It's Time for a Bloody Mary
Welcome to This Needs Hot Sauce (And Other Food Thoughts), a newsletter sharing something to cook, somewhere to eat out, and something to read. I'm a native New Yorker who spends far too much time thinking and reading about food. I love helping people find better things to eat and solving problems, so let me know how I can help. Let's dive in.
Happy week after Thanksgiving. I hope everyone is fed and rested after a lil stretch away from the office. My long weekend hit a snag when I sprained my ankle on friday night (walking to get food after pilates, of course) so I've been mostly staying in, spending some quality time at Seattle Grace Hospital. I'm hoping to recover in time for a quick trip to London next month (send suggestions, please!) so send good vibes and any stories of your Thanksgiving cooking triumphs.
Something to make:
Seedy Oat Crackers
My friend Frida came to my family's Thanksgiving this year and brought these awesome crackers. I never think of crackers as a thing you can make, but people, yes we can.
These don't require any fancy equipment and you can use whatever seeds you have handy - I want to try them with pumpkin, flax, and chia. Giant bags of seeds can be pricey so this is a time for the bulk bin.
1 cup rolled oats
About 1 1/4 cups bigger seeds (this can be a mixture of pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, etc.)
6 tablespoons smaller seeds (chia or poppy)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
Preheat oven to 375. Mix the dry ingredients, the oats and seeds and salt, in a bowl. Stir oil, maple syrup or honey with one cup of room temperature water in a medium bowl. Pour liquids over dry mixture and toss until the seeds are soaked. Let rest for 10 minutes so the mixture absorbs water and thickens.
Form the oat mixture into a ball and transfer to a lined baking sheet. Press a second sheet of parchment paper (or foil or a sil pat) directly on top and use a rolling pin (or a wine bottle) to spread and flatten the mixture to 1/8 inch thick. Remove the top layer of parchment.
Bake cracker until golden brown around edges, 15-20 minutes. Take out of the oven and flip over using liner. Carefully flip the cracker over and return to the lined baking sheet (use another piece of foil or parchment paper if the first one got messed up as you flipped). Bake the other side until firm and golden brown, another 15-20 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet and then break into pieces with your hands. The weird shapes are the coolest part.
Other Thanksgiving recipes:
We made Tortilla Española for the first time for an appetizer and it was great. The flipping is very scary and you use a ton of oil but most of it does not get absorbed and can be reused. We cut them into little wedges and served with a red pepper tapenade (store bought). In a rare Thanksgiving event, there were no leftovers.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts taste even better with pomegranate seeds, toasted walnuts, and a little pomegranate molasses.
I look forward to this stuffing every year and the leftovers taste amazing with a poached egg the next day. #putaneggonit
This sweet potato dish requires lots of patience but is so pretty and good.
Still very into the roasted grape salad from last week.
And the real MVP of Thanksgiving is always the wine the people you spend it with. Seriously grateful.
In non-thanksgiving news, I'm excited to try dates in my oatmeal and to cook really simple things that don't require lots of standing.
Something to order:
I haven't been eating out much this week but I want to give a shoutout to bloody marys, specifically the excellent one I had at Roberta's today. Bloody Marys are a recently acquired taste as I'm not a big vodka fan, but I can't resist a spicy drink that often comes with snacks. This one had pickled string beans and a cornichon and an olive and wow, I thoroughly enjoyed it even though I had to walk in with a cane after taking a cab to this very nearby restaurant.
My take on Roberta's is that the pizza is good but not worth waiting hours for. The best option is to go on at an off time and sit at the bar OR order pizza from the takeout shop and bring it to the tiki bar (which is heated) so you can enjoy their excellent wine list (they have Georgian wines and chilled reds and lots of weird stuff). The pizzas rotate but obviously improve with some chili oil. My favorite non-pizza items there are the bread and butter (seriously, so good), the olives, and the romaine salad with walnuts.
Other favorite bloody marys: La Rina in Clinton Hill, Rooster Soup Company in Philly, Lalito in Chinatown
Any other ones I need to try?
I also loved Ovenly's (vegan) chocolate chip banana muffin which I had for the first time in months at Toby's Estate Flatiron while reading their cafe copy of the New York Times on Wednesday. Highly recommend that whole experience. I used to work at Ovenly and still love their peanut butter cookies so much (they're only 5 ingredients – peanut butter, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt). It's a great women-owned company with really solid values.
Something to read:
This Smitten Kitchen piece in the New Yorker is a joy.
28 pie charts that show the representation of women in food (tldr: it's pretty bad).
A follow up to my Georgian food gushing.
The pressure to shop this weekend is a lot and I am sooooo sick of gift guides. Mostly reading this instead and trying to finish my bookclub book.
The Splendid Table's Turkey Confidential did not disappoint.
Mario Batali chooses a theme for thanksgiving each year and the Oaxacan menu looks insane. Stalk his instagram for more.
Rare movie plug: I've seen both Ladybird and Coco in the past 10 days and really loved both.
It's almost December. Keep your spirits and ankles elevated!
Happy eating and thanks for reading.