Pizza Snacks and what to do about Thanksgiving
Plus baked pasta, wage discrimination, and Zoom celebrations
It’s been 8 months/what feels like 2 years since March and we’re still hitting record case and hospitalization numbers. I’m experiencing awful flashbacks to March as plans switch from IRL to FaceTime and I’m wondering if that outdoor dinner I had on Wednesday was my last time at a restaurant for a while. It’s heartbreaking and disturbing to read stories of people hospitalized with Covid who still (!) don’t believe it exists. Particularly if you know someone who is sick, I do not recommend reading first person Covid accounts.
On top of all that, Thanksgiving is next week, one of the biggest travel days of the year. I know many of us are adjusting plans (it’s okay to cancel on your family, especially this year) and we had a great discussion about it on Instagram. You’re not alone in making these tough choices. We all need to do our best to keep each other safe, which will mean Zoom sessions instead of IRL dinners of five people instead of 15.
Earlier this year, I did a Zoom seder while my mom was sick with Covid. It was hard and stressful, but wound up being really meaningful. One silver lining: you can invite whoever you want. We were able to be with family and friends who live all over the country, without getting on a plane or doing a ton of dishes. This break in tradition offers a little bit of freedom. Get dinner from a local restaurant, skip the turkey. Cook whatever you want, decorate the house or don’t, eat at 1 pm or 7 pm, wear fancy pajamas or a formal jumpsuit. As long as you’re not putting yourself or others at risk, there are no rules. I’m going to share some recipe recommendations and some thoughts on what Thanksgiving ~means~ in a bonus edition later this week but the staying home/quarantining/testing is really the most important part this year! I’m starting my quarantine Thursday and will be with my parents, sister (and her gf) next week.
And if you’re spending extra time picking out gifts since you can’t be together in person, may I recommend my gift guide? It’s full of thoughtful suggestions for all your loved ones at a variety of price points, mostly from small businesses! I even included guest picks from some friends with excellent taste.
Now, let’s dive in.
Something to cook:
I did an after school snacks workshop with my students and we made personal pizzas, which were a hit. They’re so versatile and would be a great lunch or dinner with a little side salad, or of course, the perfect mid afternoon snack.
1 round bread of your choice: use a pita, a flour tortilla, half of an english muffin, half a bagel, or a flatbread like naan.
½ cup sauce: tomato sauce or pesto (if you don’t like sauce, you can make a white pizza)
Shredded cheese: try mozzarella for the best melting or whatever you have on hand
Toppings (optional): mushrooms, pepperoni, olives, shredded chicken, etc.
Seasonings (optional): red pepper flakes, grated parmesan cheese, dried basil, garlic powder
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 425 degrees
On a cutting board, spread the sauce on your crust with a spoon. Leave a small border around the edge.
Sprinkle with cheese
Add any additional toppings.
Put in the oven or toaster oven on a cookie sheet for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
Sprinkle with any seasonings.
Cut the pizza into slices with a clean pair of scissors. Enjoy!
Inspired by the avocado toast at The West, I heated some sourdough from Lighthouse (I ordered a loaf months ago and froze slices) and topped it with avocado, feta cheese (the one in brine from Wegman’s is so good), and everything but the bagel seasoning.
Julia and Julianne (my little pod) came over last night to make baked ziti. We followed this recipe (using rigatoni cause I already had it) and it was SO good, and it got into the oven fairly quickly. Broil it for 5 minutes at the end to get that golden top. On the side we had bodega garlic bread, a Julianne and Ian speciality (buy a hero roll from a bodega for $1 or less, cut it in half and spread each side with seasoned softened butter—add garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes and some grated garlic. Wrap the whole loaf in foil and put in the oven for 10 minutes. Then open it up and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and dried herbs. Broil for a minute until golden and slice it up). We also roasted some broccoli with garlic and parmesan cheese. It was such a good dinner and I asked them each to bring tupperware so we can all have leftovers for lunch today.
I had two leftover pieces of injera, which I made into chips using this method (I used a masala spice blend since I didn’t have berbere). I broke up the chips and cooked them with some browned mushrooms, kale, chickpeas, a drizzle of soy sauce, and a bit of feta for a nice and savory lunch.
Something to order:
Restaurants are going to suffer even more in this next wave and it’s still imperative to support them (and their workers) if you’re able to. Order takeout or delivery, tip well, buy merch and giftcards and really think about which places you would be devastated to lose. Too many are already closed.
Julia and I got dinner from Bunna Cafe for Bachelorette night and their takeout is excellent. They package it in small pizza boxes and you can assemble a whole feast with injera and 5 dishes (I even had leftover injera, see above). Everything is vegan and so good.
Sarah and I went to Ops for what might be my last restaurant meal for a minute. They have mobile ordering and really spaced out seating. We had to wait a bit and grabbed some really good wine (I always try orange wine at Ops because the selection is great). There’s a coffee shop next door with benches that’s perfect for waiting (it’s closed during dinner hours). Get the salad, which changes frequently, the margherita and the juno, with broccoli rabe and potato.
Dale and I visit 19 Cafe many times a week and I’m very loyal to their avocado egg sandwiches. This weekend, I finally tried their kimchi fried rice, which you can get vegetarian or with chicken. It has an omelette on top, is full of veggies, and is enough for 2 meals. A new favorite for sure. You can call ahead to order since everything is made from scratch.
Teal is here and we got to eat Vic’s takeout outside together! Their cacio e pepe is one of my favorites and the little gem salad is perfection.
I also placed a wine order with Vyneyard Wines this week. I got 3 whites, 3 reds, and an orange wine and it was delivered the same day for free (tip your driver). They have a large $25 and under selection and the Maison Noir Pinot Gris was so good (it’s accidentally hidden in this picture).
Something to read:
Rafael Espinal’s Grub Street Diet covers post election celebrations and pizza making.
Why my abuela’s cooking is her most precious heirloom.
Make soup with your friends on Zoom this winter
Loved hearing Lani Holliday on the A Thing or Two podcast and I really want to try her miso chocolate chip cookies.
How a recipe can be protest, featuring Clarence Kwan from the God of Cookery IG account
Does anyone want Pret coffee at home?
What the bartenders serving you are really thinking
More research on those outdoor tents which do not carry the benefits of outdoor dining.
Diwali was this past weekend (happy Diwali to all who celebrate) and I loved this story about passing on holiday traditions and sweets.
How to help in the Georgia runoff election (volunteering indoors is a perfect winter activity)
No papers, no jobs: The street vendors of Queens (the photography here is amazing, recommend viewing on a desktop)
John and Gisele Fetterman are my kind of power couple.
Black Food Folks launched a grant program!
How Emma’s Torch is handing Covid and continuing to run programs for refugees
Important: Patricia Escárcega, one of the two food critics at the LA Times just got the results of her wage discrimination claim and they are infuriating. She was unknowingly listed as a junior critic by the paper despite being announced as one of two food critics and is paid 2/3 of her white male colleague’s salary. They do the same work, with Bill Addison focusing on more fine dining/trendy spots and Escárcega focusing on smaller, lesser known spots often run by immigrants. She’s also, to my knowledge, the only Spanish speaking writer in the food section. Knowing the the LA Times Food section was previously managed by Peter Meehan, I’m sure she has been through so much and deserves to be compensated equally for her work (with backpay!).
Read her tweets here, it’s truly awful.
For the Smart Mouth newsletter, I wrote about my favorite burrata from Lighthouse
Read this if you’re feeling Thanksgiving burnout
Read Irina’s story from last Thanksgiving about their relationship with their mother and the dish they make together.
Why you should skip Thanksgiving this year (consider it an investment in future Thanksgivings)
The best way to send baked goods in the mail (for Thanksgiving or any other holiday)
Is It Safe To Get Together With Loved Ones This Thanksgiving? We Asked 7 Experts.
How to make socially distant holidays fun and special (it’s possible)
How to spend Christmas (or any holiday) alone.
A safety turducken. Make sure any holiday plan includes a plan for when you get home.
Now I’m going to share your election celebrations and some responses to the gift guide.
Hitha and her family also celebrated with pizza and bubbles: We celebrated with Motorino, champagne, and with a family in our pod. It was glorious and uplifting and I am hopeful (and exhausted).
Hillary knows the presents we buy ourselves are the best: This is SO GOOD! I'm already sold on getting myself the Stasher bags and the Luv Scrub :)
Bradlee has even more chili oil recs (and I really want to try Omsom): Another local option for chili oil! Junzi has been doing great work all pandemic with their distanced dining family style takeout meals. Also, Omsom is a new business founded by two sisters. It launched during the pandemic and has fabulous branding (also an excellent product).
This week, let’s talk about things we’re sick of. I tweeted about how sick I’ve become of drip coffee and oatmeal and got so many recommendations for a milk frother. It’s now on my Hanukkah list so hopefully I’ll have more exciting coffee soon. What are you tired of? Hopefully we can help each other mix things up. Reply to this email with your answers or any Thanksgiving questions.
I’ll be back later this week with some Thanksgiving recipes (both traditional and not) and hope you’re staying safe and healthy.