“The more I cook simply – easy pastas, quick hearty salads, and all-in-one grains – the more I realize that food doesn’t need to be posh, complicated, or made from exotic ingredients to do us good. It’s the quick-to-make, everyday, and weeknight meals that we eat on, say, Tuesdays and Wednesdays that make a real difference in our lives. These meals are the ‘bread and butter’ of our eating week and the most important ones to focus on.
At the same time that we are busier than ever, there is also a movement toward balancing things out. There’s a desire to treat our bodies well and to look after ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. And and awful lot of this centers around the food that we eat.”
– Anna Jones, A Modern Way to Cook
Anna Jones’ A Modern Way to Eat was such a fabulous vegetarian cookbook. It stepped up my plant-based kitchen game. Naturally, I was thrilled when I saw that Jones had a new cookbook. This one is so much more practical, though.
A Modern Way to Cook takes the delicious flavors that made Jones’ first book so wonderful, but makes healthy, delicious recipes possible in a realistic time frame. With chapters on recipes that can be made in 15, 20, and 30 minutes, Jones works with a wide variety of flavors to balance flavor, healthful benefits, and reduce kitchen time. While I absolutely love cooking, it is nice to know that I don’t have to compromise on a weeknight and can still enjoy a great plant-based meal.
Many of the recipes are vegan, but Jones emphasizes the vegetarian nature of her cookbook with a wide variety of recipes. Options like Blood Orange and Double Chocolate Rye Muffins, Winter Chopped Salad with Candied Seeds, Grilled Mushroom Feast, Quinoa Risotto with Mashed Peas and Greens make it easy to bring flavor to the table in a matter of minutes. The Lemongrass, Peanut, and Herb Noodle Salad can be made in 20 minutes and the Sage and Lemon Pesto Sandwich can be mastered in 15 minutes making both a hit. Plus, true to Jones’ last book, there are lots of suggestions for innovating in the kitchen (i.e. a simple flow chart for At-Your-Desk Salads makes getting creative fun and easy). Although there are a few ingredients that are more commonly found on the other side of the pond, this British chef has made cooking on a weeknight an absolute treat.
Pour Over Soup
1 3/4 ounces thin rice vermicelli
a small piece of ginger
1 tablespoon creamed coconut
a good spoonful of white miso paste
a splash of sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
1 star anise
1 green onion
1 red chile
a small handful of greens
1/2 a zucchini
a small handful of sugar snap peas
a few sprigs of cilantro
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- Fill a kettle of water and get all your ingredients out. You’ll need two heatproof mixing bowls with a plate that fits on top.
- Once the kettle has boiled, put the noodles into one of the mixing bowls and cover with boiling. Leave to sit covered with a plate.
- Peel the ginger and grate into the other bowl, then add the creamed coconut, white miso, sesame oil, soy, and star anise. Very finely slice the green onion and chile and add most of them to the bowl. Shred the greens, cut the zucchini into thin slices and slice the sugar snap peas. Add them all to the bowl.
- Once the noodles have cooked for 3 minutes, drain them and add the to the bowl of green veggies. Reboil the kettle. Pour hot water from the kettle over the noodles and veggies until they are just covered, and mix well.
- Garnish with the remaining chopped green onion and chile, a little basil or cilantro, and the toasted sesame seeds.