F&W's Marcia Kiesel squeezes an extraordinary number of creative ideas into two easy menus—one Asian-inflected, the other modern Mexican.

By Food & Wine
Updated March 31, 2015

Menu: Far East Feast


Spicy Avocado-Cucumber Soup

This tangy, luscious soup is an excellent make-ahead dish: Simply puree everything except the garnish, then chill. For a milder version, scale back on the serrano.

Grilled Flank Steak with Sichuan Peppercorns

Marcia Kiesel loves the numbing heat of Sichuan peppercorns. Inspired by dan dan, the Sichuan noodle dish, she seasons flank steaks with a simple but potent blend of the peppercorns and store-bought Chinese black bean–garlic paste.

Asian Coleslaw with Miso-Mustard Dressing

Marcia tosses cabbage and celery in a creamy dressing, then cleverly garnishes the slaw with quick-brined celery leaves.

Jasmine Rice with Tomatoes and Cornichons

Tipsy Plums & Raspberries

Marcia loves serving cold Japanese plum wine as an after-dinner drink. Here, she uses it to quick-soak plums.

Menu: Modern Mexicana

Sangrita Soup

Combining fresh tomato juice and orange juice, this cold soup was inspired by sangrita—the zippy Mexican drink typically served at bars as a tequila chaser.

This summery fish dish is ideal for a last-minute dinner party. It serves ten people and comes together in just 45 minutes. It's also super tasty and certainly offers a kick. Jalapeños not only garnish this sweet-smoky grilled salmon but also infuse the oil used to sauté the fresh tomatoes.

Grilled Salmon with Melted Tomatoes

Jalapeños not only garnish this sweet-smoky grilled salmon but also infuse the oil used to sauté the tomatoes.

Chickpea-and-Arugula Salad with Creamy Cumin Dressing and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

This innovative salad has incredible flavor complexity given that it takes just 15 minutes to make.

Grilled Honeydew Wedges with Lime Sugar

Honeydew melon is so sweet, it caramelizes beautifully—and almost instantly—on the grill.

Marcia's Fast Hors D'Oeuvres

Asian Charcuterie Serve thick slices of steamed Chinese sausage alongside a small crock of spicy Chinese mustard for dipping.

Thai Spinach Rolls Arrange spinach leaves, sliced Thai red chiles, chopped salted peanuts, minced ginger, lime slivers and cilantro leaves on a platter and let guests make their own bundles.

Mexican Stuffed Tomatoes Fill halved cherry tomatoes with queso fresco that's been blended with chopped cilantro.

Mini Crab Tostadas Top tortilla chips with crabmeat, diced avocado, chopped scallions and sour cream.

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Credit: Photo © Frances Janisch