This Cookbook Makes Eating Your Vegetables More Fun

A rapid-fire Q&A with cookbook author Micah Siva.

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Micah Siva</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Micah Siva

Welcome to One Quick Bite, where we share smart, cool, and weird conversations with our favorite authors about their new cookbook and beyond.

If you're a fan of Simply Recipes, especially on Instagram, you are likely to know Micah Siva, the friendly chef who makes banana boats, crunchy nuts, and latkes (in eight different ways, no less!). The first time I met Micah at our studio kitchen, I got a side stitch from laughing so hard with her. Micah's energy is contagious and it's no surprise she inspires many to cook with less stress and more joy.

Micah wrote a cookbook! It's called "Nosh" and it celebrates classic Jewish recipes, many of which she turned vegetarian. For example, you must try the Celeriac "Pastrami" Sandwich and Savory Pulled Mushroom and Tofu "Brisket," the first recipe she suggests you make. There are also classics like Yeasted Sufganiyot and everyday favorites like Smashed Cucumber Salad—it reminds her of her grandfather Zaida's pickles.

I got to hang with Micah—something I'd never pass up on!—for this rapid-fire Q&A, where she gives us a peek into her favorite things in and out of the kitchen.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

If you could promote one kitchen tool with your face on the packaging, which would it be?
My OXO zester—I love it so much. It's by far the most-used kitchen tool and one of the most versatile and compact things you can own. I use it to add lemon zest to nearly everything—grate garlic, add a dusting of Parmesan cheese, or a scratch of nutmeg.

If you could pass a ban on one ingredient, which one would it be?
I might get canceled for saying this, but I would ban jarred minced garlic. Garlic is my favorite flavor, and there is no substitute for fresh. Jarred garlic tastes weirdly acidic and bitter.

What’s your most-used pan?
A cast-iron skillet. I love Field Company if you are looking to splurge. I use my Lodge cast iron pan just as much! It gets a good sear on my veggies, I use it to bake cinnamon rolls, and even prepare my favorite shakshuka. As long as you take care of it, it will pay you back as a trusted friend in the kitchen. Plus, I'm rough on my kitchenware, and my cast iron has stood the test of time!

You’re stuck on a deserted island and can only bring one kitchen tool.
I would bring a chef's knife, for obvious reasons. Whether to chop down trees, whittle my friends out of wood—I'm making my own Wilson!—stave off enemies, or cut into coconuts... can't go wrong with a knife... right?

What do you always buy at the grocery store when it’s on sale?
Bread flour when it is on sale, which doesn't happen often. I like King Arthur, Arrowhead Mills, or Bob's Red Mill bread flour. It is my secret ingredient for perfect challah, every single time. Oh, and cereal and grapes on sale. This stuff gets expensive!

What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you when it comes to cooking?
How booooring my weekday meals are. At the end of the day, I'm often too tired to cook again for dinner, so my husband and I will have eggs and toast, pancakes, or a big salad. As a very new mom, my time is more limited than ever, and I don't often get time to cook for fun these days! As a chef, people are often intimidated to cook for me, but pour me a bowl of cereal, let's have a good conversation, and I'm happy!

What’s your go-to midnight snack?
Dry cereal, preferably something a little sweet! I have my morning cereals that fuel me, and my night cereals for snacking—without milk.

What's your most stained cookbook?
My most stained cookbook is "Pleasures of Your Food Processor" by Norene Gilletz. My grandmother Eva inherited it, and she made notes on all the pages, crossed things out, and taped her recipes into the book. I don't use it to cook per se, but I flip through it to remember her.

The first recipe someone should make from your cookbook.
The Savory Pulled Mushroom and Tofu "Brisket". It is wildly delicious, full of umami flavor, and perfect for a holiday meal, on a bun, or with mashed potatoes. It is such a fun take on the Jewish brisket! I love how the tofu gets crispy, like the burnt ends of a classic brisket.

What’s a recipe you will teach your kiddo to make on his own?
I want my little guy to try making challah with me—it is such an important part of our tradition, and I can't wait to get my hands messy with him.

Which cooking competition show would you want to compete in?
I'd be great at Chopped. If there's anyone who can make something with odds and ends from any fridge, it is me! I spend a lot of time testing recipes for various projects and always end up with a hodgepodge of ingredients in my fridge that need to get used—and I do use them all!

If you were a cocktail, condiment, or spice, which would you be?
I'd be paprika. In fact, when I was a kid, I wanted to change my name to Paprika—so glad I didn't! I can be sweet, smoky/fiery, and bold, but can fit into many places and spaces, just like paprika.

BUY THE COOKBOOK: "Nosh: Plant-Forward Recipes Celebrating Modern Jewish Cuisine"

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.