A Modern Way To Eat by Anna Jones is my kind of cookbook. Filled with recipes featuring fresh, whole-food ingredients to make no-nonsense, nutritious food that is approachable. It's a refreshing respite from the baked tater-tot casserole type dishes that occupy a sly nook of seemingly every cookbook ever printed. You won't find super complicated nor mundane, everyday dishes in this cookbook. There's a casualness to this book that's freeing and I am grateful that Anna's recipes are light and healthy.
The table of contents for A Modern Way To Eat is a good indicator of the playful and carefree nature of this book. Practical and easygoing.
This book is bound with thick, matte paper and gorgeous, moody photography (though not a photo for every recipe..sad face). It's a thick book that looks almost like a large hardback novel with it's black binding and commanding presence. It doesn't feature a totally lay-flat binding (like my cookbook will!) so that is kind of a bummer as it occasionally flips on you but it's a lot better than most cookbooks. Pet peeves. Those bindings should be law.
All of the recipes are vegetarian and some are even vegan. However, in no way is this a vegan cookbook. Anna does have a vegan brother and sister that she states she often cooks for and perhaps that was her inspiration in putting in so many vegan recipes. She even has a vegan index! Yet, dairy and eggs litter the pages with abandon but most of the time they can be replaced by tofu or vegan cheeses. I wouldn't let the fact that there's copious amounts of dairy and eggs in this book stall you from purchasing it. Sometimes Anna even lists alternatives, if possible, but I know you're such a savvy vegan you won't have any troubles. The same goes with gluten-free recipes; she does include some and alternatives are listed when available.
I found her inclusion of the occasional super-odd ingredient like purple sprouting broccoli a bit presumptuous in some instances but it kind of tickled me that someone would include such a thing in a cookbook with no alternatives. I didn't even know purple sprouting broccoli was a thing! However, I am sure that regular broccoli works perfectly as a substitute, though this is not mentioned anywhere. The really perplexing items were few and far between, mind you (where does one purchase chestnut flour anyway??).
However, most ingredients were commonplace and easy to come by. There were so many dishes I couldn't wait to make! Obviously her sweets were on my list: Cardamom and Carrot Cakes with Maple Icing and Coconut Oatmeal Cookies! Strangely, this book's breakfast chapter was filled with meals I would definitely get up early for: Banana, Blueberry, and Pecan Pancakes and Overnight Peach Oats. I'm not a morning person, something Anna also confesses to so perhaps that is why we see eye to eye on breakfast. I have a sneaking suspicion breakfast isn't her jam either, "...breakfast wasn't part of my routine..." I can relate.
One of my favorite things about Anna's book are her green-paged information charts. She has one on how to make a soup with lists of various options for herbs, main body, and back-up flavors. It's kind of like a choose your own adventure and would be especially helpful if you're new to cooking sans recipe.
She also has ones for what fruits, vegetables, and herbs are in season. There's a chart on how to make a great salad (similar to the style of the soup map) as well as an outline on her process on recipe creating. I really enjoyed her informational pages on grains, quick sandwich ideas, her go-to pasta recipes, and morning smoothies, as well as many others. It was neat that they were dispersed throughout the book as opposed to collected together in one chapter. The index is categorized by food items, which is always appreciated.
I highly recommend this cookbook for any vegan, vegetarian, or anyone working towards becoming more plant-based with regards to their diet. This book will help you get in touch to cooking naturally, with whole foods and perhaps without a strict recipe. What's not to like? It's filled with recipes that are better for your body and the planet; not to mention they are crazy delicious. This is how cooking should be. Find this cookbook for purchase at Amazon.com, Barnes and Nobles, and wherever books are sold. Learn more about Anna on her blog.
Enough chitchat...I'm hungry.
I decided to make the vegan burger from A Modern Way To Eat. It was an obvious choice figuring my love for all things veggie-burger.
Notes on the adaptation of Anna's burger:
- I probably used less mushrooms than she did. I had super large cremini mushrooms on hand as opposed to full-blown portobellos and I used five instead of six. I wish she had listed the weight, as I always find that super helpful (the irony that I didn't do this for my recipe is not lost on me...I'm sorry).
- I used chickpeas as opposed to white beans because it's what I had.
- I already had a brown rice, rice red, and quinoa mixture cooked up in the fridge, so I used that and it was perfect!
- I used quick cooking oats instead of breadcrumbs. She lists them as an alternative but didn't specify whether to use old fashioned or quick cooking oats.
- The biggest change was that the color of my burger was nowhere near as dark as hers was in the photo and I had to pretty much double the cooking time.
- She never stated to flip the burgers, but I wish I had as one side had developed a lovely dark brown crust while the other side, of course, had not.
The Very Hungry Burger
This is a quick burger recipe that comes together in a snap! It’s heavy on umami thanks to baby portobello mushrooms, soy sauce, and tahini. Chickpeas, quinoa, oats, and brown rice lend a substantial amount of protein, while fresh herbs and lemon zest cut through for a bright profile. It’s a well-rounded, completely terrific everyday burger. Very slightly adapted from A Modern Way To Eat cookbook by Anna Jones.
Yield: 8 burgers
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 5 large baby portobello mushrooms, roughly diced small
- 3 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
- dash of kosher salt
- dash of fresh ground black pepper
- 1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained
- 4 large medjool dates, pitted
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/3 cup cooked brown rice/quinoa mixture
- 2/3 cup quick cooking oats, dry
- zest of 1 lemon
- 8 hamburger buns
- In a cast iron skillet or frying pan, heat the oil over medium. Add the mushrooms, thyme, salt, and pepper; sauté for about 5-8 minutes until slightly shrunken, dark brown, and fragrant. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
- While the mushrooms cook add the chickpeas, dates, garlic, parsley, tahini, and soy sauce to a food processer; process until almost smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Stir the mixture into the mushrooms along with the rice, oats, and lemon zest; mix very well to combine.
- Place the bowl in the fridge and preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat and form the burger mixture into 8 patties. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, flipping the burgers halfway through.
- Serve warm on a toasty bun with whatever burger toppings you like! I used baby kale, avocado, sprouts, tomato, ketchup, and stone-ground mustard.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
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