2015 in My Kitchen

The end of a calendar year always seems like an appropriate time to look back and take stock. It’s always interesting to reflect on the recent food trends, whether collective or just in your own kitchen. What ingredients did you use most in 2015? What new dishes became part of your repertoire? These are a few things that came into my kitchen for the first time or in force this year that will be around for a long time.

Last week I cooked... - Vegetal MattersMiso. I asked Will to pick up miso on his way home from work one day. I got a call from the grocery store that went like this:

“They only have miso in full pound bags. Do we want that much miso?????”

“How much is it?”

“$5.”

“Buy it.”

And we’ve never looked back. If you’re a miso newb, start with these sweet potato and broccoli bowls. From there step it up with this bowl and try it in dressings, soups, and sauces galore. Never stop.

Last week I cooked - Vegetal MattersAnchovies. 2015 was the year I embraced these tiny fishes (please picture me actually doing this). It all started with the greens and beans that I made repeatedly, but they went into salads, pasta, kale and the like. If you’ve ever been afraid of them because of fishiness, start with just one in a dish. They add a unique complexity that is not fishy in the slightest.

Last week I cooked - Vegetal MattersRoasted tofu. Page 77 of the Thug Kitchen cookbook. This revolutionized the way I cook tofu. I’ve done the whole deal where you cut it into cubes and spend 30 minutes standing over a wok of splattering oil trying to makes sure all six sides of each piece are perfectly browned. I don’t think I’ve ever taken the time to fully marinate the tofu for the two hours suggested (see: full time job outside the house), but the flavor and texture is always great. Not quite as great as standing over the wok, but the lack of effort gets so many points.

Last Week I Cooked - Vegetal MattersWhipped feta. I will try to stop talking about how good this is. I will probably fail. If you like salt and cheese, this is your dish. After eating it on the toast at BirchTree which I have mentioned too many times (and had again this past weekend…), I started making it at home with a halved version of Ina’s recipe. Try it with scrambled eggs and kale. Invite me over for breakfast.

Last Week I Cooked... - Vegetal MattersChinese food. I know that is broad. But after reading Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper it was all I wanted to cook. Every Grain of Rice has been my guide, and I would so highly recommend both of these books for anyone interested in Chinese cookery.

A few things I was obsessed with this year that aren’t food – Busy Earnin’ by Jungle. If you can teach me this dance…I don’t even know what I could offer you that would be equal. Something epic. Anthony Marra. I read A Constellation of Vital Phenomena right at the end of 2015, and it was a life changing novel. The Tsar of Love and Techno came out this year and it was almost as good.

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