One of the great Tex-Mex dishes is Chile Rellenos–luscious poblano chiles, stuffed with cheese or meat, dipped in batter and deep-fried. In New Mexico, home cooks don’t usually go to all that trouble. Why should they? They have an alternative that may be even more delicious, and is certainly easier to prepare. Roll-ups of roasted poblano chiles, stuffed with meat, get covered with cheese and a batter-like mixture in a casserole. You pop it in the oven…and 45 minutes later you have an incredible Southwestern spin on comfort food.
This fabulous French country dish did not make a grand comeback in the eighties and nineties–but we’re hoping it will over the next decade. People are a little intimidated by it, perhaps, because it raises so many questions about cooking and serving; it’s one of those French classics fraught with controversy. We say: relax!
There is almost nothing authentic about chow mein; there is almost nothing even Chinese about it. But the dish that became emblematic of Chinese-American food in the 1950s–an almost stew-y mass of celery, onions and bean sprouts, with a very specific flavor–functions for me, and others, as powerful comfort food.
This simple fruit soup is my staple dessert in New York’s Chinatown, whenever I go for dim sum. But there’s no reason you can’t serve it at any dinner, plain or fancy. It’s as satisfying as it is refreshing.
I had the great good fortune in March of touring Hong Kong for almost a week, led by people who really know the city—and, most important, people who were entirely willing to believe me when I said I wanted to eat like a Cantonese person! Usually, my hosts anywhere will say “yes” to the local question—and then proceed to serve me the things they think “Americans” will like. Not these Hong Kong guys!
About David Rosengarten
Journalist, television personality, and cookbook author, David Rosengarten has covered great food products, restaurants, wines, gastronomic travel destinations, and related subjects for over 25 years...
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