One Plan, Lots of Ways to Switch it Up
Versatile recipes for any diet
As you know, we’ve been working on something exciting: our very first cookbook! Anyone Can Cook will be published with Prestel in Spring 2021—you can preorder it here. The cookbook is for brand new or seasoned home cooks looking to infuse fresh ideas into their weeknight cooking routine, which is why this month, to celebrate its release, we’ll focus on all the different ways to tackle dinner throughout the week, and share tips and tricks from our chefs and editors. All month long, you’ll get exclusive sneak peeks into Anyone Can Cook, plus plenty of new, satisfying, and versatile recipe ideas to rely on the whole week through.
What can I say: Even we food editors aren’t perfect. In literally 9 out of 10 weeks, I’ll fail to keep to my weekly meal plan. However, I’ve more than established the satisfying habit of celebrating my small successes, so I’m not too hard on myself. Virtually the only reason I like the idea of having a more or less strict plan for what I’m going to eat each week is that I easily get bored with my meals. Even just the thought of eating the same food two nights in a row spoils my appetite. So having a delicious plan (whether I end up following it or not) serves to increase my anticipation for what’ll hit my plate for the coming week.
The following weekly meal plan includes some of my favorite Kitchen Stories recipes, which I lean on often—each time adjusting to my taste, what I need (to not bore my palette), and what I might already have at home. While I personally don’t eat meat, I’m also not afraid of recipes that use it because it forces me to think of new ways to replace meats with meat alternatives, beans or lentils, or vegetables. So, without further ado, whether you hit this article on time or not, let's pretend today is Monday and jump right in!
As I said, I don't eat meat, so, at first glance, that doesn't make this the ideal recipe for me. However, as Devan refers to in the video, you can use this same lemongrass-infused marinade for tofu, seitan, cabbage, or even jackfruit. So, in no time at all, this meat-centric dish becomes an aromatic dish for vegetarians, vegans (just swap the fish sauce with soy sauce), or even pescetarians. I count myself lucky that Devan left me a glass of extra Vietnamese caramel sauce, so I can use it to whip up a version of these lettuce wraps whenever I get the urge.
A few years ago I had a gluten-free phase, which I'd rather not go into now. In any case, one ingredient, chickpea flour, survived this phase—while gluten-free bread and pizza did not. Especially in the summer, I’ll use it to make small flat “cakes”—sort of a mixture between a pancake and a wrap—and wrap whatever I have at home in it for a quick meal. Maybe I’ll add a few splashes of nuoc cham sauce leftover from yesterday—or wrap up some leftover marinated tofu…
I love this dish because it’s light, but fills me up. I especially like to turn to it in the summer, when it’s too hot to cook too much, as a main meal. On colder days it’s an exciting side dish or starter for eating with friends. I’ve also replicated the simple “marinade” Ruby uses here (maple syrup, olive oil and salt) to give bland or already cooked vegetables a new coat of flavor.
Fun fact: These gnocchi were the first dish I cooked after discovering Kitchen Stories—and I never looked back. Well, because I know it by heart by now! I love it just the way it is, and I’m happy every time I sit down to a steaming plate full of gnocchi and greens in front of me.
I know, I know, wild garlic and asparagus season is long gone this year. But I’m turning to this recipe more in terms of preparation. Once you know the basics, risotto is just like pasta in that it fits just about all situations and can be made with nearly any fresh ingredients. Ruby uses wine and lemon zest, which in my opinion is essential for any good risotto. Plus, she prepares a wild garlic pesto that she mixes into the risotto at the end, which is a pretty clever idea to add extra flavor and freshness to the dish.
I almost didn’t believe it but this vegan schnitzel made from seitan tastes just like a real schnitzel. It needs some time and preparation, so it’s on my weekly schedule for a day when I have just that: Saturday. It’s a pure delight to make, but more so to eat because it’s hearty, real comfort food with a vegan twist.
Typically on Sundays, I’m already thinking of Monday. Usually in a positive sense, but not always—I mean who really wants the weekend to end? With the week ahead in mind, I’ll bake some banana bread, which serves as a quick breakfast for the first days of the new week. I’ll use that same technique and invest the day to make this pizza that I can look to for a snack or meal whenever I need it. With its thicker base and the toppings reduced to a minimum, this particular pizza tastes just as good the next day or even the day after, either all on its own or with a salad on the side.
Published on September 7, 2020