Xi'an Famous Foods Cover; Darra Goldstein's Pantry Soup

And just some nice things for you to read.

Howdy cookbook fans!

Here I am with a small dose of normalcy for you, I hope. In this issue we have an amazing pantry soup from the only and only Darra Goldstein: dried mushroom and barley soup from her new book Beyond the North Wind. It is extremely not soup weather here any more (my AC is running as I type), but it snowed at my parents’ house in Wisconsin last night so I figured soup was in order. Enjoy it! Now, cookbook news.

Xi’an Famous Foods Cover, Revealed

Our highly anticipated cookbook is finally revealed! In it, you will find recipes of our best sellers (you know, like A1, B1, N1, N2, just to name a few), as well as never told stories of how the struggles of an immigrant family through the years helped shape XFF of now. There aren't nearly enough authentic Chinese cuisine cookbooks on best seller lists, so we would appreciate your support in pre-ordering now to show your support! Link in bio or www.xianfoods.com/book 😘🇨🇳🇺🇸#chineseamerican #cookbook #xianfamousfoods #xffcookbook @abramsbooks
March 13, 2020

NOODLES EVERYBODY! I have never been so excited to see a book cover pop up in my Instagram. For those unfamiliar: Xi’an Famous Foods is a New York City noodle shop with a great back story and just gallons and gallons of the best chili sauce in all the land. When I lived in New York I would go get their noodles and bring home just the leftover sauce for future use. AND NOW WE CAN MAKE IT AT HOME. Sorry to yell I am excited. From the restaurant’s website:

Since its humble opening in 2005, Xi’an Famous Foods has expanded from one stall in Flushing to 14 locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. CEO Jason Wang divulges the untold story of how this empire came to be, alongside the never-before-published recipes that helped create this New York City icon. From heavenly ribbons of liang pi doused in a bright vinegar sauce to flatbread filled with caramelized pork to cumin lamb over hand-pulled Biang Biang noodles, this cookbook helps home cooks make the dishes that fans of Xi’an Famous Foods line up for while also exploring the vibrant cuisine and culture of Xi’an.

By Jason Wang of Xi’an with Jessica K. Chou, October 13 from Abrams. (Full disclosure: Abrams also published my cookbook, The Austin Cookbook. And TY to the tipster who flagged this for me.)

Coming Attractions

  • Former Top Chef man Christ Scott will write Homage: Recipes and Stories from an Amish Soul Food Kitchen, a book that tracks the cooking of “his great-great-great-grandmother, a freedwoman in Virginia, through the Great Migration to Pennsylvania Dutch Country.” 125 recipes that combine Southern, Dutch, and German foodways. That just sounds…very nice, honestly. Chronicle, release date TBD. [PW]

  • Kenden Alfond, the cookbook author behind the website Jewish Food Hero, will write Beyond Chopped Liver: 40 Traditional International Jewish Recipes Get a Plant Based Makeover. A lot going on there, so: traditional Jewish foods from “Ashkenazie, Mizrahi, Beta Israel, Bukharan, Cochin, Persion, Amazigh, Central and South American communities,” but make them plant-based. Got it? Turner Publishing, February 2021. [PW]

Check this Out!

Some good news: my first cookbook, Farm Lunch, is officially out in the world. For the past year, I have been quietly working on this project alongside my friend & brilliant artist @evaclaycomb who is responsible for the illustrations, design and printing. (She nailed it. Dream collaborator!) I’m hoping the book will be available in a few shops soon, but for now you can order a copy from my website. Thank you to @halleyroberts for these incredibly beautiful photos. What a strange and invigorating feeling to finally share this special little libro. Can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks (and makes!) x
March 5, 2020

Dried Mushroom and Barley Soup

(Суп из сушёных грибов

No matter the season or my location, a spoonful of this delightfully earthy soup transports me to the Russian forests in autumn. It tastes slightly different each time I make it, depending on the mushrooms I use. For this soup I especially like a combination of porcini—the mushroom the Russians prize most—and bronze boletes.

Serves 4 to 6. 

1¾ ounces dried wild mushrooms (such as porcini, bronze boletes, black trumpets, morels, or oyster mushrooms)

8 cups water

2 large onions, chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into ½” rounds

2 tablespoons sunflower or other vegetable oil 

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2½ teaspoons salt (or more, to taste)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste 

1 large boiling potato, scrubbed but unpeeled, then cut into ½-inch cubes

2 bay leaves

½ cup pearl barley

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 

Snipped fresh dill, for garnish 

Finely chopped scallions, for garnish

Sour cream, for garnish (optional)

  1. Soak the dried mushrooms in the water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large stockpot, sauté the onions and carrots in the oil over medium-low heat until the onions turn pale gold in color, about 15 minutes. 

  2. When the mushrooms have finished soaking, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a cutting board, reserving the soaking liquid. Chop the mushrooms coarsely and add them to the onions and carrots along with the garlic. Season with salt and some pepper and cook the mixture a few minutes more.

  3. To capture any residual dirt from the mushrooms, pour the reserved soaking water through fine-mesh sieve into the stockpot. Stir in the potato, bay leaves, and barley. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 1 hour, or until the barley is tender.

  4. Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice. Taste for seasoning. (I usually add some generous grinds of pepper for a bit of a bite.) Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with dill and green scallions. Top with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

    Excerpted with permission from Beyond the North Wind by Darra Goldstein, Ten Speed Press 2020. All rights reserved.

    Okay that’s it. Be kind to yourselves, look away from the news every once in awhile, drink water, stretch. I’ll see you Friday.