Butter Beans with Heirloom Tomatoes

Beans

Handful of oregano sprigs
Handful of thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
8 oz. dried butter beans, rinsed, soaked overnight if possible
1 medium onion, halved
1 large carrot, scrubbed, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Vinaigrette and Assembly

10 oz. cherry tomatoes or 1½ cups chopped heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes
1 garlic clove, smashed
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
? cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt
2 lb. assorted heirloom, beefsteak, and/or cherry tomatoes
Freshly ground black pepper
Handful of basil leaves
Mild red pepper flakes (such as Aleppo-style or Maras)

Beans:

Tie together oregano, thyme, and bay leaves with kitchen twine. Combine beans, onion, carrot, and herbs in a medium pot. Pour in water to cover beans by about 4″ and bring to a very gentle simmer over medium-high heat.

Immediately reduce heat and cook at the barest of simmers, stirring hardly at all, until beans are creamy and tender at the center but not falling apart or mushy, about 1 1/2 hours (this could take longer, depending on the beans). The key is to not agitate, which will help the beans maintain their shape.

Remove pot from heat; season beans aggressively with salt.

Gently stir in oil. Let cool. Drain beans; discard onion, carrot, and herbs.

Do Ahead: Beans can be made 2 days ahead. Keep in liquid; cover and chill.

Vinaigrette and Assembly:

Purée cherry tomatoes in a blender. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in garlic, vinegar, and ? cup oil; season with salt. Let sit 15–20 minutes, then pluck out garlic.

Transfer drained beans to a medium bowl and add vinaigrette; toss gently to coat. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Slice, halve, or quarter heirloom tomatoes and arrange on a platter or divide among individual plates. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Spoon beans along with plenty of vinaigrette over; top with basil and a few pinches of red pepper flakes.

Cherries Poached in Red Wine with Mascarpone Cream

2 1/4 cups red wine
1 cup sugar
1 1-by-3-inch strip orange zest
2 pounds sweet cherries, halved and pitted
1 cup mascarpone cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons honey

In a medium stainless-steel saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, and orange zest. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Add the cherries and bring back to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the cherries are just tender, about 5 minutes. Pour into a glass or stainless-steel bowl so the cherries don’t overcook.

In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone with the honey. Remove the strip of orange zest from the cherries. Serve the warm cherries and syrup in bowls or stemmed glasses, topped with a large dollop of the mascarpone cream.

Variations

• The warm cherries and poaching liquid are great alone—without the mascarpone cream—or with whipped cream.

• Serve the mascarpone cream with cut up fresh fruit or mixed berries instead of with the poached cherries.

Grilled Zucchini with Fresh Mozzarella

3 zucchini (about 1 pound), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 pound salted fresh mozzarella, cut into thick slices

Light the grill or heat the broiler. In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, toss the zucchini with 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Grill or broil the zucchini, turning once, until tender and golden, about 5 minutes per side. Put the zucchini back in the bowl.

Toss the zucchini with 1/2 tablespoon of the oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, the vinegar, garlic, and parsley. Let cool.

Put the mozzarella slices on a serving plate, fanning them out to form a circle. Drizzle them with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil and sprinkle them with a pinch of pepper. Fold the zucchini slices in half and tuck them between the pieces of cheese.

Grilled Apricots (or Plums, Peaches, or Pears) with Burrata, Country Ham, and Arugula

1 1/4 pounds apricots, halved and pitted
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
5 ounces baby arugula
1/2 pound burrata cheese, shredded
4 ounces shaved country ham 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the apricots with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, cut sides down, just until lightly charred, 5 minutes. Let cool.

In a bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the 1/4 cup of oil and season with salt and pepper. Gently toss in the apricots, radicchio and arugula. Transfer to a platter and top with the burrata, ham and vinegar. Serve.

Mozzarella with Summer Squash and Olive Puree

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1 pound fresh buffalo mozzarella, cut into wedges
1 small zucchini, very thinly sliced
1 small yellow squash, very thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Flaky sea salt, freshly ground white pepper and piment d’Espelette or hot paprika, for sprinkling

In a mini processor, puree the olives. Strain the puree through a fine sieve; you should have about 1/4 cup. Spread the olive puree on plates and arrange the mozzarella wedges and zucchini and squash slices on top. Drizzle olive oil over the cheese and sprinkle with salt, white pepper and piment d’Espelette.

Chinese Cucumber Salad

6 cloves garlic (minced very finely, almost like a paste)
3 tablespoons oil
2 English cucumbers (or 6-8 Persian cucumbers; if you can’t find seedless cucumbers like these, just de-seed regular cucumbers)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon MSG (optional)
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar

First prepare the garlic. When you’ve minced all of the garlic, set aside the equivalent of 1 clove.

Mix the oil and the rest of the garlic together, and set over medium-heat in a saucepan. Cook lightly for 2-3 minutes. Some foam will appear as the water in the garlic escapes. Do not let the garlic brown! This process takes about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Chop the cucumbers into quarters lengthwise and then into ½-inch chunks. Transfer to a bowl. Add the garlic oil, salt, sugar, pinch of MSG if using, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Finally, add the reserved minced raw garlic. Stir thoroughly to coat everything.

For the best results, let sit for at least 20 in the refrigerator to let flavors meld.

Thai Cucumber Salad

1 lb cucumber, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 small red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Dressing:
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Add salt to the cucumber, mix well and set aside in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime, make the Dressing, by combining all the ingredients in a small sauce pan. Turn on the heat and reduce the Dressing a bit so it’s slightly thickened. Let cool.

Drain the salt water from the cucumber completely. Toss the cucumber, onion, and mix with the Dressing. Top with the peanut and cilantro, serve immediately.

RECIPE NOTES
Thai cucumber salad is best served with Thai chicken sate.

Steamed Eggplant with Lao Gan Ma (Lady Sauce)

1 pound Japanese or Chinese eggplant (450g, about 3 eggplants)
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon Chinese dark vinegar
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1-1 1/2 tablespoons Lao Gan Ma chili sauce (or any chili sauce or chili oil of your choice)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 scallion (minced)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Prepare your steamer. If you’re not sure how to set up a steaming apparatus, check our our post on how to set up a steamer, even without special equipment. Turn the heat on low to pre-heat the water in the steamer.

Cut each eggplant crosswise into 3 equal sections, then cut each section into 8-10 bite sized strips.

Fill a large container with about 2 quarts of water and 1/4 cup white vinegar. Soak the eggplant in the vinegar water for 3 minutes. Then remove the eggplant and squeeze as much liquid out as possible. Arrange them on a heat-proof rimmed dish and carefully lower it into the steamer. Cover and turn the heat on high. Steam the eggplant for 8-10 minutes.

Now make the sauce by combining the Chinese dark vinegar, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and chili sauce.
Remove the eggplant from the steamer (no need to pour out the liquid in the dish), and evenly pour the sauce over the eggplant. Top it with the minced garlic and scallions. Try to keep garlic and scallions close together in a couple tight lines to make the next step easier.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a small saucepan until it starts to smoke lightly, and then carefully pour it over the garlic and scallion. Serve hot or cold. If serving as a cold appetizer, you can make this dish in advance.

Cantonese Eggplant Casserole (with Pork or Chicken)

4 oz. pork (or chicken, thinly sliced; 110g)
2 tablespoons cornstarch (plus 1/2 teaspoon)
1 1/2 pounds eggplant (680g, preferably Chinese/Japanese eggplant)
1 1/2 cups canola oil for frying (350 ml, plus 1 tablespoon)
3 slices ginger (minced)
4 cloves garlic (smashed and chopped)
2 scallions green parts and white parts separated and chopped
1 oz. Chinese salted fish (30g, deboned and minced; may substitute anchovy fillets)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar (look for the yellow bottle labeled, “Chinkiang Vinegar”)
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
4 teaspoons light soy sauce
1/2-3/4 cup water (depending on how hot your stove can get and how quickly the liquid cooks off)

Toss your pork (or chicken) with 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch and set aside. Wash the eggplants and dry them off with a clean kitchen towel. Trim off the ends, and cut the eggplant into 2-inch x 1/2-inch pieces. Add the eggplant pieces to a large zip top bag and toss with 2 tablespoons cornstarch until evenly coated.

Heat 1 1/2 cups canola oil in a small pot (the oil should be about 3/4-inch deep) over medium heat. To test the oil temperature, stick a bamboo or wooden chopstick in the oil. If you see a good deal of bubbles forming around the chopstick, the oil is ready for frying. Fry the eggplant in batches, cooking each batch for about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in your wok over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and the white parts of the scallions. Cook for 30 seconds, and then add the pork (or chicken) and the salted fish (or anchovies). Stir-fry until the meat is cooked through. Now add the eggplant, sugar, vinegar, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, and the green parts of the scallion. Also add 1/2 cup water.

Turn up the heat to high and mix everything together. Because of the cornstarch used to coat the eggplant, the liquid should thicken into a sauce. Add a little more water if necessary to reach the desired sauce consistency. This dish should have some sauce, but shouldn’t be swimming in liquid. Also, remember not to cook the eggplant for too long; it shouldn’t lose its shape. Once the sauce is thickened, serve with steamed rice!

Cherry Clafoutis

1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
5 large eggs
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond flour or almond meal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
12 ounces sweet cherries, pitted
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 10-inch round gratin dish and dust it with granulated sugar. In a large bowl, whisk the 1 cup of granulated sugar with the eggs and vanilla seeds. Whisk in the all-purpose flour, almond flour and salt until just incorporated. Add the milk and cream and whisk until light and very smooth, about 3 minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared gratin dish and arrange the cherries on top.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the clafoutis is set and golden. Let cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream.

The clafoutis can be wrapped and refrigerated overnight. Serve at room temperature.

Chicken, Corn, and Poblano Soup

For the soup:
2 poblano chiles or substitute cubanelle or sweet green peppers
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion diced
2 cloves garlic chopped
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups corn cut from fresh corn or frozen
2 – 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken shredded from rotisserie chicken or see Notes below
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Chipotle sour cream:
1 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp chipotle chile in adobo sauce finely chopped
1 Tbsp lime juice freshly squeezed
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For Garnish:
1 avocado pitted, peeled and cubed
Chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven broiler with a rack about 5 inches from the element.

Cut the poblano chiles in half lengthwise and remove the stem and seeds. Place cut side down, on a baking sheet and broil until the skin blackens and blisters, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Cover baking try loosely with aluminum foil and let stand for 10 minutes. Using the edge of a knife, peel away and discard the skin from the peppers, then cut them into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

In a large pot on the stovetop, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for an additional 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the corn and cook for 5 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree about half of the soup, leaving some of the corn kernels whole. *If you don’t have an immersion blender, remove soup to a blender or food processor and blend in small batches. Return to the pot and stir to combine.

Stir in the cooked, shredded chicken and diced poblano chillies. Taste, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm over low heat while you prepare the chipotle sour cream.

To make the chipotle sour cream, stir together the sour cream, chipotle chile and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more chipotle, if you like, to taste.
To serve the soup, divide the soup among 4 to 6 bowls. Top each serving with a dollop of the chipotle sour cream and diced avocado. Sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro.

Maple Glazed Peaches with Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk cold (*or see notes to make your own buttermilk)
8 Tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly, plus more for brushing biscuits after baking

For glazed peaches:
3 medium peaches cut in half and removed from stone
3-4 Tbsp butter cut into cubes
1/3-1/2 cup maple syrup **or see notes for substitution option
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves or pinch dried thyme, optional
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Pinch salt
For serving:
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Zest from 1/2 lemon
Crème Frâiche or Thick Yogurt

Preheat oven to 475F with rack in centre of oven.
Make the biscuits: (Can be made several hours ahead) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and melted and cooled butter, stirring until the butter forms small clumps.
Add the buttermilk mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until just combined and the batter pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Using a 1/4 cup scoop or measuring cup, scoop out dollops of batter and drop onto a baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.

Bake in preheated oven until tops are golden and crisp, about 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and brush tops with a bit of melted butter. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool 5 minutes before serving. (If making ahead, cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature. Reheat in microwave briefly or pop into a 350F oven for 5 minutes or so.
For the peaches: Preheat a large skillet on the stove-top over medium high heat. Add the butter. When the butter starts to foam, add a few thyme leaves, if using and cook for one minute. Add the halved peaches, cut side down, and cook until bottom starts to colour. Once the peaches are coloured a bit, add the maple syrup and cook for about 30 second more. Add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt, then flip the peaches over. Let the syrup simmer until it is reduced by about half. Turn off the heat under the pan.

To serve: You can serve directly from the larger skillet you cooked the peaches in or transfer to smaller skillets or plates, topping with biscuits, thyme sprigs and a dollop of crème frâiche or yogurt, and spooning reduced syrup over-top. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs and a bit of lemon zest. *I find it best to allow the peaches and syrup to cool to a bit before serving, for best flavour and to keep the creme fraiche or yogurt from melting too much.

Fresh Peach Ricotta Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 cup white sugar
1 cup ricotta cheese full-fat recommended
3 large peaches peeled or not, as you like
For topping:
Flaked almonds
Brown sugar
Pinch salt

Garnish:
Icing/Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350F with rack in the centre of the oven. Grease a 9 or 10-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Set aside. *A 9-inch springform is the best option, if you have that size.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Prepare the peaches by peeling, if desired, then cutting 2 of the peaches into cubes and then cut the 3rd peach into slices. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs with the white sugar until light in colour and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the ricotta and mix in. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined.

Using a spatula, gently fold in the 2 cubed peaches until combined well with the batter. Spoon the batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange the sliced peaches on the top of the batter. Scatter some flaked almonds on top, then sprinkle with a bit of brown sugar and and pinch of salt.

Bake in preheated oven as follows: for a 9-inch springform pan, bake for 75-80 minutes. For a 10-inch springform, baking time will be shorter, about 60-65 minutes. In all cases, cake should have pulled away from the sides of the pan and the top should be evenly golden. You can test centre with a skewer to be sure it is cooked in the middle.

Allow cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the outside and carefully remove the outside ring from the springform pan. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan base.

Heirloom Tomatoes and Red Onion

1 small or 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
1 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes (about 3 medium tomatoes)
1/4 cup packed fresh herbs, such as basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, or a combination, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the onion in small bowl and cover with cold water. Let stand while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, about 10 minutes.

Core the tomatoes and slice into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. Place in a large bowl. Add the herbs, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Drain the onions and add to the bowl. Toss to combine and let stand for at least 10 or up to 30 minutes before serving. Taste and season with more salt, pepper, vinegar, or oil as needed.

Ultimate Zucchini Bread

2 cups (13 ounces or 370 grams) grated, packed zucchini, not wrung out, grated on the large holes of a box grater
2 large eggs
2/3 cup (160 ml) of a neutral oil (I use safflower), olive oil, or melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup (95 grams) packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25 grams) raw or turbinado sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 6-cup or 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.

Place grated zucchini in a large bowl and add oil, eggs, sugars, vanilla, and salt. Use a fork to mix until combined.

Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and baking powder over surface of batter and mix until combined — and then, for extra security that the ingredients are well-dispersed, give it 10 extra stirs.

Add flour and mix until just combined.

Pour into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the raw or turbinado sugar — don’t skimp.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick or tester inserted into the middle cake but also into the top of the cake, closer to the dome, comes out batter-free.

Let cool completely in the pan. Leave in pan, unwrapped, overnight or 24 hours, until removing (carefully, so not to ruin flaky lid) and serving in slices.

Zucchini bread keeps for 4 to 5 days at room temperature. Wrap only the cut end of the cake in foil, and return it to the baking pan, leaving the top exposed so that it stays crunchy.

Summer Tomato Salad with Feta and Pita Crisps

1 1/2 pound heirloom tomatoes (about 3 medium)
12 oz. mixed cherry tomatoes
1 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided plus more
1 lemon
1/2 garlic clove
6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. za’atar
2 cups pita chips
1 1/2 tsp. (or more) honey
3 1/2 oz. Greek feta
1/4 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves

Cut tomatoes to taste, then toss with salt.

Zest 1/4 lemon—-you want about 1/2 tsp. zest (it’s easiest to measure if you hold the Microplane upside down so that the zest collects on top and you can scoop it into the measuring spoon). Grate 1/2 garlic clove. Set aside.

Heat 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a small saucepan or skillet over medium until just starting to shimmer, about 2 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp. za’atar and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and darker in color, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in reserved lemon zest and garlic. Wait 10 seconds, then remove from heat. (You’re looking to cook off the raw flavor of the garlic without losing the brightness of the lemon.) Transfer za’atar oil to a heatproof measuring cup.

Place 2 cups pita chips in a medium bowl. Pour 2 Tbsp. za’atar oil over; season with salt. Mix well with a rubber spatula, aiming to coat chips without breaking them into too many pieces.

You should have about 1/4 cup za’atar oil remaining. Squeeze 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon) into a small bowl. Add 1 1/2 tsp. honey and ½ tsp. salt. Add za’atar oil, stirring constantly, until emulsified (meaning that you don’t see any beads of separated oil). Taste dressing and add more lemon, honey, or salt if needed.

Break feta into chunks and toss with tomatoes. Add basil and mint. Drizzle about 3 Tbsp. dressing over and toss to gently combine.

Add pita chips to bowl (don’t leave leftover oil behind—scrape that in too) and fold gently to combine. Spoon salad onto platter, making sure to leave no juices behind. Drizzle with remaining za’atar oil.

Eat fast for crunchy chips or let sit for a crispy-gone-soggy experience.

Penne with Smoked Chicken, Zucchini, and Green Beans

1 pound penne rigate
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound young green beans, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths and blanched until al dente
1/2 pound zucchini, cut into 1 1/2 -by-1/3-inch sticks
2 shallots, thinly sliced 1 pound boneless smoked chicken breast—skinned, trimmed of fat and shredded
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt
2 tablespoons minced parsley

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the penne until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the mascarpone and sherry vinegar. Cook over low heat until melted; keep warm.

Heat the olive oil in a large non-reactive skillet. Add the green beans and zucchini and sauté until tender and lightly browned. Stir in the shallots and cook until softened. Add the smoked chicken and crushed red pepper, season with salt and cook just until warmed through.

In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the vegetables and the mascarpone sauce; add some of the reserved cooking liquid if the pasta seems dry. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

String Bean Chicken

1 lb (450 g) boneless skinless chicken breast (or thighs), sliced to 1/4” (5mm) thickness

Marinade
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
2 tablespoons fermented black beans (or black bean sauce)
1/3 cup chicken stock
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Stir fry
2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 lb (450 g) green beans , cut to 1” (2.5 cm) long pieces
3 cloves garlic , chopped
2 teaspoons ginger , minced
2 green onions , chopped

Combine the chicken and all the marinade ingredients in a big bowl. Stir to mix well. Let marinate for 15 minutes while preparing the other ingredients.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Stir to mix well.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Spread the chicken in the skillet in a single layer. Sear until the bottom turns golden without moving it, 1 minute or so. Stir and flip to cook the other side, until golden, another minute or so. Transfer the cooked chicken pieces to a big plate and set aside.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the green beans. Turn to medium heat. Sear the green beans, stirring and flipping occasionally, until the surface is browned and the texture turns tender, 10 minutes or so (*Footnote 1). Reduce to medium-low heat if the pan starts to smoke too much.

Turn to medium-high heat again. Add the garlic, ginger, and onion. Drizzle with a bit more oil (or chicken stock), 2 tablespoons or so. Stir and cook for a minute to release the fragrance.

Add the chicken back into the skillet. Stir the sauce again to thoroughly dissolve the cornstarch and pour it into the pan. Stir a few times until the sauce thickens and coats the ingredients. Immediately transfer everything to a big plate.

Serve hot over steamed rice as a main dish.

Notes
Slowly searing the beans generates the best result. But if you’re in a hurry, you can sear the green beans for 2 minutes, add 1/4 cup chicken stock (or water), then cover to steam. Cook until the green beans turn tender or reach your desired texture, 2 to 3 minutes.

Tomato Egg Drop Soup

2 tablespoons oil
10 ounces tomatoes (1 large or 2 small, about 280g; cut into small chunks)
1 cup chicken stock (235 ml)
2 cups water (or more chicken stock; 470 ml)
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
salt (to taste)
1 egg (beaten)
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch (mixed with 2 tablespoons water
1 scallion (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons cilantro (chopped, optional)

Heat the oil in a soup pot or wok over medium low heat. Add the tomato chunks and stir-fry for 5 minutes until the tomatoes are softened and start to fall apart.

Add in 1 cup chicken stock, 2 cups water, 2 teaspoons light soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat so that the soup is simmering with the lid on.

Now quickly beat the egg in a small bowl and prepare the cornstarch slurry in a separate bowl.

Use a ladle to slowly swirl the soup in a whirlpool motion. Keep swirling as you pour in the cornstarch slurry until well incorporated. Now pour a thin stream of egg into the middle of the whirlpool as you slowly swirl the soup. This is how you get that pretty egg drop effect.

Serve hot or at room temperature. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped scallions and cilantro, if using.

Buttermilk Cucumber Salad

2 cups thinly sliced cucumbers (from 1 large English cucumber or 3 mini, peeled fully or in stripes if desired)
3 tablespoons thinly sliced shallot rings (from 1 shallot)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup torn or chopped fresh tender herbs, such as dill, tarragon, basil, parsley or dill
INSTRUCTIONS

Transfer the cucumbers and shallots to a colander, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and toss to combine. Set aside to drain for at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour.
Stir together the yogurt and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Taste and season with with salt and pepper, then stir in the cucumbers, shallots, and herbs.