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.
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.