We have a number of smashing great springtime cookbooks, and I’m lucky enough to have received some gifts from the good folk at Ten Speed Press.
So where to start? A Modern Way to Eat: 200+ Vegetarian Recipes (that will make you feel amazing) from Anna Jones made my heart sing. She is a longtime colleague of Jamie Oliver, the Naked Chef who stripped down food to its essence and got people on both sides of the Atlantic cooking, simple, delicious, straightforward food. And she’s also a cook, stylist and writer all on her own.
What’s great about it?
I love to see what I call “modular cooking.” By that I mean, there are pages that help the reader choose from a variety of ingredients to riff on the overall guidelines. A cup from Column A, a handful from Column B, stir into something from Column C and you have a great dinner.
It’s great for newer cooks who may be ready to branch out from following to-the-letter recipes to more of an improv style. There’s a two-page spread on salads. And also soups, including a column on “how to make it more substantial.” Because no one likes a wimpy soup. Four variations on hummus? Sign me up. Especially for the black bean and pumpkin seed.
The other reason I love this book is that it’s vegetarian, although you might not know it unless you looked hard, because so many of the dishes are robust and homey – your favorite carnivore will probably not miss the meat. The recipes are interesting and still approachable, no mean feat these days.
What to make first?
I spied the photo of the Full Of Greens Fritters and knew it would work for me almost any day. My fridge always has some combination of cheese, eggs and greens or other sort of vegetable, some even left over. In fact, I’ve already made this several times – it’s a great dish to get on the table in a hurry and still have that warm feeling of making something from scratch. I typically boost the garlic, and also toss in caramelized onions, capers, or other flavor boosters from the fridge. I know you’ll enjoy it lots of ways.
adapted from A Modern Way To Eat
9 ounces grated zucchini or purple sprouting broccoli, finely chopped
2 handfuls (about 3 1/2 ounces) spinach or collard greens, finely chopped (I used arugula)
4 tablespoons soft crumbly cheese, such as feta or goat cheese
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
1/2 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
A few sprigs dill or basil, finely chopped
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Olive oil for cooking
Toss all the greens into a bowl. Crumble in the cheeses, garlic and zest with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to mix. Crack in the eggs and mix well.
Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add a good glug of olive oil – you want to be generous with the oil here. Once the oil is hot, carefully lower generous tablespoons of the mixture and flatten to form little patties. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes, then carefully flip and fry on the other side for a final 2 minutes, until the egg is completely cooked.
Place on a plate in a low oven to keep warm until you are ready to eat.