Foraging for Dinner

Milkweed

Photos by Mark Bittman

These are unopened milkweed flowers; I began to eat them while first learning how to forage in central Vermont in the 70s. (How’d I learn? Euell Gibbons , of course.) The season is very short—just a couple of days for each plant, spread out over a period of maybe a week or two in any given location—so you have to be lucky to find them. Once the buds start to open up, they’re done. But when they’re tight and broccoli-like, as these are, they’re sweet, and cook instantly. I parboil them for a minute or two before incorporating them into other things. (Sometimes, I’m lucky enough to gather a big mess, and then I parboil them and toss them with vinaigrette or melted butter.) Continue reading

Posted in Behind The Scenes, Produce, Slow Food

Potato Tacos

Potato Taco

Photo by Emily Stephenson

I bought some adorable tiny potatoes and mini zucchini this week and my mind immediately went not to showcasing their tiny cuteness but to how I could transform them into that day’s lunch (I was hungry when I went shopping).

I have a hard time with lunch. The ideal lunch dish to me has multiple components (i.e., is fun to eat) but requires no more than an hour of prep and is something I will be happy to eat several days in a row, if not the whole week. With my mini vegetables in hand, my thoughts when to tacos. Continue reading

Posted in Behind The Scenes

An Afternoon of Apples

Photo by Pam Hoenig

It started with applesauce. Could I make a batch from apples cooked on the grill? Maybe the idea was too forced. Or maybe the results would be amazing. Easy enough to try, right? I cored and sliced an apple into rings, and put them on the grill. They were soft and tasty in five minutes. But do the apples need to be cut first? Continue reading

Posted in Behind The Scenes, Produce

The Fruit That Eats Like Meat

Photo by Emily Stephenson

One new-to-me ingredient I kept seeing mention of in my vegan recipe research was jackfruit, and the young, unripe fruit tastes just like pulled pork when simmered in barbecue sauce. The fresh, ripe fruit can grow to up to 100 pounds and is incredibly sweet, with a smell not unlike durian. The now popular ‘meat substitute’ version is the unripe, not yet sweet fruit that has been preserved in brine. I finally had some time this weekend, tracked down cans at a Vietnamese grocer, and tried it for myself.

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Posted in Behind The Scenes

A Better Than Good Egg

A Better-Than-Good Egg Cropped

Photo by Kerri Conan

Mark made me and another colleague toasted homemade bread and fried eggs the other day. I was lucky enough to meet the hen responsible—one of two yard birds that linger by the kitchen door waiting for handouts—and even luckier to watch Mark cook it. Continue reading

Posted in Behind The Scenes

What Happens When You Forget About Eggplant

By Mark Bittman

I do love eggplant, in just about all forms, the possible exception being badly executed eggplant Parmesan (see an example below, from when I took my mother out for lunch a couple of weeks ago).

Eggplant done poorly

Photos by Mark Bittman

Someday I’ll discuss “real” eggplant P., but for now I want to talk about how mistakes may lead to discoveries. Continue reading

Posted in Behind The Scenes

How to Cook: Miso Soup

Recipe from How to Cook Everything: The Basics. Photos by Romulo Yanes.

Recipe from How to Cook Everything: The Basics. Photos by Romulo Yanes.

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Posted in Uncategorized

3 Unexpected (But Brilliant!) Uses for Leftover Cranberry Sauce

Everyone says that leftovers are “the best part of Thanksgiving,” but your leftovers can be so much more than dry meat on bread with mayonnaise. My new book Kitchen Matrix has 20 recipes for leftover turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce, along with a slew of tantalizing uses for extra veggies (and if you’re anything like me, you’ll have a lot of those). You’ll have to buy the book if you want all the recipes, but here are a few clever uses for leftover cranberry sauce. These are universal enough to accommodate almost whatever kind of cranberry sauce you’re starting with (even the canned kind).

Cranberry-Yogurt Parfaits

In individual glasses, alternate layers of cranberry sauce, plain Greek yogurt, honey, and chopped pecans. Garnish: fresh mint.

Cranberry Negroni

Mix equal parts gin, Campari, vermouth, and cranberry sauce in a cocktail shaker with ice. Garnish: orange or lemon peel.

Cranberry-Braised Chicken

Cook chicken parts in butter, rotating and turning as necessary, until browned on all sides; remove from the pan. Add chopped onion, garlic, and fresh ginger and cook until soft. Stir in cranberry sauce and a little chicken or turkey stock or white wine; add the chicken. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, turning the chicken occasionally until it’s cooked through. Garnish: grated orange zest.

Posted in Recipes

Why I Quit My Dream Job at the New York Times

My new dream job is to get healthier food onto the plates of more Americans. See below for an excerpt from my recent story in Time.

Could there be a better week to form a company specializing in vegan meals? As everyone knows, the World Health Organization last week labeled processed meat a carcinogen and said red meat was probably dangerous as well. Not news, exactly, but a further confirmation that plant-based diets are where it’s at.

It was the determination to get healthier food onto the dinner plates of more Americans that led me to leave the New York Times, where I had what most people would think was a dream job: as weekly Opinion columnist and the lead food writer for the Sunday Magazine. But really: Not only was I ready for something new, it felt like it was time to put my boots on the ground.

So when David Mayer contacted me, I was primed. Mayer is the lead investor in The Purple Carrot, a plant-based meal kit company founded in Boston by Andy Levitt last year. Dave, who never uses 100 words when he can use 1,000, wrote me a long e-mail that said, among other salient things, that he wanted to build a company so people would “cook meals with real food, talk about it, show their kids what cooking is and connect on that and what it means. Imagine the implications … if we could help …. hundreds of millions of Americans to eat vegan at least two nights a week. Make it easy, really good and affordable.”

Get the full story here.

Posted in Uncategorized