Tami Hardeman is the observant eye and stylist behind the popular blog Running with Tweezers. Tami is a professional food stylist and recipes developer who has also recently added "cookbook author" to her resume. Tami spent the last year working on her debut cookbook, Pulse Revolution. An extension of Tami's own cooking style, Pulse Revolution's 150 recipes are vegetarian but include both meat enhancements and vegan adaptations. She shared her recipe for braised lentils and leeks with us, and it's a great sneak peek of all the book has to offer.
Today Tami's sharing how she incorporates lentils into her daily diet, the everyday vegetarian recipes that she thinks everyone should know by heart, and the one pulse she can't get enough of.
With the breadth of food knowledge you've acquired as a food stylist, how did you decide to write about pulses in Pulse Revolution?
In all honestly, I was approached by my publisher with the concept for this book. They felt that my style of cooking would be a great fit for the proposal. After thinking about it for an evening, I totally agreed. I've toyed with lots of ideas for cookbooks over the years and this one came to me and it ended up being a dream subject to write about and develop recipes around.
Most of the recipes in Pulse Revolution are vegetarian, but many include vegan or meaty upgrades. What were some of the challenges to creating vegan and meat-citric variations of these recipes?
I made a conscious choice years ago when it came to my blog and my recipes on Running With Tweezers to focus on vegetarian recipes with a few vegan dishes and a smattering of meat here and there. It's true to how my cooking is at home. I could easily eat meatless 99 percent of the time, whereas my husband jokingly says that everything "needs more sausage!" While that's a direct quote, I stress that there is no more enthusiastic fan of my food than my sweet husband.
The biggest challenge was trying to adapt some of the recipes for vegan cooks. There is a certain amount of fat that really elevates beans and lentils that can be achieved by a knob of butter or some creamy cheese.
How did your day job in food styling influence writing Pulse Revolution?
I wanted things to be tasty first and foremost. Pulses are sometimes a tricky subject to style and making them attractive in every recipe would be an insurmountable task. It did play a role, however, in picking some ingredients or garnishes. I don't think I can separate my food-stylist self from my recipe-writing self.
What is your favorite under-the-radar pulse that people should try?
Pigeon peas! I hadn't often cooked with them, and they are my ideal pulse — not too big, not too small. They retain great tooth and texture and work in everything from soups to curries to patties. I also developed a huge crush on mung beans. I've been using them as mildly flavored sources of texture and protein in things like guacamole and lettuce wraps. Sprouting them has become a near-weekly ritual. They're easy to sprout and so much more economical than buying a small pint at your specialty grocery store.
What is one recipe for pulses that you know by heart?
The braised leeks and lentils. I've made that dish so often, and it's a stunner for being so simple. It feels decadent even though it has some pretty modest ingredients. The lemony spinach hummus is a recipe from my blog that I tweaked for the cookbook and is so versatile — cooked chickpeas, a few handfuls of whatever bright leafy greens you have in the fridge, and a few pantry staples like garlic and lemon. I make a batch of it from memory both for my own snacking at home and as a quick recipe to whiz together for entertaining.