Spring breakers

Break out of your rut and into mine

What’s it like where you are? In LA, we are still very careful. In NYC, I’ve heard, everyone’s still very careful. In Miami, I’ve heard, people are like “oh, you guys are still wearing masks?” I’ve read about a new surge, a new strain in Europe. How many people are vaccinated in your bubble, town, country? What’s the feeling about vaccinations? Is it a free for all or is everyone waiting their “turn”? Are the vaccines to be trusted or feared? I wanna know.

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And…can you make plans? By which I mean, can you actually plan ahead for things like trips, celebrations, date nights? I have come so close to hitting purchase on round trip flights, hotel rooms, restaurant reservations and yet I stop myself when I remember how quickly things can change. How little I really know, ya know?

So, instead, we’re here and I’m writing to you. This letter has been a bright spot for me. This community loves to cook (and/or loves to read about cooking) and yet is likely also quite sick of cooking. How do I inspire you to cook and dance around your kitchens and try something new when I have, likewise, started ordering in more? I’ll start by saying I made this recipe last night, subbing halibut for swordfish and green olives for capers. I can’t recommend it enough. I served it in front of the TV for myself and my son, with a warm baguette and salted butter on the side. We watched The Willoughbys.


As ever, we have to eat. It’s best to do it well. So I’ll share what’s worked lately:

My favorite low-inspo-high-return dish is stir-fried garlicky green beans, to which I add 1/2 pound ground pork or chicken (stir-fried in the same pan) and coconut rice. It’s quick, one-pan, has major flavor, is super versatile, protein, vegetables, starch. It’s got it all. And at the risk of over-linking to this recipe, goop’s Everything Green soup is a healthy thing I legitimately crave and re-make. Likewise, this dairy-free “cream” of broccoli soup, which I had to take a break from because I made it so often.

My son and I both really love shredded chicken congee or jook, are fond of mama’s last resort rice bowls (with an egg!), and mac and cheese with a giant handful of greens wilted in. Although to be fair, my son picks the wilted greens out of his mac and cheese with impressive precision.

I can’t tell you the number of times I have made Yasmin’s chicken and ricotta meatballs for dinner, reserving some for my son’s lunchbox the next day. I’ve also been making this banana bread on a loop but in a muffin tin and I’ll send one of those in his lunchbox, too. While he munches (hopefully) on his packed lunch, I can’t seem to stop making spinach quesadillas for myself at home. It’s so satisfying with an iced coffee.

I have recently discovered kimchi (have you guys ever heard of it? Jk). I avoided it because I ate one that was too spicy a long time ago and let me tell you something: buttery kimchi fried rice is the cooking-for-one hack I’d been missing. I leave out the Spam but I definitely keep the fried egg. I don’t know if it’s sacrilege to pair my kimchi fried rice with a cold half-bottle of sake, but that’s what I did and I’d do it again.

Another dinner for one that was a slam dunk? A giant salad, sometimes with chicken, and sweet-and-salty sweet potato fries on the side. Served with a cool and dry Reisling and four episodes in a row of The Flight Attendant.

So that’s my current rut. I’m shocked that it has so little mention of pasta, surely a sign I’d overdone it on the penne. I’m not shocked that it has no mention of dessert, a sign that I overbought on Girl Scout cookies.

Los Links!

Capt. Jay Baker with the Atlanta Police Department said of the shooter who killed eight Asian women this week, “[It] was a really bad day for him and this is what he did.” So, to recap, a white man had a bad day. Aww, we feel for him, right? Eight women of Asian descent are dead because a white man had…a bad day. The rage I feel right now is made up of: shock at this country’s audacious, in-the-light-of-day ongoing racial injustice and disbelief at the untamed misogyny we’ve all swallowed and accepted. Not to mention grief for eight more lives needlessly lost. (AJC)

A few ways to help: Dump the Hate fundraiser; AAPI community fund; and by making sure we raise race conscious children (Cup of Jo).

Apropos of a lot, this NYT op-ed from 2018 is still required reading. (NYT)

Postmates published a book called Don’t Cookbook and it sold out. I…couldn’t tell you why. (Ad Age)

I just want to eat like an elevated peasant.” You know how sometimes you read an interview and you’re like, “ok, hi, SAME”? Plus he gives great tips and food inspo. (This one is excellent, too) (The Regular)

I’m very ready to shop for Clothes (capital c) that I can wear to Places and end my yearlong exploration of loungewear (goop)

In love with this cookbook and how it came to be and the personal stories and WOW, bravo (QNS)

This is the best swimsuit. I found it. We need not continue the search. (Hunza G)


Gossip Gi—