It's Somehow Spring
Let's talk weekends, mini bakes, and your favorite at-home breakfasts
We’re still inside and I’m starting this week in better spirits. I’m looking forward to a Zoom Seder on Wednesday and I caught up with some friends from Guatemala this past weekend. Even though we were calling from three different countries, it felt like being just across the table and my face hurt from laughing by the end.
I hope you’re hanging in! Another highlight of last week was our second virtual happy hour! I loved seeing people from all over and I’m going to start the next one (on April 23rd) slightly later so more West Coast friends can join. I’ll share Zoom details for that next week but mark your calendars.
Now, let’s dive in.
Something to cook:
If you’re not keeping Passover, add frozen ravioli to your grocery list. It’s just as easy as cooking a pot of pasta, but way more special. Dale and I had a multi-course meal last night (wine while we cooked, ravioli with Rao’s sauce and veggies, and then cookies and vanilla ice cream for dessert). It felt so special, almost like we were at a restaurant and on the fence about dessert and then decided to go for it. The cookies were the last few from a batch of dough we made a few weeks ago and kept in the freezer. I can’t recommend this enough.
Julia and I made some of our greatest hits this week: chickpea pasta with dried herbs instead of fresh and cookies. We tried a new recipe from Smitten Kitchen Every Day, for two perfect oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. It’s not online, but reply to this email and I can share it with you. If you want a bigger batch, make these and add chocolate chips.
Some other limited ingredient baking ideas besides cookies: make a dozen cupcakes and frosting with only one stick of butter and make mini brownies in a loaf pan (instructions here).
I also have been using the last of our Lighthouse sourdough for toasts, like toast with hummus, butternut squash, and za’atar (a creative riff on these). That roasted butternut squash also came in handy for quick tacos (tortillas never let me down). I also made a bunch of salads in the post grocery days with fried eggs, kimchi, cheddar, and spinach. It’s a great combo that I got from Lukas Volger’s excellent Start Simple.
For dinner on Friday, I was quite tired and in a bit of a rush to get to a virtual happy hour. I was hesitant to cook something new, but decided to give this broccoli with sesame tofu recipe a try. It was so easy and good and I loved eating the leftovers cold over the weekend. It totally had that leftover Chinese food feel. I used firm tofu which didn’t get as crispy as extra firm, but it all worked out fine. Definitely serve this over rice or another grain you have on hand.
Also, you know this, but if you have bread and butter and jam and scrambled eggs, you can make your home feel like a diner pretty quickly. It vastly improves a Saturday.
Something to order:
I had takeout twice last week and both times felt special. I know takeout might not last, the risks are high and the margins are low, but I’m glad to support restaurants while I can and take a temporary cooking break.
Dale and I got Lighthouse one night and wow, it was good. We got the burrata to start, which comes with grilled bread. Burrata is something I’ve never bought to prepare myself and it felt so luxurious to eat during these times. If you order from Lighthouse, make sure to get a loaf of bread.
Julia and I got Williamsburg Pizza on Saturday night and watched the Big Sick (highly recommend, it’s free on Amazon Prime). We got a mushroom pie and a caesar salad and it hit the spot.
Passover starts Wednesday so I probably won’t do takeout till it’s over and then I’ll be ready for some sort of bread laden feast.
We’re also almost out of coffee (the horror) so I’m going to place an order at City of Saints, which is close by and still open.
Something to read:
Detroit restaurants have pivoted to feed the homeless
The delivery/takeout wave is coming to an end
Taste-testing Ina Garten’s cosmopolitan (related: Heather McMahan’s Ina videos are so funny)
Another at-home Grub Street diet, from Emily Gould.
Eater staffers share their favorite Smitten Kitchen recipes
In Mexico City, street vendors agonize over risking their health to maintain their livelihood.
A list of worker strikes happening right now (don’t cross a picket line)
Another week, another Gary He story: he shadowed an undocumented restaurant worker
Sadly, this guide to protect your zoom meeting from zoombombing feels necessary for Seders.
I’ve been thinking a lot about people who have cars right now and Tejal Rao’s meditation on driving through Los Angeles is beautiful.
Homemade bread is uh, tougher than it seems.
Next time you go grocery shopping, approach the task with empathy.
Now, let’s talk about breakfast. Not having to commute means more time to make something good! I’m still on the oatmeal train but thinking about ordering bagels for after Passover (Russ and Daughters is backed up but maybe worth it)
Julia took advantage of good bread and fresh produce: Breakfast for me is usually oatmeal with berries or yogurt with granola, but I'm really living this week thanks to that sourdough loaf we ordered from Lighthouse, sliced up, and put in the freezer. I've been eating a hunk of the bread with a fried egg and some fresh berries (still in those wonderful lots-of-produce-days after a big grocery shopping trip), and it's a truly perfect breakfast that almost makes me feel like I'm not quarantined.
Alicia has her muffin game down pat: I am making MUFFINS for breakfast. Specifically these and these. The banana choc chip ones taste better but they're also way more decadent.
Frida’s breakfasts use up groceries and mix things up: Because I stocked up on frozen fruits before this, I have been making a lot of smoothies for breakfast, but I ran out of oat milk last week (RIP) and have been relying on oatmeal (with PB, nuts, and sometimes a little brown sugar) since then. I get kind of bored of oatmeal easily though, so now I'm doing breakfast quesadillas on whole wheat tortillas. Today I added in some sauteed spinach because why not, I'm on the end of a large bag and it was starting to wilt in my fridge anyway. My favorite quality of breakfast is not having to think about it too hard, so it's been different/kind of fun to dedicate a little brain space to how to eat so I can make the most of my groceries every week!
Julianne stocked up on bagels before quarantine and I am definitely jealous: Here goes! PB Banana toast: Apples & PB or Bagels! We have perfected the "just like the bagel store" reheating method. Lmk if I should share our secret publicly! & the one good thing to come from this quarantine: I now have a morning routine! I make tea for my 9am class every morning, either ginger/lemon tea or vanilla tea.
Isa has expanded her breakfast repertoire (chia pudding is a great idea for Passover): Right now, I’m really enjoying homemade chia seed pudding topped with berries, honey, and granola and a glass of homemade cold brew. Both new additions to my repertoire courtesy of sheltering in place!
This week, I’d love to hear about your weekends. It’s been a struggle to make Saturday and Sunday stand out from the rest of the week. Days feel so long without anywhere to go (I’ve been taking some walks but there are so many people out that it’s not my favorite). What are you cooking, eating, ordering, or doing to make them feel different?
Reply to this and let me know! I’ve been enjoying late breakfasts, zoom hangs, cooking something special or ordering on Saturday nights, watching a movie instead of a TV show, and long dinners with music in the background.
I’ll be back later this week and want to do a Q+A. A bunch of you have reached with questions about cooking new vegetables, recipe substitutions, and more. If you have a food question, send it in and I’ll do my best to answer. You can also ask personal questions or share your tv recommendations. I’ll answer everything on Thursday or Friday!
Wishing a good Passover to everyone celebrating. I’ll share a Seder recap next week and know it will be a holiday to remember.
Happy eating and thanks for reading. Wash your hands and stay safe.