Get groceries and grow scallions
Two goals for the week, plus our next happy hour
We’ve made it to another Monday! I’m feeling a little drained at the start of the week but I keep reminding myself there is a lot to look forward to. I’m hosting another virtual happy hour on Thursday, April 2nd at 7 p.m. EST and would love to see you there (our last one was so much fun and we had people from all over the country join).
Enter here at 7 p.m. EST. Meeting ID: 470 041 417 Password: 043648
I’m also thinking a lot more about Passover after friday’s email (thank you for your kind responses, I’m glad I’m not alone in trying to figure this out). I’m considering hosting a This Needs Hot Sauce virtual seder on an “off night” of Passover. Would you be interested in something like this? I’d send out materials and some recipes ahead of time and we could do an abbreviated version of the Seder and check-in with one another.
Now, let’s dive in.
Something to cook:
Julia and I made it 11 days between grocery runs! She went on Saturday so now we’re in those glorious days where we have tons of fresh produce. I’ve been trying to use up the perishable stuff first and then get into the long-lasting stuff.
Last week, I used a very dried out bunch of kale to make marinated greens. The method is easy and transformative. A huge bunch of kale shrunk down to fit in a Talenti jar. Based on the name of this recipe, I thought they might taste a little depressing, which isn’t fair, but they’re so flavorful. I used the greens as a base for lunch with a soft boiled egg on top and tossed the rest with some cauliflower gnocchi and parmesan cheese.
First, save your greens! We had a huge bunch of kale that was starting to look sad. I used some for a salad and made marinated greens from @lukasvolger with the rest (the recipe is online). It’s a genius idea: cook the greens down and season them with garlic, red pepper flakes and salt. They take up less space and keep for a week, ready to go into a pasta, a frittata or whatever else you’re making.
Also pictured: a snack dinner from our happy hour, because sometimes cooking is overrated, @smittenkitchen challah from last Friday (I broke down my method in this week’s newsletter and hope you try it this Friday), and nachos with homemade chips (thank you @howtobebrokeinnewyork!!). I’m trying to make at least some meals fun and transportive and accept that lunch on a Monday is probably not going to be life changing (it rarely was before this time). How are you all doing? What’s on your shopping list? I’m keeping a running list for when we do have to return to the store.
I love peanut sauce and usually have all the ingredients on hand. I made these peanut noodles with roasted broccoli using soba noodles and ate the leftovers for a few lunches. Top with sriracha, some chopped peanuts, and a squeeze of lime to brighten things up.
On grocery day, which is basically a holiday now, Julia and I made our favorite tofu cabbage wraps with mango salsa and peanut sauce (sense a theme?). It’s such a perfect dinner: full of flavor and crunch, AND it’s fun to eat. If you have leftover salsa, eat it with chips or anything. It’s so good.
Yesterday, I made a batch of hummus with canned peeled chickpeas. I served it with homemade pita chips (cut up pita bread into triangles, brush it with olive oil and sprinkle on some salt, smoked paprika, and garlic powder, bake at 375 for 10 minutes or until crunchy), carrots, and cucumber.
I also have made a lot of quesadillas with random greens thrown in. Don’t forget to add refried beans to your tacos and quesadillas. I saute onion, add the beans and some cumin and chili powder. The final result is so good on any tortilla based product.
Julia made a version of this soup with extra greens and a parmesan rind last night and froze it in individual portions for future dinners. She measures each portion in the bowl she’s going to eat it in, which is brilliant.
To prep for this week, I roasted a butternut squash in halves using the method in Lukas Volger’s Start Simple. The book is perfect for right now: built around a few staple ingredients and simple.
It’s not really cooking, but I’m having so much fun growing scallions! Drop the roots in a cup of water and put it near a window. Change the water at least once a week. Mine grew pretty quickly (this picture is from a few days ago) and it’s so satisfying to watch them sprout.
Something to order:
I ordered takeout once since we last checked in, from Lighthouse, my bad day restaurant. Julia and I first went almost three years ago, Dale and I went on our first real date there, it’s very special to me. We ordered dinner (a burger for Julia, their carrots with herbs, a cauliflower bowl) and two negronis (they arrived in a mason jar with a separate container full of ice and orange wedges) and a loaf of their excellent sourdough bread. We were both exhausted the day we ordered and the meal turned things around. A break from cooking feels so good right now and it also reminded me of so many great times I’ve had at the restaurant.
Since I’ve been ordering in so infrequently, I want to make each order count, both to support the restaurant and to get extra supplies. I saved half my meal for lunch the next day and we sliced and froze half of the bread, which has already come in handy for avocado toast and other lovely breakfasts. Tip well!
One other thing: I called the restaurant to try and order directly and they said delivery had to go through seamless (this is the third time something like that has happened). But it was still worth calling because the negronis hadn’t been added to seamless yet (I spotted them on their Instagram). I was able to pay for them by venmoing their employee fund and got them added to the order.
This week, I might do a wine order from Bibber and Bell (their newsletter has weekly deals) and I have to plan my pre-Passover meal, which will probably be pizza. Continue to support the places you love so they’ll be here for the long haul.
On the restaurant news front, I’m obsessed with Gary He’s photos (his story on the crowds in front of Carbone is award-worthy).
The stimulus package doesn’t do enough for small businesses or individuals so make sure you’re reading up on that (Eater has a good analysis here) and calling your reps.
One very inspiring thing from Anna: restaurants are pivoting to feed healthcare workers!
Something to read:
Bon Appetit’s test kitchen is home cooking too.
Kwame Onwuachi’s quarantine Grub Street diet. His book would be a great read right now). Grub Street is also doing one-day Quarantine diets, here’s Samin Nosrat’s.
What to expect when you’re grocery shopping now
Super helpful (I sent it to a few family members): a complete guide to food safety and coronavirus
Why we should still have happy hour. Needless to say, I agree.
Quarantining with a Michelin Star Chef
How to make a watercolor seder plate for a virtual seder
Amazon and Instantcart workers are striking today. Don’t cross the picket line.
This Needs Hot Sauce got a shoutout in W Magazine!
For October, I wrote about why quarantine is the perfect time to make kombucha.
Non Corona stories:
How Franco’s 40-year rule changed the course of Spanish wine and cheese
I really want to read Wine Girl, Victoria James’ new memoir.
Trader Joe’s reviews from a different time.
Drinks you can make with a small bar cart. I refilled my ice cube trays this week for a gin and tonic and it was delightfully refreshing.
I’m excited to watch Uncorked on Netflix, which follows a young Black sommelier.
Now, I’d love to hear what you’re eating for breakfast these days! I love breakfast (as discussed in my work from home tips from a few weeks ago). I’ve been doing oatmeal on weekdays and something fun on weekends, like breakfast tacos or avocado toast with an egg.
Rachel has her morning drinks set up: I started a new quarantine morning routine for drinks. My coworkers turned me on Morning Complete (tastes disgusting but is supposed to great for digestion, immunity, etc) - > health juice - celery, cucumber, lemon -> one large glass of water -> coffee with almond milk.
If there’s anything else on your mind, particularly about Passover, please get in touch! I’m here for you.
Happy eating and thanks for reading. Stay inside if you can and wash your hands.