A Meal, Planned

Got this email from a reader on Friday: “Last night, perhaps by chance or intuition, I won kudos from a pretty particular friend for my menu. Your cacio e pepe was the main course. He talked about the flow from caprese to cacio e pepe to Samin Nosrat's spring salad with green goddess dressing to gelato with raspberry coulis. How do I do learn to make that happen? Lots of online newsletters have single recipes. Putting together a dinner seems to take second place.”

Totally.

We will start doing this more often, I promise. To start, here’s an all-vegan meal – it’s perfect for a warm weather lunch, but equally great for a light dinner. The tomato soup can be made with canned tomatoes (no need to wait for that perfect slice of summer). The tofu salad needs some marinating time, so if you’re making it for dinner, prep it in the AM if you can. The noodles are a spin on the classic cold sesame. And the sorbet speaks for itself. It’s finally almost that time of year when it seems okay to eat frozen dessert every night.

—Mark


Fresh-tasting, extra-refreshing, and extremely low in fat.

COLD TOMATO SOUP WITH THAI FLAVORS


There are two keys to this salad. The first is to buy dry, pressed tofu, which is sold in most Asian food markets and some natural food stores. It’s much firmer than regular tofu and has a dense, chewy texture and deep ivory skin—or, if seasoned or precooked—a brown skin. The second is to allow the salad to marinate long enough for the tofu to absorb the flavors of the dressing. That part’s easy, but it does require some planning.

PRESSED TOFU SALAD


Like a salad, really, with lots of crisp vegetables and a light, hot-sweet dressing. Serve as part of a bigger meal, or in larger portions as a lunch or a light supper.

COLD FIERY NOODLES


This sorbet is so creamy and approaching rich that you may not believe it doesn’t contain egg; add some milk or cream (see the variation) and you’ll swear it’s a proper ice cream.

MANGO OR APRICOT SORBET


Talk To Me, Goose!

Questions, comments, brilliant suggestions? Just want to share the recipe for your grandma's potato salad, or your mom's meatloaf, or your uncle Drew's three-day 100-percent rye loaf (yes, please)? Don't hesitate to reach out anytime.