulates on top.

Lower heat again and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

With a slotted spoon, remove chicken pieces from broth. Allow to cool to touch. Remove meat from bones and shred. Set aside chicken meat and keep warm.

Return the bones to the pot and continue to cook at barely a simmer, uncovered, for about 30 to 40 minutes is slightly reduced and flavor is concentrated.

Using a cheesecloth, strain liquid and discard bones and aromatics. Return the broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Season with fish sauce to taste.
For the Fried Garlic Bits

In a small pan over low heat, heat oil. Add garlic and cook until golden and crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove toasted garlic and drain on paper towels.

Filipino Chicken Sotanghon Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 thumb-size ginger, peeled and julienned
1 pound chicken on the bone
1 cup Chinese celery (kinchay), chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
7 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon atchuete powder
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces (about 2 coils) sotanghon (bean threads)
1/2 head napa cabbage, shredded
3 hardboiled eggs, peeled and halved
fried garlic bits
green onions, chopped

For the Fried Garlic Bits
1/2 cup oil
1 head garlic, peeled and minced

In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions, garlic, and ginger and cook until softened.

Add chicken and cook, stirring regularly, until lightly browned and juices run clear.

Add celery and cook, stirring regularly, for about 1 to 2 minutes or until softened.

Add fish sauce and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil, skimming any scum that floats on top. Lower heat, cover, and continue to cook until chicken is cooked through.

In a bowl, combine about ½ cup of the hot broth and atsuete powder. Stir until atsuete is dissolved. Add atsuete water to pot.

Add carrots and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until half-done. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add sotanghon noodles and push down into broth to soften, stirring gently to separate.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with boiled eggs, fried garlic bits and green onions. Serve hot.

When noodles have slightly softened, add cabbage and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until noodles are cooked and vegetables are tender yet crisp.

For the Fried Garlic Bits

In a small pan over low heat, heat oil. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

With a slotted spoon, remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Garlic will crisp as it cools.

Filipino Sizzling Tofu

2 packages (12 ounces each) firm tofu
canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 small green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped
3 finger chili peppers (siling haba)
2 Thai chili peppers
1/4 cup calamansi juice
1/4 cup Knorr seasoning sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise

In a wide pan over medium heat about 2-inches deep of oil until hot but not smoking.

Add tofu in batches and cook, turning as needed, until golden and crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

In a skillet over medium heat, heat about 1 tablespoon butter. Add onions and garlic and cook until slightly softened.

Add bell peppers and chili peppers and cook, stirring regularly, until tender-crisp.

Add calamansi juice and seasoning sauce. Simmer until slightly reduced.

Add fried tofu cubes and mayonnaise and toss for about 1 minute or just until evenly coated and heated through.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and transfer to a sizzling plate

Vegetable Yaki Udon

12 ozUdon Noodles

Sauce:
1 tablespoon oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Stir Fry:
2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
2 cloves garlic , minced
1/2 onion , diced
1 bell pepper , sliced
1/2 cup carrot , cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup snow peas , sliced
1 can (5 oz) water chestnuts , sliced

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the onion, bell pepper, carrot, snow peas, and water chestnuts. Cook and stir for another 30 seconds, until the veggies just start to turn tender.

Add the noodles over the vegetables, followed by 2 tablespoons of water. Gently break apart the noodles using a pair of chopsticks (or a pair of tongs) while the water cooks off. Then add the remaining tablespoon of oil and stir everything together.

Pour the sauce over the vegetables and noodles. Stir and mix until the noodles and vegetables are evenly coated. Cook for another minute until the vegetables are cooked through but remain crisp. Taste the noodles carefully, add a pinch of salt to your taste if needed.

Serve hot as a main or side dish.

Kung Pao Tofu

1 medium or small head cauliflower , cut into small florets
1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup milk (or non-dairy milk)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1 bell pepper , cut into 1” (2.5 cm) pieces
4 green onions , cut into bite-sized pieces (*Footnote 1)

Sauce:
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar
1/4 cup Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns , crushed
6 dried Chinese chili peppers
1 ” (2.5 cm) ginger , minced
4 cloves garlic , minced

Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and spray with a light coating of cooking spray.

Combine the Chinkiang vinegar, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium-sized bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar and cornstarch.

Dry the cauliflower thoroughly with paper towels. Add the cauliflower florets to a large bowl. Drizzle with oil and toss a few times. Add the flour and toss until the the florets are coated. Pour in the milk and toss again. Add the cornstarch and toss until the cauliflower is evenly coated. Spread the coated cauliflower on to the lined baking tray, making sure the pieces are evenly spaced out with gaps in between (*Footnote 2). Bake for 25 minutes in total. Check the cauliflower at the 15- and 20-minute marks. If the bottom is browned, flip the cauliflower. Once the baking is finished, the cauliflower should turn golden brown spotly and crispy throughout.

While the cauliflower is baking, make the sauce. Add the oil, peppercorns, and dried chilis to a small saucepan and turn the heat to medium-low. Once they become fragrant, about 1 minute, add the ginger and garlic. Cook until they are just starting to brown, another 1 to 2 minutes. Stir the sauce again to re-dissolve the cornstarch completely and add it to the pan. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring it to a boil. Boil until the sauce is just thickened. Remove the pot from the heat and set it aside.

After the cauliflower has baked for 25 minutes, pull the tray out and turn the heat to 500°F. Add the peanuts, peppers, and green onions. Put the tray back in the oven and cook for another 5 minutes, until the peppers are lightly cooked.

Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and gently toss to coat (*Footnote 3). Serve immediately as a side or a main.

Notes
It’s important to cut the cauliflower to the right size to ensure even roasting and browning. See the blog post above to see how to cut the cauliflower.

It’s very important to leave some space between the cauliflower florets, so the cauliflower will release steam and turn crispy once baked. If your baking tray does not have enough space, bake the rest in a separate tray. You can bake both trays at the same time by place the smaller tray on a different rack.

If you’re not serving the dish immediately, let the cauliflower cool off for a bit before tossing in the sauce. The cauliflower will stay crispy better this way.

Chinese Eggplant and Garlic Sauce

2 (10 oz. / 300 g) small Chinese long eggplant , chopped to bite-size pieces (*Footnote 1)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Sauce (*footnote 2):
1 tablespoon light soy sauce (or soy sauce)
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce (*see footnote 3)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Stir-fry:
2 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon ginger , minced
3 cloves garlic , chopped

(Option 1) Place eggplant in a large bowl and add water to cover. Add 1 teaspoon salt, mix well. Place a pot lid on top to keep the eggplant under water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

(Option 2) Spread the sliced eggplant out on a paper towel. Sprinkle Kosher salt on both sides of the eggplant slices. Allow to rest for 45-60 minutes. Pat dry without rinsing.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, mix well.

Sprinkle eggplant with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and mix by hand, until eggplant is evenly coated with with a thin layer of cornstarch.

Add 2 tablespoons oil to a big nonstick skillet and heat over medium high heat until hot. Spread eggplant across the bottom of the skillet without overlapping. Cook the eggplant one side at a time until all the surfaces are charred and the eggplant turns soft, 8 to 10 minutes in total. Transfer the eggplants to a plate. If the skillet gets too hot and starts to smoke, turn to medium heat.

Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon oil, the ginger and garlic into the same skillet. Stir a few times until fragrant. Add all the eggplant back into the skillet. Mix the sauce again until cornstarch is fully dissolved and pour it over the eggplant. Immediately stir a few times, until the eggplant is evenly coated and the sauce thickens. Transfer everything to a big plate.

Serve hot as a side or as main over steamed rice or noodles.

Home Style Tofu with Peppers

1 block (14 oz/396 g) soft or medium firm tofu , cut into 1 cm thick triangles (Footnote 1)
1 cup vegetable oil , for deep frying
4 cloves garlic , sliced
1 ” (2.5 cm) ginger , thinly sliced into strips
3 green onions , cut into 1″ pieces, white and green parts separated
1 tablespoon doubanjiang
1/2 carrot , sliced (about 1/3 cup)
1 bell pepper , cut into 1” diamonds
1 (8-oz / 226 g) can sliced bamboo shoots , or 1 bamboo shoot, sliced (about 1/3 cup)
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Sauce:
3 tablespoons light soy sauce (or soy sauce)
1 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar
2 teaspoons vegetarian oyster sauce (or sweet bean paste) (Footnote 2)
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons water (or vegetable stock)

Slurry:
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Add the slurry ingredients into a small bowl and stir to mix well.

In a high-walled skillet or pot, heat the oil to 375°F (190°C). Carefully add the tofu. Fry until both sides turn golden, about 3 minutes. Flip once or twice to ensure even cooking. Remove the tofu from the oil and transfer it to a big plate.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the pan (alternatively, you can heat 1 tablespoon of oil in another large skillet).

Add the garlic, ginger, green onion (white part), and doubanjiang to the pan. Turn the heat to medium. Stir fry to release the fragrance until the oil turns red, about 2 minutes.

Add the fried tofu, carrots, bell peppers, and bamboo. Stir fry for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Pour in the sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, gently flipping occasionally. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the green onion (green part). Mix the slurry again so the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Pour in the slurry and mix with a spatula until the sauce thickens.

Drizzle in a teaspoon of sesame oil to finish up.

Serve hot over steamed rice as a main dish.

General Tso’s Tofu

Tofu:
1 block (16 oz / 450 g) extra firm tofu (or medium firm tofu)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup (or agave nectar)
5 to 6 tablespoons cornstarch

Sauce:
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
3 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Stir fry:
3 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
2 teaspoons whole Sichuan peppercorns (Optional)
4 to 5 dried chili peppers
1 tablespoon garlic , minced
1 tablespoon ginger , minced
2 teaspoons doubanjiang (spicy fermented bean paste) (Footnote 1) (Optional)
4 green onions , roughly chopped
1 bell pepper , chopped
1/3 cup fried peanuts

Cut tofu into 1-inch pieces and transfer to a large ziploc bag. Add soy sauce and maple syrup. Gently flip the bag a few times to coat tofu with the liquid. Marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.

Mix all the sauce ingredients with 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl.

When tofu is marinated, open the bag just a little bit without letting the tofu fall out. Drain the liquid and discard it. Add cornstarch, a tablespoon at a time, and gently toss the bag to coat the tofu. It is OK if the tofu isn’t coated evenly.

Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat until hot. Add the tofu with your hand (or a pair of tongs), shaking off any extra cornstarch. Let cook without moving for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the bottom turns golden. Flip to brown the other side. If the pan gets too hot, turn to medium or medium low heat. Transfer cooked tofu to a plate. Set aside.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the Sichuan peppercorns. Cook and stir until the peppercorns turn dark (but not black). Remove the Sichuan peppercorns and discard them.

Add the chili pepper, garlic, ginger, and doubanjiang. Stir for 20 to 30 seconds to release the fragrance.

Add the bell pepper and green onion. Stir for 20 seconds.

Stir the sauce again to dissolve the cornstarch completely. Pour into the pan. Stir a few times until the sauce thickens.

Add back the cooked tofu. Gently toss to coat with sauce. Add the peanuts and give it a quick stir. Immediately transfer everything to a big plate.

Serve hot as main with steamed rice.