sassy pepper and friends
A sassy lady pepper stands in the foreground in front of a merry band of dorky veggies doing a kick line
Plant-based cooking with a side of snark
sassy pepper and friends
A sassy lady pepper stands in the foreground in front of a merry band of dorky veggies doing a kick line
Plant-based cooking with a side of snark
Good Recs2024-03-19T11:16:56-04:00

Good Recs

Cooking Like Your Life Depends Upon It

The food we eat is responsible for 24% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. The only industry that produces more greenhouse gases than our food and agriculture systems is electricity production, which comes in at a close 25%. As someone who spends hours a day searching for, reading, and testing eco-friendly, plant-based recipes, I think a lot about our collective FoodPrint.

New York Times Cookings most popular recipe of all time has been viewed more than 24 million times since it was first published in 1994. Guess what it is? (No Google cheating!)

Hint: If only half of the people who viewed the recipe made it, 12+ million pounds of beef would have been consumed.

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Breakfast! The King-Prince-Pauper Diet

I was shocked to learn this: The calories you eat at breakfast are less fattening than those you eat for supper. Here’s how it works:

Assume you eat 300 calories for breakfast, 500 for lunch, and 1,200 for supper. If you switch the timing of your calories, and eat 1,200 for breakfast, and 300 for supper, you’ll lose weight. Eating the exact same food.

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What to Cook When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking

An insane amount of my brain’s real estate is devoted to food. My internal food-chatter is relentless — while I’m walking my dog, watching a not-very-engaging TV show, or at 3 a.m. trying to fall back asleep. Should I turn my fresh kale into maple-sesame chips, or use it to make Meera Sodha’s luscious Tuscan kale saag? What should I make for the dinner party I’m throwing three weeks from now? Do I have enough dark chocolate chips to make another mousse? Yes, I’ve tried meditation and yogic breathing. Neither works. I’ve come to accept who I am: A woman who loves thinking about, discovering, and cooking creatively flavored plant-based suppers. There are worse habits.

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3 Questions for a Stress-Free Dinner Party

Think about the last time you hosted a dinner party or an extended family meal. At what point while you were cooking or setting the table to be perfectly “just so,” did you think, Why the hell did I decide to do this? 

My friend Patti says, “If you don’t hate your guests by the time they arrive, you haven’t worked hard enough.” Dinner Party Hosting Anxiety (DPHA) is a thing, experienced by even the most seasoned host. I blame Martha Stewart.

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SH*T! Vegans are Coming to Dinner!

What to do when an omnivore wants to invite a couple of vegans to a dinner party? If you’re my friend Chris, you spend months reading recipes until you find it, the perfect wowza! dish.

Only an over-achiever like Chris would attempt a vegan lasagna. Frankly, if I had landed on the recipe I would have kept scrolling. Lasagnas take a lot of time, and eliminating dairy is a challenge.

Chris nailed it. Even her meat-loving, fly-fisherman, vegan-skeptical husband said, more please. The casserole was flawless and beyond delicious. I’ve added it to my dinner party repertoire.

And yet.

Chris had many challenges, which I asked her to share with you.

Reading it, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel Chris’s pain. You’ll cheer for the damn no-cook noodles, and best of all, you’ll learn how to make Vegan Lasagna Bolognese.

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2023 Guide: 10 Essential Kitchen Tools for Plant-Based Cooks

Last year, I debuted my first annual Essential Cooking Gadgets list for the vegan kitchen, inspired by my friend Jan’s wisdom that the right kitchen tools make all the difference. After trying her velvety New York-style cheesecake (made with her KitchenAid Mixmaster), I was sold. Although I’ve not eaten cheesecake in some time, I have held on to Jan’s advice, and assembled a group of reliable gadgets and appliances that make cooking easier and more fun.

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My 10 Favorite Cookbooks

In the early days of my learning-to-cook journey, (before Al Gore invented the Internet), I was a sucker for just about any cookbook that had “Vegetarian” in the title. My library was impressive. It took a cross-country move (i.e., packing) for me to realize I didn’t cook from most of those books. Some had a couple dog-eared pages with smears of dried sauce, signifying my go-to recipes. But the rest? Inspired writing, and hunger-inducing, air-brushed food photography do not always translate into useful cookbooks. I gave many of them away. (Today, I’d deposit them in my Little Free Library, but those weren’t invented yet, either).

Now, here’s how I buy a cookbook.

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