Cooking and Waiting

The Kitchn’s Cooking School Lesson 15: Boil & Simmer Much has been said lately about the joy and benefits of cooking for others. I have hosted and cooked for a friend and written about the joy of it on this blog. And I have long loved cooking with others. But I still largely cook for myself…

Wonder Wok

The Kitchn’s Cooking School Lesson 14: Sauté The cooking technique of stir-frying has intrigued me for a while. In fact, when it comes to cooking Thai food at home, I very often resort to stir-frying. It’s quick, easy, and cheap. And you always get something flavorful The first time I stir-fried morning glory—a very popular…

Bright and Saucy

The Kitchn’s Cooking School Lesson 13: Sauces I would love to learn to make the mother sauces like the bechamel and the hollandaise, but the weather’s been so warm and humid that I haven’t been in the mood for something rich. I’ve made mayonnaise and currently have a store-bought jar in my fridge. I’ve made…

Proud Pasta Moment

The Kitchn’s Cooking School Lesson 12: Pasta & Noodles I was once convinced that if I had to choose between pasta and rice for the rest of my life, I would choose pasta. That wasn’t very loyal towards the staple of my homeland. I grew up eating both rice and pasta at home, but I…

One Week and Two Pots of Beans

The Kitchn’s Cooking School Lesson 11: Beans I always feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I have spent a few hours cooking something that I can eat or use as a base for other dishes for the rest of the week. Last week, it was red kidney beans. I really went back to the…

The Season of Mush

The Kitchn’s Cooking School Lesson 10: Rice and Grains It is cold now in Bangkok, at 23 degrees Celsius (74 degrees Fahrenheit). But I made risotto on Saturday when it was 10 degrees warmer. I already had a dirt-cheap bottle of white wine with a respectable-looking label design sitting on the table and the second…

(Herb) Butter It All Up!

The Kitchn’s Cooking School Lesson 9: Herbs and Spices I used to have an herb garden on my balcony. I actually didn’t grow them myself but bought those herbs in pots from a farmers market and a grocery shop. There were peppermint, saranae (Thai mint or some would call lemon balm), Italian parsley, and rosemary….

The Trouble with Tofu

The Kitchn’s Cooking School Lesson 8: Tofu and Tempeh I almost skipped the tofu and tempeh lesson. I’ve never had tempeh, but I was still curious about cooking tofu, despite it not being my favorite ingredient. I’ve had tofu plenty of times in my life. I even tried to cook tofu once in France because…

Beer, Wine, and My Father

My father used to be a big beer drinker until one day—on his birthday, or maybe mine, or one of those days you get to make your wishes outloud—I asked him to stop drinking beer. And he did. He granted me my wish. Just like that, he quit beer. I was very young then, maybe…

From My Library: Vol. 7

I recently did something I hadn’t done in a long time: I bought a magazine to read on a long trip. This happened in a bookshop at the Karlsruhe train station before I had to catch a train to the Frankfurt airport, where I would take a flight back to Bangkok via Abu Dhabi. I…

Follow Your Nose

The Kitchn’s Cooking School Lesson 7 I didn’t grow up liking shrimp. I thought it stank. I hated the texture and the flavor. I was even allergic to it at one point. If I remember correctly, I used to get rashes from eating it. As an adult, however, it became difficult to resist shrimp when…

Another Kind of Cook

I haven’t cooked anything complicated in my kitchen or for this blog. But I’ve definitely made recipes that require me to use a pot, a pan, and sometimes maybe the oven tray—recipes that take an hour or more to prep and execute. Sure, they are simple recipes, but not all of them are quick to…

From My Library: Vol. 6

As promised, I want to share with you a few passages from William Zinsser’s book On Writing Well about writing family history and memoir this week. The book’s subtitle for its 30th anniversary is The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction. And yet it’s such a moving and intimate read. I suppose that’s why I enjoyed reading it so much…

Chop-Chop!

The Kitchn’s Cooking School Lesson 6 I’m really enjoying going back to basics with ingredients and dishes that I like to cook at home. I’m cooking better than ever. Last week was chicken breasts, a cut that I eat all the time but struggled for the longest time to find the right way to cook….

Somewhere Else for Lunch

As some of you may remember, I’m reading one entry of James and Kay Salter’s Life Is Meals: A Food Lover’s Book of Days per day until the end of the year. In the October 25 entry, James writes, “There are days, perhaps many, when you long to be somewhere else, and days when you…

From My Library: Vol. 5

I’ve been reading a lot about writing and memoir writing. Since I got back from Germany, it’s been hard to rein in my mind. I have many things—from books to documentaries and podcast interviews—to share with you, but it’s probably best to spread things out over the weeks. Since this week has been crazier than…

Perfection Found, Almost

The Kitchn’s Cooking School Lesson 5 Little by little, I’m getting back to my usual way. First work, then cooking, then exercising, then meditation, and now, finally, The Kitchn’s Cooking School. Where did we leave off? Ah, yes, the lesson on poultry. I’m just so glad that I’ve finally found the perfect way to cook…

Saturday Rambling

I probably should eat. It’s almost one in the afternoon here in Bangkok. Instead, I’ve fed myself with water and Gabrielle Hamilton’s “Rome” and “Hunger” episodes in The Mind of a Chef. My stomach was not rumbling, but my mouth watered at the sight of the Prune chef-and-owner putting sardines on slices of avocado and dressing…

From My Library: Vol. 4

My vacation in Germany is drawing to a close. Tomorrow, Monday, is my last full day here. All the free time on this trip means I have been able to focus on reading William Zinsser’s On Writing Well. And my love for the book is steadily deepening. I want to share a few passages from the…

How to Be Gentle and Firm

The Kitchn’s Cooking School Lesson 4 I had planned to move on to the poultry lesson this week on the blog. The only thing I had left to do was to write about it. But I am now in Germany for a vacation and realized two days ago that I had forgotten to bring the…