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Joe Yonan, the travel and food editor at The Washington Post, recently adopted a lifestyle shunned by many travelers and food obsessives alike: vegetarianism. But Yonan says that with a creative approach, vegetarians can eat well and fully experience the world -- and continue to oversee journalism that appeals to omnivores. Kojo chats with Yonan about the challenges of the vegetarian diet and the stereotypes that come with it. He also talks with a farmer who's inspired Yonan to change how he looks at food.
1 medium tomato, cored and cut into quarters
1 small cucumber, peeled and cut into large chunks
Flesh from 1/2 avocado, cut into large chunks
3 large basil leaves
1/2 jalapeño (optional)
3/4 cup lightly packed watercress or baby spinach leaves
1 small celery stalk (optional)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or more to taste
1 tablespoon honey
2 ice cubes
Filtered water (optional)
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Reserve one-quarter of the tomato, two cucumber chunks, two avocado chunks, and one basil leaf. Combine and finely chop for garnish.
Stem and seed the jalapeño half and reserve the seeds. Cut the jalapeño into several pieces. Combine one or two pieces of the jalapeño with the remaining tomato, cucumber, avocado, and basil and the watercress or spinach, celery, garlic, red wine vinegar, honey, and ice cubes in a blender or the bowl of a food processor; puree until smooth. Add 1/4 cup or more water to thin the mixture, if necessary.
Taste and season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar, if needed. If you want the soup spicier, add more of the jalapeño, a little at a time, as well as some of the seeds if desired, blending and tasting after each addition. Refrigerate until cold, then pour into a bowl and top with the reserved chopped tomato, cucumber, avocado, and basil and a drizzle of olive oil, and eat.
3 ounces whole wheat fusilli, farfalle, or other curly pasta
2 ears fresh corn
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
4 fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled, and thinly sliced
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until it is al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, shuck the corn and rinse it under running water, removing as many of the silks as you can with your hands. Rub one of the ears over a coarse grater set over a bowl to catch the milk and pulp. Cut the kernels off the other cob with a knife (see page 180); keep the whole kernels separate from the milk and pulp.
Pour the oil into a large skillet set over medium heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the onion and garlic and sauté until tender. Add the corn kernels and sauté for just a few minutes, until the corn softens slightly and brightens in color. Stir in the corn milk and pulp and turn off the heat. Cover to keep warm.
When the pasta is al dente, drain it (reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water) and add it to the skillet with the corn sauce. Toss to combine, adding a little pasta water if the sauce needs loosening. Stir in the cheese, then taste and add salt as needed and grind in plenty of fresh black pepper. Stir in the basil, scoop everything into a bowl, and eat.