Midday on WNYCAuthor: WNYC Studios
24 Feb 2018

Midday on WNYC

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WNYC hosts the conversation New Yorkers turn to each afternoon for insight into contemporary art, theater, and literature, plus expert tips about the ever-important lunchtime topic: food.

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    Mark Bittman on How to Cook Vegetarian

    Chef, cookbook author and New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman discusses his latest cookbook How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food. The book includes more than 2,000 recipes and variations for straightforward, delicious vegetarian dishes for home cooks. The book covers the whole spectrum of meatless cooking-including salads, soups, eggs and dairy, vegetables and fruit, pasta, grains, legumes, tofu and other meat substitutes, breads, condiments, desserts, and beverages, complete with illustrations. Bittman offers advice on everything from selecting vegetables to preparing pad Thai. 

    Mark Bittman will be in attendance at the Glynwood March Farm Dinner, on March 3rd from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. The dinner, featuring guest chef Mimi Beaven of Little Ghent Farm/Made in Ghent, will feature a menu with regionally adapted varieties that have been cultivated from seed through the Kitchen Cultivars Project.

    This segment is guest hosted by Mary Harris.

    Check out some recipes from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian below!


    MAKES: 4 servings
    TIME: About 1 hour, depending on garnishes

    Fish and meat often figure prominently in the Vietnamese meal-in-a-bowl soup known as pho, but there are traditional and fine vegetarian options, chief among them this broth made from soy sauce and a blend of spices like star anise and cinnamon. All that’s required is a willingness to invest in making the broth and a few additional toppings and you’ll be handsomely rewarded.

    2 tablespoons good-quality vegetable oil
    1 large onion, halved and sliced
    1 head garlic, cloves separated but unpeeled
    1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into coins
    Pinch sugar
    3 or 4 star anise pods
    1 cinnamon stick
    2 bay leaves
    2 tablespoons black peppercorns
    6 cups vegetable stock (pages 97–100)
    ¹/₄ cup soy sauce, plus more to taste
    1 tablespoon cider vinegar
    1 bunch fresh cilantro
    ¹/₂ pound mushrooms (any kind), trimmed
    8 ounces thin rice vermicelli
    6 cups boiling water
    4 scallions, sliced, for garnish
    2 or 3 limes, cut into wedges, for garnish
    Additional toppings as you like (see the list that follows)

    1. Put the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Sprinkle with some salt and the sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the star anise, cinnamon, bay leaves, and peppercorns and stir until warm and fragrant, no more than a minute. Add the stock, soy sauce, vinegar, half the cilantro (save the rest for garnish), mushrooms, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the stock bubbles gently. Cook, partially covered, until you are happy with the concentration of flavor, 30 to 60 minutes.

    2. Put the rice vermicelli in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, and cover with the boiling water. Soak until the noodles are barely tender; start checking after 3 minutes. Drain the noodles, then rinse them and the bowl with cold water to cool down. Return the noodles to the bowl, add enough cold water to cover, and let sit until you’re ready to serve.

    3. Strain the broth through a fine-meshed strainer, return it to the pot, and keep at a gentle bubble. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more soy sauce if you’d like. (You can make the broth to this point, cool, and store it in the refrigerator for several days or the freezer for a few months. Return it to a boil and keep hot until time to serve.)

    4. Prepare any additional toppings from the list that follows (or whatever else you’d like) and put them in bowls or platters. Drain the noodles and divide them among big bowls; ladle some broth over the noodles. Garnish with the scallions, limes, and sprigs of the reserved cilantro. Top the soup with other additions as you like.

    12 Ways to Enhance Pho
    The list here is far from comprehensive, but will give you some idea of different ways to turn a bowl of noodle soup into a meal:
    1. Sliced or grated raw daikon or other radishes, carrots, kohlrabi, or turnips
    2. Mung bean sprouts
    3. Sliced steamed vegetables, like bok choy, Napa cabbage, mustard greens, broccoli or broccoli raab, carrots, green beans, or summer squash
    4. Shelled edamame
    5. Pickled ginger (see page 207)
    6. Tofu Croutons (page 497)
    7. Precooked tofu (see pages 485 to 487), diced or very thinly sliced
    8. Seitan and Lentil Loaf (page 509) or Pan-Seared Seitan (page 510), diced or very thinly sliced
    9. Crunchy Crumbled Tempeh (page 512)

    Kale or Chard Pie
    MAKES: 4 to 6 servings
    TIME: 1¹/₄ hours

    A simple pie with a biscuit-like, no-roll crust that is incredibly versatile: As is, it makes a lovely lunch or elegantside. Or turn the pie into a satisfying entrée with Fast Tomato Sauce (page 312) or The Simplest Yogurt Sauce (page 673). And it’s perfect for entertaining, since you can bake it ahead and serve it room temperature or warm; cut it into thin wedges or bite-size squares and pass as an appetizer. Other vegetables you can use: collards, spinach (squeezed dry and chopped), broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mushrooms.


    2 tablespoons butter, plus more as needed
    About 8 large kale or chard leaves, rinsed well
    and thinly sliced
    1 onion, sliced
    Salt and pepper
    ¹/₄ cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (like parsley,
    thyme, chervil, and/or chives)
    6 eggs
    1 cup whole-milk yogurt or sour cream
    3 tablespoons mayonnaise
    1¹/₄ cups all-purpose flour
    ¹/₂ teaspoon baking powder


    1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Melt the butter in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat. After a minute, add the kale and onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leaves are quite tender, about 10 minutes; do not brown. Remove from the heat, add the herbs, then taste and adjust the seasoning.
    2. Meanwhile, hard-boil 3 of the eggs (page 521); shell and coarsely chop them. Add to the cooked kale and let cool while you make the batter.
    3. Whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, and the remaining 3 eggs in a large bowl until smooth. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until completely incorporated. Lightly butter a 12 × 9-inch or comparble ceramic or glass baking dish. Spread half the batter over the bottom, then top with the kale filling; spread the remaining batter over the kale, using your fingers or a rubber spatula to make sure there are no gaps in the top layer.
    4. Bake for 45 minutes, until the crust is shiny and golden brown. Let the pie cool for at least 15 minutes. before slicing it into as many squares or rectangles as you like. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    CABBAGE PIE An Eastern European classic: Replace the kale with 1 head Savoy or green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced, and the mixed herbs with ²/₃ cup chopped fresh dill.

    MUSHROOM AND KASHA PIE Meaty in flavor and texture and can be made with almost any cooked grain, including wheat and rye berries: Substitute 3 cups chopped
    or sliced mushrooms for the kale, and add 1 cup cooked kasha (page 398) to the mushroom mixture along with the herbs.

  • Posted on 26 Feb 2018

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    A Memoir of Misadventures in Russia

    Journalist and novelist Michael Idov talks about his new memoir Dressed Up for a Riot: Misadventures in Putin’s Moscow . He recounts the tempestuous years he spent living alongside the media and cultural elite of Putin's Russia. After accepting a surprise offer to become the editor in chief of GQ Russia, Idov and his family moved to Moscow. He became a tabloid celebrity, acted in a Russian movie with Snoop Dogg, befriended the members of Pussy Riot, punched an anti-Semitic magazine editor on the steps of the Bolshoi Theatre, sold an autobiographical sitcom pilot and even wrote Russia's top-grossing domestic movie of 2015.

    This segment is guest hosted by Mary Harris.

  • Posted on 26 Feb 2018

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    Mark Bittman's Vegetarian Cookbook, Michael Idov's Misadventures in Moscow

    Chef, cookbook author and New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman discusses his latest cookbook How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food. Journalist and novelist Michael Idov talks about his new memoir Dressed Up for a Riot: Misadventures in Putin’s Moscow.

    This episode is guest hosted by Mary Harris.

  • Posted on 26 Feb 2018

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    Florence Gould, The Woman Who Bought Happiness

    Susan Ronald talks about her biography A Dangerous Woman: American Beauty, Noted Philanthropist, Nazi Collaborator -- The Life of Florence Gould. She tells the story of Gould, a wealthy socialite and patron of the arts who became embroiled in a notorious money laundering operation for high-ranking Nazis in France during World War II. Ronald reveals how Gould managed to avoid prosecution for her crimes and became a significant contributor to the Metropolitan Museum and New York University.

    Susan Ronald is in conversation with biographer Meryl Gordon on February 26th at 6:30 pm at Shakespeare & Co. (939 Lexington Ave. at 68th Street.)

    This segment is guest hosted by Jami Floyd.


  • Posted on 23 Feb 2018

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    How Environmental Laws Can Protect People, Not Polluters

    Environmentalist and Delaware Riverkeeper Maya K. Van Rossum discusses her new book The Green Amendment: Securing Our Right to A Healthy Environment. Van Rossum argues that our environmental laws have been designed to accommodate pollution rather than prevent it. She lays out a new agenda for environmental advocacy that looks to empower citizens and protect our right to clean air and water.

    This segment is guest hosted by Jami Floyd.

  • Posted on 23 Feb 2018


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