Steak Salad, Cornbread, Small Things

Public Service Announcement! Those yeasted waffles we’re all obsessed with freeze beautifully and come back to life with just a pop in the toaster (and a schmear of Nutella if you’re strong enough.) Good morning! The weather continues to be beautiful in New York. I spent most of yesterday working on a chapter of my book called “A Vegetarian Parent’s Very Special Bag of Hooks and Tricks.” (Trust me, it will make sense when you read it.) I also went on two walks, and finished watching Unorthodox, that series on Netflix that everyone is into. Hot take: Not sure I loved it. Here is today’s PPP…

Pantry: Steak Salad

This is actually a continuation of yesterday’s post. On Saturday night, we didn’t only eat the flatbread with ramps for dinner. We also took advantage of the two strip steaks we ordered through our farmer’s market, grilled them over medium-hot coals (until they are firm, but not rock hard.) and built a salad around them. Since we are now firmly in the Meat as Condiment Camp, above was all the steak we grilled for four people (about 3/4 pound) and it was plenty. We tossed with two large bunches of gem lettuce, crumbled blue cheese, croutons, scallions, and a simple vinaigrette (2 teaspoons Dijon, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/4 cup white wine vinaigrette, squeeze honey, salt, pepper, 1/3 cup olive oil.)

Project: My Favorite Cornbread

I had chili on the menu and a carton of buttermilk about to go bad, so what better excuse to make a batch of The Silver Palate‘s cornbread, a quick bread I’ve been making and riffing on for almost three decades. The original recipe, called Cracklin’ Cornbread (how 80s is that?), calls for 1 cup diced bacon, but I just omit that entirely and it’s always good. Sometimes I throw in a handful of chives; in the summer, I’ll add a half cup of corn off the cob. Occasionally, I’ll add two more tablespoons of butter to make them a extra moist. PS: They look ridiculously yellow in this photo because the sun was setting gold at the exact moment I was rushing to get the pic and sitting down to dinner. Sun! PPS: I used the rest of the buttermilk to make some ranch dressing.

Butter, for greasing the pan
1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan. Stir the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Then stir in the buttermilk, melted butter, and egg and mix gently. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, set on the center rack of the oven, and bake for 25 minutes. The corn bread is done when the edges are lightly browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cut into 3-inch squares to serve.

Purpose: The Small Things are Everything

“I put food on the table every night and my love for these people is falling out of my eyeballs.” — Catherine Newman talks about the solace of small things in a beautiful essay over at Cup of Jo. You will love it.

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 jenny@dinneralovestory.com.

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18 Comments

Sarah

A chapter called “A Vegetarian Parent’s Very Special Bag of Hooks and Tricks”?! I can’t wait – definitely need all the tricks I can get 🙂 Thank you for this series – I read every post!

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Sara

I think I need to use these hooks and tricks on myself. I am trying so very, very hard to like vegetables and I need all the help I can get. Most parents complain that their kids are picky eaters. Sadly, I’m the pickiest in our whole family. But I will occasionally eat kale, so I guess I’m not a total monster.

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Mom of Boys

You put candles (or a candle?) on the table at dinner. Now that is a perfect example of “small things are everything.” I’m going to try candles at dinner tonight! Thanks Jenny.

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Jenny

Haha. Only on Saturday nights — we also eat in the dining room on weekends. Weeknights are for the kitchen 🙂

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Laura

So curious- what did you not love about Unorthodox? I have decided that the actress who plays Esty is a total delight.

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Jenny

I thought she was great. I thought most of the acting was great — her new life in Berlin just felt a little unrealistic, how she created a whole community and future for herself in, like, 48 hours. I did like the scenes in Brooklyn. I am definitely in the minority, though. Seems as though everyone loved it.

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Mary

I enjoyed but just had to take it as it was. I commented the exact thing to my daughter upon recommending it to her. It was not made to be realistic which right now may have been why I enjoyed it so much. It was sweet. How fortuitous I was planning to make cornbread for dinner tonight. My mom always makes hers in a cast iron skillet. Is that southern?

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Sylvia

Hi There,
I’m Atlanta born and bred with a serious helping of North Georgia mountain folk stirred in. Yes. Cast iron skillet is definitely a thing. I went to a bridal shower for my niece two years ago and she got her grandmother-in-law to be’s iron skillet and I thought there was going to be a throw down at the wedding because she got it and not the ‘new-ish’ step-mother-in-law.
Makes great cornbread, fried okra, fried chicken, baked chicken, teriyaki salmon. The trick of cast iron, besides either getting it old and already seasoned, is to season it before you you use it and then heat it up before you put the fat in it.
Jenny, thank you, thank you, thank you for doing this series. It is the light I look forward to. We are hard hit here in the south with no one in the government (well, I’ll just stop there. I was going to get ‘riled-up’).

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awads

i loved Esty so much! but i did think i would need that 48 hours just to get over the jetlag. bless her heart!

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Jodie

Thanks for the Cup of Jo links – they are a great resource for my high school Foods Studies students. I just had a Google Meet class with a group of senior students (grade 12s). So often they block their video and I always wonder if they are even there – so I told them that and was thrilled to be able to see a class full of students for the first time since March 15. Made my day. A few hung out to chat after the lesson and it was nice to feel like an effective educator for a change. Thanks for your daily posts – they are a blast of positivity and do-able for many, no matter the circumstances. We are loving “would you rather” and there was a decent amount of argument and competitiveness in class – a small taste of their usual crazyness. Man I miss them so much.

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Julie

The steak salad looks like a winner for MY birthday tommorw. I’ll pass the cooking and grilling duties on to the family while I relax with a tasty beverage. Thanks for the idea!

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Cyn

Jenny, I thought of you when I read that the Obama’s will deliver commencement speeches for the class of 2020. I know you were hoping for something special to happen. I’m excited and I don’t even have a graduate…it’s bound to be inspirational.

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Meghan

Jenny, your cookbook kept me sane when my children were very small and I was suddenly single and made me feel like I COULD feed this family real food, even if everything else felt insurmountable. Catherine Newman’s books kept me sane and made me feel like I could still write, even with children attached to my body (AND I could laugh about it, which is an even holier magic) and Joanna Goddard’s website kept me sane because it connected me to a group of women that felt like home. To see the threads connecting all you together today in this post just made me beam with a kind of joy that just needed to be shared outloud(ish). Thank you.

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Laura

I love Catherine Newman’s essay – thank you for sharing. I too, have been sewing masks for healthcare workers have been making extra to give away to family and friends. People have asked if they can offer payment for the masks, but I can only sew them as an act of love. If they insist on offering payment, I suggest that we make a promise to spend time together when this is all over. These small gestures and thoughts of hope for the future are keeping me sane right now.

Thank you also, for your daily posts! I look forward to reading them!

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Katie

Jenny, I’m increasingly wondering if I can put your next book on pre-order. Every time you talk about it. (And we’re a currently income-less household who aren’t buying ANYTHING extra, and I still want to do that!) The chaoter you described here sounds like something I need, as a vegetarian parent with decidedly non-veg kids. (The five year old is literally just non-vegetables, ha!)

Thanks for writing!

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Jenny

Katie -Thank you for this note. I’m still writing the book, but hope it will be published in early to mid 2021.

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Liesl

We can’t find any flour in our grocery stores right now, but I do have bleached all purpose flour at home. Would that work in this recipe?

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