Three Things

Comfort food city, panzanella on the fly, a new tonic I love

Greetings readers and eaters! Bunch of things to let you in on this morning, beginning with the birthday gift I just bought for my daughter only seconds ago. (Don’t you dare click that link, Abby! Or this one which I’m pretty sure is up next—thanks for the suggestion, Joanna!) Next, for those of you who are new around here and haven’t heard my whole Rules for Family Dinner spiel eight thousand times, I wrote a little review course over on Cubby, which is the cool new(ish) family lifestyle website from the Kitchn people that is absolutely worth spending a little time exploring. Lastly: I’m doing a little local library event on zoom this Thursday, September 30, which anyone can join from anywhere. Maybe I’ll see you there! Here are Three (more) Things I’m excited about this week…

1. Comfort Food, We Deliver

Thanks to everyone who sent good wishes last week. Here at home, it’s been a stretch of everyone taking care of each other, by which I mean, there was a lot of food being foil-topped and Tupperware’d and, in the case of this Thai Broccoli soup made by my friend Sonya, bottled up and left on doorsteps. Let the record show: It feels good to be cooked for! If anyone else happens to be cooking for patients or caretakers, here is a list of a few things I made and loved last week: Chicken Pot Pie (scroll to second recipe); Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk (page 81, The Weekday Vegetarians) Cheddar Sweet Onion Quiche (page 115, The Weekday Vegetarians, I added sweet Italian sausage crumbles); A platter of my Mom’s Chicken with Mashed Potatoes. (I dredged and breaded the cutlets then froze flat in between parchment paper, so they can be pulled out of the freezer as needed.) And yesterday I made Bugialli’s Minestrone (opening photo) mostly as an act of self-care, because when Bugialli’s Minestrone is in the freezer, it is Money. In. The. Bank.

2. It-Takes-A-Village Panzanella

On Saturday night, there was fish on the grill and some very exciting slaw with sesame oil and miso and almonds melding its flavors away in the fridge (more on that soon), when Andy turned to me and said “How about panzanella with Ali’s bread.” Ali, as in, Alexandra Stafford of Alexandra Cooks, who had dropped off the most beautiful little basket of treats for me when she attended my book event earlier in the week, including a loaf of the most comforting home-baked bread (I know!) that was getting tragically stale. So…

…I just chopped up the heel of it, fried the cubes in a little olive oil over medium-high heat until toasty, added salt, a little pepper, and garlic powder. After draining on a paper towel for a minute or so, I tossed them with chopped tomatoes, minced red onions, basil procured from my neighbor’s backyard (sorry for interrupting your party Rebecca and David!), good balsamic (also from Ali’s basket), and olive oil. (Didn’t even miss the mozz.) Chased the whole thing down with a Negroni, garnished with an orange slice I had to steal from my other neighbor an hour earlier. (Thanks, Ian!) In summation: thank goodness for friends and neighbors and stale bread.

3. A Tonic I Love

You know I’m a big fan of my non-alcoholic weeknight drink and I think I just found a new favorite. My friends, Adam Kaye and Jeremy Kaye, brothers and co-founders of Spare Food, started a line of probiotic tonics (made with upcycled whey!) that are legit special enough to contend with my beloved shrub. Sparkly, fruity, slightly funky and kombucha-like, the four flavors in the line check all the boxes I’m looking for in an NA pre-dinner drink. None of which is shocking considering Adam is a longtime chef, food waste activist (remember WastED?) and educator at the legendary Blue Hill in Pocantico Hills, NY. (Please read more about him.) Here’s where to find Spare Tonic near you, and PS, as of today, Spare Food has launched their tonics on Farm to People as an add-on to people’s weekly farm box deliveries; Get $10 off a first order using the code SHARESPARE.

By the way! These drinks are also amazing as mixers: Adam and Jeremy were at the book event last week and used the Peach & Turmeric tonic as part of a Bellini riff with Prosecco and Peach Puree. It was outstanding. Here’s the recipe:

Peach & Turmeric Bellini with Spare Tonic

1 oz peach juice or fresh peach puree
4 oz Peach & Turmeric Spare Tonic
3 oz Prosecco or Cava

Pour peach juice into an all-purpose wine glass. Add the Peach & Turmeric Spare Tonic. Top with Prosecco and serve.

(Both drink photos by Luis Antonio Ruiz.)

P.S. There’s a sweet (and salty and crunchy) little instagram giveaway going on right now.

Have a great week,