My kitchen is a 1960s linoleum-covered cave that we brightened up with gallons of paint in a colour called Crumb Cookie. It is very large compared to the tiny closet-size kitchens of my New York past, but Ive quickly filled it up with jars of sprinkles and sugar on my open shelves.
My favourite kitchen tool is my mouth. By the time a meal Im preparing rolls around, Im usually so full from tasting that Im not hungry any more.
My storecupboard staples are tahini, marzipan, coconut milk, beans and a shelf filled with rainbow sprinkles I get jars from every country I go to and Ill find anything to put sprinkles on my funfetti cake, sundaes, or mixed up with cayenne pepper. I order tahini in bulk or schlep it back from Israel none of my favourite brands (Seed + Mill, Soom, Al Arz and Har Bracha) are available in my town.
When Im starving I have an egg. I like them scrambled and wrapped in a taco. We have the greatest tortilla maker down the road in Moorhead, Minnesota.
My culinary inspiration is a combination of my Jewish-Chinese roots, my new Midwestern surroundings and my travels to the Middle East. I love finding ways to bridge the gap between my heritage and my new farming community. An ingredient such as zaatar might be foreign, but throwing it into something familiar a hot dish or an eggbake makes it more approachable.
My best-kept kitchen secret is pizza dough needs a 24-hour nap. When I moved from New York, I had a hard time adjusting to the local pizza scene: people put barbecue sauce on it, they cut it into squares When I found Jim Laheys no-knead pizza dough and learned to make restaurant-quality pizza at home, I stopped panicking.
When Im invited to dinner I always take a cake that has one slice taken out of it because Ive had to photograph the middle.
Everything tastes better with mayonnaise.
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When I go shopping I bring a typed list thats organised according to the path I take around the store. I live about five hours away from a Whole Foods and Trader Joes, so I have to make extra sure that I get everything I need, otherwise Im totally screwed. Other ingredients, during the summer especially, are right outside in my garden (rhubarb, apples, eggs), which makes living out here in North Dakota worth it.
For dinner tonight Im making knoephla soup with baby dumplings, because a box of potatoes just appeared at our door. I dont know where they came from. Maybe we gave eggs to someone one day and now theyre repaying us with potatoes? The town bakery, which sadly just closed, served an amazing knoephla soup that people would line up for, and which we served at our wedding. . Grocery stores around here sell baby dumplings in the frozen section; I never saw them in New York, and if I have the time Ill make them from scratch, but I often buy them theyre a local ingredient.
Molly Yeh is a food blogger, writer and percussionist based on a sugar beet farm on the North Dakota/Minnesota border. Her debut cookbook Molly on the Range (Rodale) is out now.
Molly Yeh will be taking over Cooks Instagram account this weekend.