Cinnamon-Apple Muffins, Shaking Beef, Voting

Good morning! Hope you all enjoyed your weekend. We hit the farmer’s market on both Saturday and Sunday and were thrilled to see the local apples piling up in crates. Last week, on Cup of Jo, I wrote about the apple-cinnamon muffins I made with spelt flour (which lends a little nuttiness to the equation without weighing them down) and I feel certain there is an apple crisp in my very near future. Maybe you should join me there. Other news that falls into the non-world-ending category on this busy Monday…

Project: Shaking Beef

We are still loving Andrea Nguyen’s Vietnamese Food Any Day, and over the weekend discovered we might like her Shaking Beef even more than the Tofu Bánh Mì I wrote about in July….

Shaking Beef, so named for the back-and-forth shaking of the skillet as you cook the meat, is my idea of the perfect end-of-September meal: Warm steak, cool fresh greens, bright, herby flavor. Let me just say that it disappeared fast. I recommend picking up a copy of Nguyen’s book, but if that’s not in the cards right now, you’re in luck: The recipe was posted online last year.

Pantry: Snack Plate

We are trying to make the most of having people over for dinner (always outside) while the weather is still nice. On Saturday our friends Liz and Ethan came at the last minute, and I was determined to create a starter plate with only what I had in the fridge and pantry, and not do a special shop for it. I was also determined to make it high on flavor and low on carbs because we were having Pork Ragu for dinner. (The first of the season, hallelujah!) Above is what I came up with and I thought it looked so pretty: Sweet-and-spicy nuts (soooo soooo good, I skipped the rosemary and used a bag of pecans from Thanksgiving 2019!); vegetables from the morning’s farmer’s market, a romesco sauce leftover from my book shoot, hunks of Parm, good olive oil infused with backyard basil, and baguette slices. Do other people spend as much time thinking about starter plates as I do? I often wonder.

Purpose: Phone Banking & Postcard Writing

First: Do you know what your voting plan is? Here’s a resource in case you are confused. Second: Once you know your own plan, have you thought about helping others figure out theirs? I spent a few soccer practices last week writing postcards in my car, thanks to a local activist organizing through the Reclaim Our Vote campaign. In the past, I’ve also used Postcards to Voters. Third, if you have a few hours you’d like to dedicate to the cause, the Biden-Harris team have made phone banking VERY accessible and easy. My 17-year-old daughter called over 100 people last weekend, valiantly persevering even after a woman called her pathetic and brainwashed. Lastly: Do I have any undecided voters reading this blog? If so, I’d love to hear from you directly at: Jenny @ dinneralovestory .com.

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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25 Comments

TrishR

“Do other people spend as much time thinking about starter plates as I do? ”

Yes. Yes we certainly do!

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marie

Hi Jenny,
I read you from France every day and yes, yes I wonder about starter plates as much as you do. I enjoy everything you write, I’m routing for all of you Americans as you seem to face an historical and challenging time… not to say we’re in bettter hands but at least the pandemic has been dealt with… at least for now. Anyway. My question is… is it possible to make a fancy / very good / christmas vegetarian dish ? We’re always joking with my in-laws that we talk about christmas dinner very early on… Yes we are. They are great cook but they eat A LOOOOT of meat, something we’re not comfortable with anymore… But what can we offer in exchange ? Anyway, I know it’s too soon, and I know Thanksgiving is probably more important in th US but I thought I would ask anyway. Thanks for all that you do and write !!

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Stephanie

bonjour Marie!

I’m merely a DALS reader and Francophile but I wondered about a mushroom bourginon for your fancy Christmas Dish? I find elements like rosemary and a dark gravy to be very festive. You might serve it over wide noodle or polenta with cheese, more rosemary and lemon zest. Fresh parsley on top and maybe even some pomegranate arils might be really festive and beautiful! Bon Chance

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Ellen

Your IG video of the Shaking Beef was mouth-watering! And I love that you describe it as “the perfect end-of-September meal” because that’s just what I’ve been looking for. Most of my go-to recipes are good for fall/winter weather, but I’m not quite in the mood for that yet… need the in-between recipes!

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Maclean Nash

I definitely spend an inordinate amount of time planning and re-planning starter plates!

I am so so happy that it is ragu season once again! I discovered your recipe last year and made it 4 times.

1
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gm

Not undecided. I have never been so decided! I’m terrified of what will happen to our democracy if Trump wins, or “wins,” or cheats— but better to get involved than to just worry, We had an outdoor, socially-distant Postcards to Voters back porch get-together on Saturday: my 14-year-old son, his awesome sister-and-brother twin friends, and their equally awesome mom. We banged out 100 postcards and had a great time, and then the two boys ran around the neighborhood hanging door hangers for a local referendum (trying to stop a big and really dishonest developer) while the rest of us finished up. :). And there was cake.

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awads

Jenny, I put so much thought and effort into a starter plate, only to find my guests rarely eat it!!

Also, I am fortunate to live one mile from the Supreme Court. I was out there Sunday protesting, and plan to get out there every day that i can. Moms are mobilizing!!!!

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KB

voteforward is another great organization that is writing letters to low propensity voters in numerous stats. They make the volunteer process easy (there was even a Lin Manual Miranda intro last week). Sisters United Alliance can always use help and donations in getting registered but low propensity voters in texas to vote. @ambermcreynolds from Vote From Home is the penultimate expert in safe voting laws. I highly suggest everyone check out her twitter feed to keep abreast of voting rules and changes. She works with election officials from many states in a non-partisan capacity to ensure safe and secure voting access and is a great resource of voting facts.

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Jenny

Thank you for this recommendation, which I plan to write about further on the blog. My daughter and I just downloaded our first 20 letters. We are going to have an (outdoor) letter writing party next week for her school’s election club and download another 100. I implore you all to do the same! Check out the website here: https://votefwd.org

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KB

If anyone hasn’t already seen this, Chef Jose Andres,, a true humanitarian, and World Central Kitchen is bringing #ChefstothePolls. Wildfires, hurricanes, humanitarian aid for all and now making sure voters in long lines are fed. Check him out and if you are able to volunteer to work the polls, GREAT, – do that first! But if you can volunteer for Chefs to the Polls please consider it.

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Tawnya Azar

I love that your starter plate has radishes! So many people turn their nose up at them but I love them with a nice dip or slathered with salted butter.
Definitely not undecided, and want to echo another commenter to get involved with Vote Forward! You can sign up for a minimum of five letters and up to hundreds if you like. Letters must be posted around Oct. 17

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Susan

Great post as usual. Your blog is my favorite food blog.
Shaking beef recipe looks delicious, and a quick dinner to make. Do you prefer rib-eye or skirt steak for this dish?

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Erica

This was a post where I printed every recipe and signed up right away to write letters – you hit all my fall favorites and got me motivated. Thank you!

1
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Marisa

Hi Jenny,
I haven’t commented before this, but I just had to tell you how incredible the apple muffins are! They taste like an apple cider donut, but healthier! I started reading your blog when you started writing for CupofJo. I have really enjoyed your posts during this time. My food tastes are similar to yours, and I really enjoy your family stories. Again- thank you so much for taking the time to do all these posts for us. They are very much appreciated!!

1
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joy

The muffins are so delicious. I used a combo of 1/2 cup white flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat, and 1/2 cup oat flour (that was my random Bob’s Red Mill bag hanging around the cupboard, instead of spelt) and they were terrific. Sending so many postcards to voters these days.

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Jolie

Hi Jenny, I have been anxiously awaiting the vrbo details on your Maine vacation. Will you be posting anytime soon? We’re hoping to plan an Acadia National Park trip next summer.

Thank you!
Jolie

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Radhika

Hi Jenny, I love that serving platter used for the snack plate. Could you please share the source?

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