Good morning. Hope you are all hanging in there. Last weekend was a good one — we spent a sunny sweater-and-Birkenstocks kind of day in lovely Rhinebeck, NY where we had lunch at Bread Alone and did a short beautiful hike (above). On the hour-and-half drive there, I was able to attend my college friend’s daughter’s bat mitzvah in Chicago, at which point I realized that there are some silver linings to this whole thing. Would I have ever been there for it in normal times, much less texting my reactions to the haftorah on the college roommate group chat in real time? It was a nice morning. Here’s what’s happening on the food side of things…
Last week, I had to make and shoot a bowl of chicken orzo soup for my Cup of Jo column (as I wrote, it’s a good one to freeze and give to friends who are struggling) and no one was more happy about this than Abby, who was on top of me and my camera like a vulture. I get why — it’s less a soup and more like orzo with a soup-sauce. The longer it sits, the more the orzo pieces start to bloat and resemble dumplings. I don’t know why it’s so much better than regular old chicken noodle soup, but it is. And it couldn’t be easier. The recipe for it is in Dinner: A Love Story (and also over at the NY Times) but you don’t really need a recipe because it’s such a no-brainer. I sauté half a small yellow onion (chopped), 1 or 2 medium carrots (chopped), a stalk of celery (chopped) in olive oil, salt and pepper, cook until softened. Then pour in broth, bring to a boil, add a cup or two of orzo depending on how much broth you have. Add shredded cooked chicken at the end, serve topped with Parm and freshly ground black pepper.
Maple-Miso Delicata Squash
It remains a great regret of mine that I haven’t been able to get anyone in my house to appreciate the joys of a good delicata or spaghetti squash. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped trying, though. Last week I split two medium-size delicatas in half lengthwise, scooped out the seeds, then sliced as you see above. In a small measuring cup, I whisked together 1 tablespoon of white miso, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, maybe another 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Using my hands, I tossed the slices in that mixture right on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roasted for about 20 minutes at 400°F. I drizzled with chili oil when they were out and holy cow. Amazing. Even my squashist husband conceded. Leftovers went on an arugula salad the next day that I ate too quickly to photograph. I’d do that again as the main event, and top with toasted pumpkin seeds and maybe blue cheese. Stay tuned.
If I’m sounding repetitive, it’s on purpose. Early in-person voting starts on Saturday in New York and my goal is to be first on line. Even if I’m 1000th, I’m casting my ballot that day, then possibly celebrating with a cake from this new and exciting book. Please vote early and in-person if you can! What is your plan? (Above, Abby mailing 300 letters for Vote Forward’s Big Send last week. You can head over there for more ways to help.)
Also! For those of you with kids ages 8 to 14, check out the election coverage at The Week Junior, which includes some cool Jodi Levine-made crafts and activities to do with your kids in anticipation of Election Night. (If you’re not, um, vomiting from the anxiety of it all.) And btw, how great is a weekly print (read: not screen time) magazine for kids? I love to see it! You can subscribe here.
No one in my house likes squash either — myself included! But I persevere. Also, ORZO IS THE BEST. Finally, yay voting!
Oh I love Bread Alone! Their cookbook is amazing, and it’s been a dream of ours to eat there in person one day. Also hooray for the reminder to vote! We voted last week, as did my parents (my dad for the first time in his life!!), but it’s always good to keep reminding people.
Early voting has started in WA state. It’s been an all mail state for years so it works really well. A group of friends and I met at a drop box for a photo – one of the best outings of the year. There was a steady stream of people stopping by to vote & it felt wonderful to see.
My 7yo loves The Week Junior! It helps us talk to her about difficult things, includes positive news, and gives kids a lot of empowering ideas. We thought it might be too old for her, but she loves it (and I do, too!) and yay for squash season!
Thanks for your comment on The Week Junior! I was considering it for my 9 year old daughter and your comment helped me decide. 🙂
I don’t comment often, but I just wanted to let you know that I always enjoy your posts! Thanks for all you do and share! We don’t have ‘early voting’ in Michigan, but I’ve already voted absentee and am working in the polls on election day – thank you for continuing to encourage voters to make a plan!
Side note – I had delicata squash for the first time this fall thanks to the CSA that we joined this year. I followed a Melissa Clark/NYT recipe that sounds similar to your salad – amazing!
thanks for voting…and for being here Danielle!
I just finished reading DALS and was motivated by seeing the chicken and orzo soup on Cup of Jo! We love love love orzo in my house, and we’re expecting baby #2 in January. I plan on having this in the freezer ready to go when I get home!
I really enjoy your blog; the recipes and your “voice”. Really appreciate all you are doing to get out the vote and your activism. Thank you. And as for delicate squash, it’s my favorite. I am hoarding it this year because I craved it last year and had a difficult time finding it in stores after Thanksgiving. Keep up all your excellent work (and recipes)! Looking forward to the new book.
Hi Jenny! I like the Orzo soup a lot, but feel like my Orzo always gets too soggy. I feel like I never catch it at the perfect texture. Help!
i expect to be vomiting from anxiety on election night (and maybe for the next few days?). But the plan is to vote in-person as soon as our polls open in DC (five days!).
I make your chicken orzo soup all the time, but poach the chicken in the broth at the start, then add it back in after shredding. So good!
Living vicariously through that first autumnal pic… still 90 degrees here in TX -_- I’m over it!!! ha. Will have to try the miso + maple squash hadn’t thought about that combo!
I love love love The Week Junior–that is, I love the look of excitement on my 12-year-old’s face when it comes in the mail (yes, every week!). Reminds me of when I was that age and I subscribed to a magazine called Penny Power, which was kind of a Consumer Reports for Kids. Does anyone else remember it?
We gave our eight-year-old grandson a subscription to The Week Junior for his birthday. Win! I tried to re-create a wonderful dish we enjoyed at a B &B with spaghetti squash, sautéed chicken, garlic, cherry tomatoes, chicken broth— delicious! Finally, our state is allowing mail-in voting for the first time. We never received our ballots, so we had to fill out affidavits at the election board this week to vote in person on election day – just what we were trying to avoid! But it’s worth it, because there’s no way we’re sitting this one out! Thank you, Jenny, for all you do!
Congrats on those letters!! I am impressed, as I only did 20 myself. Good luck on the voting! My husband and kids and I have all voted, and it feels GREAT! Finally, I just made my first Delicata squash, and want to know where it’s been all my life. The texture and flavor are so much better than Acorn, which is what I grew up with. Delicious!! I have miso and maple syrup and will definitely be trying your version soon!
I live in GA. I am a teacher. Last week we had teachers conferences, so after my last conference I went to vote. On;y 40 minutes!