Hi! I’m Tanya, longtime listener, first time caller. It’s been a privilege to edit The Veggie for the last year and a half, and it’s an honor to follow in Tejal Rao’s footsteps as your next writer. (Talk about big shoes to fill!) I thought: What better way to introduce myself than to talk about some of my personal failings?
I am remarkably bad at two things, keeping resolutions and journaling. Yet every new year, caught in the unbreakable trance of self-improvement rhetoric, I jot down goals of varying intensity. Strewn around my apartment are one-quarter filled Moleskine and Baron Fig notebooks, the dreams of Tanyas past preserved in their pages: “Master crow pose or headstand” (2018, failure), “Learn how to bake bread” (2019, about a year too early), “Journal more” and “Hydrate” (2020, double failure).
The goals with the highest success rates got me into the kitchen. Start a cookbook club? Check. Throw ambitious dinner parties? Check. So, in the spirit of being consistently inconsistent, here are my food-related goals for 2023.
Cut down on restaurant meals. I love to cook, and I love to dine out. Multitudes are IN for 2023! In an effort to reduce my reliance on takeout, I’ve found stunning vegetarian recipes from many of the Brooklyn spots I’ve wanted to visit in the New York Times Cooking database: I’m thinking, pickled mushroom salad from the former chef of Marlow & Sons, Patch Troffer; an impressive cast-iron sourdough pancake with pears or apples, à la Vinegar Hill House; and definitely the vegetable pajeon adapted from Sohui Kim, the chef at Insa.
Don’t forget about breakfast. Consider this an auxiliary goal in my lifelong quest to become a morning person. Starting my day with overnight oats, yogurt drizzled with a supremely simple yet luxurious blueberry syrup, or a hearty New Mexico breakfast burrito is in delicious service of that. While I struggle with routines, I do love quiet, elaborate rituals — like enjoying a nice breakfast on the couch instead of grabbing a coffee on the go.
Cook one new recipe from a cookbook each week. I am already behind schedule on this, but I’ve set a few titles on the coffee table because intentions are everything. I’m eager to make the crispy fried mushrooms with five-spice salt in “The Vegan Chinese Kitchen” by Hannah Che, and although it’s not a strictly vegetarian cookbook, “Mezcla” by Ixta Belfrage has an enticing “veg” section. (Hello, kohlrabi with miso meunière and cheesy roasted eggplant with salsa roja!)
What are your cooking resolutions? Write me at email@example.com, and we’ll see how we did a year from now. 😊
One More Thing!
A few months ago, I had a life-altering dinner at my friend Elissa’s house. Another pal, Emily, brought over what our group would eventually and affectionately refer to only as “The Dust”: a positively addicting (and vegan!) concoction of crushed pistachios, nutritional yeast, dried dill and spices, created a few years ago by Sohla El-Waylly.
The Dust, or “Ranch Fun Dip” as it is more appetizingly named, has improved my snacking game by the nth degree, and I tell anyone I love about it. Enjoy it with sliced vegetables, as Sohla suggests, or any of the following ways that have been tested and approved by yours truly: tossed with freshly popped popcorn; sprinkled over a sour cream-topped baked potato or a simply dressed salad; and, maybe most hedonistically, on top of generously buttered bread.