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 firstname.lastname@example.org.