Chopped Charred Broccoli, Bolognese, Doorstep Gifts

Greetings! Yesterday was a good day. It was my birthday and I got exactly what I asked for: Sunshine, blue sky, good health. (Plus a few delicious things I didn’t ask for; more on that below.) I had a zoom cocktails with my parents and siblings (that’s my twin brother in the lower right zoom frame); heard from well-wishers near and far (I hope when things are back to normal that I can retain my level of extreme gratitude for these check-ins); and spent the entire day on the patio attempting to do work without really accomplishing anything. Here’s today’s PPP for you…

Pantry: Chopped Charred Broccoli

Lately, I’ve been dumping my broccoli or broccolini in a large (key) medium-hot skillet with olive oil, and just cooking it down until it gets to be a nice combination of charred and wilted. This usually takes somewhere between 20 and 25 minutes. About 5 minutes before we eat, I throw in a chopped red onion and, using kitchen scissors, snip everything right in the pan. From there, I add to a bowl and toss with a shake of Furikake seasoning — but you could just as easily add freshly grated Parm or salt and pepper or a squeeze of lemon or all of the above. Good for a side dish or atop a sharp cheddar grilled cheese for an easy vegetarian meal.

Project: Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese

You are looking at the main reason why I am still a Weekday Vegetarian as opposed to a full-time one. Marcella’s Bolognese remains my all-time most favorite meal, and my family knows that if it makes an appearance on my birthday dinner table, as it did last night, it’s a guaranteed happy birthday. (P.S. I wrote about bucket list recipes like this one over at Cup of Jo today.)

Purpose: Doorstep Gifts

That Bolognese was mad good, but I think the best part of the birthday was discovering random little handmade treasures left on my doorstep throughout the afternoon. Clockwise from top left: A sweet dogwood branch arrangement from my friend Jodi; a pre-made Elderflower Vesper from my friend Sonya (so good! I chilled it and saved for my zoom party); a pair of seedlings (basil and tomato) to plant in the garden from my friend Anne; And I was inspired by all of them to leave a glass of fancy wine — we’d been saving the bottle for a special occasion — for my neighbor, Rebecca, with whom I share a birthday. It’s hard to overstate how meaningful these gifts were to me, especially given how starved for connection I am right now. Note to self: No such thing as too small a gesture. On a birthday or any day.

Stay safe, stay home.

The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, and connected. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, donation ideas, stories, movies, games, puzzles. Or just tell me how you’re doing, what your daily routine is, and especially how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What is 3 + 4 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)



Happy birthday Jenny! Thank you for all of these posts and meal ideas. I made the Eric Ripert soup last week and it was delicious!


Happy belated Birthday!! And thank you for all you share – that bolognese recipe, included! I have a few favorites, but they all seem to include other ground meats that are more difficult to come by these days (or require more trips to the grocery store than are truly essential), so I look forward to giving this one a try!


Happy Happy belated birthday you sweet woman you! I’m glad it was so enjoyable 🙂


Happy belated birthday to my fellow Taurus! It was my birthday last week and I was also feted with homemade gifts: quince branches and a handmade mask and a Boulevardier in a jar. There was something so wonderful about all these small but thoughtful gifts. I am glad your loved ones spoiled you!


Happy birthday, Jenny! And I’m with you: the small gestures beat the grand gestures every time. That’s a perfect way to live a life of gratitude.


Happy belated Birthday, Jenny! Thanks for making your little corner of the internet such a positive, inspiring, engaging place to be. May the year ahead be full of good food and good times with those you love.

Karen P

Happy Birthday, Jenny! Our doorstep gifts have mostly been kids’ crafting projects, but after seeing this, I’m inspired to throw a little something in there for the grownups too. Thanks so much for this warm and inviting little corner of the internet. It’s so appreciated!

Erica Martin

Happy Birthday! It’s been great to have you post so frequently during this time. I have been in the habit of cooking vegetarian meals to take to work for leftovers (and encouraging my carnivore leaning family to try my recipes every now and then) – so I am very excited about your forthcoming book. Keep that in mind when you’re lacking inspiration to work.
Random question – it looks like you have the C&B Taj leather strap chair. Is it comfy? It’s on my wish list for a reading chair.

Mom of Boys

Happy Birthday! Have you ever seen Ferran Adria’s Family Meal book? I love that book. I would want everything in it. I’ve made several of the meals in there. Tomorrow morning is the 8th week of no school. We will be celebrating with milkshakes for breakfast because, well, just because.


My father-in-law is pure Italian and he only cooks the Marcela bolognese. It’s delicious and comforting, and it’s easy to make- now I’m craving it! I love this series, so thank you (and happy birthday)!


What lovely gifts – happy birthday and I echo the gratitude for these posts. They are a welcome read.


Happy Birthday, Jenny! What sweet family and friends you have. Thank you for these daily posts, I just love them.


I read about the bolognese on the COJ bucket list, and of course it’s tempting me here too!! What would be a non-alcoholic substitute for white wine in a sauce like this?

Happy birthday! Love the doorstep gifts 🙂


I came here to say “Happy Birthday, fellow Taurus” and then I saw that another Leah (!) wrote that same sentence in the comments before I did. My (big!) birthday last week was one of my favorites, in quarantine or not. I got showered by so many thoughtful notes, calls, gifts, and two zoom parties of people who hadn’t been in the same “room” in years! I’m so glad yours was good too.


Happy Birthday! Definitely will make that cocktail this weekend! I made your sweet potato hummus last night and it is soooooo goood!