Vagabond Cookbook

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

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Mexican Chorizo Hash

Reading The Postman Always Rings Twice a couple of years back, one thing really stood out. James M. Cain hated corned beef hash. In a hundred-odd pages, his characters bitch and moan about the hash house more than once. “That road, it don’t lead anywhere but to the hash house,” whines Cora. She and her illicit beau actually hatch murder plans just to keep her from slinging hash the rest of her days. Jiminy! Now, I can’t imagine working in a Depression-era diner was a swingin’ good time. Still, it unfairly gives hash a bad rap. Few dishes offer such rib-sticking satisfaction for such little effort. When you think about it, hash is just a chopped and sautéed salad. (The name does come from the French hacher, “to chop”.) At its simplest, it’s a bunch of vegetables and/or meat cut into small pieces and tossed in a pan. (By that […]

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Ugly birds and the problem with Asian cooking

It’s no secret I love Asian food. I started cooking in China. I subscribe to Lucky Peach. I made char siu bao for my Masterchef audition. It’s a thing. But, one thing about Asian food drives me mental. MSG? Nope, MSG is fine (do your research). Excessive deepfrying? It’s a little greasy, sure, but at least it tastes good. Hatred of rice? Hardly (see Cook Somethin’ Issue Two). No, my problem is with Asian chefs’ most outrageous obsession — decorative vegetable carving. Seriously, WTF! Look at that shit! Sure, it’s impressive, but so are sideshow geeks and dance marathons. Chinese restaurants must staff legions of cooks armed with scalpels and toothpicks to craft dragons out of pumpkins. Then, we gawk at ‘em for a second, toss ‘em in the trash, and turn back to the egg foo young. If you want to fix the food waste problem, start here (or […]