More basics: beef shortribs, with red wine, preserved lemon, paprika, black pepper, garlic and mint

Simplicity itself: chicken with 4 kinds of pepper, in fermented soybean sauce

Adding chili oil to a wok full of Shui Zhu Yu (水煮鱼), or “water-boiled fish,” a Sichuan classic. The fish itself is catfish, or “basa,” a variety native to Southeast Asia but sold worldwide.

More adventures with Ma La, this time using shrimp as a protein. Marinade: Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, cornstarch and a bit of MSG.

It’s finally nice enough to eat outside during the day, so here goes: spicy Sichuan “ma la” broth with pan-seared sirloin strips, scallion and lotus root. Served with white rice.

Drizzling honey on a fresh mofletta, a type of crêpe consumed by Moroccan Jews at Mimouna, a festive meal held at the end of the Passover holiday

Caprese-style pasta with mozzarella cheese. Secret: freeze the cheese and mix with the pasta after cooking. The cheese comes up to temperature when mixed with the hot pasta, but doesn’t melt. Welcome back, summer!

Fresh cilantro used as garnish for “Moroccan fish,” a recipe involving slices of lemon and tomato, popular in Israel. The dish will be an appetizer for a large meal at the start of the Passover holiday.

Back to basics: shrimp in Moroccan-inspired sauce. Total preparation time: 10 minutes. Not-so-secret ingredient: preserved lemon.

Simple pleasures. Ramen with soft-boiled egg, corn, scallion and ham.

Buffalo wings, one of the gems of Northeastern US. Named for the city of Buffalo, New York where they originated. Served with the obligatory celery and bleu cheese.

Mussels in Moroccan style. Added green chili for spice, but it’s optional. Like the best dishes, served with bread for sopping up the sauce

More traditional cuisine. Links of homemade merguez (spicy Moroccan lamb) sausage. The casing is lamb intestine. Made using a KitchenAid stand mixer with sausage-making attachment.

And sometimes we get very traditional. A serving of fatout (פתות), made from bread and chicken soup, mixed with hilbe (חילבה), a paste made from fenugreek, as well as s’chug (סחוג), a type of chili paste. All part of Yemenite Jewish cuisine, and all homemade, including the bread.

Another counterintuitive one. Xiaolongbao (小笼包) or “soup dumplings” are full of soup, but how did it get there? The answer is that the filling is actually a type of aspic, i.e., soup that is actually solid at room temperature, but liquid when steamed with the dumplings.

Some of the best dishes can seem counterintuitive at first. This is duck confit, prepared in duck fat at low temperature for six hours, then heated briefly in a frying pan to get the skin crispy. On the side: pomegranate reduction and homemade risotto

Everyone has “that one recipe” they’ll never live down. For me it was this fully-functional chess cake for my older son’s birthday. Prep. time: 90 minutes. Making the chess pieces using plastic molds was the easiest part of it.

Slightly dated, but one of my finer achievements: homemade mozzarella cheese. As with baking, cheesemaking requires quite a bit of precision, particularly with regard to temperature control.

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