Read this from home
A virtual hug and lots of recipes
I hope you’re hanging in there. I wanted to announce the cancellation of my happy hour (duh). Things really changed a lot in the past week and all bars and restaurants will be closed for dining in as of tonight, which is the right call. We are still going to gather on Thursday so we can virtually have a drink together and I will resume events once it’s safe to do so. I’m planning to set up a zoom happy hour and will share the link here and on Instagram. Until then, social distancing is a go!
I’m going to be sharing more than usual this week, here and elsewhere, to make sure you have recipe ideas, work from home tips and anything else you may need. Make sure you’re following along on Instagram and feel free to reach out at any time.
Now, let’s dive in.
Something to cook:
I’ve been cooking so much and I know many of you have too. Check out today’s cooking recap highlight for more ideas and look out for a full pantry recipe guide later this week!
Julia, Julianne, and I made baked ziti on Thursday. We skipped the vegetables in this recipe and roasted some on the side instead (broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and zucchini). I did jazz up our jarred marinara sauce with sauteed onions and garlic and some Italian seasoning. We topped the ziti with parmesan cheese and a little bit of pesto, a nod to the famous tie-dye pizza at Rubirosa. The leftovers were so good as well!
I made sweet potato tacos for Dale and me on Saturday and highly recommend grabbing a bag of tortillas and a can of refried beans if you’re visiting the grocery store. Both are very versatile and can work with leftover odds and ends.
A batch of cookies was 100% necessary. We’ve been baking a few each night and having fresh cookies around definitely helps.
I also made pancakes for breakfast yesterday with Haven’s Kitchen buckwheat mix, but you probably have pancake ingredients at home. Add bananas, use yogurt instead of buttermilk, whatever you’ve got on hand. A fancy breakfast helps weekends stand out from weekdays when you’re stuck inside.
For savory pancakes, this new broccoli fritter recipe is going to be in my regular rotation. It’s from the Sababa cookbook and I saw it in Mollie Chen’s newsletter. The cottage cheese isn’t a strong flavor, but it adds a lightness to the fritters, which go with so many different toppings. I made a little avocado tomato salad and did a little squeeze of lime and hot sauce. The leftovers keep well.
Something to order:
Restaurants in New York are now open only for takeout and delivery and many have opted to fully close (for some, this will be a permanent closure).
The biggest things we can do are find ways to support restaurant workers who are suddenly without a job. While large restaurant groups like Union Square Hospitality group can pay workers during this time, small restaurants are not able to. I’ve seen posts of owners sending people home with food and wine and tips on applying for unemployment. In most cases, they are absolutely trying their best. There are state by state efforts to offer emergency relief for restaurant workers and many informal venmo programs to help workers in specific neighborhoods. If you are able, commit to donating a certain amount to restaurant workers in your area.
You can also support these restaurants by purchasing gift cards or merch (Helen Rosner did a great merch round up highlight). I’m updating the community highlight on my Instagram to share the latest news and ways to help, a restaurant workers community foundation has resources here, and Eater is doing a great job with coverage.
For takeout, Julia and I ordered from Win Son Bakery last night (they are closed and collecting funds for undocumented restaurant workers on venmo) and Dale and I got Williamsburg Pizza. I’m also going to place an order from a local wine shop (Bibber and Bell and Irving Bottle Shop are my favorites), which is offering delivery. Cuomo just announced restaurants will be able to include alcohol in takeout orders so consider throwing in a bottle of wine with your order (restaurants make most of their $ from alcohol sales).
Last week, Natalie, Julia, and I ate dinner at La Calaca on Wednesday night. It was delicious and I look forward to returning in the future. I also need to shout out the Wing, which has shown exemplary leadership throughout this crisis. Communication was clear, workers are being paid while spaces are closed, memberships are being extended, and they launched digital programming. You love to see it.
Something to read:
Will cooking really help us feel less stressed?
How your neighborhood can prepare together
Food writing in the time of coronavirus.
I wrote about six concrete ways to help our most vulnerable.
Cookbook author Julia Turshen is giving amazing cooking recommendations on her Instagram.
Non Corona Links:
Amanda Cohen on why vegetables get a bad rap.
A taste teste of the new Levain cookie (fwiw, I agree with her)
Spain still reigns in Puerto Rico’s wine scene.
Such a charming story on Conde staffers and their desk mugs.
Native American winemaker Tara Gomez is making history.
Now, let’s talk about working from home! I’ll say that tips for right now do not fully overlap with normal tips for working from home (usually you can leave the house and may people have kids, roommates, or partners around plus mountains of extra stress). So don’t expect to be 100% productive and be kind to yourself. My best tip is:
It’s from Aminatou Sow and it just means: work with your laptop unplugged. When it dies, that’s a signal to take a small break while you plug it in and give it a few minutes to get charged.
I eat oatmeal for breakfast most weekday mornings before I start working. I make it the microwave with some nuts and fruit and flakey salt and I’ll either read, write in my journal or scroll through Instagram while I eat. This takes about 15 minutes total and makes a big difference. I get dressed in something comfy (why would you wear jeans when you don’t have to) and put on earrings. If you feel comfortable, this is a great time to skip makeup and let your skin breathe.
If you’re used to grabbing breakfast on the go or skipping it, this is a great time to embrace it. It’s super quick to make some eggs, avocado toast, oatmeal, or even just buy your favorite childhood cereal. If you start work very early, make a batch of something (banana bread, overnight oats, frittatas) so you can grab it and get right to work.
In a broader way, there are two ways to approach cooking while working from home and it depends on how your company/workday flows. If you typically don’t have much time for a lunch break or get catered food in your office, cook something in a big batch so you just have to grab it from the fridge and can keep working. Try this asparagus farro salad, a Thai quinoa salad, or a big roasted vegetable bowl with a sauce.
If you normally take a brief walk or a lunch break, consider doing a little mid-day cooking. It could be as simple as making grilled cheese or throwing together a salad (squeezing a fresh lemon and mixing it with olive oil really adds some excitement to a day). I personally like cooking something during the day, even if it’s quick. It adds some variety and gets me on my feet. Some options include a little egg dish (eggs on top of leftover rice or noodles), crispy chickpeas, a roasted sweet potato with toppings, or a quesadilla. Since you’re home, it’s safe to have the oven on while you’re working, just set a timer. And if cooking and doing dishes stresses you out, give yourself permission to leave them in the sink until the end of the workday.
Snacking/breaks/workflow/ending the day:
Sitting 10 feet from a cabinet full of food is really tricky. I definitely enjoy a mid-afternoon snack most days and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ll have an apple with peanut butter, some veggies with hummus or a cookie. If you’re trying to snack less, focus on eating more filling meals (it’s hard to portion a lunch if you’re used to buying something) and staying hydrated. Some seltzer or coffee can help. Sometimes I realize I’m snacking out of pure boredom and remind myself that lunch is soon or that I just ate literally 30 minutes ago. I never want to food shame here so I want to recognize that food brings me and many others a great deal of comfort. The world is changing in a monumental way and our habits are changing with it. Please don’t beat yourself up if you’re straying from your normal routines during this time. It’s only human.
I also am trying to do afternoon walks around 3 since that’s when I notice a dip in my energy levels. I’ll listen to a podcast or run an errand. Since we are all running fewer errands, I’ll just focus on the podcast and try to walk in noncrowded areas. If you can’t do this during your workday, it’s a great option for turning off. Once you log off, grab your sneakers (you’re already wearing something comfy) and get some fresh air.
Ending the day at home is really hard. For that reason, I typically make plans most weeknights to see a friend, go to a restaurant, or attend an event. Since that’s no longer possible, try to make alternate arrangements. Set up a facetime date, shut your computer or minimize your work browser, pause your slack notifications and put away your work stuff. Not having a commute means more time after work for crafts, tv, reading, and catching up with people. Try to use that instead of working extra for no reason. Office culture isn’t the only way to work.
For us freelance folks, this is a really hard time and we’re losing work and income. Many people are losing jobs across industries. I don’t have many answers here but I’m really focusing on This Needs Hot Sauce this week, helping the community, sending pitches, and hoping to work on some more longterm projects. If you want to talk about this, get in touch! If you want to support me and this newsletter, it’s a great time to become a paid subscriber. I’m posting things without a paywall this week since it’s important info and I truly appreciate your support.
Let me know what you’re making for breakfast and lunch by replying to this email! I’m here to support you and urge you to check in on others and make donations if you can.
Wash your hands!