Powers Of Induction

The induction burner I bought to cook on during the kitchen renovation a while back is another great technology for summer cooking, since it doesn’t give off any heat apart from the food and it’s highly portable. The presence of this device in our house has also meant regular clamoring by the resident small person for shabu-shabu since he loves interactive eating. The garden currently offers very many things one would want to dunk in hot broth, so with some meat from the freezer, some noodles from the cupboard, and a quick stock from random leftover bones we were in business.

We did this the other day, but these photos are from last month when the peas were still thin, pealess pods. The other vegetables were shaved turnip slices and thinned baby greens plus pak choi seed pods from the early planting in March. The steak was part of a tri-tip that I had left over from making something a few days before.

When firing up the grill is too much work or not appropriate to the ingredients on hand, a portable burner like this makes cooking out on the porch into an easy pleasure. And the kid is right; cooking and eating at the table is fun and conducive to conversation. Eating out of a shared pot is a highly sociable way to eat, and having a child who bogarts all the turnips because he loves them is even better. And even though hot soup seems counterintuitive when it’s hot out (though the day in question was not swelteringly humid), soup with or without noodles is after all standard fare in Southeast Asia. I like a big dollop of hot sauce in mine. Beside chicken bones, this broth included miso, ginger, garlic, lime leaves, and fish sauce.

I also particularly like how one meal naturally divides itself into two courses: the gently poached meat and vegetables, and then the soup–flavored wonderfully by all the goodies that were cooked in it–after a brief interlude while the noodles cook. There were no leftovers.

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I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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