By the time you read this, 2019 will likely only be a few hours old, which seems too early (at least for me) to have any resolutions in place—let alone underway. That said, it’s not uncommon to wake up on New Year’s Day (maybe hungover, probably full, definitely sleepy) with a palpable desire to be a little more virtuous than you might have been over the last month. Some of us turn to exercise (I’ll probably run one and a half miles on a treadmill today while watching football highlights on my iPad); some of us turn to meditation (I’ll absolutely be taking a nap); and some of us, lots of us, actually, turn to food.
I’m not talking about anything overly ambitious here, like cutting out carbs for six months, but simply starting the year off on the right foot when it comes to what we’re cooking and eating. (What can I say? Even jumping over a low bar is pretty satisfying.) With that in mind, here are four easy, pretty quick, mostly virtuous, totally satisfying recipes that you could cook, or think about (or ignore) this week. There’s breakfast (homemade crunchy grain cereal), dinner/lunch (West African peanut stew with chicken and vegetables, and tacos made from crisp crumbled tofu that’s seasoned like chorizo), and dessert (a Mexican chocolate tofu pudding that’s just insanely simple and delicious).
Aside from being a tasty way to set the tone for 2019, these recipes each have a useful technique embedded inside them that we can turn to in the kitchen beyond the first week of the year. There’s baking cooked grains until they’re addictively crunchy (you can add these to all sorts of savory dishes), thickening soups and stews with peanut butter (which instantly turns them rich and comforting), finely crumbling and crisping firm tofu in a skillet (not “better” than ground meat, but different, and really good, especially when you season it aggressively), and puréeing silken tofu in a blender (a luxuriously smooth canvas for strong flavors, sweet or savory).
Okay, that’s enough reading for the morning after New Year’s Eve (remember, we’re easing in). Have a great start to the year, and I’ll see you Friday.
We produce reported pieces, profiles, interviews, and rants about what’s broken in the food world (there’s a lot) and how to change things for the better. People sometimes tell me to just keep politics out of it. Respectfully: No. Food is political. We can’t and won’t ignore that.