Friday Eating & Reading

Happy Weekend, Everybody.
Two new things. As of today, I’m going to be sending out this trusty Friday round-up in newsletter form — so if you’d like it delivered straight to your inbox, be sure to submit your email in the sign-up box up in the upper right corner. Next, I’m introducing a new feature, “Book Dispatch,” which will be notes from the kitchen as I plow through the research-and-development phase of my next book, The Weekday Vegetarians (coming in 2020)Let’s kick off Eating & Reading with that one first:

Book Dispatch: Here’s request I got from a lot of you after I announced the project: ”Can you recommend weeknight vegetarian recipes that aren’t carb heavy?” It’s an excellent question — in the absence of a piece of meat to anchor the plate, the natural instinct is to fall back on pastas, pizzas, and sandwiches (and cheese, but that’s another story) in the interest of filling ourselves up. I’m not going to say I’ve figured this out yet, but I will say that the whole enterprise has me thinking about grains and pastas differently. I think we’re all so used to the carb (read: rice, pasta, barley, etc) being the dominating base of a dish as opposed to just one more component. So here’s one goal as I continue developing: If the current thinking is, say, 70% carb and 30% stuff, let’s flip that formula, i.e. if you’re making a barley salad, make it one third barley, then 70% stuff — maybe feta, tomatoes, mint, radishes, greens, and a nice yogurt-y dressing like the one in this recipe for Fattoush. Which you should make this weekend before our tomatoes are gone forever. (And certainly if you are hosting Rosh Hashanah.)

The Soba Noodles & Crispy Kale recipe above from Bon Appetit is a good example of this principle. An alternative name could’ve been “Have Some Noodles with Your Kale.” Thanks to the high greens-to-grains ratio, it was satisfying without being heavy in the slightest. Try it out.

Where Else You Can Find Me: I wrote about the world’s easiest apple crisp recipe over at Cup of Jo. Why is it so great? You don’t have to cut butter into flour — a dealbreaker for me. Instead you just drizzle melted butter over the whole tray. I’ve been making it for decades and it’s as good an excuse as any to hit the apple orchards this weekend if you can.

Read of the Week: Tad Friend on the phenomenon that is the Impossible Burger.

Read of the Week, Part 2: Melissa Clark penned a Love Letter to Canned Food and I couldn’t relate more. It reminded me of my favorite can-to-table dinner: Curried Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Greens.

What to Cook Next Week: Sometimes I like to look back in my dinner diary (yep, still at it) to the exact date in previous years to see what I was cooking. Here’s what I was making on or around September 27 in case it gives you some ideas for easy weeknight dinners: Stromboli (2015), Tortilla Soup (2017) Miso-Butter Tofu (2016), and a Wheat Berry Bowl with Merguez and Pomegranates that I developed for Bon Appetit in 2018.

Cookbooks I’m Loving, Part 1
: I’m a longtime fan of Leah Koenig (her Modern Jewish Cooking is a must-own) and lucky for all of us, the smart people at Phaidon asked her to put together The Jewish Cookbook, what you might call a category-killer. The recipes hail from the geographically massive Jewish diaspora and are as appropriate for the everyday as they are for the holidays. Pick it up for yourself or as a host gift if you’re joining someone else for the high holy days. Happy New Year!

Cookbooks I’m Loving, Part 2: Have you guys gotten your hands on Veg by Jamie Oliver? He does such a great job with the family-friendly angle on vegetarian cooking. (Though I’m not sure he’s figured out the carb — or cheese — issue either.) Anyway, I’m dog-earing my way through it and have my eyes on an onion tarte tatin, which sounds fancier than it actually is. Look for it on instagram shortly.

Just Back From: Northfield, Minnesota! Shout-out to the Goodbye Blue Monday Coffee House, its heavenly almond scone, and the table of regulars in the corner arguing about the pros and cons of impeachment.

ICYMI: Switzerland! Finally, I assembled a highlight reel from our magical summer vacation in the Bernese Oberland and beyond.

Thanks for reading.

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So fun to see a shout out to Northfield and Goodbye Blue Monday! I went to college there and remember drinking coffee and studying in that shop


Love the shout-out to Northfield and Goodbye Blue Mondays. I hope you were there visiting my alma mater, Carleton — an amazing place to spend four years. The “other” school in town is also lovely, however! 🙂


You may have done this already (forgive me if so) but would you ever consider doing a “Kitchen essentials” post – both for equipment and for pantry goods? We just moved into our first home together and are determined to cook from home more but the empty kitchen is seriously intimidating!


Yes, Goodbye Blue Monday is fabulous! (I also recommend Hogan Brothers and Tandem Bagels.) Northfield is a great little college town, so presumably you were visiting campuses. My family prefers St. Olaf, but you can’t go wrong with either option.


Lifelong vegetarian here to say: beans, lentils, and also (if not vegan) eggs! And bigger veg like squash, sweet potatoes (possibly what you call yams – the orange things), etc. Nigel Slater, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Nadine Abensur have good everyday recipes; obviously Yotam Ottolenghi for fancier meals.


I visited Northfield once and will forever remember it as the cutest, college cow-town, with an amazing Indian restaurant (Chapati.)


The only solution I have to the carbs/cheese conundrum of vegetarian cooking is to put either an egg or chickpeas on absolutely everything. Add the protein back in, that is.


I used to be a vegetarian & I still eat vegetarian more often than not. I had gestational diabetes during my second pregnancy & had to figure this issue out. I found that not all carbs are equal–beans, for example, didn’t make my blood sugar spike (though they have a decent bit of carbs). Grains are the worst. I took to having things like a big pile of cabbage as my stand-in for rice or bread.
This post by Just Hungry blogger Maki provides an interesting take on this topic. (Maki is a diabetic & comments on substitutions to make with Japanese food, which is generally centered around rice.)


I hope you still post the links on here! I like to read over them when I have some free time (i.e., Saturday afternoon like now). If it goes to my mailbox, I can guarantee it will end up in Promotions folder hidden with millions of Jcrew emails and credit card offers.