A lid for every container

Your thoughts on storage, a stellar fall sandwich, and vegetarian pho

Are the leaves changing yet where you are? We’re headed to the Berskshires for Oset’s wedding and I’m hoping to do some peeping. In the thick of an apartment hunt (send your best thoughts), I have been turning to the kitchen for a limited sense of control. While I can’t conjure the perfect in our budget and desired area apartment with loads of counter space and a dishwasher out of thin air, I can take a few slices of bread and make myself lunch. And that’s something.

Now, let’s dive in.

Something to cook:

Using some of my apple picking haul, I made an incredible grilled cheese with apple and arugula (you don’t really need a recipe). I used sourdough bread and made this twice in the past week. Highly recommend (it reminds me of the really good seasonal special at a campus cafe and that’s a compliment).

I love rice and beans and the Cuban black beans from A Dozen Cousins are so well seasoned. Each pack is two servings, and with rice, some veggies, hot sauce, and avocado or cheese, it’s a quick and easy meal.

Avocado toast and kale salad are evergreen hits in my kitchen. My usual avocado toast involves lime, chili flakes, sumac, and a big hit of flakey salt and I made a kale salad with scallions, cheddar, almonds and a dijon lime dressing. It’s about getting some greens and using what you have.

Last night, I used Omsom’s mala pack with some mushrooms and tofu (I used half the pack to marinate the tofu and half as a sauce with the mushrooms). Such a good meal and you can get $5 off your first Omsom order with this link.

Something to order:

Tilden and I caught up over oysters and pan tomat at Maracuja (such good happy hour and it goes till 7) before grabbing dinner at Tabaré, a Uruguayan restaurant I had never been to (they also have a location in Bushwick). We split mussels and empanadas and everything was delicious. I visited Uruguay when I was studying abroad in Argentina and would love to go back someday. It was lovely.

Julianne, Ian and I got to see Hillary’s gorgeous new apartment and we ordered such good sushi from her local spot, which was so good (try it if you’re on the Upper East Side). My favorite veggie options of late are peanut avocado rolls and oshinko rolls.

There was a chill in the air this week and it was time for pho. Lucy’s Vietnamese has excellent pho (the broth is always vegan and the vegan ginger chicken is so good, Dale gets it too) and they package it so well for takeout. I usually get two meals out of it and it’s a cool weather staple.

Something to read:

Two new books explore Fannie Lou Hamer’s legacy

How much money are people really making on Substack?

Covid-19 totally changed restaurant criticism. What’s next?

Melissa reported from Lesbian spring break in Palm Springs

5 Latina immigrant housekeepers on how the pandemic has impacted their lives

I incorrectly linked this article on parallel play for adults last week so I’m sharing it again.

Steak Diane’s new line looks so beautiful (obviously I love the oyster print)

Excited for a larger space for Superiority Burger

Did anyone else read The Clique Books? The satire went right over my head.

Whatsapp is infrastructure in many parts of the world

Gabrielle Carter was featured on High on a Hog (watch it if you haven’t already), she’s a cultural preservations who uses food as a medium

Reminder: a public apology is not systemic change

Are plant milks supposed to taste like milk or their ingredient?

Icky neocolonialism as this DC fine dining chef opens a restaurant in Somalia

The Noom app is a diet

Perk up chili with this pantry ingredient

Talking to friends about race

The Korean Vegan’s cookbook comes out tomorrow and I will read all of the profiles of her.

What we learned about ending hunger during the pandemic (tldr: give people money!!)

Now, let’s talk containers. You had so many thoughts and great recs for storing all kinds of things.

Anna knows some jars are better than others: In college, I reused all of my kimchi jars – they were my drinking cups, my leftover containers, my mise en place bowls... I still always feel a twinge of guilt when I recycle a perfectly good kimchi jar! 

Michelle had so many thoughts (we had to entertain ourselves during the IG/FB outage): I'm 100% with you on Talenti and Bonne Maman jars! I also tend to save dijon mustard jars and peanut butter jars. (How many jars is TOO MANY jars? It's so hard to cull the collection!) I also keep 32 oz plastic yogurt containers. Oh and the Oui yogurt jars! I actually bought the lids Yoplait sells for them (not great quality, super flimsy plastic, but you can find other ones on etsy, amazon etc) and use them to make chia puddings. 

In terms of containers that I'm willing to buy - I'm not one to decant every single thing I buy into containers, but for baking ingredients I do love OXO pop containers. I keep an eye out for them to go on sale at The Container Store. Also I find this chart of their container sizes very satisfying and useful. If I had the counter space, I would prefer to use beautiful glass jars, but since these need to live in a cabinet, it's very convenient that they are stackable. 

As much as I want to run out and buy a matching set of glass food storage containers, I try to only buy them when I actually need them! I have an amazing kitchen supply store in my neighborhood that sells these Glasslock containers individually, so I don't need to buy a whole set.

I bought these Pyrex 2-cup containers specifically because they fit a batch of hummus made with 1 can of chickpeas perfectly! Also they look nice enough for serving at parties. Of course you can buy plain glass ones but the patterned ones are cute. 

And now my container FAILS - In my noble quest to be plastic-free, I bought a couple of these stainless steel containers. I had the intention of using them to store meat in the freezer, but I'm not loving them. They are really airtight which is great, but sometimes difficult to open/close. When they're frozen and your hands are even slightly damp, your skin will stick to the metal surface, which is not pleasant. They're also quite pricey! I found a good sale when I got mine. I don't know. Maybe I need to re-think how I want to use them? 

Allison has a produce saving tip: On favorite containers, I'm a huge fan of Tupperware's Fridgesmart containers and recommend them to everyone — they're for storing your fresh produce rather than your leftovers, but they truly do extend the life of most produce in your fridge by a significant amount (especially greens!). I have this one and this one, which cover most of my needs.

Jamie knows TJ Maxx has great homegoods: I recently overhauled my containers and now have only BPA-free plastic containers or glass ones!! I got them all at TJ Maxx. When I get plastic take out containers I just recycle them instead of reusing them now since I have enough, and that works well in my small apartment w limited storage space!

Leslie’s kitchen is organized like a professional one: I really like my giant square containers that I got at a restaurant supply store! I bought them after a rough kitchen pest situation a few years ago, and I use them for storing all the random things I don't want to leave out but can't be bothered to individually decant into big mason jars. I mainly use the 8-quart ones for mixed items like opened chip bags, nuts, and half-empty bags of pasta. Sometimes I'll fill the 4-quart ones with bulk flour and rice, or use them for food prep when cooking for a crowd. 

Jen has jars for food and jars for art supplies: All my nuts and baking stuff like coconut & chocolate chips are stored in 500ml Kraft jam jars because they're not too big, and they're square so they fit together so nicely on the shelf! I also use the massive Seinfeld's pickle jars you get at Costco for rice and dried beans. And I do keep a lot of my knitting notions in a Royal Dansk tin, but I keep Altoids tins for even smaller things like stitch markers.

This week, I’d love to hear your favorite lunches du jour. Lunch is a meal I know so many of us struggle with and new ideas are always appreciated. Mine is definitely that apple grilled cheese (Julianne made it with turkey and Luciana suggested swapping the cheddar for brie). I’ll share your answers next week!

Thanks for reading and supporting This Needs Hot Sauce! It really means the world. I’ll be back Thursday to talk about neighborhood restaurants (and Michigan stars) with paid subscribers.

xo, Abigail