A Common Table: 80 Recipes and Stories from My Shared Cultures by Cynthia Chen McTernan

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • A good make-ahead chili

    • vickster on November 03, 2019

      This is a delicious chili, and may be my go-to recipe now. I followed the recipe pretty exactly, except I did double the amount of beans. It's a bit spicy if you add the larger amount of dried red pepper and cayenne, but I like that.

  • Bulgogi burgers

    • Emily Hope on April 23, 2019

      We liked these burgers a lot and will definitely repeat -- I made them outside on the grill using the flat side of my grill grates (kind of like a flat top with holes in it) rather than in a skillet -- they definitely got a bit burned on the outside because of the sugar in the marinade, and I had some trouble getting them to smash (might just form patties next time). Still, worth it not to deal with the grease/smoke inside. Skipped the eggs (didn't miss them) and the crispy shallots (sure they would be delicious!)

    • southerncooker on May 12, 2019

      Daughter and I ate ours as written in the book with the over easy egg. Son had his without the egg or fried shallots and added cheese, raw shallots, and pickles. We all ate them on Brioche buns. Son liked, daughter said she did as well but likes Kimchi bacon burgers better. The gochugang mayonnaise was delicious. I enjoyed them. Hubby tasted one and requested a regular burger with cheese on a regular bun.

  • Spiced kabocha muffins

    • TrishaCP on November 02, 2019

      We really enjoyed these muffins. These are easy to pull together once the kabocha purée is prepared. I had and thus used Penzey’s Pie spice for these, and I really liked that flavor here.

  • Chinese cola chicken wings

    • lilham on September 30, 2019

      I’m from Hong Kong and this is one of my childhood favourite food. I don’t have a family recipe for this (my mum isn’t a cook at all). So I was very excited when I saw this. I followed the recipe as written, except substituting wings for diced thigh fillet. The resulting dish was very salty, much saltier than I remembered. I looked up a version of this on Christine Ho’s blog and she used a lot less soy sauce. I will try her version out next.

  • Friday night kimchi fried rice

    • southerncooker on May 19, 2019

      I really enjoyed this but son said he thought it needed a little something. Hubby not feeling great and only had a couple bites. I put an over easy egg on mine and well done fried eggs on boys.

    • hirsheys on September 15, 2019

      I don't know if I bought the wrong kind of spam, but I was decidedly grossed out by the catfood like consistency of it. It helped to brown it first (not called for in the recipe, but definitely necessary), and next time I'd use a ham steak instead. 2) The recipe uses the same technique of caramelizing the kimchi that Koreatown uses, but I liked K-town's version better - they ask you to separate the liquid and then reincorporate it in the rice. 3) I agree with McTernan that you don't need to make rice ahead for fried rice and used her smart trick of just lowering the amount of water while cooking the fresh rice, which worked nicely. All in all, the rice came out yummy, but I would rank it third out of the three kimchi fried rice recipes I've tried (Koreatown and Small Victories' versions each have their own virtues...) It also makes a vat - I made half a recipe and will be eating it for days. It's a solid recipe, but just not as good as the other two.

  • Crispy fried shallots

    • southerncooker on May 15, 2019

      Made these to go on the bulgogi burgers p. 125. They were delicious. I'd eat them for a snack.

  • Kimchi chicken quesadillas

    • southerncooker on May 19, 2019

      Daughter and I loved them. Son liked them but isn't a big flour tortilla fan. Next time I'll make his on a corn tortilla.

  • Shanghai-style sweet & sour baby-back ribs

    • southerncooker on May 05, 2019

      I didn't have the black vinegar called for so I used the suggested balsamic. They turned out tender and delicious.

  • Easiest sesame-soy salad

  • Ginger shrimp & green peas

    • southerncooker on May 20, 2019

      Great work night supper. I marinated my shrimp while some brown rice was cooking. I used black pepper instead of white. The optional 1/2 teaspoon chili garlic paste gave it a nice spicy kick. I didn't have the optional Chinkiang black vinegar so I used balsamic since she suggested doing that in another recipe.

    • Barb_N on February 25, 2020

      Like southerncooker I found this an easy weeknight dinner - served over noodles. I skipped the pepper, and with the chili garlic paste, I didn’t miss it.

    • Kduncan on May 14, 2019

      This was very easy to make and really good.

  • Chinese scrambled eggs & tomatoes

    • southerncooker on March 10, 2019

      Delicious served over rice as suggested. I used grape tomatoes since they taste better this time of year and she suggested them when you can't get great tomatoes. I did add a pinch of sugar, also suggested, while cooking the tomatoes.

  • Korean cheesy corn

    • southerncooker on May 04, 2019

      I omitted the cilantro since hubby and son have the soap gene. I got some great corn on the cob at our local Walmart. Very good, reminded me of Mexican street corn without the spice. Instead of transferring the corn to an oven safe baking dish after cooking the corn in the cast iron skillet, I just left it in it and mixed in the mayonnaise before topping with the cheese and putting in the oven to finish.

  • My favorite Sunday biscuits

    • southerncooker on March 10, 2019

      I made a double batch of these in the bigger size for the Kimchi chicken biscuits. I did use the suggested self-rising White Lily Flour and the mixture of whole milk and Greek yogurt. These biscuits were amazing. We loved them.

  • Kimchi egg & cheese

    • southerncooker on March 09, 2019

      I used American Cheese but next time I'll try cheddar. My kimchi was almost too spicy though. I used some leftover housemade that we brought home from an Asian fusion restaurant and it was mighty spicy. Next time I'll try the one I get at our local supermarket or someday I want to try making my own.

    • EmilyR on April 22, 2019

      This definitely is an elevated grilled cheese. I used sharp white cheddar (2 slices) and kimchi. Since it was right after Easter we have a zillion soft boiled eggs my kids dyed so I improvised with cutting one of those in each half of the sandwich. It also made it a bit easier to eat. It would probably be excellent with the addition of red onions, too. A very simple week night meal.

  • Sesame-soy savory oatmeal

    • southerncooker on May 05, 2019

      I enjoy savory oatmeal, but not sweet so I didn't add the optional sugar. I'm always up for trying a new savory oatmeal and the one from Seven Spoons cookbook is a favorite. I'm sorry to say I didn't like this one. I really thought I would since I often add a soft scrambled egg to my oatmeal and love it. I didn't enjoy the texture of the egg in this. I tried cooking the oatmeal a little more with the egg in it but it didn't help. Also as much as I enjoy soy sauce, sesame oil, and nori, it didn't work for me in oatmeal.

  • Condensed milk toast & yuanyang (an HK-style breakfast)

    • southerncooker on March 09, 2019

      I would have never thought to have tea and coffee together nor to add sweetened condensed milk to my peanut butter toast. Both were delicious. A perfect indulgent easy Sunday morning breakfast. I used thick cut Brioche bread.

    • jenmacgregor18 on November 23, 2019

      I loved both the yuanyang and the toast. I put 1/4 c sweet condensed milk in yuanyang. I’d cut back to 2 T to start next time and add half & half. For the toast I used challah. Want 2 try with brioche next time. It’s a lovely treat for a busy Saturday morning.

  • Kimchi-brined spicy chicken biscuits

    • southerncooker on March 10, 2019

      I marinated my chicken overnight which was an option in the book. I made the Sunday biscuits also from the book to serve the chicken on.

  • Gochujang Buffalo chicken wraps

    • southerncooker on May 15, 2019

      I fried my chicken tenders in the air fryer using a recipe from the Skinnytaste Air Fryer Cookbook. This was very good.

  • Gochujang sauce

    • southerncooker on May 15, 2019

      This sauce was delicious on the buffalo chicken wraps p. 97. It would be a good dipping or drizzling sauce on other things too.

  • Sesame-miso potato salad

    • southerncooker on May 29, 2019

      This was a nice interesting version of potato salad. We enjoyed it.

  • Peanut butter mochi cake

  • Hong Kong coffee tea (Yuanyang)

    • southerncooker on March 09, 2019

      Coffee and tea - who would have guessed it'd be this good? I used English Breakfast tea (one of the choices) since that was the only one I could find. Instead of both sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk, as well as additional sugar, I only used the sweetened milk.

    • jenmacgregor18 on December 02, 2019

      I was surprised how much I liked this. It is a really good combination. I also used English Breakfast tea. And sweetened condensed milk with half & half, instead of opening evaporated milk.

  • Black sesame-stuffed French toast

    • jenmacgregor18 on November 24, 2019

      It didn't wow me. The sesame filling was too sweet for me. I used challah for the bread. Maybe cutting back on sugar in filling...and maybe a little salty counterpoint. miso? and use brioche next time.

  • Korean spicy barbecue pork (Pork bulgogi)

    • chawkins on April 27, 2020

      Delicious and quite simple once you got the marinade made. I stayed with the lowest amount of gouchujang in the specified range and it was the perfect level of spiciness for us.

    • imaluckyducky on July 15, 2019

      This marinade is phenomenal and imparts excellent, multi-layered flavor (smoky, sweet, tangy, warmth) even when the meat is not marinaded in it. Actually used the marinade as a sauce for slow cooked pulled pork shoulder, and cooked down the sauce, for pork bulgogi tacos. Excellent.

    • Maefleur on May 02, 2019

      I modified this for ribs. I cooked pork ribs in the instant pot with chicken broth, the onion, soy sauce, gochujang, and brown sugar until tender. Then added to the puréed marinade ingredients while I prepped the grill. Grilled turning and brushing with sauce until crispy, charred and delicious.

    • Kduncan on May 14, 2019

      We loved this recipe. Really easy to prepare with great results. Even with the 1/2 cup of gochujang did not find it that spicy.

  • Garlic, ginger & soy salmon en papillote

    • mharriman on April 24, 2019

      Good, tasty. I marinated the salmon fillets for 3 hours and baked them in parchment for 20 minutes, and they came out perfectly cooked. I drizzled some of the remaining heated marinade on top and served over rice alongside steamed baby bok choy. A fishmonger at Wegman’s told me a couple weeks ago to buy their Norwegian sourced salmon when they had it available because it was the best he’d ever eaten, and that’s all he eats now. Wegman’s happened to have it yesterday, so I used it with this recipe. The fishmonger was spot on - Norwegian salmon is a step above the Alaskan wild salmon. So, this was a double find - great recipe and great salmon!

  • Shanghainese cucumber salad, two ways: smashed cucumbers with vinegar, sesame & soy

    • Barb_N on June 17, 2020

      I did not smash the cucumbers, nor did they release much liquid because they were tiny ‘poppers’. Simple, quick and tasty side. I served alongside One-pot gingery chicken and rice with peanut sauce from Bon Appetit.

  • Garlicky bok choy

    • Kduncan on May 14, 2019

      My husband liked this way more then me. I found it a bit bland. I also think there wasn't enough garlic in the original recipe.

  • Green beans & minced pork

    • tlight on June 09, 2019

      Made this using dry sherry as it's what was on hand. Very yummy. Would make again. Would rate it 8 of 10.

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Reviews about this book

  • Seattle Times

    A Common Table gets the buzz it deserves.

    Full review
  • Eat Your Books by Jenny Hartin

    Find out more about one of Jenny's favorite books of 2018!

    Full review

Reviews about Recipes in this Book

  • ISBN 10 163565002X
  • ISBN 13 9781635650020
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Oct 23 2018
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 336
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Rodale Books

Publishers Text

James Beard Award Nominee - American Cooking 2019

In her debut cookbook, the voice behind Two Red Bowls' blog, shares more than 80 Asian-inspired, modern recipes that marry food from her Chinese roots, Southern upbringing, and Korean mother-in-law’s table. The book chronicles Cynthia’s story alongside the recipes she and her family eat every day - beginning when she met her husband at law school and ate out of two battered red bowls, through the first years of her legal career in New York, to when she moved to Los Angeles to start a family.



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