A simple pasta with a big, bold taste. And it’s vegetarian.
When I was a tot, as both my parents went off to work, my older brother would walk me a couple blocks away to the babysitter’s every weekday morning before he trotted off to school.
I didn’t always go gladly.
But what soothed me every time was lunch.
It was the same thing every single day, by my own choice — a bowl of Chinese wheat noodles, boiled until toothsome, then dumped into a bowl before being stirred up with a couple glugs of oyster sauce right out of the bottle.
Even then, a mountain of umami-packed noodles had the power to make everything seem right in the world.
One forkful of “Miso Brown Butter and Crispy Sage Pasta” was all it took to send me back to those childhood days.
It’s from the new cookbook “Family: New Vegetarian Comfort Food to Nourish Every Day” (Prestel), of which I received a review copy. Written by food writer and cook Hetty McKinnon, it’s filled with vibrant vegetarian fare that I found a lot more imaginative than many books in this genre.
A gratin that won’t weigh you down.
Usually smothered in heavy cream and copious amounts of melty, gooey cheese, gratins are both comfort food and festive special occasion fare.
They’re also rich, heavy, and total gut-busters.
But what if they could be lightened — without sacrificing the luscious quality we love about them?
Leave it to the geniuses behind America’s Test Kitchen to do just that — at least with cauliflower gratin.
Meet “Modern Cauliflower Gratin,” an inventive take on the classic. It’s one of more than 700 innovative recipes in the new cookbook, “Vegetables Illustrated: An Inspiring Guide with 700+ Kitchen-Tested Recipes” by America’s Test Kitchen, of which I received a review copy.
If you’re familiar with Cook’s Illustrated magazine, then you know all too well how meticulous these recipes have been tested until perfected. Although the book is called “Vegetables” illustrated, it doesn’t mean this is a vegetarian cookbook. While vegetables are dominant, many recipes feature meat or seafood, or make use of chicken broth.
What’s in this bowl? An umami bomb, that’s what.
There are only three ingredients in this recipe and none of them is meat. Yet you won’t believe the powerhouse of earthy, meaty flavors it possesses.
The secret is red miso.
“Seared Miso Mushrooms” is a recipe from the new cookbook, “Feasts of Veg: Plant-Based Food for Gatherings” (Kyle), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Nina Olsson, a Sweden-based photographer and recipe developer who created the blog, NourishAtelier.
The book is a collection of vegetarian recipes that take influences from around the world. Think “Caramelized Onion Tarte Tatin,” “Smoked Tofu Rillette,” “Chipotle Jackfruit Tacos,” and “Sweet Tahini Babka.”
Miso is made from soybeans fermented with rice or other grains. If all you know is the lighter tasting white and yellow varieties, it’s high time you tried its deeper, darker cousin that’s been fermented even longer. It is much more pungent, with a much deeper and stronger earthy funkiness that will give anything it touches a big boost of umami.
Not your typical kale salad by any means.
Can you stand just one more kale salad recipe?
Oh come on, sure you can.
You know your love of this leafy green hasn’t waned even if you don’t want to admit it publicly.
Just embrace it. After all, in our society, how many times do we actually value something that’s crinkly and wrinkly, right? Ever more reason to never let go of this green beauty.
Especially when it’s showcased with a spectrum of flavor, texture and downright scrumptiousness in “Syrian Kale and Carrot Salad with Shattered Dates.”
This easy recipe is from “Seattle Cooks” (Figure 1), of which I received a review copy. Seattle food writer Julien Perry spotlights 40 of the city’s top restaurants with recipes and profile stories.
Enjoy everything from “Fava Santorini” from Chef Zoi Antonitsas of Little Fish to “Shrimp and Shittake Pot Stickers with Riesling Dip” from Chefs Tom Douglas and Brock Johnson of Dahlia Lounge, and “Kalua Pork Belly with Korean Chimichurri” by Chef Rachel Yang of Revel.
Get to know how good beans can truly be.
I remember there was a time when I found beans utterly ho-hum.
I couldn’t imagine what could be that exciting about them. I was always more interested in what was with them or around them.
That was until I discovered Napa’s Rancho Gordo beans.
That’s when I realized beans could be comforting, surprising, satisfying and with far more flavor and character than I’d ever imagined.
Founder Steve Sando sources astounding heirloom beans with such evocative names as Christmas Lima Bean, Yellow Indian Woman Bean, and Good Mother Stallard Bean.
At least once a year, I make a purchase of an assortment of his beans, most of which carry me through the chilly winter in numerous dishes. But they’re equally delicious when the weather is still warm, such as in dishes like “Alubia Blanca Bean Salad with Pineapple Vinaigrette.”
It’s a recipe from his cookbook, “The Rancho Gordo Vegetarian Kitchen,” which he wrote with Julia Newberry last year. As the name implies, it’s filled with meat-less recipes that star all manner of beans.