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The Weekly Menu
What to Cook this Week
I've fallen in love with the show "Ugly House to Lovely House with George Clarke" on YouTube. It became my constant companion while I wrapped the photoshoot for the cover of my cookbook. The show's premise is straightforward: an ugly home gets renovated and becomes functional and aesthetically pleasing. Some of these homes are in terrible shape, with walls falling, and others are poorly designed, like a shared bathroom that sits between two bedrooms. Whenever I photograph my books, I take a break and stop looking at food photos in magazines and cookbooks. Instead, I look at content from architectural, garden, and travel sources. It's refreshing and energizing; I get a better sense and appreciation of colors, shapes, sizes, and textures and how they all come together in everyday life. This helps me create a mental picture of how I want my cookbook photos to look and the story I'm trying to convey. I submitted the cover photos, and my designer, Lizzie at Chronicle Books, already created a few mockups for me to see, and I've picked my favorite. Now, I'm anxiously waiting to see what the rest of the team at my publishing house decides. Will it be what I want, or will it be something else?
This research paper on transgenic tomatoes caught my attention. The scientists at the Tokyo University of Science created transgenic tomatoes and potatoes that express the betalain pigment (the pigment that gives red beets their color). Betalain is also an antioxidant, making it a valuable tool against anti-inflammation. Interestingly, tomatoes producing betalain demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in the lab studies, but the potatoes that produced betalain failed to do so. Whether or not you support genetically modified produce, the results from this study are fascinating because it also implies that even though a vegetable or fruit might produce an antioxidant or other natural biomolecule that could provide health benefits, that molecule might not always work the way we want it to.
A fun new update this week, I’ve created a section on my site called The Flavor Corner, where I’ll list the recipes for the most common spice blends I use in my cooking, answer some of the most popular questions I receive, and share my Flavor Guide collection. Check it out, and if you’re looking for a spice blend recipe, let me know, and I’ll work on getting it up there.
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The Weekly Menu
On this week’s menu, I’ve got warm and bold flavors on my mind and a few smaller new recipes to share.
My Indian take on eggplant parmesan is fuss-free. There’s no need to fry the eggplants; roast the slices in the oven, then layer and bake. This dish is a certified crowd-pleaser! Please don’t skip on the nigella seeds; they pair beautifully with the hot melty cheese top.
I like whole roast chicken recipes because they go a long way, and this one is a recipe I turn to often. This roast chicken is sweet and sticky because of the generous coating of sambal oelek and honey. Serve it with black/forbidden rice or plain sticky rice and a salad or the simple cucumber salad in the recipe.
New to my site this week is this recipe for puffed tofu is a fantastic treat with noodles, fried rice, and the gorgeous and comforting laksa. You can also make a batch of puffed tofu and serve them hot as an appetizer with soy sauce and chilli crisp bowls.
For something sweet, might I recommend this apple and date cake? It’s a cake with a good ratio of fruit to flour; you’ll get chunks of apples with every bite. I drizzle date syrup on top, but you can also try molasses or the Turkish grape molasses, Pekmez. Gosh, it does look like Pac-Man in this photo!
Have a great weekend,