The first time I had cumin beef was decades ago at an Islamic Chinese restaurant in San Francisco. The silk road influences were obvious: cumin is often used in Ughyur cuisine in China’s Xingjiang Province, in tandem with loads of garlic and chiles. I was hooked.
This fragrant dish is a cinch to make and takes me right back to that first time I tasted Muslim Chinese cuisine. Serve this with rice for an easy weeknight meal.
1 pound trimmed sirloin steak
2 teaspoons Shaoxing rice wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon potato flour
1 green or red bell pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
3 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 fresh red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes, to taste
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1. Cut the beef into thin slices. In a medium bowl, stir the marinade ingredients with 1 tablespoon water and add the beef, mixing to coat. Cut the peppers into 1-inch strips, then cut diagonally into diamond-shaped slices.
2. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to a wok over high heat. Add the beef and stir-fry until just cooked, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove beef from the wok and set aside.
3. Return the wok to the heat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry for a few seconds, then add the garlic and chili pepper, and stir-fry until hot and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Return the beef to the wok and add the cumin and dried chiles, continuing to stir-fry until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Just before removing from the heat, add the green onions and stir. Remove from the heat, stir in the sesame oil, and serve.
Adapted from an Edible Hawaii recipe, this salad is labor-intensive, but worth it. Macadamia nuts, avocado, and hearts of palm provide a tropical note, and a preserved lemon-tarragon dressing gives the whole thing a bracing bite. This salad is filling enough for a light meal on its own.
1 8-ounce bag mixed salad greens
1 14-ounce can hearts of palm, washed, drained, and sliced
1 avocado, peeled and diced
3 medium-sized beets
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1/2 cup toasted macadamia nuts
1 bag sunflower sprouts (optional)
1 preserved lemon, rinsed well
1/2 cup tarragon, leaves stripped and stem discarded
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup olive oil
1. Wash and spin salad greens.
2. Peel and cube beets, and roast in 375F degree oven with avocado oil and salt for 25 minutes or until tender.
3. Place preserved lemon, tarragon leaves, honey, and olive oil in a blender and blend for 15 seconds until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and thin the dressing with a splash of water if it is too thick.
4. Place greens into salad bowl or platter with the beets, heart of palm and sprouts. Toss with dressing, adding more to adjust to taste. Garnish with avocado, macadamia nuts, and sprouts.
These aren’t your everyday baked potatoes. Oh no, my friend. These are the most impossibly fluffy baked potatoes you’ve ever had: crispy on the outside and ethereal on the inside. The secret lies in enveloping them in a thin coating of oil, rather than foil. Topped with sour cream, herbs, and caviar, these are a perfect weekend indulgence.
4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed, patted dry
Vegetable oil (for potatoes)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup finely chopped chives or green onions
1/2 cup finely chopped dill and/or parsley
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1–2 oz. jar trout or salmon roe
Flaky sea salt
1. Place a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 450F degrees. Prick potatoes all over with a fork (this allows the steam to escape, which helps the insides of the potatoes cook evenly and make the skins crisp).
2. Drizzle a little oil over each potato and rub all over with your hands to cover in a thin layer; season with salt and pepper. Set potatoes directly on a wire rack set atop a baking sheet and bake until the outsides are browned and crisp and the insides are very tender about, 70 minutes.
3. Using tongs or oven mitts, transfer potatoes to a platter. Set out along with sour cream, chives, dill, butter, roe, sea salt, and pepper and top as desired.
Kuku refers to an Iranian fritatta, of which there are many styles. Kuku sabzi (herb fritatta) and kuku sibzamini (potato fritatta) are the most popular, but fava bean kuku is my most favorite of them all. Seasoned with dill, onions, and garlic, this makes for a perfect brunch or picnic food.
Every year I eagerly await springtime, when fava beans are in season. Last year I came up on more than 15 pounds of favas from Imwalle Gardens in Santa Rosa — no complaints here.
1 pound fava beans, shelled and peeled
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon yogurt
1 cup chopped fresh or 1/2 cup dried dill
1. Remove the second skin from fava beans and place the beans in a saucepan with 3 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Boil for 10 minutes over medium heat. Drain and set aside to cool.
2. In a skillet, brown onions and garlic in 3 teaspoons oil. Add beans and stir. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
3. Break eggs into a large bowl. Add the salt, pepper, and yogurt. Beat lightly with a fork. Add chopped dill and fava beans and mix.
4. Heat remaining 3 teaspoons oil in a nonstick skillet, pour in the egg mixture, and cook, covered, over low heat until it has set, about 15 minutes. Cook the second side by cutting into wedges and carefully turning each wedge over one by one. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, cover, and cook for 15 minutes longer. Serve kuku with flatbread and yogurt.
I originally made this dish alongside a yogurt salad and a spinach braise — the crunchy, crispy potatoes providing a contrast to the other dishes. Who doesn’t love fried potatoes? They make the world go round. Contrary to the dish’s name, these aren’t actually oven-roasted, but rather, cooked in a skillet until they’re nice and toasty.
2 pounds potatoes, boiled until just cooked, peeled, and diced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon curry powder
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon yellow split peas (chana dal), picked over and rinsed
1 teaspoon urad dal, picked over and rinsed
1 red chili, halved
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida powder
1 sprig curry leaves
1. Heat oil in a skillet, preferably nonstick. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, yellow split peas, urad dal, chili, asafoetida powder, and curry leaves.
2. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the diced potatoes, turmeric, and salt to taste. Cook over low heat for at least 30 minutes, turning the potatoes every 5 minutes, being careful to not break the pieces.
3. Saute potatoes until golden. Sprinkle with the curry powder and mix. Serve warm.