Chile crisp or crunch has become as ubiquitous in the kitchen as peanuts on a bar. Depending on whose jar you’re opening, there are slight variations. A new one that’s densely packed with soybeans, fava beans, yellow split peas and pumpkin seeds doubles down on the crunch factor. The fire component is moderate. It’s from Fly By Jing, a source for Sichuan-style condiments made in China and sold online and in stores. Jing Gao, the entrepreneur in charge, said she was inspired by her hometown, Chengdu, for this one.
Chengdu Crunch, Fly By Jing, $17 for six ounces, flybyjing.com.
Tear Into a Slab of Pastrami-Cured Short Rib
Move over, brisket. Those sandwich-ready pastrami slices, no matter how well-fatted and thickly piled, are no match for the new whole pastrami-cured and smoked short rib at Morgan’s Brooklyn Barbecue, in Brooklyn (and in King of Prussia, Pa.). The giant bone bears an impressive slab of shaggy, succulent and deeply seasoned meat. It was devised by the chef Cenobio Canalizo. He cures it for eight days in a spiced brine, then smokes it over white oak for seven hours. It gets a final honey-mustard slather on the reheat for a sharply sweet retort. Served to satisfy at least two (and available to take home), it can also be ordered as a three-rib rack for a party.
Pastrami Short Rib, $31, available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and to order three days in advance, Morgan’s Brooklyn Barbecue, 267 Flatbush Avenue (St. Marks Avenue), Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, 718-622-2224, morgansbrooklynbarbecue.com.
Brooklyn Kura Expands in Industry City
Sake is bigger than ever in Brooklyn. After five years, Brooklyn Kura, the city’s first sake brewery, is shifting to an expanded location in Industry City, with a 20,000-square-foot two-story production facility, a taproom and a Sake Studies Center for classes designed for professionals and amateurs. It opens on Thursday. The company, which was founded by Brian Polen and Brandon Doughan, now makes a range of sakes, some in limited editions, and they’re widely sold and served in the city and throughout the region. In the new taproom, there will be about 10 sakes on tap and shochu cocktails; a menu of small plates, like chicken fried oyster mushrooms and Kurabuta cocktail sausages, was developed by Fred Maurer from Brooklyn Larder. In-person classes begin Nov. 8 at 6 p.m., with an introduction to sake ($75) given weekly and, starting Dec. 4, a monthly certification program for servers ($150). Virtual classes will begin in a few weeks.
Tea Service With a Touch of Mystery
Navigating the intricacies of tea service, as might properly be done across the pond, will be covered in a virtual lecture, with guidance from Agatha Christie. Karen Pierce, who has written “Recipes for Murder” based on the mystery writer’s works, will define various types of tea services (“high” tea is not the fancy one), how to brew tea and what and when to serve with it.
“Drinking and Dining With Agatha Christie: Tea With Miss Marple,” Nov. 21, 7 p.m., Roundtable by the 92nd Street Y New York, $35, roundtable.org.
Jacques Pépin Still Believes in Economical Cooking
I still treasure my stained, yellowed copy of “A French Chef Cooks at Home,” Jacques Pépin’s unpretentious but indispensable cookbook published in 1975, filled with flawless mostly French home cooking. His latest, “Jacques Pépin Cooking My Way,” demonstrates that his approach has scarcely changed in nearly 50 years, as set forth in the subtitle: “Recipes and Techniques for Economical Cooking.” The book is gift-worthy, especially for less experienced cooks, and is filled with his paintings, drawings and personal insights. And now, as much as I return to his stuffed tomatoes and pears braised in caramel, the new book expands my repertoire with a new version of those tomatoes, plus Swiss chard gratins, classic lamb chops Champvallon and the notion of making “cookies” from cinnamon toast.
“Jacques Pépin Cooking My Way: Recipes and Techniques for Economical Cooking” by Jacques Pépin (Harvest Books, $37.50).
Traditional Noodles for an Untraditional Lasagna
A new option for making lasagna has arrived from Italy. Faella, a family-owned company in Gragnano, near Naples, makes pastas in the traditional fashion, extruded through bronze dies and slowly air-dried before packaging. It produces wide strips of dried pasta for lasagna that are now available in the United States. Use the pasta strips (1 ½ by 10 inches), which require about 5-minutes parboiling then cooling on a countertop, for building a hearty vegetable lasagna. Layer it with well-seasoned slices of grilled eggplant, sautéed frying peppers and shiitake mushroom caps, a tier of blanched and shredded brussels sprouts, whole canned San Marzano tomatoes lightly crushed, the freshest ricotta you can find and some shredded mozzarella to go on top. Bake and serve at once or set it aside for a quick reheat later.
Lasagna Faella, $18.50 for 2.2 pounds, gustiamo.com.