Greetings lovers of spring! I hope you are all holding up ok. I spent the last few days watching soccer, listening to Smartless, bingeing Giri/Haji (awesome), and spring cleaning the kitchen after reading through an organizing section in Julia Turshen’s charming new cookbook, Simply Julia. She inspired me to order a few of these lazy Susans for my pantry and refrigerator. From Turshen: “They’re game-changers…No more forgetting about the bottles in the back. No more buying multiples of the same thing because you forgot you already have it on hand.” (Sound like anyone you know?) I think this is going to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Here are this week’s three things.
1. Reminder that Halloumi Exists
Ever since we started cutting back on meat, I’ve let myself splurge a little on dairy. (Which I realize at some point is going to have to be my next frontier. Baby steps.) This means beautiful burrata on top of a bowl of beans, and sheep’s milk yogurt sauce for the world’s greatest pasta. It also means lots of halloumi, the salty, semi-firm sheep-goat milk cheese that hails from Cyprus and that retains its shape when you grill or fry it. Last week, we had the cheese as part of a simple weeknight dinner spread alongside pita, greens, and store bought hummus. Drizzled with some smoky oil and sprinkled with some parsley, halloumi absolutely holds its own on the plate. (Be sure to point out to skeptical diners that it is not in fact tofu.) To make: Fry in a little olive oil over medium heat, flipping until it’s golden brown as shown, 5 or 6 minutes total.
2. Shredded Chicken and Arugula Salad for Spring
I wrote about Quick Spring Dinners over at Cup of Jo last week, which meant that I had a great excuse to photograph and eat one of my favorites: Shredded Chicken with Arugula and Mint. I’ve made a million versions of this before, but for some reason this one just hit and I can tell it’s going to be on repeat for a few weeks. Here’s how you make it: Using two forks, shred a store-bought rotisserie chicken (obviously you can do this with a homemade roasted chicken, too) and place into a large bowl. Toss with chopped sugar snap peas, a handful or two of arugula (you want the arugula to be an ingredient, not a dominating base), a generous amount of chopped fresh mint (crucial!), finely chopped radishes, a bunch of minced scallions, salt and some meaningful grinds of black pepper. Toss with a glug or two of olive oil and a few splashes of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. As I type this, I’m realizing that whisking a little Sriracha and mayo into the dressing would definitely not be a bad idea either.
3. It’s Like Magic
Podcast listeners know this already, but I’ve launched a new project with Jodi Levine called Like Magic, dedicated to seeking out stories and ideas that help infuse meaning into someone’s day (even if that day is your own) and it’s already improved my mood by a thousand per cent. (Check out the stories that we’ve collected so far, like the one about a father-daughter team who have a tradition of dropping off pink boxes filled with doughnuts on their friends’ doorsteps.) I don’t know about you all, but after a pretty rough year, we are craving emotional stories that show how people connect to their children, to their parents, to their grandparents, to their histories, to their communities, to something spiritual and mysterious, and we hope you’ll find it inspiring. Check out the feed at Like Magic and feel free to submit your own ideas here.
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Also: I wanted to remind you that every recipe you read about in this newsletter lives permanently in my searchable archive. Or, if you can’t find a recipe, feel free to get in touch: Jenny AT dinneralovestory DOT com. You can also find me on instagram.
Thank you, as always, for your support.