Monday, July 04, 2016

Are we a melting pot -- or a bowl?

hippie food

Lord, I love a bowl. Rice bowl, quinoa bowl, ahi bowl, teriyaki zen bowl, any kind of nauseatingly trendy bowl, bring it on. I feel like a twit every time I use the term “bowl,” but the thing itself -- an assemblage of raw/cooked/pickled/creamy/crunchy/spicy/leafy ingredients with some kind of starch and unifying sauce in a single vessel -- I love unreservedly. I know Asians have been eating one-bowl meals forever, but when did bowls become a thing (to use another term that makes me feel like a twit), in the United States? 

I like to eat bowls in restaurants because they often feature the Asian flavors I most love. Just yesterday, Mark and I stopped for lunch at KoJa Kitchen on Clement Street in San Francisco, a windswept counter-service Korean-Japanese restaurant with a lot of delectable bowls full of rich meats and zesty sauces on the menu. I ended up ordering a so-called KoJa, which was a warm sandwich between crispy-crusted rice cakes, but I thought about getting a bowl.

All the dishes at KoJa Kitchen look like bowls even when they're not. The waffle fries at right are topped with barbecued beef, kimchi, mayonnaise, red sauce, and scallions -- totally a bowl!
But while I love restaurant bowls, the most exciting application of the bowl concept, I think, is at home.  What brought all this to mind was the roasted carrot and grain bowl I made last night from the new and very pretty vegetarian cookbook Love & Lemons.  
That's not a bowl on the cover, it's a salad.
This recipe was healthy, moderately easy, cheap, and damned good. Into a bowl (obviously) you put cooked millet, roasted carrots, roasted tofu, avocado, chopped almonds, and lettuce. Now, toss some chunked raw carrots, garlic, oil, tahini, lemon juice, and orange juice into a blender, pulverize, pour over your bowl, and go watch Broadchurch.

Did I mention that bowls are ideal for eating in front of the TV? 

It wasn’t the best bowl I’ve ever made. The best bowls I’ve ever made were from Ed Lee’s Smoke & Pickles, but then of course they were. Ed Lee is a restaurant chef and his bowls contain elaborate remoulade sauces and ingredients like salmon and pork belly. They are super-fattening and take forever to make, unlike that nice roasted carrot bowl.

I fell asleep last night inventing bowl recipes and spent a half hour this morning looking up bowl recipes online. Some of those recipes don’t meet my exacting definition of a bowl. What is my definition of a bowl? A bowl must contain some warm ingredients, and some cool. It needs a variety of textures, and some crunch is absolutely essential. Starches (rice, farro, quinoa) seem standard, though I could imagine a bowl without one. There should be a fatty treat in the bowl; if it’s a vegetarian bowl, that probably means cheese and/or nuts. There has to be a fantastically delicious sauce to bind everything together, of course, and a bowl must contain at least one vegetable. The vegetable is the whole point. There’s so much happening in a bowl, you don’t even realize you’re eating vegetables. If there’s no vegetable in the bowl, you might as well go have a burger. 


Speaking of burgers, happy 4th of July! Everyone is pretty grumpy about this country right now, including me, but what do I really have to complain about? Nothing. We’re not having bowls for dinner tonight. Two middle-aged people eating bowls in front of the TV on Independence Day seemed sad. We’re not having burgers either, though. Two middle-aged people grilling burgers on a deck in the fog all by themselves also seemed sad. So we’re having roasted marrow bones and peach ice cream in front of the TV, which seemed weird and fun. Now I have to go make it happen.

I'm on a quest for a great peach pie recipe. This wasn't it.

34 comments:

  1. I love bowl food, too. I bought Le Creuset's wok bowls for my husband and me because they are the perfect size, they feel right, and I can eat in front of the TV while watching The Great British Bake-off on PBS. I have been using the recipes from A Super Upsetting Book About Sandwiches by Tyler Kord as inspiration for my bowls lately. That book is so much fun just to read, and Wegmen does the illustrations. What more could you want from a cookbook? There is a recipe for pho mayo I haven't tried yet, but sounds wonderful. I made his pickled blueberries - they are a perfect garnish for a bowl. My husband won't even try them (too weird) but I think they're great. I used them to garnish my chicken tacos with a little sour cream instead of tomatoes and cheese. So cool for summer.

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    1. I've been pickling raisins in black vinegar recently. So good. I'll have to try the pickled blueberries. That combination of sweet/tart just says "delicious" to me.

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    2. What is black vinegar?

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    3. I'll look for that book - I hadn't heard of it, but a quick google search reveals excellent reviews! Is black vinegar Chinese vinegar?

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    4. Saya IBU WINDA ingin berbagi cerita kepada anda semua bahwa saya yg dulunya cuma seorang TKW di SINGAPURA jadi pembantu rumah tangga yg gajinya tidak mencukupi keluarga di kampun,jadi TKW itu sangat menderita dan di suatu hari saya duduk2 buka internet dan tidak di sengaja saya melihat komentar orang tentan AKI SOLEH dan katanya bisa membantu orang untuk memberikan nomor yg betul betul tembus dan kebetulan juga saya sering pasan nomor di SINGAPURA,akhirnya saya coba untuk menhubungi AKI SOLEH dan ALHAMDULILLAH beliau mau membantu saya untuk memberikan nomor,dan nomor yg di berikan AKI SOLEH meman betul2 terbukti tembus dan saya sangat bersyukur berkat bantuan AKI SOLEH kini saya bisa pulang ke INDONESIA untuk buka usaha sendiri,,munkin saya tidak bisa membalas budi baik AKI SOLEH sekali lagi makasih yaa AKI dan bagi teman2 yg menjadi TKW atau TKI seperti saya,bila butuh bantuan hubungi saja AKI SOLEH DI 082-313-336-747- insya ALLAH beliau akan membantu anda.Ini benar benar kisah nyata dari saya seorang TKW trimah kasih banyak atas bantuang nomor togel nya AKI wassalam.


      KLIK DISINI BOCORAN TOGEL HARI INI




















      Saya IBU WINDA ingin berbagi cerita kepada anda semua bahwa saya yg dulunya cuma seorang TKW di SINGAPURA jadi pembantu rumah tangga yg gajinya tidak mencukupi keluarga di kampun,jadi TKW itu sangat menderita dan di suatu hari saya duduk2 buka internet dan tidak di sengaja saya melihat komentar orang tentan AKI SOLEH dan katanya bisa membantu orang untuk memberikan nomor yg betul betul tembus dan kebetulan juga saya sering pasan nomor di SINGAPURA,akhirnya saya coba untuk menhubungi AKI SOLEH dan ALHAMDULILLAH beliau mau membantu saya untuk memberikan nomor,dan nomor yg diberikan AKI SOLEH meman betul2 terbukti tembus dan saya sangat bersyukur berkat bantuan AKI SOLEH kini saya bisa pulang ke INDONESIA untuk buka usaha sendiri,,munkin saya tidak bisa membalas budi baik AKI SOLEH sekali lagi makasih yaa AKI dan bagi teman2 yg menjadi TKW atau TKI seperti saya,bila butuh bantuan hubungi saja AKI SOLEH DI 082-313-336-747- insya ALLAH beliau akan membantu anda.Ini benar benar kisah nyata dari saya seorang TKW
      trimah kasih banyak atas bantuang nomor togel nya AKI wassalam.


      KLIK DISINI BOCORAN TOGEL HARI INI





















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  2. My go to peach pie is the peach tart recipe in Cooking for Mr. Latte. It is dead stupid simple, with a pat in crust, and takes five minutes to put together, especially since peeling the peaches is not required. {I did it the first time I baked it and it made me feel like I was eating canned peaches, so I never did again.} It is also extremely delicious. I'll never make a fruit pie any other way from now on. My tweaks are to increase the sugar and almond extract in the crust and to bump up the butter a bit. I also highly recommend the whipped cream/creme fraiche topping.

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    1. You know, I remembered you mentioning this from ages ago when I was looking up recipes. I'll try it for sure this summer.

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    2. And now I want to try this one!
      http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2016/07/summer-fruit-tart-berries-almond-cream/

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  3. Have you tried Nora Ephron's peach pie from Heartburn? I love it!

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    Replies
    1. No, I don't think I've made any of her recipes. I'll look it up!

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  4. I hate to admit that I have never made a bowl, even though I find them extremely tempting. It looks complex to make one. Are my impressions totally wrong? I will have to investigate more, as I like nothing better than sitting in front of the TV watching my few favorite shows and eating from a bowl. I know, I know, not a pretty picture! (I loved Broadchurch, and I am awaiting the new season.)I don't have a special peach pie recipe to share. All peach pies are good to me. Peaches are my favorite summer fruit.

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    1. You are not wrong. Bowls are kind of a hassle because you have to assemble all the ingredients. Even if it's all easy prep, a long list of ingredients is a long list of ingredients. A stir fry is easier.

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  5. My problem with bowls is that I find grains boring. I'd eat that roasted carrot bowl without the millet. But then, I stopped going to gourmet burger places when I realized that I like the toppings more than the burger. Fig marmalade + caramelized onions + bleu cheese? oh hell yeah, and after that the hamburger itself is irrelevant, I find. All this to say: I am one of Those People who will take the toppings and put them on lettuce and be happy. Can it still count if I eat that from a bowl??

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    1. I wish I found grains more boring. Whenever I make Chinese food I think, oh, I'll just give everyone else rice and I'll eat the protein and vegetables without the rice and be skinny and healthy. Then I can't resist the rice. But I think a bowl can be done with the grain, why not?

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  6. You should DEFINITELY try the kimchi fried rice that was featured in the New York Times magazine back in April. I don't really like kimchi, but it was amazing. Seriously amazing. (I did substitute a poached egg for the recommended fried egg. Having the soft yolk to mix in is *crucial*.)

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    1. Ok, three new recipes for my to-do list from this post's comments: peach tart, Nora Ephron's peach pie, and kimchi fried rice. Thank you!

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  7. Have you seen the Sprouted Kitchen's Bowl & Spoon? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N6PFE34/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1#navbar
    I've only made a few of the recipes, but I adore the falafel bowl.

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  9. My favorite way to make peach pie is with a streusel topping. Like this one:
    http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/peach-streusel-pie-recipe

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  10. I love bowls too! My aunt is recovering from foot surgery and I left multiple ingredients in her fridge to make bowls for quick, easy dinners. The categories for each bowl: grain/noodle (like Quinoa), veggies (like yam chunks, beans,grated carrots) protein (like chicken), topping (like slivered almonds) and homemade bottled sauces (Sauce 1: soy sauce,a little vinegar, garlic and Sariracha or Sauce 2: white balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and lime juice, or whatever you like.)It's a way to use the same ingredients and make the dinner feel different every night.

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  11. Not sure if this is the type of Peach Pie you're in the market for, but I thought it was a keeper!
    https://smittenkitchen.com/2009/07/peach-and-creme-fraiche-pie/

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