Fast Fall Eats, Comfort Food, Vote Early, Vote, Vote, Vote

Good morning! Lots to catch up on in the kitchen and beyond. Last weekend, we sat at one of Cafe Altro Paradiso‘s outdoor tables to celebrate our 23rd (!) anniversary. They had a jazz band playing outside and across the street, in a public park, New Yorkers sat on benches, sipped wine, and enjoyed the free show. In other words, New York magic might look a little different, but it is most definitely alive and well. (And delicious, if those arancini balls above are any measure.) As for this past weekend, it was a beautiful one. On Saturday we watched opening day of Abby’s final high school soccer season. There were all kinds of restrictions on the players and fans, but I have to say, it felt so damn good to be sitting on the bleachers again, cheering her on, that I didn’t really care. Later we made a big pot of Giuliano Bugiali’s famous Minestrone and ate it around our backyard fire pit with two old friends. Like the rest of the country, I’m worried about rising rates and what happens when we move this whole show indoors, so I think that might’ve been the last of entertaining for a while. Trying to take it day by day. Here’s what else is going on…

Ten Fast Fall Dinners

I wrote about everybody’s perennial favorite topic: FAST DINNERS. Ten of ’em, all hitting the notes of fall that you are craving, including this rigatoni with honey nut squash and crispy sage leaves which lately I’ve been eating like potato chips. Check out the other nine ideas here. (Also: How gorgeous are those bowls? They are from East Fork, another maker I collaborated with for the book shoot. I’m obsessed.)

Roast Chicken & Schmaltzy Carrots

I don’t know why — maybe it’s a reaction to the news — but lately I’ve been really into all my old-school comfort food-y recipes on the weekend. That includes Porcupine Meatballs and Belgian Beef Stew and, of course, Roast Chicken. Often with a side of mashed potatoes. Last week when I was roasting that chicken, I fashioned a rack out of my pretty carrots, and when the chicken was finished, they were so ridiculously schmaltzy and good. Abby always says to me “save me the carrots” when I roast chicken this way, and for some reason, this time, it made me miss her in college, even though she’s literally still living in my house eating at my dinner table every night. I think it’s because with her sister in college, I’ve become so attuned to all the little culinary adjustments and gestures I make throughout the day for my kids — saving the schmaltzy carrots, reserving a few uncooked cinnamon-sugar dusted apple slices before dumping the rest in a pie shell (she loves those almost as much as the finished product), picking up a pink drink for her at Starbucks if I’m getting myself a regular old Pike, buying the hint-of-lime tortilla chips instead of the plain ones that I’d much prefer. It goes on. I’ve gotten away from the message though, which is: Roast a Chicken. You’ll feel good about yourself.

Vote Forward, Vote Early

Thank you to lovely reader KB who suggested looking into Vote Forward last week. You were absolutely right — it couldn’t have been easier or more well organized. We hosted a (masked, socially-distant) letter writing pizza party last weekend for the high school election club, and banged out 120 letters in one hour. Boy, it sure felt better than screaming at my twitter feed all day. We are doing it again tomorrow night. If you decide to do anything to help the Get Out the Vote Effort, please tag me on instagram and let me know. (Keeping in mind, there are rules against showing the actual letters publicly.) Bonus if there’s a DALS recipe on the table, too. For the rest of you: Remember, It’s crucial to vote early (preferably in person) in this election if at all possible. Make your plan, share your plan, get it done.

Stay safe. Wear a mask.

The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, connected, and USEFUL. It began in March 2020. 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 story is, and especially how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at jenny@dinneralovestory.com.

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14 Comments

KB

I’m so glad you had a good experience with Vote Forward – it’s non-partisan and it does feel good to act; if we can turn out a few more voters, all the better! It’s everybody’s democracy. One more for you (this one is partisan): PaDems is hosting a Spinal Tap reunion with the original cast on Oct. 14th. World Central Kitchen will be hard at work on Nov 3rd but Pizza to the Polls is happening now – a good time to feed Ohio and GA early voters who are waiting over 5 hours in long lines to cast their ballot.

As always, thanks for the delicious recipes!

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Lea

I’ve written 40 letters for Vote Forward and can’t recommend them enough. That said, I think it’s important to recognize that they are not non-partisan. From their FAQ below that they are trying to send letters to people who are likely to vote Democrat. Of course, this makes me even more excited to join the effort, but I don’t want anyone to feel duped otherwise! Thanks to Jenny for always sharing delicious recipes and driving civic engagement.

Who are the voters on my list?
Vote Forward runs campaigns of two different types. Most of our efforts serve our core mission of increasing civic participation. In practice, this usually means we’re writing letters to voters who belong to groups that have historically been underrepresented in the electorate compared to their share of the population, so young people and people of color.

We also devote a portion of our efforts and funding to political activities. These campaigns are marked as such, and typically target low-propensity voters whose “partisianship scores” indicate they are likely to vote for Democrats when they cast a ballot.

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KB

Good point. They ask that you don’t include a candidate’s name or party preference in letters – only a brief explanation of why you think it’s important to vote, but yes, your description as far as who they are targeting is correct.

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Corrie

Thank you for this. I recommended them on my personal Facebook page, but after your post, I realized I couldn’t recommend them via a larger sphere (work).

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Courtney

I just mailed my 40 letters with Vote Forward! Thanks Jenny for the ecouragement to get involved because I too have felt overwhelmed my the news. VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!!!!

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Corrie

This was all so, so beautiful, at a time when much of the world does not seem beautiful. I especially loved this… “They had a jazz band playing outside and across the street, in a public park, New Yorkers sat on benches, sipped wine, and enjoyed the free show. In other words, New York magic might look a little different, but it is most definitely alive and well.”

Keep the Project Pantry Purpose posts coming!

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Kimberly

Just found my county clerk and plan to go this week & volunteered to work the polls.
With love from Michigan!

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Anna

I love Vote Forward!! We wrote letters together at my weekly virtual happy hour a few weeks ago, and since then our group members have been writing on our own.

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Maggie Davis

Yes! Vote Forward – we did a similar outdoor letter-writing gathering for a “surprise” birthday party – the surprise was that we all straggled in at separate times…it felt good. Do you remember that book “Frederick,” by Leo Lionni? “While the other field mice stockpile food for the winter, Frederick gathers rays from the sun, a rainbow of colors, and marvelous words.” I feel we could all take a page from that book!

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Ellen

I’ve been feeling the same way about comfort food dishes! My typical grain bowl recipes are just not what I want right now. Schmaltzy carrots are SO good (only way they’re better is cooked under lamb, IMO)! I was already thinking of making Samin Nosrat’s buttermilk marinated roast chicken soon – I think this confirms it. 🙂

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awads

I’ve been roasting chicken on top of sliced hunks of cabbage (Thanks to Smitten Kitchen) and i’m never not doing that again!

The Women’s March is this Saturday, check your local listings! https://womensmarch.com/

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Corrie

Oh, wow! I had never heard of roasting chicken on cabbage (former vegetarian here), and I just looked up the recipe you referenced and… WOW! Let’s just say I have new plans for my CSA chicken. Thanks for sharing.

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Sara B

I have been leaning hard into roast chicken. I make a whole chicken almost every Sunday using Samin Nosrat’s buttermilk brine recipe. We put the carcass in the freezer and use it and the leftover meat to make soup later in the week. Something about using every part of the chicken is really satisfying.

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