Meet me at the park
Plus, muffins, rosé, and end of Passover pizza.
Welcome back to This Needs Hot Sauce. I visited two parks yesterday: McGolrick in Greenpoint and Herbert Von King in Bed-Stuy. There’s nothing like visiting a park in early spring—you can feel the pent up energy in the outfits, the barbecues and the kids running around. I saw multiple daffodils, a real thrill. Starting tomorrow, everyone 16 and over will be eligible for a vaccine in New York. It’s going to be in the 60s for most of the week and as Nisha wrote yesterday, it’s okay to let some joy back in.
I haven’t dined inside a restaurant yet and am curious if you have. I’m fully vaccinated and would only do it with someone else who is as well. Restaurant workers have been eligible for vaccines for over a month (though I know some back of house workers are still struggling to get appointments) and based on everything I’ve read, I don’t think my vaccinated presence poses a danger to anyone, but still feels like a big step after more than a year. I think I’ll probably go to a familiar restaurant on a cold or rainy night and see how it feels (and tip really well).
Dale and I are going to Boston this weekend to see Isa and Noah and it will be my first time leaving the state since August (probably a lifetime record for me). I’m excited to be somewhere else and reunite with friends and would love any Boston recommendations! Thank you in advance.
Spots are going fast for the meal prep class I’m teaching with Erica on April 18th. We added a few more spots over the weekend and would love to have you in class (use code SUNDAY for a discount). In just a couple of hours, you’ll have food for the week, plus a baked good! Erica is so talented and you’ll get to know her a little bit better in Thursday’s bonus edition.
Now, let’s dive in.
Something to cook:
My Passover meal highlights included a big pan of fried rice, lots of breakfast tacos and corn tortilla quesadillas with black beans and pickled jalapeños.
I brought back a classic TNHS lunch: crispy chickpeas! It’s enough for two lunches, just store the sauce separately. I use broccoli instead of zucchini because I don’t love zucchini.
Sumac is really good on popcorn. I made some on Friday night with butter and flakey salt and the sumac added the perfect hit of brightness.
Yesterday, I got some lovely baby potatoes at the farmers market: a mixture of purple, yellow, and red. I roasted them based on this recipe with olive oil, salt, pepper, a few garlic cloves, and thyme at 450 for 25 minutes and they were absolutely delicious. I served some of them with a kale white bean sauté (sweat a sliced shallot, then add a bunch of chopped tuscan kale, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add in a drained and rinsed can of cannelini beans once the kale has softened along with a little broth or wine to deglaze things. Cook over medium heat until the beans warm through and blister a bit. I added some lemon juice at the end for brightness).
Something to order:
Melissa invited me to a Zoom wine tasting on her roof and it was a blast. She prepared K4P snacks with fancy matzo and cheeses with individual hot honey packets (a great pairing with cheese) and we tried a few bottles from Tank Winery, which is housed in a 1930s gas station in Calistoga (if you’re local, they have outdoor tastings). The labels are so cheeky and the wines are thoughtfully made. This red blend was a favorite and the rosé was a preview of summer.
Julia and I grabbed Passover friendly sushi at Ako on Bedford. It was our first time there and the heated backyard is so nice. I loved the oshinko roll, with pickled radish, and the classic cucumber avocado.
My parents came to Brooklyn and took us to lunch which was a real treat. We ate at 12 Chairs and I got shakshuka with a side of matzoh. Obviously pita is much better but it did the job.
Dale, Natalie, Julia, and I ended passover at Emmy Squared. Their outdoor seating is basically on the BQE, which isn’t their fault. The pizza was great, especially the vodka sauce one and I always love their brussels sprouts salad with dried cherries and blue cheese.
After dinner, we wandered around trying to get a drink and had to try three bars before we found somewhere with room outside. A little preview of summer I think...
Tilden was kind enough to give me a slice of her birthday cake from Brutus Bakeshop, Lani Halliday’s bakery. It’s a rich marvel and somehow gluten free and vegan (her baked goods ship nationwide).
Something to read:
A date with NYC’s vaccine daddy
Free donuts are a great vaccine incentive and should not lead to fat shaming.
The best bowls for mise en place
Hanging in Sunset Park with mutual aid organizer Whitney Hu
Closing my restaurant forced me to learn how to take care of myself
Do you miss brunch or should we leave it behind?
Nafas makes food taste better. Some people really just have the touch.
Alicia Kennedy went long on the past, present, and future of vegan cheese. I learned a lot.
I knew the inventor of old bay seasoning was Jewish but I did not know he got fired from McCormick for being Jewish.
Priya Krishna shared some great tips on getting into food writing (which apply to freelancing more generally)
How did people store fruit before fridges? This Afghan method kept grapes fresh for months.
A room of one’s own sounds great. But what if you’re a mom?
The crushing weight of “sandwich caregiving”
This tray sounds very useful if you’re planning some car picnics this summer.
Indigenous Food Sovereignty Movements Are Taking Back Ancestral Land
Who invented the cupcake and why don’t we know her name? (it’s Amelia Simmons)
The mystery of cloud kitchens on delivery apps (there’s a restaurant near me that’s listed three different ways on the same app so I was really curious about this.
Talea is not brewing chick beer. I spoke to the founders of Talea Beer about motherhood, fundraising, and lots more. The beers are delicious and they have lots of outdoor seating.
Now, let’s talk muffins! I hope these suggestions fuel all kinds of spring baking.
Julianne’s banana muffins are so good: We have ventured into the land of whole wheat flour for our banana pecan breakfast muffins and YUM. You know I'm not a substitution gal but the flavor is not altered whatsoever. We also took out some sugar from our normal recipe and it's still perfect!
Zoe has a big tip about the Wegman’s muffins: The cinnamon chip muffin from Wegmans was my staple growing up. I haven’t seen them in a while and especially since they started individually wrapping them during covid. If anyone finds one please update me! But also any muffin from Wegmans will do.
Rebecca shared the sweetest childhood muffin memory: The greatest muffins were the Betty Crocker "just add water" blueberry muffins and chocolate chip muffins! My mom would always make them for my brother and me for breakfasts and literally, they were the definition of childhood for me! She would make them in a mini muffin pan too and they were so perfect! I can't have them anymore #celiac, but when my brother and I were roommates for a bit, I would make them for him whenever he did something to help me out, as a thank you, haha!
Koseli’s kids are very lucky: I'm a die-hard bran muffin fan. They're wholesome, have a fantastic chewy/hearty texture, and save well. 10 seconds in the microwave and a spread of butter and you feel like you've fed yourself a delicious snack. I also love to make banana muffins, strawberry muffins, and "junk muffins" for my kids with the random ripe fruits and veggies with have. I guess the recipe and 99% of the time they turn out delicious!
Jen knows the power of freezing muffins: These blueberry lemon muffins are absolutely the greatest. I like to put half in the freezer while they're still fresh so that a week or two later I can have them again with no extra work.
Hilary is changing the game with savory muffins: I love savory muffins! Heidi's spinach with feta and butternut- yum. Also SO into these "breakfast sandwich in a muffin" muffins, which were the envy of my colleagues recently (they couldn't tell I used veggie sausage!). These are are probably the sweetest muffins I eat but they are divine and would be a great sub/twist on cornbread- worth finding the various grains/flours. I affectionately call them Birdseed muffins.
This week, ahead of class with Erica, I’d love to hear your favorite meal prep recipes or tips. What do you do get ready for the week ahead/make sure you have something to eat for lunch? I want to try Erica’s chopped salad tricks. I definitely used to be better about this when I had to commute to an office. Reply to this email with your tips and I’ll share them next week.
I'll be back in your inboxes on Thursday to introduce you to Erica and hope to see you in an upcoming class. Come meal prep or make challah with me! I’ll be adding May classes soon and also have private availability.
Have a good week. Hoping it includes muffins, vaccine selfies, and some time outside.
Lately we've been trying to make a pot of beans in the pressure cooker at the end or beginning of each week. Currently on a Mayacoba bean kick and we make tacos and burritos all week long whenever the craving hits. I also like to make a container of hummus at the start of the week to add to things or have as a quick, healthy protein snack