Vagabond Cookbook

The best you ate on vacation? Make it at home tonight.

Mushroom-lentil pâté

The most controversial snack around (and a wicked alternative if you need it)

Take a seat and put down your coffee, ‘cause this one’s a doozy. I’m drawing a line in the sand here and, with it, I fear I’m entering a world of pain. There’s a dirty little secret ingredient out there, hated by everyone (except chefs). It’s bold. It’s controversial. It’s the root of legislation across Europe and the U.S.But, can we all put aside our differences for a second and agree on one thing? Foie gras is unspeakably delicious. “#$%@#^! ASSHOLE! YOU’RE WORSE THAN A KLANSMAN! FEEL MY TWITTER WRATH!” See what I mean? Short of certain customs in foreign lands, no other foodstuff fans the flames of hatred like a bit of fatty duck liver. People have their reasons, I suppose. At this point, foie has become a byword for animal cruelty (whether or not those claims are justified). Plus, there’s precious little sympathy for a delicacy so strongly […]

Chinese black bean mussels

What I always want when I order Chinese food

When I see people eat Chinese food in the movies, it always gets me down. Sage words from Dr. Venkman. True, I lived in China and I’ve got strong opinions on all things sweet ‘n’ sour, but it’s not what you think. It’s not the mispronounced words, the bad chopstick technique, the “inauthentic” dishes (whatever those are). It’s the takeout cartons. From Manhattan to The Lost Boys, Chinese takeout on screen means those little paper cartons. BFFs pass them back and forth, shoveling lo mein and moo goo gai pan into their faces while we all laugh or cry or shriek at their antics. They’re awesome. But, you don’t get those cartons in Canada. You don’t get them in China. In real life, Chinese delivery comes in Styrofoam containers like a 1990s McDLT. Remember this fossil? Until recently, I thought those cartons (called oyster pails) were fake, a myth dreamt […]

Pan-Fried Cod with Stewed Lentils and Smoked Paprika Aioli

This surprising ingredient is a huge waste of money

“If I were rich, I’d have the time that I lack / to sit in the synagogue and pray / and maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall.” – Tevye, Fiddler on the Roof Sadly, Reb Tevye and I just don’t see eye to eye. Now, I love Fiddler on the Roof (weirdo that I am). The Imperial Russian setting. TheChagall nods. The klezmer wailing. But, if I were a rich man (ya ba dibba dibba dibba dibba dibba dibba dum), there would be no big, tall house with rooms by the dozen. There’d be no discussing holy books with learned men. No, if I had a small fortune, it’d look more like these guys. Not that it matters. Agree with Tevye or not, I still ain’t rollin’ on 20s. Cash rules everything around me and I need to take note when I go to get CREAM. Rather than […]