On a perfectly beautiful sunny day, a rarity in San Francisco, a group of local bloggers were invited by Erin Welke of Ten Speed Press (@) to enjoy a lunch at DOSA in the Mission District and meet Chef Anna Jones, the author of “A Modern Way to Eat” cookbook. We spent a delightful couple of hours devouring delicious vegetarian and gluten-free Indian food, getting to know Anna and discussing all aspects of the food industry.
Anna is from England and it was fascinating to hear her perspectives and what is happening in her country. When you travel to other countries, it changes the way you think about this country and you have an entirely different experience with food and the people who make it.
The way people are eating is changing around the world, especially here in America. People are looking for creative ways to make healthier meals for their families, reducing the amount of meat served, and supplementing it with smarter choices in grains and vegetables. But we still want to feel fully satisfied without being so stuffed that we are uncomfortable. Even if you don’t want to make a full vegetarian meal, most of these recipes make delightful side dishes.
When Anna became a vegetarian, she had to completely revamp the way she approached cooking. She challenged herself to find new ways to add texture, interest, and flavor, and utilize some new techniques in the kitchen. She is a food stylist whose job is to design a plate so that the food leaps off the screen or printed page. She encourages us to tantalize our guests and ourselves, by creating a beautiful palate of foods.
Anna has worked with some of the best chefs in the world including Yotam Ottolenghi, The Fabulous Baker Brothers (Henry and Tom Herbert), and Stevie Parle (a London chef and host of the British TV show Spice Trip), and has cooked for British royalty and heads of state including American presidents. She helped Jamie Oliver build his global presence with her food styling, writing, and working behind the scenes.
This book is based on her way of eating and cooking that has made her feel better and become healthier. She wants all of us to be healthier too and feel great. Because the book was written by a chef, most of the measurements are in grams and ounces, not cups. But if you are already cooking and baking gluten-free, you have your kitchen scale and are comfortable with weighing ingredients. If you don’t have one yet, I encourage you to get one – your baking will be much more consistently great! And don’t be daunted by a long ingredient list – look at it as an adventure into flavors you may never have encountered before.
This is a book for people who love blending flavors and is a true celebration of vegetables. It is surprising how a slightly different ingredient choice can change the entire outcome of a recipe. Anna certainly opened my eyes and I love that she tells us how she creates her recipes – there is a handy chart that spells out her method for us to design our own winning combinations.
Anna’s methodology for how she puts together a recipe outlined in the chart, starts with the primary ingredient. The she decides on the cooking method she likes, adds a secondary or supporting ingredient, something for accent, a flavor booster, fresh herbs, something crunchy, and finally seasoning, working toward a perfect balance in the final dish. Having a guideline like this makes it exciting for you to try creating your own recipes from scratch!
The recipe I chose to make and share with you is perfect for the cooler days of autumn and today’s Food Network #FallFest pumpkin day. The complementary flavors of pumpkin and potatoes with fresh sage and garlic are warming and filling. And it couldn’t be easier to make. Layers of thinly sliced potatoes and squash with sage leaves are roasted with vegetable stock in a hot oven. This dish is filling enough for a vegetarian main course with a side salad or you can use it as a lovely seasonal side dish.
“A Modern Way to Eat” is a beautiful book (bravo Ten-Speed) filled with luscious recipes that just happen to be vegetarian. It is a great guide if you are trying to make your meals healthier, lose a little weight, or need suggestions on how to make vegetarian meals. And each recipe is easy enough for mid-week meals. These are so good that they may have you rethinking the way you eat – exactly what Anna is hoping for.
If you are looking for book with vegetarian recipes, I heartily recommend “A Modern Way to Eat”. I know you will enjoy Anna’s clear and concise way of looking at ingredients, encouraging us to branch out and experience a new way of being joyful about the food we eat!
This recipe is naturally gluten-free and many of the recipes in the book are as well or can be easily modified for a gluten-free diet.
- 3-1/2 lb (1-1/2 kg) waxy potatoes
- 2-1/2 lb (1 kg) piece of pumpkin or 1 butternut squash, peeled and seeded (this is about 2 little sugar pumpkins)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced (I used pearl onions)
- Small bunch of fresh sage, leaves removed from stems
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil
- 4-1/4 cups (1 liter) hot vegetable stock
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Cut the potatoes into 1/4-inch (1/2 cm) slices. I do this carefully using a mandoline or, if I am in a rush, in my food processor using the wide slicing attachment. Put the sliced potatoes straight into a big bowl of cold water and let soak for 10 minutes to get rid of some of the starch. Cut the pumpkin or squash into slices about the same thickness.
- Drain the potatoes and pat them dry with paper towels., then place them in a large roasting tray (I used a 9x13-inch pan) with the pumpkin, garlic, sage, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and toss everything together. Push the layers down to flatten them out, pour in the hot stock, and then cover with foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
- Remove the foil and then put back in the oven for another 25 minutes, until golden brown and everything is soft and cooked through.
- Serve with a crisp salad or some green beans for a light supper or alongside a pie or tart for a more filling dinner.
- Yield: 4 main course servings; 6 side dish servings
Create a New Tradition Today!
This recipe is part of Food Network’s weekly FallFest celebration. See the links below for inspiration and great recipes and check out our Pinterest page for even more!
The Hungry Traveler: Pumpkin Brown Butter Madeleines
Bacon and Souffle: Pumpkin Lasagna with Sausage, Kale and Parmesan
Homemade Delish: Warm Pumpkin Salad
Creative Culinary: Pumpkin Butter
The Lemon Bowl: 20 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
Weelicious: Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts
Virtually Homemade: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
TasteBook: Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Dishin & Dishes: Homemade Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte Concentrate
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes
Red or Green: Spiced Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bars
The Heritage Cook: Roasted Pumpkin, Potato, and Sage (Gluten-Free)
Swing Eats: Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Pumpkin Seed Brittle
Taste with the Eyes: Sultry Pumpkin Soup – Southwest Flavors, Dressed To Kill
FN Dish: 8 Ways to Eat Pumpkin All Day Long
Disclosure: I was given a copy of the cookbook for review purposes but was not asked to write this post nor compensated for it. As always, all opinions are my own.
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