Broiled Potatoes with Lemon and Halloumi

2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound (450g) Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/8 inch thick
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice, from about 1 lemon, plus zest of 1 lemon
8 ounces (225g) halloumi cheese, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dried oregano

Preheat broiler and set top oven rack about 6 inches from broiler element. Add olive oil to a 12-inch cast iron skillet and spread evenly all over.

Add potatoes, shingling the slices around the pan in a single circular layer. Season with salt and pepper.

Broil until the potatoes have puffed up slightly, mostly cooked through, and browned on top, about 7 minutes.

Pour lemon juice all over potatoes and sprinkle zest on top. Add halloumi cheese in an even layer on top and broil until cheese is golden brown all over and potatoes are fully cooked through, about 4 minutes.

Sprinkle oregano on top and serve.

Flatbread with Apple, Cheddar, and Arugula

Flatbread Dough: (makes four 5×14-inch flatbreads)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup lukewarm water
1 Tbsp. dry active or instant yeast
1 Tbsp. honey
1/4 cup olive oil

Toppings: (for one 5×14-inch flatbread – increase as necessary)
1 cup grated or crumbled aged white cheddar
1/4 cup cooked diced pancetta or bacon
1/4 – 1/3 of a large apple cored and very thinly sliced (no need to peel) or pear
Handful of fresh baby arugula

In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the flour and salt.

In a two-cup glass measure, combine warm water, yeast and honey. Let stand 5-10 minutes.

Add proofed yeast mixture and olive oil to bowl with flour and salt. Stir into a smooth dough, adding a few more tablespoons of flour, if necessary to make a smooth, moist (but not sticky) dough.

Place into a greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Pre-heat oven to 400° F. with racks in upper third and lower third of oven. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove risen dough to a well-floured surface. Cut dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion on a floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Your flatbread can be any size or shape. If making oblong ones, just be sure they aren’t longer than the length of your baking sheet, so it doesn’t hang over the edge. Somewhere around 5-inches wide to 14-inches long works well.

Place two flatbreads side-by-side onto each baking sheet. Let stand at room temperature for 10 – 15 minutes to rest.

Bake in pre-heated oven for 5 minutes, then switch baking sheets top to bottom and front to back.

*If you have some large bubbles, poke them several times with the point of a sharp knife. Bake another 5-7 minutes, until firm and starting to turn golden in spots.

*Don’t over-brown if you intend to re-bake flatbreads with toppings later on, to avoid over-browning when you bake the second time with toppings.

Remove flatbreads to a cooling rack to cool. (If making cheddar-apple flatbreads immediately, leave oven on and set to 400° and keep baking sheets with parchment handy to re-use)

Once flatbread have cooled a bit, top with cheddar and cooked pancetta/bacon. A little freshly ground black pepper, is nice here.

Arrange thinly sliced apples overtop.

Return to parchment-lined baking sheet and pop back in to the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden and apples have softened. Allow to cool slightly, then top with fresh arugula. Cut into triangles for serving.

Apple Cheddar Drop Biscuits

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup shredded extra-old Cheddar cheese
1 cup grated cored peeled apple
2 Tbsp chopped fresh green onion or parsley (optional)
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425° F.

In large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger pieces. Stir in Cheddar, apple and green onions. Using a fork, stir in milk to form a ragged dough.

Drop by 1/4 cup mounds, 1 1/2 inches apart, onto parchment paper–lined rimless baking sheet. Bake in 425° oven until lightly browned, 13 to 15 minutes.

Caramel Apple Pudding Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar packed
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter melted
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup thinly sliced apples

Sauce:
1 cup brown sugar packed
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups boiling waterh
1 Tbsp butter softened
2 tsp vanilla
Generous pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Make the pudding batter: In a medium bowl, mix together the the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

In a small bowl, mix together the milk, melted butter and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine well.

Spread batter in to the bottom of an 8-cup baking dish or divide between 4-6 individual baking dishes. (*If using individual dishes, you may want to place dishes on a baking sheet, for easy transport to the oven, and to catch any splatters.)

Arrange a layer of apple slices on top of batter.

Prepare the sauce: In a medium bowl or a 4 cup measuring cup, mix together the brown sugar and flour. Add the boiling water, the butter,vanilla and salt. Stir to combine and until butter melts. Gently pour over batter, being sure to leave 3/4-1 inch of room at the top of the baking dish.

Bake in pre-heated 350° oven for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick in centre comes out clean when inserted in the top cake part. Pudding will have formed a cake-like top with lots of sauce underneath. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then enjoy warm. Lovely as is, or top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Apple Crumble Cake

For the cake:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (200g)
3/4 cup white sugar (150g)
1 tsp baking powder
7 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into 6-8 pieces (100g)
3 medium apples peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
2 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream, table cream (18%) or half and half cream (10%), 35% (200g)
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (120g)
1/2 cup brown sugar (100g)
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt

For the crumble topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour (120g)
2/3 cup white sugar (140g)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch salt
5 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted (80g)

Preheat oven to 355° F. / 180° C. and grease an 8-inch /2 0 cm springform pan. Set on a baking sheet and set aside. *Note: if you are using a dark springform pan, reduce temperature to 340F / 170C.

Make the cake: In a food processor, add the flour, sugar and baking powder. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until the butter is combined with the flour. You’ll end up with a very dry mixture, like sand almost.
Sprinkle about 3/4 of this mixture over the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Don’t press it down at all, but move it around a bit so it goes up the sides just a bit. Scatter the prepared apple slices over the crumbs (avoiding the sides), then sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the top. Again, do not press down. Leave it as is. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, sour cream, brown sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

When cake base has baked 20 minutes, remove from oven and carefully pour the egg mixture over the top. Return cake to oven and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the crumble topping. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Add melted butter to the mixture, just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the mixture comes together in large clumps. Place the bowl into the freezer until needed.

When the cake has baked for 20 minutes, remove from oven. (The egg mixture should have set somewhat so that the crumbs won’t sink into the cake. If it is too liquidy still, return to the oven for a few more minutes.) Evenly sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top. Return to the oven and bake a further 20 – 25 minutes or until the edges are starting to become golden and pull away from the edge and the center is set. As long as it’s not too jiggly and a tester inserted in the centre comes out with just crumbs (not liquid), it’s ready to take out of the oven. It should have bake about 60-65 total, including all 3 steps.

Allow to cool in the pan, on a cooling rack, for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the outside and carefully remove the outer ring of the springform pan. Allow to cool more before removing from the base.

Dust with powdered/icing sugar, if desired.

Apple Almond Cake

Dough:
2/3 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt
1 tsp rum optional
3 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup ground almonds or almond flour
1 cup + 6 Tbsp all purpose flour

For the topping:
3 medium apples
1/3 cup sliced almonds

For garnish:
Icing/confectioners’ sugar

Grease a 10-inch springform pan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, vanilla, a pinch of salt and a few drops of rum, if using. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the baking powder, ground almonds and flour and mix until well combined.

Spoon batter into the prepared springform pan and spread level.
Peel apples and cut into quarters. Cut out the core from each quarter and discard. Delete the core. Using a sharp knife, cut 4 deep slices into each quarter, cutting almost, but not all the way through. Press sliced apple quarters into the top of the batter, placing about 8 around the outside and 3 in the middle. Sprinkle sliced almonds evenly over the top.
Bake for about 60 – 70 minutes, or until the center cake tests clean with a cake tester min.

Cool the cake, the sprinkle with icing sugar to serve.

French Pear Cake with Creme Fraiche

For cake batter:
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine salt
1/2 cup sour cream

For filling:
3 pears ripe but still firm, peeled or unpeeled, halved and cored

For topping:
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/3 cup flaked almonds optional

For serving:
Crème Fraîche, whipped cream, or ice cream

Preheat oven to 350 F. with rack in centre of oven. Prepare a 10-inch springform pan by spraying with baking spray and lining the bottom ring with parchment paper. Place on a baking sheet and set aside.

Prepare the pears: You can peel the pears if you like, or simply leave the peel on. Cut in half down from the stem end to the bottom. Scoop out the core with a spoon and remove the stem spine and bottom blossom end. Place cut side down on a cutting board and cut each half in to 1/4-inch-ish slices. Transfer the sliced halves to the prepared baking pan, cut side down, fanning out the slices slightly. Arrange the sliced halves in a ring around the outside of the pan. The sliced halves should just touch each other in the centre and fan out slightly towards the outside edges. The centre couple of inches should be empty. You may or may not need all your pears. Simply fill until it’s filled around. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric beater or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and the 1 cup of sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.
Spoon the batter in to the centre of the prepared pan. Using a knife, gently spread the batter in to a thin layer out to the outside edges of the pan. It will seem very thin and barely cover the pears. Scatter the flaked almonds over the centre area of the batter. Sprinkle top of batter evenly with the 1/4 cup white sugar.

Bake in preheated oven until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.

Let the cake cool 5-10 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the outside and remove the outer ring. Allow to cool a bit more, then slice and enjoy warm with a dollop of Crème Fraîche.

Moroccan Meatballs

1/3 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
4 tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
10 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup panko
1 pound 90 percent lean ground beef
1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 large eggs, cracked into a small bowl

In a small bowl, stir together the olives and lemon zest; set aside.

In a blender, puree the tomatoes with their juice until smooth, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

In a 12-inch skillet over medium, melt the butter. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and pepper flakes, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Transfer 1/2 cup of the onion mixture to a large bowl and set aside.

Return the skillet to medium and add the broth and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Cover and cook until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes, stirring once about halfway through. Remove from the heat.

While the sauce simmers, stir the panko and 1/2 cup water into the reserved onion mixture. Let stand until the panko softens, about 5 minutes, then use your hands to mash to a smooth paste.

Add the beef, 1/2 cup of cilantro, and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Divide into 16 (2-tablespoon) portions, rolling them into smooth balls. Place on a plate, cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Return the sauce to medium and bring to a simmer. Add the meatballs in a single layer, then spoon sauce over each. Cover, reduce to low and cook for 15 minutes. Flip each meatball, then continue to cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened and meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Push the meatballs to the sides of the skillet. Taste and season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Gently pour the eggs into the center, cover and cook over medium-low until the egg whites are barely set and yolks are still runny, 4 to 5 minutes.

Off heat, sprinkle the olive mixture and remaining ½ cup cilantro over the tagine.

Tip: Don’t use ground beef less than 90 percent lean or the sauce will be greasy. Also, don’t overcook the eggs; the yolks should remain runny so they mix with the sauce.

Sichuan Stir-Fry Sauce (For Chicken or Beef)

Sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons aged Pixian chili bean paste (doubanjiang)
3 tablespoons canola (or other neutral) oil
2 teaspoons Sichuan chili flakes (toasted and ground chilies)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground red Sichuan pepper
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon Chinese light soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

For Chicken
1 pound dark-meat chicken, cut in small, ½-inch cubes
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1/4 pound mildly hot green chili peppers (Chinese or Korean long hot peppers or Anaheim), cut on the diagonal in 1-inch pieces
2 fat cloves of garlic, sliced

For Beef
3/4 pound steak (top sirloin, flank steak, etc.), cut in thin, slices
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 small white onion, cut in ½-inch slices
1 red or green bell pepper, cut in thin strips
2 fat cloves of garlic, sliced
cilantro

In a small bowl, mix the sauce: doubanjiang, oil, chili flakes, ground Sichuan pepper, dark brown sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil.

In a separate bowl, marinate the chicken or beef in Shaoxing wine.

Heat wok until very very hot, add a couple tablespoons of oil and swirl around the wok. Once heated, pour that oil out and add 2 tablespoons fresh oil. This procedure helps keep the chicken from sticking to the wok, which it really wants to do.

Add chicken or beef and let sear, undisturbed, on one side. When lightly browned, continue stir-frying until just cooked through. Remove and reserve.

Clean wok, return to heat, and add 2 tablespoons oil. Add vegetables and stir-fry over high heat until they start to brown but are still crispish.

Add garlic slices and cook briefly, then lower heat, push the veg to the sides of the wok and add the stir-fry sauce into the center. Cook it briefly, then add back the chicken, or the beef and cilantro, and mix all ingredients well.

Hmong Chili Sauce

Makes about 1 cup. Serve with grilled meats (especially lemongrass pork.)

18 small or 9 medium Thai chiles, stemmed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons fish sauce
1/2 cup chopped scallion, green part only
1/2 lightly packed cup chopped cilantro
1 cup quartered ripe cherry tomato
Lime juice

1. Put the chiles, salt, and fish sauce into a mortar. With a circular motion of the pestle, crush the ingredients against the sides of the mortar into a rough mixture.

2. Add the scallion and cilantro, and switch to an up and down pounding motion with the pestle to combine the flavors well and reduce the mixture to a damp, rough mixture. Add the cherry tomatoes and lightly pound to combine. Taste and add lime juice as needed for a tart bite. Transfer to a small dish and serve.

Vietnamese Satay Sauce

25 g garlic (3 large cloves), coarsely chopped
30 g shallots (1 large shallot), coarsely chopped
80 g lemon grass (4 medium stalks), coarsely chopped
About 1 cup peanut oil
8 g fresh Thai bird chilis, minced
30 g crushed red thai chilis, the dry red ones about 3-4″ long
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp. MSG (optional)
3 to 4 Tablespoons Sriracha chili sauce (optional, use for brighter color and extra heat)

Food process the garlic, shallots and lemon grass separately. (An electric mini-chopper works very well for this task.) Get the garlicand shallots to a fine mince, and the lemon grass well processed, but not to powder.

Put 14 tablespoons (that’s 1 cup less 2 tablespoons) oil in a small saucepan and add garlic. Heat over medium low and after the mixture starts bubbling and making sizzling sounds, lower the heat to the low. Let fry on low, low heat for 5
minutes.

Add the shallot and keep frying on low heat for 10 minutes more. It should gently sizzle without browning.

Add the lemongrass and let fry on low for another 10-15 minutes, until the lemongrass is fragrant, toasty, and has sunken into the oil.

Add the minced fresh chiles and fry for 5 minutes to release their oil and turn the mixture pale orange.

Add the crushed red pepper and fry for 5-10 minutes, until there’s a nutty, spicy smelling heat.

Stir in the Sriracha to achieve the desired color — orange red. About 3 to 4 tablespoons should do it. Then stir in the fish sauce, sugar, salt, and MSG. Adjust the heat to lightly bubble and let cook 1 or 2 minutes longer.

Turn off the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust with a little more sugar to tame the heat, fish sauce or salt for savoriness, or a bit more Sriracha for extra heat. If you add sugar, warm up the mixture and stir it to dissolve the sugar. There should be a layer of oil floating on top to cover. If not, add more oil as needed to barely
cover the top.

For a smoother texture, use a stick blender or food processor to grind the mixture finely. Allow to cool completely before transferring to a jar. Store at room temperature for daily use or in the refrigerator for infrequent use and longer keeping

Vietnamese Chili Garlic Sauce (Tuong Ot Toi – Raw Version)

6 ounces hot chiles (e.g., cayenne, Fresnos, habanero, jalapeno, long, serrano, Thai, or a combination of them), stemmed and chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Put all the ingredients in an electric mini chopper or food processor. Process to a coarse texture. Take a whiff and it should make you sweat a bit. Taste and adjust the flavor with add extra salt or sugar. Transfer to a small jar and refrigerate. Let stand at least 30 minutes before using to allow the flavors to blend. Makes about 2/3 cup.

Note: if your concoction is too hot, add some bell pepper to tone it down. You can also mitigate the heat with sugar, salt and/or vinegar.

Vietnamese Chili Garlic Sauce (Tuong Ot Toi – Cooked Version)

6 ounces hot chiles (e.g., cayenne, Fresnos, habanero, jalapeno, long, serrano, Thai, or a combination of them), stemmed and chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

Put all the ingredients in an electric mini-chopper or food processor. Process to a coarse texture. Take a whiff and it should make you sweat a bit. Taste and adjust the flavor with add extra salt or sugar.

Transfer to a small saucepan, bring to a vigorous simmer over medium heat, lower the heat to gently simmer for about 5 minutes, or until it no longer smells raw. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator. Makes a scant 2/3 cup.

Singapore Chili Sauce

2 or 3 large red chiles, such as Fresno, cayenne, or long chile, coarsely chopped
2 or 3 hot Thai chiles, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon hot chicken poaching broth

Put all of the ingredients into a small electric mini chopper and process to a semi-coarse sauce. Transfer to a dipping sauce dish.

Nuoc Cham

3 tablespoons lime juice (1 fat, thin skin lime)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce

Optional additions

1 small garlic clove, finely minced
1 or 2 Thai chilis, thinly sliced or 1 teaspoon homemade chili garlic sauce or store bought (tuong ot toi)

Make limeade. Combine the lime juice, sugar and water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Taste and as yourself this question: Does this limeade taste good? Adjust the flavors to balance out the sweet and sour.

Finish with fish sauce. Add the fish sauce and any of the optional ingredients. Taste again and adjust the flavors to your liking, balancing out the sour, sweet, salty and spicy. Aim for a bold, forward finish — perhaps a little stronger than what you’d normally like. This sauce is likely to be used to add final flavor to foods wrapped in lettuce or herbs, which are not salted and therefore need a little lift to heighten the overall eating experience. My mother looks for color to gauge her dipping sauce. When it’s a light honey or amber, she knows she’s close.
Notes

Advance Preparation – This sauce may be prepared early in the day and left to sit at room temperature.

Variation – Use half lime juice and half Japanese rice vinegar for a less assertive sauce. Some delicately flavored dishes require this.

courses sauce

Ginger Lime Dipping Sauce (Nuoc Mam Gung)

Chubby 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice (2 or 3 limes)
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons fish sauce

In a small bowl, combine the ginger, lime juice, and sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Taste and adjust the flavors with more lime sugar or sugar as needed. The ginger and lime should both be prominent, but not to the point that they make you wince and pucker. Add the fish sauce, starting out with 2 tablespoons and adding more as your palate
dictates. Set aside for 30 minutes to let the ginger bloom before serving.

Vietnamese Corn and Coconut Soup (Che Bap)

Coconut sauce:
1 cup coconut milk
2 pinches of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspoons water

3 cups water
1/4 cup sweet rice, rinsed and drained, or small tapioca pearls (about 1/8 inch in diameter)
3 ears of corn, or 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen sweet corn
1/3 cup coconut milk
5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large or 5 medium pandan leaves, rinsed and tied into a knot, optional (see the photo below)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the coconut sauce, combine the coconut milk, salt, sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a near-simmer, lowering the heat if the coconut milk spits or pops. Give the cornstarch mixture a good stir and add it to the sauce, mixing well. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, or until the sauce thickens; then remove from the heat.

Let the sauce cool, uncovered, to concentrate the flavors before serving. It will keep in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Before using, reheat gently over low heat.

For the corn soup, put the water in a saucepan and it to a boil over high heat. Add the rice, stirring to prevent them from sticking together. Boil, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the rice is nearly cooked. If using the tapioca pearls, it will take 12 to 14 minutes for them to turn halfway clear; look for a tiny white dot in the center of each pearl. The water will seem slightly thick and viscous.

Meanwhile, if you are using, cut the kernels off the cob. If you are using frozen corn, thaw it for about 20 minutes. You should have 3 generous cups. Regardless of the corn used, use a processor to render it into a coarse texture.

When the rice (or tapioca pearl) is ready, add the coconut milk, sugar, salt, and pandan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When the mixture comes to a near boil, add the corn. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the corn is cooked and the flavors are blended. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Allow the soup to cool for about 15 minutes. The resulting sweet soup will be thickish, like Italian risotto. Taste and adjust with more sugar and salt, if necessary. (The soup may be prepared up to 2 days in advance, tightly covered, and refrigerated. Warm over low heat, adding a splash of water to thin and prevent scorching, before serving.)

To serve, ladle the soup into small bowls and top with the coconut sauce

Thai Grilled Chicken (Gai Yang)

3 1/2 pounds chicken leg-and-thigh quarters

Marinade
1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro stems
1/4 cup coarsely chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons light palm sugar or light brown sugar
5 tablespoons fish sauce

1/2 to 3/4 cup Thai Sweet Chile Sauce

Trim excess fat and skin from the chicken. Put into a baking dish or bowl. Set aside.

Use a mini food processor to grind the cilantro stems, garlic, salt, pepper, and sugar to a coarse texture. Add the fish sauce and pulse to emulsify. Taste and season with salt, pepper, or sugar to create a marinade with a slightly intense savory-sweet bite.

Pour the marinade over the chicken. Use your hands to massage it into the chicken, making sure you get some between the skin and flesh too. Cover and set aside for 1 hour. Or, refrigerate for several hours, letting the chicken sit out for 45 minutes before grilling.

Preheat a gas grill to medium or prepare a charcoal fire to medium heat. Grill the chicken for 25 to 35 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked through. Transfer to a platter. Brush on the sweet chile sauce or serve it on the side for guests to help themselves.