Ease back in
Pumpkin torte, good breakfasts, and mango salsa
Welcome back to This Needs Hot Sauce. I hope you had some time away from your routine this past weekend and got to eat something delicious.
I spent a few days in Rhinebeck with my immediate family, my first time seeing them without masks and distance since March (my parents both had Covid earlier this year and we take it extremely seriously). It was worth the quarantining and testing to be able to sit on a coach and watch movies with them and I loved getting to cook Thanksgiving dinner all together.
Usually, the first day back after a long weekend is tough. It feels like something to struggle through. Today, I tried to approach it differently. Though the rain canceled my morning walk, I woke up and did a 15 minute yoga video, had a bagel for breakfast and journaled. I’m still stressed by the length of my to do list but I’m happy to be home and I know I’ll get back in the swing of things. You will too.
Quick plug: If you’re trying to get your holiday shopping in order, check out my gift guide featuring mostly small businesses (I know many of the items are on sale right now).
Now, let’s dive in.
Something to cook:
We tried a new dessert this year: a pumpkin fudge torte. The pumpkin flavor is not very strong (it uses less than a full can) so it’s not a pumpkin pie substitute. This is a dessert for chocolate lovers who want a slight nod to the season. It’s fun to make and the pumpkin whipped cream would be delicious on pancakes or in coffee if you have extra. And here’s a tip if you’re staying in a rental house: pre measure dry ingredients for baking recipes so you don’t have to buy a random box of brown sugar or cocoa powder.
I believe the Thanksgiving meal requires a salad to balance out the other flavors and cut through the richness. This one is perfect with a flavorful dressing, crunchy almonds, and a good amount of cheese. I think even Brussels Sprouts skeptics would enjoy it.
Since Thanksgiving was an undertaking, we kept the rest of our meals simple: eggs on english muffins and pancakes (from a box of mix found in the cabinet) for breakfasts, cheeseboards, fruit, pretzels and hummus for snacks, and takeout for our remaining dinners.
On Friday night, I tried to make challah for everyone and it was a total fail. I’ve been making challah for years so I’m unsure what went wrong (it was a different type of yeast which is my best guess). I’ll be making a loaf this Friday to prove a point/satisfy my challah craving. Any favorite recipes?
I came home on Saturday and immediately made a quesadilla (having a few cans of refried beans on hand is always a good idea).
Last night, Julia came over and we cooked a classic dinner: tofu wraps with mango salsa and peanut sauce. We were roommates for more than three years and settled back into our roles for this recipe: I always make the tofu and peanut sauce and she does the mango salsa, which involves lots of chopping. We also made some rice to round out the meal and it was so good to see her.
Something to order:
I didn’t get to explore Rhinebeck much but we did pick up coffee from the hilariously named All That Java. The downtown is extremely cute with lots of historic buildings.
My parents drove to Kingston to pick up tacos from Diego’s Taqueria, which were delicious. They had four(!) vegetarian taco options, which is so rare. I got the smoked beet and the beer battered cauliflower, served like a fish taco. The sides are really good, too, so have your group order a few so you can share.
We were low on groceries after stocking up for quarantine and I was craving pho. We ordered from Lucy’s on Saturday night and it was so delicious. It arrives fast (I order directly from their site) and they deliver orders in a reusable bag.
Yesterday was a beautiful day in New York. We met Teal and Nicholas in Tompkins Square Park for lunch and picked up Tompkins Square Bagels on the way. I hadn’t been there in years and it’s still really good! And people watching in the park can’t be beat. The line wasn’t bad but hot tip: you can order ahead online to skip the line.
Something to read:
How the owner of a cookbook store is doing
What Ina Garten’s life was like at 28
I love Your Korean Dad on Tiktok. He’s so warm and inviting.
As the pandemic worsens, oystermen struggle to remain afloat.
Black Farmers Have Been Robbed of Land. A New Bill Would Give Them a “Quantum Leap” Toward Justice.
I can’t wait to watch Sophia Roe’s new show: Counter Space, a food news show with a focus on food justice. It’s on Vice (you can watch on Hulu).
Cw: weight loss/diet talk. Nadiya Hussain’s IGTV about getting rid of her scales is quite powerful
From Julia Coney: Millennials are into wine but the industry hasn’t quite figured that out yet.
I love to cook for my family. When my wife got Covid, I learned to love Seamless.
Elle Simone Scott interviewed Toni Tipton Martin on her podcast, The Walk-In, and it’s an incredible conversation. Toni Tipton Martin is working on her memoirs, which I’m sure will be a must read.
I got to curate some Thanksgiving themed #5smartreads for Hitha, whose newsletter I love. Sign up here to get the reads each week.
Food-service workers shared with Alicia Kennedy what it’s been like to work through a pandemic
How Dutch plant breeders improved the Brussels sprout.
Why you should be eating more Indonesian food
North Brooklyn Mutual Aid is creating a t-shirt fundraiser! We are looking for local artists to submit designs (this is a paid opportunity). Get all the details here and fill out the form by December 4th.
We all have a lot to be grateful for! I loved reading your lists and hope you take some time to make one next month, just for yourself!
Hilary knows food and recipes are something to appreciate: I'm grateful to have a constant stream of recipes I'm interested in experimenting with / trying and the resources to do so, plus always knowing that having plenty of food is not a struggle I face.
Julianne’s list overlaps with mine, I’m so grateful for her friendship!: Friends who have become neighbors who have become family♥️, A partner who supports me in so many ways (but, as it relates to your newsletter, literally all my meals 🤣), An internship where I can actually feel like I'm helping New Yorkers every day, An education that truly challenges and excites me, REALLY FAST WIFI that has made WFH possible, A city that, while hurting tremendously, is still the most exciting and beautiful place to live, A new president, VP, & team full of qualified competent compassionate people!
Steph’s list is perfect for 2020, good music, tv, and company: I'm grateful for wonderful newsletters like this one, Jazz, Murder She Wrote - all 12 seasons on Peacock for free, Having a job and a roof over my head, My spouse and our housemate, A governor and mayor who take this pandemic seriously (North Carolina).
Lily’s list really celebrates the little things, which I love: This year I am thankful for microwaved quesadillas, long phone conversations with my grandma, my boyfriend for always petting my hair when I feel sad or stressed, and fresh flowers.
This week, I’d love to know your favorite indoor activities, inspired by this rainy day. Have you gotten into at home manicures or puzzles or elaborate pastry? My current activities include watching the Crown (about to start season 3), doing very brief yoga classes (Peloton has classes starting at 5 minutes), and scrambling to meet my Goodreads reading goal. Reply to this email with what you’re up to and I’ll share the responses next week!
Take care and have a good week!