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Chef Rachel Yang on Peavines, Tail Flap and Spicy Brunch | Pop-In@Nordstrom Eats

Over the monthlong course of Pop-In@Nordstrom Eats–the current, culinary edition of our always-changing Pop-In Shop–we’ll be bringing you interviews and recipes from some of the best and brightest chefs around. This series is in participation with our own powerhouse restaurants division as well as Cherry Bombe magazine, the beautiful publication focused on women and food. 


Currently in the running for a James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest, Rachel Yang specializes in food where Asian fusion does not mean buffalo wontons, but instead refined and creative dishes which start with a Korean baseline and expand outward with a sense of play.

Check her Q&A below and Chef Rachel’s recipe for a Sichuan-spicy spin on biscuits and gravy. Get the hang of it and brunch will never be the same.

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kaleNordstrom blogs: If you could cook for any person living or dead, who would it be? Why and what would you make for them?

Rachel Yang: President Obama, because he’s from Hawaii and he will appreciate fun Asian flavors.

Which culinary specialty from your region do you love the most? What’s another one that you think most outsiders don’t know about?
Love: Korean BBQ, because it’s more than just food, it’s a social engagement that happens around food. Mystery: Kimchi, because even though everyone thinks they know kimchi, so many people don’t know there are so many kind of kimchi, not just spicy napa cabbage.

What’s your single favorite vegetable?
Right now, peavine. So tender and so sweet.

Asian pear. It’s versatile for all sort of preparation. It’s also a key ingredient for making kimchi and kalbi marinade in our kitchen.

Beef. Not the expensive primal cuts, but flavorful and affordable ones like chuck eye, coulotte, and chuck tail flap.

Sweet (food, not ingredient)?
Passionfruit caramel. Our pastry chef, Renee, makes the best one.

Savory (food, not ingredient)?
Good ramen.

“I’m having a bad day, I deserve this” go-to comfort food?
Instant ramen, even though I try to talk myself out of it every time.

Please detail for us the best meal you’ve ever had and what you loved about it.
My husband and I had only 10 minutes to eat dinner before going home to relieve
the baby sitter. We were starving and pre-ordered beef bone marrow and a couple of big steaks. Ten minutes felt like an hour since we both were so focused on eating and savoring every bite of it. We don’t get to enjoy quiet dinners anymore, and we couldn’t believe that we seized the moment and had amazing food. All in just 10 minutes.

What’s on your perfect playlist for cooking at home?
Reggae and funk. It makes me feel like I am on vacation.

And now it’s time for the recipe…

Serves 4-6

Spiced biscuit:
2 ¼ c All purpose flour
1tsp Baking powder
1tbsp Sugar
1tsp Salt
½ c Butter, frozen and grated
1 ¼ c Buttermilk
½ tsp Szechuan peppercorn, ground
½ tsp Black peppercorn, ground
1ea egg, for egg wash

Mix all dry ingredients. Mix in butter until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add buttermilk and mix just until the dough comes together. Roll out the dough into 2” sheet. Cut the dough into 3” squares. Brush the top of the squares with egg wash. Lay them on the greased basking sheet. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour until the raw biscuit squares fill firm. Bake in 375F oven for 15-20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Parsnip puree:
1 lb parsnip
2 tbsp butter
1tbsp miso
¼ c sake

Heat 12” sauté pan. Saute parsnip in butter. Add miso and caramelize the parsnip. Deglaze with sake. When the sake is almost gone, add water and cook until soft. Use enough water to cover parsnip by about 2”. Blend the parsnip with cooking water until smooth. You want it to have gravy or veloute like consistency.

Drunken fig:
1 c Dried fig, cut in quarters
¼ c Whisky
½ c Vinegar
2tbsp Honey
Bring up whisky, vinegar and honey up to a boil. Pour over dried fig and let it sit for 2 hours.

To serve:
Split the biscuit and serve with drunken fig and warm parsnip gravy. This makes a great brunch dish to share. Bushwick Kitchen’s gochujang sriracha or spicy honey would be wonderful addition to the dish. Also, Pok Pok’s ginger or tamarind SOM in place of vinegar and honey for the drunken fig would be great substitute.