Greetings, DALS family. I’m so glad you’re here. I’ve gotten the nicest notes since I launched the PPP series, and I wanted you to know a) how grateful I am for this community and b) how therapeutic it is for me to produce helpful (read: distracting) content, however Groundhog Day that content is beginning to sound. On that note, yesterday I went for a run; Abby did some soccer drills against an abandoned wall at school; Andy listened to an episode of The Rewatchables; Phoebe watched Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse with her friends on Netflix Party. In the late afternoon, I tried to make homemade wonton wrappers so we could have kale-tofu dumplings for dinner, but it was kind of an F as the kids would say. The wrappers stuck together and I only ended up using about half as many as I made. (I blame my impatience, not the nice lady on the video.) Here are three things to think about cooking or doing today…
Project: Sweet & Savory Crepes
Crepes were one of the first things I learned how to make when I was a kid — if you call thinning out the Aunt Jemima mix with water “making” my own crepes. I liked to roll up them up with bacon and dip in syrup. My kids prefer the more traditional strawberry-and-Nutella and ham-and-cheese combos, both of which we managed to have ingredients for yesterday.
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, melted (plus up to 2-3 T more for greasing pan)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Suggested toppings: Strawberries & Nutella; Ham & Cheddar; Lemon Juice & Powdered Sugar; Spinach & Parm
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. In a large bowl, whisk together water, milk, eggs, and melted butter. Add salt and flour and whisk until smooth and combined.
Add another pat of butter to pan. When it’s melted and gets a little brown, add about 1/3 cup of batter to the skillet, tilting it so the batter covers the surface in as thin a layer as possible. Once tiny bubbles appear — about 2 minutes — flip and finish cooking, another minute or so.
Remove from pan, spread Nutella in the middle, top with strawberries and powdered sugar, and fold as shown up top. (I wrapped the first one in parchment paper to make it handheld, but that is unnecessarily fussy. You can just as easily enjoy with a knife and a fork.)
Repeat with remaining batter, adding butter to the pan as you go.
Note: If you are making one with cheese, sprinkle a handful of shredded cheese on top after the first flip so it melts. Remove from pan and add ham or sautéed spinach or whatever else.
Pantry: Sesame Tofu Bowl with Greens
Granted, this is not the best example of a meal you can scrape together from the bins in the pantry, but it is significantly lower in the carb department, and can make use of frozen vegetables and those pre-baked tofu packages you can find everywhere (and that last forever in your fridge). The bowl you are looking at here is Tofu with Chard in a Sweet Chili Glaze, a recipe I developed for my next book, but the basic formula is the same for any bowl. Here’s what you can do for a dinner for 4:
Heat olive oil and a dash of sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cubed pre-baked tofu (2 packages of 7-ounce baked tofu), and cook until crispy and brown. Stir in about 3 tablespoons minced onion or shallot, 2 minced garlic cloves, and a dash of red pepper flakes. Move to one side of the pan and add large bunch of greens, or a bag of frozen green beans, spinach or kale (greens should be thawed and squeezed of as much liquid as possible in a colander). Toss together until warmed through. Remove to a shallow bowl and drizzle with about 1/4 cup soy sauce and 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or to taste. Top with Sriracha and scallions and sesame seeds, if you have them.
To stretch out, you can serve with rice and noodles, too.
Purpose: Recording for Posterity
I’m tempted to start one of those giant calendars so I can dramatically X off every day of quarantine. Phoebe, my 18-year-old, has started her own version of this with the 1 Second Everyday App. She chooses a single moment in each day that feels defining. Her video is only 14 seconds long, but already I think it’s a masterpiece. PS: She promises a list of her favorite books for the 8- to 12-year-old set next week. I’m writing it here to hold both of us accountable! (In the meantime, parents of young kids, remember this?)
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 how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes to crepes! I have actually put wonton wrappers in my Wholefoods basket twice but each time they get booted out before payment. I think this is going to be a gyoza free month, two months, three months?
Yesterday we dropped off some toys and books for my sons teacher’s child. The child is two and my kiddo and I had so much fun finding books to send over. Remember Freight Train? And Mo Willem’s books? And Goodnight Gorilla? Stella Nona? The Interrupting Chicken? Bread and Jam for Frances? Owl Moon?
Tonight we shall have greens and sausages on polenta and celebrate week three of remote learning/quarantine with Shirley Temples.
I can part with a lot of kids’ books, but Mo Willems? My son will probably take those to college!
I may be the only person on the planet who has never seen pre baked tofu. OMG. Game changer!
Thank you for these posts. I too have missed the frequent DALS posts. MUCH more soothing than my daily media diet of scary stuff!
I am loving this series, so thank you for creating the idea and doing the work for us all to enjoy. My daughter and I are going to start the Fococcia Bread in a few minutes for tomorrow night’s dinner. Thanks again, and keep posting please!
Can you tell what this nonstick skillet is? Or recommend a good non-toxic option?
Thank you for these posts. Much needed right now.
Do we remember this? Of course! I have a printed out version and reference it often. We are about a decade behind you in life and I love the trail you’ve blazed in reading, travel and, of course, all things food!
Yes to crepes. We have nutella and bananas (a great combo). Sounds like a fun weekend activity.
Thanks so much for your great recipes and ideas!
Was searching the Internet for a farro recipe, and due to your influence checked out an offering from bon appetit entitled Wheat Berry Bowl with Merguez and Pomegranate, and guess what, you turned out to be the creator. I’ve been really into zaatar lately, so I was excited to see its inclusion. A delicious and welcome change. Thanks again!
I used to live in the area of France where savory crepes are a staple (Brittany, we call them galettes). I’m vegetarian so I may be biased, but my all time favorite savory crepe is (pre)sauteed mushrooms, spinach, and cheese (gruyere is standard), plus a fried egg on top. Et voila, bon appetit!
These columns are SUCH a welcome respite and full of great recipes too! Thanks.
Thank you so much Jenny. I have enjoyed your blog and books for years and have that odd sense of you as a good friend I have never met. I am appreciating you and this blog even more in this strange time at home. I usually don’t comment on blogs but somehow this seems the time to send out some love and let people know what you mean to them even if you haven’t met…so thanks DALS!!
This PPP series is just what we need right now.
I was just thinking how beans would be a fine substitute for the tofu since I don’t have any right now, and I have a bunch of kale in lieu of the chard…and then realized that’s basically what we had for dinner tonight haha (the KSB from Cup of Jo was the inspiration). Haven’t tried it with sesame oil/soy sauce/rice vinegar yet though, so that would be a fun direction to take it.
Thanks so much for this series. I find that I’m looking forward to it everyday. Please keep it up! The repetition is soothing rather than boring =) Also I made these crepes today and they were a huge hit!
I’m a frequent visitor to DALS, and use your cookbooks often, but I had never seen your very subjective kids book guide before. Its amazing!
So helpful – thank you! Can we use frozen spinach for the crepes as well or too watery? Thank you!
We made these crepes this morning, and they were a big hit (with husband and almost-5-year-old). Strawberries and nutella, and a local fresh sheep-milk cheese with raspberry jam.
Also, I was glad to have your recipe for whole wheat tortilla chicken pie (now a go-to in our house) to take to a local org that provides housing and care for homeless folks who have recently been discharged from the hospital. They still have to do their good work during a pandemic!
Thanks for the inspiration, honest writing, and delicious recipes.