Hot Cereals

I never was a cornflake girl, and as a kid I wasn’t a hot cereal girl. Then I went to Russia. Get hot cereal recipes at
I never was a cornflake girl, and as a kid I wasn’t a hot cereal girl. I blame my dad: To this day, he calls his porridge “mush.” (If you want to get little girls excited about eating hot breakfast cereal, I highly suggest a different name.) Beyond the name, I disliked the taste and texture—or rather, the lack of both. Dad’s porridge was always bland oats or wheat, ground finely enough or cooked long enough that “mush” was an appropriate title.

It wasn’t until I lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, that hot breakfast cereals became comfort food. Part of it was stepping off the train in early January into –23°F—weather that will make anyone eat anything hot. But mostly it was because Russians know how to make simple porridge taste good. It starts with a mix of grains, improving both flavor and texture. Adding butter to the saucepan before the grains lets them toast slightly. I then take the un-Russian step of adding spices.
Learn to make Russian Kasha and Pearl Barley Cereal with Honeyed Nuts


Comfort Foods

Instead of satisfying, comfort foods might make us feel guilty or even queasy. Learn how to change that at
We all have comfort foods—dishes we grew up with, meals based around favorite flavors, recipes that are filling and satisfying. Merriam-Webster defines comfort food as “food that is satisfying because it is prepared in a simple or traditional way and reminds you of home, family, or friends.” Oxford Dictionaries gives a more specific definition: “Food that provides consolation or a feeling of well-being, typically having a high sugar or carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking.”

The “high sugar or carbohydrate content” bit is unfortunate but all too common. It also seems to be the antithesis of comforting: Instead of being enjoyable, high-calorie meals and snacks can make us feel guilty or even queasy after the thrill of the initial bite. Many traditional comfort foods are now mass produced, giving only a faded memory of the family table. So I prefer to focus on the other defining element of comfort food: simple home cooking.
Read more about simple, homemade comfort foods

Veggie Burgers

Homemade veggie burgers that taste delicious and freeze well? Yes, please! Get Black Bean Veggie Burger and Spiked Guacamole recipes at’ve always loved the idea of veggie burgers as easy from-the-freezer meals but dislike the standard brands. Most are like frozen pizzas: a couple of bites satisfy a craving, but I lose interest by the meal’s end, even when topped with fresh guacamole. My homemade veggie burgers, like pizza from scratch, are full of flavor but have always fallen apart when reheated—until now.

Several things make this week’s recipe work. Precooking the vegetables and draining them helps; if added raw, they release their water content as they cook and loosen the patties. But no amount of draining makes it possible to skip the binders, as with falafel. Most recipes call for an excessive blend of whole grains and flours that still leave the patties crumbly or gummy. Grinding all grains to meal gives the right texture and adhesion. The third factor is tightly shaping the patties. A wide-mouth canning ring is perfect; the burgers are the right size for buns, and uniform edges and surfaces are less likely to crack and crumble.
Learn to make Black Bean Veggie Burgers and Spiked Guacamole


The trick to perfect home-made falafel is in the beans. Get Raw-Chickpea Falafel and Lemon–Tahini Sauce recipes at
If you’ve made falafel at home and been disappointed, you’re not alone. You might think you need special equipment, or some secret ingredient, or years of experience. The truth is far simpler.

I’ve tried many falafel recipes, and the results were so unsuccessful that my go-to “recipe” was dried commercial mix rehydrated with pureed soft tofu. The from-scratch problem was always moisture: cooked chickpeas, whether prepped at home or poured from a can, always made the falafel mixture too moist. I’d add binders, like flour or breadcrumbs, but these made the falafel too dense and doughy. Then I stumbled upon a falafel recipe that calls for rehydrated but uncooked beans. On my first attempt, the texture and density issues were gone. Practice led me to develop a flavorful, crisp, vegan falafel perfect for stuffing in Sourdough Pita Bread with a range of condiments and easily frozen for quick meals.
Learn to make Raw-Chickpea Falafel and Lemon–Tahini Sauce