Discover more from Dinner: A Love Story
A salsa hack, a new novel, a go-to recipe for the potluck, tailgate, or...tonight's dinner!
Greetings eaters and readers! Hope you all had a nice weekend. Now that our daughters have returned to college we are planning some wild nights here on the home front, which is to say, we've made a bunch of dinner reservations, including this one for our anniversary in October. Last week we hit the comfortingly perfect Frankie’s (above) with our friends Todd and Anne, and we are on Resy Notify for Laser Wolf pretty much every night in the fall. (I do find I almost always have success with that notify option.) In other news: I am having maddeningly frustrating issues with my Dinner: A Love Story email address, so if you’ve reached out to me there and haven’t heard back, that is why. I’m working on the problem, but in the meantime, if it’s urgent, please message me on instagram or use my personal email if you have it. Without further ado, your Three Things….
1. A Pasta Salad to Get Excited About
Hot take alert: I don’t know if I’ve ever eaten a pasta salad and thought, Wow, this is a great pasta salad. Have you? They always seem to be just too pasta-heavy and…room temperature-y. Well, after trying this antipasto-themed one from Odette Williams’s wonderful Simple Pasta last week, I am on my way to changing my mind. Why? Well, for starters, the noodle she mixes in with the other ingredients is bite-size ditalini, which means, as she writes in the recipe intro, "every time you take a bite…you’ll get all the big, bold flavors of an antipasto platter—salami, chickpeas, fontina, pepperoncini—in one mouthful.” She’s right, I found myself eating it like cereal with a spoon to optimize the flavor-explosion effect. And since the dish is actually delicious at room temp, I picture it being a regular in my rotation for potlucks, tailgates, picnics, and no-brainer weeknight dinners. You can head over to DALS for the recipe.
2. Salsa Fresca Hack
When you want salsa fresca but you don’t feel like doing all that chopping, just toss some fresh chopped tomatoes with a spoonful or two of store bought salsa, like I did last night when I made migas tacos for my mother-in-law. (Page 96, The Weekday Vegetarians or here.) This hack reminds me so much of the Fake-it-Don’t-Make it column I used to edit at Real Simple eight million years ago. Remember that all-time classic: Ravioli Lasagna?
3. Lucy Barton Fans Rejoice
I will devour any Elizabeth Strout novel no matter what, but her latest, Lucy by the Sea, feels like it was written expressly for me. It takes place in Maine, where Strout’s recurring hero, Lucy Barton, is riding out the pandemic with her ex-husband, William. That would be enough of a draw for Lucy fans*, but what makes this one special, at least for me, is the way Strout captures what it feels like to be the mother of grown children. Breaking News! Just because your kids are out of the house, does not mean you don’t worry about them. Mixed in with the anxiety, though, is all the joy and beauty, too. I nearly wept when I read this paragraph below which takes place when Lucy’s daughters surprise her with a visit after being apart for months:
I have never seen anything as beautiful as those girls. Oh man did I feel this! No one writes the way Elizabeth Strout does.
Have a great week!
*You don’t have to have read the other Lucy Barton books to love this one.
P.S. Tell Me a Story!
Thank you to those of you who have supported the Like Magic project that Jodi Levine and I started last year, a project dedicated to seeking out the creative ways we connect to our children, to our parents, to our grandparents, to our histories, to our communities, to whatever spiritual and mysterious ritual infuses a day with meaning. I wanted to remind you that we are always looking for stories, particularly stories focused on the holidays, i.e. the High Holy Days, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Check out the feed at Like Magic and click on the “Share Your Story” button here to submit. Thank you so much.
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