Keema Pau

keema pau

Have you ever been in a cooking rut? Sometimes I literally have no idea what to make for dinner even though I have a cookbook shelf overflowing with books and I read about food on the internet for 85% of my day.

Thankfully, I started this new podcast and my guests send me recipes to make that I would never think of making on my own. Case in point: this Keema Pau which was suggested to me by my guest this week, Karan Soni, who you may know from the Deadpool movies or the show Miracle Workers. Karan and his partner Roshan came over for dinner and noticed the Dishoom cookbook on my shelf and Karan lit up: he cooked his way through it during the pandemic and absolutely loved the food that he made. So when I asked him to send me a recipe for the pod, he referred me to page 109, which has the recipe for Keema Pau.

Rosemary Dijon Rack of Lamb with Crispy Potatoes

rack of lamb

Would you believe that I’ve cooked lamb necks, lamb shoulders, lamb legs, but never that most famous lamb preparation of all… a classic rack of lamb?

The reason’s actually pretty simple: rack of lamb is expensive. And as confident as I am as a meat cook, I’m always scared that if I splurge on something as decadent as a rack of lamb, I’m going to screw it up. And meat is hard to fix once you overcook it. Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry with this particular rack because it was a gift! Well, I received a gift certificate for $100 for an online butcher and I chose one 1 1/2 pound rack of lamb that, with shipping, worked out to the full $100. (I know, that’s insane, but now you know why I’ve avoided cooking lamb racks for so long.)

Crystallized Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake

meyer lemon bundt cake

Bundt cakes often look better than they taste. That’s because, at the end of the day, you’re dumping a bunch of cake batter into a big heavy mold that needs to cook for a while to have stability, but also (very often) dries the cake out in the process.

So how do you make a big, impressive-looking bundt cake that actually tastes good? You soak it as soon as it comes out of the oven. I’ve seen recipes for lemon cakes where you cook sugar with lemon juice just until the sugar dissolves to make a lemon syrup and then pour that over the cake (see: The Barefoot Contessa); but I’ve never seen one where you mix raw lemon juice with sugar and olive oil and pour that over the cake. That was until I encountered Claire Saffitz’s recipe for Crystallized Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake in her new cookbook What’s for Dessert?.

Dirty Chai Earthquake Cookies

dirty chai cookies

I have a vivid memory of being in Venice with my parents in the early 2000s (it’s documented here) when my brother and I decided to freak out our mother by drinking espresso after dinner. We were actually always a coffee-after-dinner family but the coffee was always decaf. To this day, my parents still order decaf if they’re in the mood for a hot beverage after a big meal. But in Italy, drinking espresso after dinner is a tradition and to quote Tevye, “Tradition!” So we drank the espresso and, as far as I can remember, we still fell asleep and all was fine. But my mother’s concern was still on my mind when I made Susan Spungen’s Dirty Chai Earthquake Cookies for a dinner party last week.

Crispy Pierogi with Pork and Dried Fruit

pierogi pork

The best pierogi I’ve ever eaten in my life — one that ruined all other pierogi for me — was at Michael Symon’s now-closed restaurant Lola in Cleveland, Ohio. I still remember what it looked like: a half moon of crispy dough stuffed with beef cheeks. It was maybe one of the most decadent things I’ve ever tasted; somewhere between an empanada and a calzone; the amount of labor that went into it was evident with every bite. I vowed to make it some day from Symon’s cookbook (which has my favorite chili recipe) but never did.

Enter Nicole Rucker, this week’s guest on You’ve Got to Taste This. Nicole’s in a cookbook club (sorry men, it’s women only) and one of the most successful recipes they’ve ever tested happens to be the pierogi recipe that she sent me to make this week. They come from Zuza Zak’s cookbook Pierogi, which makes sense, and they’re stuffed with this magical mixture of caramelized pork blended with soaked dried fruit, boiled in salted water, and then sauteed in copious amounts of butter. Needless to say, they were an absolute trumph.

Baked Pasta with Fontina and Roasted Mushrooms

baked fontina pasta

Some new friends were coming over the other night and I asked them what they ate and they said “we eat meat but mostly vegetables” and that’s when I knew I was going to serve them a pound of cheese. It’s not that I was trying to fatten them up or punish them for being so wholesome, it’s just that I count cheese as a vegetable. But on the off chance they were looking for real vegetables in their dinner, I decided to find a recipe that had cheese AND a vegetable and landed on Melissa Clark’s recipe for baked pasta with ricotta, fontina, and roasted mushrooms.

Makoviy Rulet with Apples and Poppyseed Paste

makoviy rulet

Baking a recipe at home is hardly a political act and yet, as a show of solidarity, you can’t really argue against it. With all of the horror going on in Ukraine right now, it feels important to honor and celebrate Ukranian culture, especially its recipes. If that sounds like homework, let me put it another way: Ukranian food is delicious and if you decide to give it a go, do what I did and start with Olia Hercules’ Makoviy Rulet, an elaborate Ukrainian braided apple poppyseed bread.

This recipe comes to us by way of London-based journalist Felicity Spector, my second guest on You’ve Got to Taste This. Not only is Felicity a scholar of the region, having won a Fulbright to Harvard where she did her masters, she’s a wonderful cook as evidenced by her popular Instagram page. Our talk today covers everything from the rise of British cuisine to her heroic act helping to gather and deliver baking supplies to ravaged bakeries in Kyiv.

Marbled Matcha Pound Cake

Sometimes I make mental note of a food-related thing that leads me to buy another food-related thing and then that food-related thing sits around for a very long time until I look at it and remember the original food-related thing that led me to buy it in the first place. That’s the case with the original Tartine cookbook; Samin Nosrat mentioned in a podcast or in an interview (possibly with me?) that the recipes in it are flawless and it’s one of her favorite baking books. That book has sat around forever and I’ve never made anything from it until yesterday when I remembered that I had a glut of poppy seeds (long story) and thought that I’d make the lemon poppyseed cake from it because I’ve had it at the bakery and it’s surprisingly light and citrusy. But then another recipe caught my eye on page 191: a recipe for a marbled matcha pound cake.

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