T. Susan Chang http://wcbe.org en Valentine Hearts That Are Meant To Be Broken http://wcbe.org/post/valentine-hearts-are-meant-be-broken In first grade, my heart was stolen by Mark, who sat next to me and had an advanced phonics book (which I also craved). Then there were Peter, Eddie, Raja and Michael. These serial crushes continued right on up through my early 20s, at a rate of approximately three a year. Boys. I fell for their incipient mustaches, their bad attitudes and foul mouths, their poor poetry and bass guitars, their careless humor. I saw their swagger for what it was, but I loved it anyway.<p>When you're a kid, conversation hearts, waxy chocolates and powdery-smelling carnations are the currency of Valentine's Day. Fri, 14 Feb 2014 16:27:05 +0000 T. Susan Chang 51153 at http://wcbe.org Valentine Hearts That Are Meant To Be Broken The Stars Come Out For Holiday Bakers http://wcbe.org/post/stars-come-out-holiday-bakers As a young woman, I had an attack of nostalgia for a possibly imaginary cookie. It was prompted by a walk up New York's Third Avenue, where I saw in the bakery case of a local delicatessen a stack of small round cookies, covered in the tiny rainbow sprinkles known as nonpareils. Wed, 18 Dec 2013 19:06:50 +0000 T. Susan Chang 48301 at http://wcbe.org The Stars Come Out For Holiday Bakers Roasted Tomatoes, The Perfect Accessory For Summer Dishes http://wcbe.org/post/roasted-tomatoes-perfect-accessory-summer-dishes At this time of year, we all love tomatoes. Many of us claim we'll "take a big juicy tomato and bite into it like it's an apple," although you won't often see that happen in actual fact.<p>Yet, even people who love a juicy fresh tomato also are likely to enjoy it with all the juice sucked out, as in sun-dried tomatoes and — especially — roasted tomatoes. It's the way the process acts on flavors, caramelizing what's on the outside, concentrating what's on the inside. It's true even for a soulless, pale-pink January tomato. Wed, 28 Aug 2013 14:26:22 +0000 T. Susan Chang 42096 at http://wcbe.org Roasted Tomatoes, The Perfect Accessory For Summer Dishes Wandering Appetites: Hunting The Elusive Noodle http://wcbe.org/post/wandering-appetites-hunting-elusive-noodle <em>On the Noodle Road</em> is one attempt to answer an old chestnut: Did Marco Polo really bring noodles from China to Italy? If not, where did they really come from? Or — to put it another way — from what point along the storied byways of the Silk Road did that humble paste of flour and water first spring into its multifarious existence?<p>This is the second outing from Asian-American food writer and Beijing cooking school proprietor Jennifer Lin-Liu. In her first, <em>Serve The People,</em> Lin-Liu chronicled her education in traditional Chinese food ways. Mon, 05 Aug 2013 13:09:54 +0000 T. Susan Chang 40653 at http://wcbe.org Wandering Appetites: Hunting The Elusive Noodle Buttermilk Makes Everything Taste A Little Better http://wcbe.org/post/buttermilk-makes-everything-taste-little-better It started happening about 15 years ago. I'd be paging through a new cookbook or browsing through recipes online, and I'd suddenly stop. "Mmm, buttermilk biscuits. Doesn't that sound good?" I'd bookmark the site or dog-ear the page. The next week I'd see a recipe for waffles — buttermilk waffles, as it happened. What a splendid idea. Out came the yellow stickies.<p>Then it was fried chicken, first bathed in buttermilk brine. Buttermilk pork chops and buttermilk cornbread. Buttermilk ice cream and buttermilk panna cotta. Buttermilk <em>okra</em>. Wed, 31 Jul 2013 14:32:15 +0000 T. Susan Chang 40374 at http://wcbe.org Buttermilk Makes Everything Taste A Little Better Scape Velocity: Green Garlic Takes Flight http://wcbe.org/post/scape-velocity-green-garlic-takes-flight If you've never grown garlic, here's how you do it: On a bright cool fall afternoon, before the ground has frozen, you pry an ordinary, unpeeled clove of garlic off the bulb. You plant it in the ground, about 4 inches down and pointy side up. Maybe you cover the soil with some straw to protect it from extremes of heat, cold and drought.<p>Then comes the easy part — you forget about it. Thanksgiving comes, and a procession of seasonal holidays in which a lot of garlic is eaten, but none is given much thought. Wed, 10 Jul 2013 15:15:13 +0000 T. Susan Chang 39069 at http://wcbe.org Scape Velocity: Green Garlic Takes Flight Try A Do-It-Yourself Mother's Day http://wcbe.org/post/try-do-it-yourself-mothers-day My mother didn't plant a great many spring bulbs. But over by the pachysandra patch, there was a single lovely pink tulip, and I kept my eye on it for two weeks before Mother's Day. When that Sunday morning arrived, I rushed out, snipped it and ran inside to where she lay sleeping to present it to her. "Did you pick that outside?" she inquired, her expression shifting from sleepy surprise to something more complicated. I nodded proudly. "Oh ... Fri, 10 May 2013 13:38:16 +0000 T. Susan Chang 35383 at http://wcbe.org Try A Do-It-Yourself Mother's Day In Praise Of The Humble Lentil http://wcbe.org/post/praise-humble-lentil The year I discovered lentils, I was broke and lonely and didn't know how to cook. Lentils, it turned out, would have gone a long way toward providing the solution to some of these problems. However, when I first had them, they were a mystery.<p>They also were the cheapest thing on the menu at the Middle Eastern deli around the corner. The dish was <em>mudardara</em>, I was told. "What's that again?" I said, unable to untangle the knot of plosive consonants. Wed, 27 Feb 2013 16:47:52 +0000 T. Susan Chang 31403 at http://wcbe.org In Praise Of The Humble Lentil Understanding The Brussels Sprout http://wcbe.org/post/understanding-brussels-sprout "What are <em>those</em>?" I asked my mom, suspiciously eyeing the little cardboard tub with its cellophane cover. It held a heap of pale, miniature cabbages. "They're Brussels sprouts," she said. "They're supposed to be good for you," she added, sealing my doom.<p>At dinnertime, the mystery vegetable reappeared, steaming hot and greenish-yellow but otherwise unaltered. It gave off a sulfurous stench. I recoiled, but I knew my job. Wed, 30 Jan 2013 16:24:54 +0000 T. Susan Chang 29779 at http://wcbe.org Understanding The Brussels Sprout Recipe Rebellion: A Year Of Contrarian Cookbooks http://wcbe.org/post/recipe-rebellion-year-contrarian-cookbooks "Just throw the whole lemon in the food processor for lemon bars."<br />"Don't just soak your dried beans — brine them!" Mon, 24 Dec 2012 16:08:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 27892 at http://wcbe.org Recipe Rebellion: A Year Of Contrarian Cookbooks The Hard-Boiled Truth About Egg Soups http://wcbe.org/post/hard-boiled-truth-about-egg-soups The chicks arrived five months ago — eight gray, blond, black and tawny puffballs no bigger than the eggs they'd been hatched from a day earlier. They had a slavishly devoted audience within minutes and names within 24 hours. Wed, 31 Oct 2012 07:26:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 25108 at http://wcbe.org The Hard-Boiled Truth About Egg Soups A Roll For All Seasons, Wrapped In Rice Paper http://wcbe.org/post/roll-all-seasons-wrapped-rice-paper It all started several months ago, when I was fishing around for something not-too-unhealthy for lunch. Spring was over — the once-tender lettuces now milky-hearted and stiff-leaved — and I was bored with salad. I love sandwiches, but every time I gorged on bread I stepped a little heavier onto the scale. "If you're going to eat constantly," I said to myself, knowing that I would, "you simply can't afford to pack on that many carbs at a time."<p>It was at that point that I discovered rice paper, in the noodle section of my Asian grocer. Wed, 26 Sep 2012 15:11:20 +0000 T. Susan Chang 23327 at http://wcbe.org A Roll For All Seasons, Wrapped In Rice Paper Zucchini You Actually Can't Resist http://wcbe.org/post/zucchini-you-actually-cant-resist "Ugh," my sister exclaimed one evening as we were making dinner. It was supposed to be an easy poached chicken with a ginger-scallion sauce, eaten with cold cucumber wedges, and we had just discovered that what we had bought at the store was not cucumber, but zucchini. It was an easy mistake to make — they were the precise same shade of green. But where the zucchini's skin was mostly smooth, the cucumber's was lumpy. We were not happy.<p>Let's consider, for a moment, the many faults of zucchini. Wed, 29 Aug 2012 13:00:20 +0000 T. Susan Chang 21744 at http://wcbe.org Zucchini You Actually Can't Resist Stand Back When Snapping Turtles Crop Up In The Garden http://wcbe.org/post/stand-back-when-snapping-turtles-crop-garden Late spring in a New England vegetable garden is usually a time for the last asparagus, the crisp lettuce and arugula, the first pea shoots, and the first sprouting of warm-weather crops like peppers and zucchini. What you don't expect to see planted in your beds are <a href="http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/snappers.htm">snapping turtles</a>.<strong> </strong> But that's just what turned up in mine twice this week.<p>I was talking in my garden with a friend when I noticed what looked like a large leather satchel tossed in the strawberry bed. Fri, 25 May 2012 15:59:00 +0000 T. Susan Chang 16267 at http://wcbe.org Stand Back When Snapping Turtles Crop Up In The Garden