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What Do I Do With … Cornstarch?

Cornstarch has an unwarranted bad reputation, founded primarily on those ubiquitous gloopy sauces served at mediocre Chinese restaurants around the world. But the fluffy white powder does have its virtues!

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Cornstarch has an unwarranted bad reputation, founded primarily on those ubiquitous gloopy sauces served at mediocre Chinese restaurants around the world. But the fluffy white powder has its virtues, one of them being the ease and simplicity it offers when making light sauces for vegetables, stir-fries, and noodle dishes. You simply mix it with water—cold water, to be precise—add seasonings, and presto! You’ve got an instant gravy or sauce base. Non-GMO cornstarch is widely available in natural-food stores (try Rumford brand), and it’s safe for gluten-intolerant folks, too.

Tofu Mimosa
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In wintertime, I use cornstarch to make a savory gravy for mashed potatoes or pot pies by adding red wine, sautéed onions, and a teaspoonful of Marmite to the mix. In summer, I blend it with sautéed garlic and fresh lemon juice to make a Hollandaise-type sauce that tastes wonderful spooned over roast asparagus or a baguette-smoked tofu-tomato stack. Year-round, it humbly enables many delicious desserts, from puddings to pies.

Creamy Dark Chocolate Pudding
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Blonde Bliss Vegan Fondue
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Aurelia d’Andrea’s passion for travel is deeply intertwined with her love of food. Whether in Perth, Prague, or Phnom Penh, she always gravitates toward local markets in search of edible treasures, and takes pleasure in recreating tasty travel memories at home in her tiny Parisian kitchen.