Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner
Catskills coziness, beach days, and all the dips
I’m riding the high of a great weekend today and I hope you have some good recent memories to hold onto this week. Earlier this summer, I noticed the weekend was completely empty: no parties, no trips, no work. I made a conscious choice to keep it free and it came together in the best way. The highlights were beach and park hangs, lots of outdoor meals, and some good couch time watching the latest season of Outer Banks. Especially in the past year and a half, I’ve been trying hard to appreciate moments of joy, calm, and contentment, especially knowing how fleeting they are.
On Sunday, Erica and I are teaching a very exciting oven free meal prep class (you can get a sneak peek of one of the recipes in Erica’s first YouTube video) and there are a few spots left. Once you sign up, you’ll get the grocery list and recipes so you can get ready.
Next week is my birthday week and I’m very excited to kick off celebrations with happy hour next Tuesday at Tuffet. RSVP here, I can’t wait to see you. It’s an outdoor event for vaccinated guests!
Now, let’s dive in.
Something to cook:
A major perk of working from home is cooking lunch. I love to make rice in the middle of the day (full disclosure: I buy parcooked rice from Wegmans that cooks in 5 minutes) and always make extra. This week, I made a bowl one day with broccoli, feta, and mint and the next day I made fried rice with eggs, onion, frozen edamame, frozen spinach, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili crisp, and sesame seeds. It’s a delicious meal and endlessly flexible.
I’m teaching a private Rosh Hashanah class soon and tested this apple cake from my great great grandma Bessie. The holiday is so early this year and I’m going to share the recipe with paid subscribers soon!
I aim to have sliced sourdough in the freezer at all times for emergency toast. Serena Wolf calls a sweet and savory toast combo indecision toast and I love the term. I usually do one avocado toast (with sumac, red pepper flakes, lemon, hot honey, feta, and flakey salt) and one with peanut butter and jam or fruit. It’s a quick breakfast that feels fancy.
Something to order:
I was generously gifted a one night stay at Callicoon Hills in the Catskills to live out my Dirty Dancing dreams and it was absolutely lovely! Dale and I went on Monday and had the most relaxing mini trip. The property was built in 1905 and reopened this summer. The branding is excellent and the vibe is lowkey and thoughtful. Some highlights are the pool (we were the only ones there which was quite the treat) and the restaurant, the Conover Club, which has a retro inspired menu with excellent onion dip, cocktails, wings (Dale loved the lavender sriracha ones), and gnocchi. As part of our stay, we got a credit to the restaurant. When you check in, you get a list of activities in the area, including breweries, antiques shops, hikes, and more. It was so relaxing and I definitely hope to return (it would be really fun with a group of friends too). Bring bug spray, a good book, and walking shoes. And if you’ll need to check email, the WiFI is super strong.
On the drive upstate, Dale and I grabbed lunch at Main Street Farm in Livingston Manor which is a 15 minute drive from Callicoon. It’s the type of market I could spent too much money at, with local honey, jam, dairy, ciders and beers. We got sandwiches and ate outside by the river, which made all the GWB traffic stress melt away.
Leah and I grabbed dinner at Kiki’s on Thursday and it was delicious as always. It’s shockingly affordable and you can get a table easily on a weeknight if you get there before 7. We got tzatziki, eggplant dip, maroulosalata (a Greek lettuce salad with dill and scallions), and the zucchini chips, which I get every time. Plus, a chilled carafe of Greek wine to beat the heat.
On Saturday, Julia, Dale and I pulled ourselves together for dinner at Le Fanfare. We had a perfect meal: Italian rosato, burrata, snap pea salad, cacio e pepe, and gnnochi with pesto. The cacio e pepe is top tier, and I’ve tried many. The backyard is really spacious (wear bug spray) and the team is lovely.
Yesterday, Julia, Amy and I had an early beach day in the Rockaways. We set alarms and met up around 10 at Cuisine by Claudette, where we got breakfast (their smoothies and coffee are so good). We walked along the boardwalk, got a great spot in the sand and read and swam until it was time for lunch at Rippers. I dream about the Rippers fries (get the cheese fries with cheese on the side) and the veggie burger is so good.
Something to read:
As things go back to normal, what happens to mutual aid? North Brooklyn Mutual Aid is still going strong.
Pickled jalapeños are a pantry staple
It’s okay for natural wine to just taste good
How to cook with black-eyed peas
It’s easier than ever to get Asian groceries online
Why do American grocery stores still have ethnic food aisles?
The best sandwiches (the British toast one sounds intriguing)
A stuffed avocado for every century
Anela’s vulnerability about burnout is so important (and relatable)
Inside the complicated process of importing and eating Pakistani mangoes in the US (whatsapp is a major player)
High on the Hog was renewed for a second season! I’m so thrilled for the team and can’t wait to watch.
So thrilled for Alejandra and her upcoming show “The Great American Recipe.”
Two donation options to help Haiti
A Michigan mom on teaching her son to cook
Lighthouse got a nice write up in the New Yorker highlighting its zero waste practices. I am a longtime fan of their oyster happy hour (and everything they do).
The enduring appeal of buttery Chardonnay
Coffee prices are going up quickly and small roasters and cafes are worried. As Alicia Kennedy says, “the coffee always comes from somewhere.”
There are so many Blank Street Coffee locations now, will the model change New York coffee culture?
Study: Jews of color love Judaism but often experience racism in Jewish settings
For The Infatuation, I wrote about how New York restaurants are handling the vaccine mandate. Thank you to the restaurant owners who made time to speak with me.
Now let’s talk about salt. In a fun coincidence, Erica devoted last week’s newsletter to salt too.
Hillary has key Burlap & Barrel intel (I love their spices): I highly recommend checking out the salt collabs over at Burlap & Barrel. No affiliation, just a happy shopper; the B&B team are fun and knowledgeable folk. The salts are excellent. They just started carrying black salt. Black lime and their ground kelp are salt subs.
Rachel knows salt is an excellent gift: Diamond Crystal for regular daily cooking use, regular table salt for baking when the recipe doesn't otherwise specialize, and Maldon for finishing! I do have a fun little salt cellar that I bought probably at Home Goods, which I use for the Maldon. The Diamond Crystal big box lives in the cabinet, but I fill up an old Bonne Maman jam jar with that and keep that on the counter as a cheap salt cellar alternative. I also want to recommend fancy salt as a gift for anyone who is into food - it's the kind of thing that many people never buy for themselves.
Chrissy was influenced by Erica’s tips: Regarding salt, which I love: I mostly use the Trader Joe's Himalayan pink salt that comes in a grinder, but I just read Erica's newsletter and will now be investing in a salt cellar ASAP!
Madison is a Diamond Crystal convert: Diamond!!! I am a converted fan after reading Julia Turshen and Molly Baz both rave and swear by it and WOW yes it is different than Morton and I am never going back!
Jen has a salt rotation which I love: I keep Diamond Kosher in my salt cellar for seasoning while cooking, and a big jar of fine sea salt for things like salting pasta water or baking (because it's way cheaper). I also love Maldon salt for finishing— the smoked version is especially nice for tomato sandwiches or crisp roasted veggies.
This week, I’m curious about your favorite dips! I enjoyed many this week (onion, cheese sauce, tzatzik, chips and salsa) and it’s hard to choose! Reply to this email with your favorites and I’ll share next week.
Have a great week and thanks for reading This Needs Hot Sauce!