Zucchini Blossoms, Niçoise-ish, Three Follows

Good morning! I hope everybody had a nice weekend. It was another hot one here in New York and if we squinted really hard, it almost felt like a normal July, even as we followed the grim news from Florida and California and the Midwest. (Stay safe, everyone.) Our local pool is open, I played tennis with Abby, and we somehow ended up going to three different farmer’s markets over two days — which was heaven, especially since we scored zucchini blossoms at one of them. They have become like ramps to us — when they start showing up, we scoop them up and eat them as often as possible before they disappear. Also, thank you to everyone who sent in cashew cream ideas! I’m paralyzed by all the options, but I promise to report back! Here’s Week 18 of PPP…

Project: Fried Zucchini Blossoms

We had friends over on Saturday for a socially distant patio night, and we made them text us when they were on the way so we could perfectly time those fried zucchini blossoms. And when I say “we,” I of course mean Andy, who has mastered the technique. Fried zucchini blossoms, when done right, are impossibly delicate, almost floral, and best served hot, chased with either chilled rosé or Prosecco. The absolute best way to start a summer night. Here’s the recipe he uses.

Pantry: Niçoise-ish

We were craving something light and flavorful on Friday night and somehow landed on Niçoise Salad. Only problem: We had no potatoes; Phoebe didn’t want eggs; I didn’t want olives; Abby begged for crispy chickpeas instead of tuna; I said YOU CAN’T HAVE NIÇOISE WITHOUT TUNA; Andy said YOU CAN’T HAVE NIÇOISE WITHOUT OLIVES. We did it anyway! The whole spread might remind DALS diehards of my old Deconstructed Dinners, where we had to separate a salad or a soup in order to accommodate a picky eater at the table…

All the controversial items (yes, including decidedly non-traditional sautéed mushrooms) were served individually so each diner was able to make his or her own custom Nicoise-ish Salad. The only constant: A mustardy-shalloty vinaigrette (2 teaspoons Dijon, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon minced shallots, pinch sugar, salt, pepper, about 1/3 cup olive oil). And there you have it.

Update: I made another Niçoise salad, a week after this initial post, and thought you deserved a prettier picture. Though I won’t go so far as to call it authentic (still no olives!) it’s closer. So here you go! Includes: Hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, Romano beans (sliced on the bias) pickled carrots and radishes, Cento-brand olive-oil packed tuna, finely chopped shallots, gem lettuce from my garden (!), and tomatoes.

Purpose: Three Follows

You’d laugh at the recommendations on my instagram “Suggested” page. Based on my browsing history, 99 percent of the photos show either large bowls of pasta, sick (as in sickkkk) female athletes, or ridiculously adorable dog antics. Today, I’d like to break the cycle a bit and recommend three non-food, non-dog feeds that bring me joy every day: Each of Illustrator Alessandra Olanow’s (@aolanow) posts is the equivalent of a deep yoga breath; Mufasa (@cousinskeether) gets the happy endorphins flowing (I dare you to keep scrolling!); and of course @goodnews_movement, tagline: “Journalist-run page for GOOD NEWS ONLY. 0 politics…YOU are the good news.”

Stay safe.

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 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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Susan M Noble

Week 18? Holy cow. Thank you so much. I cannot be the only one thinking that when this started we thought it would be a 10k, not a marathon.


We also did an inspired Niçoise salad (barely) on the wknd. Marinated tofu & tuna steaks in Bryant Terry’s jerk sauce grilled 2min per side. Steamed potatoes coated in his charred lemon and spinach sauce. Grilled asparagus and green beans. On top of a carrot/parsnip slaw in his gingery dressing. Washed down with a fantastic rose on a patio lakeside.


GREAT follows, thanks; however, I’ve already teared up several times reading @goodnews_movement!


It’s a freaking ultra feels like…

And deconstructed dinners are STILL how my family gets it together (kids aged 8 and 11). I’ve found that if we serve something over and over again without comment, they eventually try it, and sometimes even love it.


We had a deconstructed dinner last night too! I finally mastered crispy chickpeas, and I am proud to say my bean-hating 12 year old ate about a cans worth included the last few in the bowl after we cleared the table! So glad to have them in the new rotation. And am I the only one who is patiently waiting for your new book?? Can’t wait to pre-order that!