uncompromised vegetarian holiday feasts
plus: smitten kitchen keepers book tour updates
Monday, November 27, 2022
Your favorite chef is probably using these frozen french fries (Food & Wine)
Isaac Mizrahi wants to make a smarter cooking show (Harper’s Bazaar)
Good morning from… bed. Let me get the bad news out of the way first: I’m under the weather and need to postpone book tour events this week in Minneapolis and Chicago. I am beyond crushed, I was so excited to hang out with you, but I need to lay low for a couple more days. If you are a ticket holder, you should have received an email from the venue. We will have a new date for you very soon. As for the rest of the week, I’m hoping to be back 100% by Wednesday, when I’ll be on stage with Bon Appétit’s wonderful Sonia Chopra at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, but will make the call very soon. Book tour events, ticket links, and updates are, as always, on this page.
On the plus side, I’ve got lots of time to get a good newsletter together for us now. This week’s topic is near and dear to my cooking outlook, which is that meatless mains should be special, not an afterthought or just a collage of everyone else’s sides. Below, several that I’d consider centerpiece-worthy for entertaining in fun weeks ahead. Stay well, friends, and I hope to have more cheerful updates soon!
Smitten Kitchen Keepers has been out for almost two weeks and it brings me an insurmountable amount of joy to see what you’re cooking from it. Early favorites seem to be the Green Angel Hair with Garlic Butter from the cover, Cozy Chicken and Dumplings, Charred Brussels Sprout Toast with Ricotta, Chocolate Chip Cookies with Salted Walnut Brittle, and Apple Butterscotch Crisp, but it was almost hard to narrow it down. I am thrilled you’re loving this book as much as I do. If you’d like to leave a review on either Amazon or Goodreads, do know that it’s very good for the life of the book. I can’t wait to see what you cook up next.
Let’s hang out! While we’ve had some unfortunate postponements in the top center panel, I hope to be back on track by the green one later this week. Just added: A daytime signing in Washington DC next week, as I know the evening event at 6th & I sold out quickly. I’ll be signing books on Tuesday, Dec. 6th from 12-2pm at Politics and Prose’s Connecticut Avenue location. Tour details are, as always, on the Events page.
crusty baked cauliflower and farro
I switched out pasta for farro and ended up with a cozy, wildly flavorful, cheesy, crunchy-topped, cauliflower-full dinner that we make again and again.
roasted leek and white bean galettes
Are you tasked with finding a vegetarian main that’s a) not just everyone else’s side dish, b) ideally contains protein, c) would be a good fit for the other harvest-y flavors on the table? These baby galettes are the show-stealing answer.
tangy braised chickpeas
"Brisket"-braised chickpeas -- that is, with all of the flavors of my favorite meaty braise -- with not a speck of brisket involved. This vegan dish is a perfect cozy and hearty holiday main, or apparently for eating straight from the fridge, as we can never seem to stop doing with leftovers.
I once presumed making falafel would be complicated, best left to the experts. Once I learned how staggeringly simple it is -- oh and by the way, vegan, gluten-free, and so quick to assemble, you might decide you have time enough leftover to make homemade pitas worthy of you perfect falafel -- it became my favorite vegetarian main for dinner parties.
It is always the right season to bake giant white beans as if they were ziti -- vegetables, a robust sauce, and a finish with bronzed, melty cheese. We call them pizza beans, because it brings more bean-skeptics to the table. Did I forget to mention that we serve them with garlic bread? I hope that sweetens the deal for you, too.
winter squash and spinach pasta bake
I adore pasta but I don’t like the way it’s often considered a default vegetarian main so I’ve limited this list to only include one. But this is The One in ease, in heft, and in flavor. Everything is tossed raw into a springform for a long bake and what emerges is resplendent: layers of tender squash and spinach with noodles, soft in the center and burnished to a snatch-able crisp on top, the aroma of garlic and toasted cheese everywhere.
shop my favorites
Ever wonder where I get my cutting boards, paring knives, offset spatulas and more than you see when I cook? I've created a page on Smitten Kitchen with links to some of my favorite kitchen items, the ones I'm asked about the most. For each item, I've attempted to provide a range of shopping links so we're not just focusing on one giant retailer.
See you next week! (There will be cookies!)