The Second Lunch July Eats

Bowl of tomatoes and cucumbers and feta and salami and beans

After making myself an unusually good salad lunch (this bean salad above: ripe tomato, cucumber, feta, oregano, salami, and red wine vinegar), I sat down this weekend to dream up some summer meals for the month of July. .

I usually start with Mark Bittman’s classic 2007 article Summer Meals for inspiration. Most of the “recipes” are really just ideas – fresh, in season, simple meals. Lots of seafood. In the summer I need things to be easy, not get the kitchen too hot, and make me feel vaguely like I’m in middle school summer again.

Shopping is a little bit more relaxed – Trader Joes and Whole Foods for some basics, my farm share, and I like to pick things up at Farmers Market – I’m lucky to have a weekend market right down the street.

In Season (in Massachusetts)

  • Fruit: end of the strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches mid-month. I’m still gorging myself on cherries (mostly Ranier), and typically buy whatever is on sale at the store. The melons starting – watermelon, cantelope.
  • Vegetables: Lettuces, Green Beans, Beets, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Kale, Chard, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Leeks, Peppers, Spinach, Zucchini/Squash, Tomatoes (at least hot house). My fresh herbs are all doing well in the planter: parsley, basil, dill, cilantro, oregano.

Cooking Projects:

  • Nan’s Gazpacho: my grandmother used to make large containers of gazpacho all summer long to take to Maine.
  • Jordan Marsh’s Blueberry Muffins. This classic recipe from Marian Burros in the NYTimes. I think of my grandparents whenever I eat blueberry muffins (although admittedly those were more likely to be from Market Basket or Costco.)

Recipes: (I mostly use NYTimes Cooking app for specific recipes outside of my own cookbook collection.) Here are a few I’ve bookmarked:

The List Summer Items:

  • Summer Corn + Tomato Salad
  • Cold Peanut Noodles with Chicken and Cucumber
  • Grilled Hot Dogs and Baked Beans
  • Kraft Dinner Mac + Cheese from Canada
  • Can of B+M Brown Bread with Nutella
  • Watermelon and Feta Salad
  • S’mores
  • Strawberry Shortcake
  • Köfte and Shepherd’s Salad, and cold Ayran
  • Fried Hamsi (little fish) with lemony salad
  • Fried fish tucked in bread

What to Eat When I’m Tired and Don’t Want To Cook:

  • Trader Joe’s Chicken Drumellas and a bag of broccoli never disappoints.
  • Tinned Fish Rice Bowl. If I’m a little more ambitious I can bake fish from this. Usually I add some cucumber, avocado, rice vinegar, seaweed, ginger. 
  • Taco salad. Ground meat from the freezer with taco seasoning. Cheese. Chopped tomato. Sour Cream.
  • Lobster Cobb: lobster, blue cheese, tomatoes, avocado.
  • TJ’s Lamb Vindaloo + TJ’s Cumin Marinated Chickpeas + Yogurt

Eating Out:

  • Lobster Roll Quest (I’ll aim for one every week or two.)
  • Pammy’s
  • Mochiko Chicken Sandwich
  • Rancatore’s Chocolate Shake
  • An Italian Sandwich (from Monica’s, DePasquale, or Linden St. Deli)
  • A cider donut (even though it’s early in the season)
  • A Flo’s Hot Dog
  • Barnacle Billy’s (Steamers and a Crab Roll)

What’s on your summer table?

2022 Eating: A Non-Exhaustive List

Welcome to my year of eating!

At the end of December, I spend a few weeks in self review mode. I spend a lot of time thinking about what went well, what didn’t, and dreaming up what I want to improve. It’s part gratitude, part exploratory, part strategy. I write about my full process here.

I make it a point to look through my entire roll of photos (I take many!) and one of the most fun parts of my review is simply writing out a list of all the food that I’ve eaten. (This isn’t as difficult as it seems, because I keep regular journals, a “let’s eat!” spreadsheet, and meal plans for just about everything.) Since the pandemic upped my delivery frequency, I look through my various apps for a history of what I ordered from where as well.

Making a grand old list of food is a wonderful way for me to re-live a great meal. It also helps me to expand on what I’d like to eat in the new year and is a great way to help me meal plan. I start seeing patterns (you’ll notice a lot of butter chicken). (You can see last year’s list here.)

Home Cooked Turkish Beans

One day I aspire to write a kitchen diary cookbook as robust as Nigel Slater’s, or something like Ruth Reichl’s My Kitchen Year. For now, there’s this list!

In 2023, I’m hoping to be a little bit more creative in the kitchen! More recipes, more projects, more cooking with friends and family. More Turkish cooking. (I’ll be working on my kitchen resolutions this week – but here’s the 2022 version.)

It’s broken down a few different ways: Good Things I’ve cooked (very few recipes, but when I use them, they are linked). WeCo Meals (a local prepped meal delivery service) gets it’s own long section this year. Good Takeout (roughly once a week). A section for treats eaten at any time. And a miscellaneous section at the bottom.

I’m sure I’m missing lots of things in here, but here’s the non-exhaustive list:

Crispy Corona Beans (in the Air Fryer!)

Good Cooking in 2022

  • 1/1 Marcus Samuelsson’s Black Eyed Peas with Coconut Milk and Berbere (Perfection)
  • 1/3 Hello Fresh Cavatelli with Ground Pork and Biscuits
  • 1/5 Chili at home
  • 1/8 Sheet Pan Chicken and Cauliflower, pickled Red Onions
  • 1/10 Ground beef, rice bowl, chopped cucumbers
  • 1/11 Chicken, rice, pesto
  • 1/12 Greek baked fish with tomatoes and onions NYTimes (great!)
  • 1/16 Rye toast egg in a hole (Caroline had similar); Hello Fresh Tacos
  • 1/16 Cantonese Poached Chicken (Woks of Life)***
  • 1/16 Cooksmarts Asian Meatloaf
  • 1/19 Taco meat bowl with pickled onions
  • 1/22 Crab, Avocado, Grapefruit Crispy Lettuce Salad (+ star californias)
  • 1/23 Tomato soup + toast with liver paté
  • 1/24 Candied Grapefruit Peel, Alice Waters Fruit Cookbook (incredible)
  • 1/29 Leftover Lamb Biryani from the freezer (Pondicheri cooking class)
  • 2/1 Jasmine rice at home + TJ’s bbq chicken
  • 2/3 Steel cut oats with nuts and Formaggio Kitchen passionfruit curd
  • 2/12: Pot of rice, chicken, chili crisp
  • 2/13 A great beef chili with guajillo salsa
  • 2/15 Turkish Cranberry Beans and Rice
  • 2/23 Hello Fresh Tacos
  • 2/25 Manti
  • 2/27 Grilled cheese, tomato soup, chicken and pickle
  • 2/27 Baked Black Bass sushi bowl; cottage cheese with saffron cheese and pesto
  • 3/8 Shredded chicken, mango, avocado green beans and chili crisp
  • 3/19 Air Fryer pork chops, crispy lettuce salad with mango, tomato, cucumber
  • 3/20 Thick avocado toast; lamb chops, roasted cauliflower and hummus
  • 3/26 Salmon asparagus rice bowl
  • 4/2 Shawarma and rice, roasted carrots, cucumber
  • 4/4 A fun shape of curly pasta, sauce, cheese
  • 4/5 Air fryer pork chops, rice, cucumber and avocado salad
  • 4/6 Shrimp, pork, beans under some pumpkin curry
  • 4/10 Cape Cod Pepperoni Pizza (Natalies orange and pineapple juice)
  • 4/20 Chicken Nugget “Donburi” rice bowl
  • 4/30 Rye sandwich with Schwartz’s smoked meat and sauerkraut and mustard
  • 5/1 Miso Crunch TJs salad and chicken nuggets
  • 5/2 Fish Rice Bowl with avocado and cucumber
  • 5/3 Pork from Montreal and pinto Rancho Gordo beans
  • 5/5 Salmon Rice Bowl
  • 5/21 Rice bowl with TJs birria, mango, cucumber salad and lime
  • 5/22 Peanut noodles with chicken scallopine
  • 5/25 TJs gnocchi sorrentina, chicken sausage, ricotta
  • 5/26 Roasted a half chicken in the air fryer, huge bowl of mac and cheese; bambino pizzas
  • 5/30 Bowl of caballero beans (and avocado and cheese)
  • 6/17 Surimi rice bowl with avocado and tomatoes
  • 6/19 Home made mac and cheese, little burgers with cheese, tomatoes
  • 6/25 Pork cabbage onion
  • 6/26 Sardine rice bowl
  • 6/26 Soft Shell Crab in air fryer over salad
  • 6/27 Falafel with yogurt (chicken soup with dill and yogurt)
  • 6/29 Salad with rotisserie chicken, egg, slice of toast
  • 7/10 Rice bowl with chicken thighs, peppers, cucumber, dill
  • 7/14 Arugula salad with variety chopped meat and bagel croutons
  • 7/15 Pork and onion of some kind, cucumber salad and mango
  • 7/23 Baked white fish, miso crunch salad, fresh tomatoes; PROFITEROLES!
  • 7/24 TJ’s Crunchy Slaw for lunch (add chicken)
  • 7/31 TJs egg fritatta on cheese on tortillas, iced coffee with cinnamon at home
  • 8/7 Salmon rice bowl
  • 8/12 Mac and Cheese
  • 8/13 Skate wing lemon butter over tomato salad; bowl of peaches
  • 8/14 Roasted chicken, roasted zucchini, corn, mozzarella balls
  • 8/15 Chicken meatballs, roasted broccoli, watermelon
  • 8/16 Air fryer chickpeas, cucumber and peppers, chicken
  • 8/16 Liver, peppers and onions
  • 8/18 Bowl of fresh corn, watermelon, mini mozzarella
  • 8/21 Steamed fish bowl, cacio pepe gnocchi, tomato cucumber salad
  • 8/22 Grilled scallops in butter, zucchini, momofuku noodles
  • 9/3 Marinated mozzarella and peaches
  • 9/4 Rancho gordo yellow eyes (marinated) cucumbers, butter toast
  • 9/9 Lobster on salad with Wegman’s california rolls
  • 9/10 Chili with zucchini; mini peppermint cones
  • 9/13 Salad with TJ’s Kibbeh and leftover Singhs
  • 9/20 Annies and Roasted Cauliflower
  • 9/21 Kibbeh Rice bowl with tomato and avocado
  • 10/2 Pork Chop, roasted cauliflower, toast, and slaw (from Volante)
  • 10/3 Pot of Chili!
  • 10/5 Fila Manila Kare-Kare chicken with bok choy
  • 10/6 Hamburger Helper and a fennel slaw salad (partly from Volante)
  • 10/7 Corona Beans with chicken meatballs, fennel and pesto
  • 10/8 Bucatini with sauce; cucumber salad
  • 10/9 Air Fryer Corona Bean patatas bravas (thank you, Bettina!!)
  • 10/10 TJs Bambinos and salad
  • 10/11 Sardine Rice Bowl with Avocado
  • 10/11 Somchay feeds me tacos and we have a Cider Donut eat-off
  • 10/13 Kibbe, white bean puree, eggplant over rice
  • 10/14 Good and Gather Butter Chicken and Chickpeas over Rice
  • 10/15 Big piece of liver, tomato and arugula salad
  • 10/18 Tteokboki at home! (added eggs like shakshuka)
  • 10/21 Miso Crunch salad with breaded shrimp in air fryer
  • 10/22 Mac and cheese and leftover chili (from freezer)
  • 10/23 Half a cape cod pepperoni pizza and salad
  • 10/25 Sardine rice bowl
  • 10/26 Air fryer panko calamari from farm share, green salad
  • 10/27 Some sort of meat/salad/rice bowl
  • 10/28 More of that butter chicken from Target with chicken thighs
  • 10/29 Pork chop in air fryer, any day microwave bok choy, cocktail sauce
  • 10/30 Air fryer pierogies, salami, lettuce, burrata
  • 10/31 Salad with marinated chickpeas, salami, applekraut
  • 11/1 Butter Shrimp with cauliflower, rice, and tamarind sauce
  • 11/2 Cooked fish, TJs mexican corn, roasted cauliflower
  • 11/3 Rice, pork chop, Donal Skehan’s brussels sprouts
  • 11/4 Kibbeh rice bowl with yogurt
  • 11/5 Lamb stew with tomatoes and chickpeas over rice
  • 11/6 Burrata Salad with squash, kraut, etc.
  • 11/8 Fennel salad with burrata and avocado toast; baked a single large cookie
  • 11/9 Half a cape cod pizza
  • 11/12 Steak, honeynut squash, steamed greens
  • 11/13 Corn chowder with fish hello fresh
  • 11/15 Pork chops, roasted potatoes, brussels sprouts
  • 11/25 Butter chicken at home
  • 11/26 More brussels sprouts; big salad with leftover smoked turkey and french onions
  • 11/28 Salami reuben with sauerkraut
  • 11/28 Kibbe rice bowl with cottage cheese and chopped cucumbers
  • 11/30 Three Good Toast dinner – avocado, muhammara, pimento cheese
  • 11/30 Monkfish with chili crisp, rice, bok choy
  • 12/2 Pork pineapple Hello Fresh tacos
  • 12/3 Most amazing TOAST with muhammara and sardines
  • 12/4 Annie’s Shells with White Cheddar
  • 12/8 Pork chop in air fryer and broccoli cheddar; amazing star market chocolate chocolate cake
  • 12/9 Salmon Broccoli Cheddar Rice Bowl
  • 12/10 Birria with rice bowl
  • 12/11 Miso crunch salad with steak and burrata
  • 12/12 Salmon Rice Bowl
  • 12/13 Beef, asparagus chili; made some air fryer crispy mushrooms (bettina); black and whites from TooJays
  • 12/14 Miso crunch salad and salami with eggs
  • 12/14 Tuna rice bowl
  • 12/15 Stone and skillet, eggs, Canadian bacon
  • 12/17 Shrimp cocktail and broccoli with blue cheese and balsamic (very good!); Kestane
  • 12/18 Chicken Scallopine and Garlic Swiss chard
  • 12/19 Broccoli cheddar, crispy lettuce, cucumber, tomato, chicken thigh, blue cheese
  • 12/20 Broccoli cheddar, beef kebabs, avocado, cottage cheese, mozzarella
  • 12/21 Pierre Franey’s Bass Provencal; latkes with sour cream
  • 12/22 TJ’s Kung Pao Chicken (just the chicken) with broccoli, blue cheese, balsamic
  • 12/23 Kare Kare Chicken Thighs, Bok Choy, Korean Rice Cakes
  • 12/24 Pork chops, latkes, brussels sprouts, sour cream
  • 12/25 Braised Beef, Home Made Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus
  • 12/26 TJs beef kebabs, Allison Roman Seedy Carrots on Yogurt, salad
  • 12/27 Lobster Salad with Mozzarella and Tomatoes
  • 12/29 Boiled Chicken, Rice, Lemony Salad
WeCo Citrus Marinated Shrimp

Good WeCo in 2022

WeCo has absolutely saved me for the better part of the year. I lived for a LONG time without a working dishwasher, and having prepared and delicious “home cooked” food was a lifesaver. Bolded some of my favorites! Most times I’d order a dinner and a kid’s meal for lunch the next day, or split a meal over two lunches. I’ll note that WeCo’s vegetarian and pescatarian meals are *awesome*.

One other thing to note: from the end of March for many months, I experienced a near total loss of taste from COVID for some time, and dampened for several more months. I was mildly afraid to cook lest I burn the house down, and gravitated towards as bright colors and textures as I could. (WeCo totally delivered!)

  • WeCo New Years Lobster Pasta; Duck
  • WeCo Dunn-well Detox Green Juice
  • January
    • 1/4 Roasted Eggplant + Farro Bowl
    • Broccoli Cheddar Soup
    • 1/6 Steak gyro
    • Cobb Salad
    • Beet, quinoa and Burrata (SO GOOD)
    • Bowl of green things – peas, etc. over arugula
  • February
    • 2/2 Duck Confit
    • Citrus marinated shrimp, mango + papaya salad
    • Street corn chowder
    • Kit’s cheesy hot pocket
    • Tropic like it’s hot
    • 2/4 Pork belly miso ramen
    • Tofu Truck
    • 2/8 Veggie lasagna
    • Citrus steak
    • Cannoli
    • Tickle me pink (Drink!)
    • 2/10 Fresh bucatini with crispy bacon
    • Cajun chicken + charred corn salad
    • 2/11 burrata panzanella
    • Charcuterie + cheese board
    • 2/16 mushroom lo mein + duck confit
    • Curried coconut butternut soup with shrimp
    • 2/17 soy marinated salmon
    • Roasted eggplant + grains bowl
    • Cheesecake
    • 2/18 Sweet chili shrimp + rice bowl
    • 2/25 Hot oil udon noodle bowl
    • Kids grilled cheese + tomato soup
    • 2/22 Carnitas burritos
    • Curried veggie + cumin rice bowl
    • Broccoli cheddar soup
    • Maple walnut bread pudding
    • 2/23 Butternut brown butter + pumpkin ravioli
    • Shrimp fajita bowl
    • 2/28 Roasted beet + feta salad
    • Cream of mushroom soup
    • Kids bbq meatloaf
    • Carrot cake whoopie pies
    • The floor is guava
  • March
    • 3/2 bacon wrapped pork tenderloin
    • Cacio e pepe cauliflower
    • 3/7 Shrimp truck
    • Caprese salad with roasted chicken breast
    • Monkey bread
    • Pear necessities
    • 3/10 Pea + fava bean cavatelli
    • Cajun shrimp salad
    • Kids beef enchilada
    • 3/11 Roasted eggplant + farro bowl
    • 3/29 Carne asada tacos
    • Burrata + spring veggie bowl
    • Mezze plate
    • Get it juiced
    • 3/31 Tamarind chicken
    • Crunchy spring salad + harissa garlic shrimp
    • Kids beef + broccoli
    • Caramel cheesecake brownies
  • April
    • 4/11 Fresh bucatini with crispy bacon
    • Adobo + lime shrimp salad
    • Nuts about you
    • 4/14 Chickpea tikka masala
    • Roasted asparagus + prosciutto bowl
    • 4/20 baja style shrimp salad
    • Baked apple crostata
    • 4/22 Tofu truck
    • 4/25 Shrimp truck
    • Tuscan chicken breast + toasted orzo bowl
    • Flourless chocolate cake
    • 4/28 Sweet chili shrimp + rice bowl
  • May
    • 5/4 Citrus marinated shrimp, mango + papaya salad
    • Key lime smarts
    • Spelling bee buzzer
    • 5/10 Braised lamb fettucine
    • Mezze plate
    • 5/13 Roasted Chicken Ramen
  • June
    • 6/14 Paneer Tikka masala
    • Roasted veggie + lamb bowl
    • Shrimp Cocktail
    • Tickle Me Pink (YUM)
    • 6/15 Curry Crusted Cauliflower + Braised chicken thigh
    • 6/28 Steak Gyro
    • Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Salad with the crunchies!
    • Gazpacho with corn, crab, sweet pepper salad
    • Tiramisu cupcakes
    • Daquolada
    • Lobster Roll
    • Beet + Ricotta Salata Bowl
  • July
    • 7/7 Shrimp Ravioli
    • Tofu Truck
    • Almond Palmer
    • 7/8 Crunchy summer salad + harissa garlic shrimp
  • August
    • 8/1 Lamb Cavatelli
    • Summer Halloumi Salad
    • Crab Dip (VERY GOOD!)
    • Coconut Lime cookie bar
    • 8/3 Chicken Marsala + Fully Loaded Baked Potato (THIS I HAD TO TOSS BECAUSE I WAS CAUGHT AWAY FROM HOME FOR SEVERAL HOURS AND IT WAS A 90+ degree day and i had forgotten my cooler bag! Tragic!!)
    • 8/5 Roasted cod + chorizo
    • Beet + ricotta salata bowl
    • Mezze plate
    • 8/8 Birria Tacos
    • Cajun shrimp salad
    • Thick-mint sandwich
    • 8/10 Chickpea tikka masala
    • smoked salmon + asparagus salad
  • October
    • 10/24 chicken tinga tacos
    • Beet + burrata bowl
    • Bloody hell
    • Coconut cinnamon rice pudding
  • November
    • 11/1 butternut squash and coconut curry + harissa shrimp
    • Turkey meatballs + couscous
    • Wedge salad
    • Edamame dumplings
    • 11/8 Lamb biryani
    • Crab + avocado toast
    • Dry-tai
    • Chicken noodle soup
  • December
    • Lamb kofta + tabbouleh
    • Citrus marinated shrimp + papaya salad
    • Kids chicken ramen
    • Curried coconut butternut squash soup + roasted shrimp
Grandma’s Kitchen Wonton Noodles

Good Takeout in 2022

Having Grandma’s Kitchen open up around the corner from my house was a BOON at the end of this year.

  • 1/9 Pupu Platter, Chicken Wonton Soup
  • 1/26 Wonton soup + sesame balls from Lobster Wok
  • 1/28 Chipotle and Green Juice
  • 2/14 Cafe Sushi Valentine’s Day TREAT BOX
  • 3/3 A latke
  • 3/4 Lobster Wok Dumplings and Chicken Wonton Soup
  • 3/5 LeDu Pad Kee Mao and Papaya Salad
  • 3/30 LeDu larb and tom soup (trying desperately to taste SOUR), sticky rice with condensed milk
  • 4/3 Le’s Extra Large Beef Noodle Soup, Fresh Limeade
  • 4/9 Shan a Punjab butter chicken, naan, masala tea
  • 4/17 Hen Chick Rice (half and half)
  • 4/24 Rod Dee 2 crispy Chicken pad thai, thai iced tea, pad kee mao noodles
  • 4/28 Hen Chicken Rice: The Mix, Thai Iced Tea, the mango, daikon soup
  • 5/7 Shake Shack Burger
  • 5/14 Birthday Super Fusion 2 – rolls, tamago, shumai, and crab rangoon!
  • 5/15 Gustazo Ropa Vieja
  • 5/27 Oppa Sushi (chirashi special; tamago, egg, fish); Gong Cha Milk Tea
  • 6/10 Ethiopian Cafe: Meat Combo (and a side of Kung Fu bubble tea)
  • 6/16 Pho O Sha: Bun Grilled Beef
  • 6/20 Dim Sum Jumbo takeout: salt and pepper squid, turnip cakes, steamed U-choy, har gao
  • 6/23 MIDA pepperoni pizza
  • 6/24: Kung Fu Tea: Pina Colada Slush (Devon), Thai Milk Tea
  • 7/2 Steamers Lobster Roll and cape cod chips and pickle
  • 7/3 Lunch – sashimi and tamago from Sakanaya
  • 7/3 Lobster Roll + clam chowder from Legal
  • 7/6 Ginger Exchange: Korean Beef, Mama’s Homemade Dumplings
  • 7/9 Legal Seafood: Whole Fried Clams
  • 7/11 Chinese takeout from Dumpling Daughter for lunch with John
  • 7/13 Thonglor! Moo gratiam and thai iced tea. VERY GOOD!
  • 7/15 Cava Lunch after haircut
  • 7/16 Tsurotontan: Nabeyaki Udon, 3 roll combo
  • 7/20 Thonglor: Pad Kee Mao
  • 7/24 Korean Tacos from Bonchon
  • 7/29 Ate at MIDA (Amatriciana)
  • 7/31 Lee’s Burger Cheeseburger and fries
  • 8/6 Shan-a-Punjab Butter Chicken, Naan, Gulab Jamun
  • 8/13 First trip to Mochiko (chicken sandwich)
  • 8/19 New Ginza Japanese takeout (sashimi bowl, salad, miso) (eh)
  • 8/20 PEKA skirt steak takeout, ceviche, taro chips
  • 8/22 Beach Plum lobster roll with Mom
  • 8/30 Boston Kebab Waltham: Turkish Takeout – köfte kebab dinner, Sütlaç
  • 9/2 Amazing Japanese bowl from Tora (Uber cost a fortune)
  • 9/11 Hen Chicken Rice: Daikon Soup, The Ishan, Chicken Thigh
  • 9/12 Mixed Grill, Momo, Gulab Jamun from Singhs
  • 9/14 Mochiko kahlua pork bowl (the CABBAGE is so good!)
  • 9/15 Vaisakhi: Butter chicken and naan, gulab jamun
  • 9/22 Little India: Butter Chicken, Garlic Naan, Gulab Jamun, Raita
  • 9/23 Chicken Noodle Soup – Le’s
  • 9/26 Tonkotsu Ramen – Hakata Ramen
  • 9/27 Butter Chicken
  • 9/30 Khao Soi + Thai Iced Tea from Thonglor
  • 11/12 Pad KeeMao, Papaya Salad – LeDu
  • 11/17 Grandma’s Kitchen opens!! Taiwanese beef noodle; saved pork noodles for next day, beef roll, mango drink
  • 11/29 Grandma’s Kitchen – pork wontons (amazing), popcorn chicken
  • 12/6 Grandmas Kitchen Chicken Noodle (and two stewed egg)
  • 12/16 Cafe Sushi Weekend Box for 1 (expensive but good)
  • 12/28 Grandma’s Kitchen Wonton Noodles, side of green veg
Salmon Caviar on Rye Toast

Good Treats 2022

  • Good Treats:
    • 1/5 Red Caviar on Rye Toast
    • Amanda brought me David Lebovitz Gougeres!
    • Market Tiamo opens – their PROFITEROLES!
    • 1/18 CITRUS BOX from Mark Bittman x Birite “The California Citrus Experience”
    • Ricotta, mini chocolate chips, clementines + amaretto
    • Asian Pears
    • 1/19 Mom made miso pb cookies
    • 1/29 Cannoli filling from the Star Market freezer
    • 2/6 Chocolate Cherry Marzipan from Russian Market (mom’s credit card)
    • 2/12 Maple Pie from John in Montreal; Cheese St. Viateur Bagels, Romados Egg Tarts
    • 2/17 Box of assorted cookies from Red Rover
    • 2/20 KRAFT DINNER
    • 3/3 Mad Mini’s ice cream sandwiches
    • 3/22 Tortilla with melted string cheese and sausage from buccees
    • 3/22 Rancatores Chocolate Shake
    • 3/23 Ttokboki from TJs with chicken and cheese
    • 3/24 Nutty granola and cream; Kraft Dinner; a mango/orange McDonalds shake
    • 3/25 Cauliflower gnocchi with pesto; a Lobster Sandwich from the Cottage
    • 3/28 Pineapple with Tajin (can’t really taste at this point); banza noodles with cheese and chili crisp
    • 3/29 Can sort of taste the dark chocolate WeCo desserts with cream but everything is mostly gone
    • 4/25 Toast with smoked salmon cream cheese
    • 4/27 Momofuku noodles
    • 4/30 Levain Cookie
    • 5/3 Mikan juice from Whole Foods
    • 5/4 Dunkin Donuts Corn Donut
    • 5/13 Rancatores chocolate shake
    • 5/14 Elephantine cinnamon roll
    • 5/14 Mom made me a strawberry rhubarb crumble for my birthday – SO GOOD
    • 5/16 Levain again
    • 7/5 Caroline sends me INCREDIBLE tahini cookies and cheese crackers from Ottolenghi from her London trip
    • 7/5 Bagel with pimento cheese
    • 7/14 Pancakes with nutella
    • 7/15 Bagel with pimento cheese and salami
    • 7/20 Pimento Cheese toast and nutella toast
    • 8/2 Lemonade at HOME
    • 8/4 TJs Jamaican Beef Patties
    • 8/20 Strawberry rhubarb fruit soup with yogurt
    • 10/1 TJs sticky toffee pumpkin pudding
    • VOLANTE: slaw, and other good stuff, Dutton Berry Farm Apple Cider (great!) – good to know they just have really nice prepped vegetable salads of all kinds!
    • 10/12 Roasting mini honeynut squashes
    • 10/14 Toast with white bean dip (chopped apples from Volante)
    • 10/21 Post Shift Pilsner
    • 10/31 Barrio Salsa Matcha, Applekraut (eh), Not Just Salad Dressing Gochujang
    • 11/11 Acai bowl and cottage cheese
    • 11/11 Biscuits
    • 11/20 TJs amazing cinnamon bun kettle corn (including a huge piece of crunchy sugar in it!)
    • 12/7 Che Beef Empanada (very good)
    • 12/9 Kodiak cakes; niblets and eggs
    • 12/12 My neighbor’s home made dolma
    • 12/13 Matcha protein shake
    • 12/13 John brings 3 black and white minis from TooJays
    • 12/15 John brings CITRUS from Florida
    • 12/15 Little breakfast sandwiches with stone and skillet, Canadian bacon, cheese
    • 12/24 Christmas cookies (and brownies) from both sets of neighbors!
    • Shout out to Trader Joe’s mini mousse desserts in the freezer section.
    • 12/29 a perfectly ripened persimmon
Alice Waters Candied Grapefruit Peel
  • Other good food:
    • Prep of note: soft boiled eggs frequently, lots of bagels with cheese
    • Novelty: Burlap and Barrel Spice Subscriptions, Rancho Gordo Bean Club, Kishibori Shoyu Soy Sauce, Bonne Maman advent calendar
    • Star Market: dark chocolate cake (three layers), Crispy Lettuce, Grape Nuts, Joseph’s lavash (they seem drier these days), banded cannoli cake slice
    • Desserts of note: Cranberry curd tart from Elephantine, apple crumble from WeCo, thin mints from freezer (2/26), Honey Pot Hill Cider Donuts (11/4) from Somchay, Trader Joe’s Mini Frozen Mousse Cakes
    • Formaggio: Beet tzaziki, Pimento cheese dip, Big Sky Grana, Muhammara, Passionfruit Curd
    • Whole foods: Evolution chocolate cake slices, their oreos, Naan Toastie (okay), Iggy’s Francese Bread, Shrimp Cocktail, bang bang shrimp bowls, pb tofu, Superfrau!
    • Trader Joe’s Items of Note (Not my favorites list*): kahlua pork things (okay), bread cheese, limeade (although my palate is shifting on this one), oven baked cheese bites, gluten free cinnamon muffins, cacio e pepe gnocchi, taiwanese pancakes (air fryer), lamb vindaloo and cottage cheese for lunches, vanilla bean paste, gingerbread cookie sandwiches
    • Cottage cheese with things: cottage cheese, soft eggs, olive oil (and ripe tomatoes in the summer)
    • Rancho Gordo: All the beans.
    • Volante Apples of Note: Topaz!
The Steak Salad at Keen’s Bar (Perfection!)

2022 Amazing Travel Meals

The final category: I generally speaking avoided restaurant meals in person unless I was traveling. Some notable favorites:

Texas (2x):

  • Kolache Shoppe – the perfect bacon egg and cheese
  • Golfstromen – the best bite of dark bread and smoked butter
  • Tiny Boxwoods – an excellent burger
  • Buccee’s – Jerky and Sausage on a Stick
  • Le Colonial

New York City (2x):

  • Le Privé – Steak Frites, asparagus with white anchovy
  • Magnolia Banana Pudding
  • Spanish Diner – Patatas Bravas, Pan con Tomate, Lettuce with white anchovy, Flan
  • Zabars – bagel with Smoked Salmon, Sable, Gazapcho
  • Keen’s (at the bar) – Steak Salad (best deal in New York!)
  • Sip + Co – great breakfast sandwich on a bap

Wellesley Staycation:

  • Eataly, Breakfast Sandwiches at Tatte, Alta Strada
Bertram Knows What He Likes

Bertram’s Treats of Choice

  • Bully Sticks (odor or non-odor; 12 inch)
  • Polka Dog Bakery Snacks
  • Chicken Strips from Trader Joe’s (crispy)
  • Treats at the Beer Store
  • Treats at the Bank
  • Treats at the Toy Store
  • Bacon from Mochiko*

Here’s to more great meals in 2023!

xo, Sam

The Winter Good Things Guide

Hello hello! I hope you are keeping warm this winter so far. After having fun doing another end of the year review, one of my winter projects was creating my winter intentions list for myself – a list of Good Things to take advantage of in the coming season across a range of topics.

I do this kind of planning for myself not because I want to jam-pack my days, but because if I think creatively when I’m in good headspace, I’m more likely to take advantage of my own wisdom in the dark days when I’m not. It’s a kindness that I try to practice for myself regularly. (As is updating my list of lists!)

I thought this year I’d write up my guide to share, so you can now download the Winter Good Things guide here for yourself! This 20-page resource is full of lists and ideas to inspire and motivate you during the colder months. 

This guide covers a range of topics to help you feel your best, including:

  • Feelings: Tips on how to process and manage your emotions, as well as resources like the Feeling Wheel and Emotion Sensation to help you better understand and express your feelings.
  • Food: From cooking and pantry-stocking ideas to finding joy in the kitchen, plus an “all the time shopping list” plenty of goodness to keep you nourished and satisfied.
  • Products: Looking to make your life a little easier or more enjoyable? This mini-gift guide includes suggestions for products that can help, things that bring joy, (as well as tips on how to avoid overspending).
  • Curating Inputs: Want to find new movies, TV shows, or books to enjoy? This guide includes recommendations for all three, as well as ideas for curating your inputs for maximum enjoyment.
  • Movement: Whether you’re looking for enjoyable activities to keep you moving, ways to stay accountable with your fitness, or inspiration for what good looks like, I’ve got you covered.
  • Activities: From activities to do with friends to solo pursuits, plenty of ideas to keep you entertained and engaged. (Including some Boston area specific ones)
  • Giving: As the end of the year approaches, the guide offers ideas for giving back to your local, national, and global communities, whether through money, time, or effort.
  • Rest: Finally, some thoughts on the importance of rest and self care, as well as ideas for physical rest and self nurturing to help you recharge and feel your best.

With so much included, the Winter Good Things guide is sure to have something for everyone. So why wait? Get yours today and start making the most of the winter season!

It’s currently “Pay what you want!’ which includes FREE (but the suggested price is $7.42)

Happy Winter!

2021 Eating: A Non-Exhaustive List

2021 Eating: A Non-Exhaustive List

Every year, I complete a fussy year long review that takes me a few weeks of compiling – a pages long list organized by category, which I find particularly cathartic, even – or particularly – in difficult times (and this year was full of truly great things, but also particularly shitty for me, losing my dad, one of my number one eating partners in crime.) I write about my full process here.

For some folks, a review of a year that is complicated or traumatic (hello, most of us in a pandemic) isn’t particularly appealing, but I find it to be one of my most satisfying activities. In part, because a full 50% of it is my re-living of my meals – the things may be going down in flames, but “at least, I ate!” approach. And ate, I did.

Here is my non-exhaustive list. Honestly, there was more than this, but I may have forgotten to snap a photo, or it really wasn’t worth eating. These are loosely organized, but the whole thing is a little chaotic. I can’t say that all of these things were great, but I’ll bold some of the things that I’d recommend.

Good Cooking

Items I cooked at home, either from recipes (I’ll link those I have) or ideas. Also, items cooked by friends.

  • In rough order that I ate them:
    • May 2 – cooking an amazing steak in Rye Beach, with mashed potatoes and peas; John’s Key Lime Pie
    • Chuletas de Puerco Recipe from the Versailles Cookbook
    • Christmas Lima Stew (101 Cookbooks)
    • Broccoli with blue cheese and pancetta
    • Spring – Farfalle Primavera from 30 Minute Pasta Giuliano Hazan
    • Nom Nom Paleo Bo Kho
    • Frozen okra gumbo
    • Pork chops and tomato eggs
    • Mom’s Peach Cardamom Upside Down Cake (Zesty South Indian Kitchen)
    • Mom’s stuffed peppers and tomatoes
    • Gail Hendryx’s Bouillabaisse (August 26th) for Caroline’s birthday and good salad, figs in ginger syrup and mascarpone, 2015 Seven Stones Cabernet (and the description on the insert.)
    • Gail Hendryx’s Kemah dinner – Soba noodle salad with shrimp, Bluebell Ice Cream peach with gingersnaps
    • Gail Hendryx’s Breakfast Tacos
    • Grilled Eggplant Fatteh from Saffron in the Souks
    • Beef, taco seasoning, and fire roasted onions and peppers
    • Batch of Pan Banging Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough from Sarah Kieffer
    • Macaroni and cheese with cauliflower and pancetta
    • Oct. 30th some sort of chicken with mayo and carrot salad (I can’t remember; it was the longest week)
    • Corn Chowder (added fish) with Old Bay biscuits
    • Thanksgiving: Ore Nell’s barbecue extravaganza with the fam
    • Hannukah pork chops (shhhh..) salad, latkes with sour cream
    • NYTimes Skillet Chicken with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions (Yasmin Fahr)
    • Chicken and Daikon soup (Thanks, Tim!)

Food from particular places, or quick items by theme

  • Other good food:
    • The Zahav Shortrib extravaganza in February from Goldbelly in NH with fam
    • Matzoh Ball soup with a massive matzah ball (Zahav)
    • Stone and Skillet English Muffins
      • As: egg sandwich; or with chicken liver pate, or with salmon caviar
    • Favorites From the Farm Share (Farmers to You – a consortium of small farms and food companies in Vermont who deliver to the Boston area – let me know if you want a referral discount!):
    • Favorites from Star Market (over the Mass Pike!): dark chocolate cake (three layers), Cape Cod Cafe Pizza (hands down the best frozen pizza!!), Bubbe’s passionfruit mochi, Stouffers stuffed peppers (don’t knock it), CRISPY LETTUCE
    • Wegmans: California Rolls (why are they so good?), bacon cheddar sliders on arugula salad, pumpernickel rye bread (with caviar!) or chopped liver!
    • Desserts of note: Roasted chestnuts with rum from Silvia downstairs – topped with rum, oatmeal chocolate chip cookie from Great Harvest; apple fritter from Love Bird, cinnamon roll from Formaggio; citrus from formaggio, sticky toffee pudding – sticky toffee pudding, co., and the warm chocolate pudding; sutlaç; macerated strawberries with oats and ricotta and brown sugar; meyer lemon and marrionberry ice cream from Red Rover Creamery
    • Favorites from Formaggio: robiola incavolata, old favorite Cabot Clothbound, Big Sky Grana (dear lord!), the Passionfruit curd, beet tzaziki, Fly by Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp, an overpriced emergency bottle of Kewpie
    • Favorites from Eataly: saffron and black pepper cheese ‘guffanti piacentinu di ena’, a perfect promotional melon – “buy prosciutto, get a promotional melon” (August 24th)
    • Smoothies and protein shakes of note
      • Blueberries and chocolate and spinach
      • Key lime: vanilla protein powder, cauliflower, pineapple, lime juice, coconut milk**
    • Whole foods: popcorn chili shrimp bowls; thai peanut tofu, elevation cake slice; pesto, cinnamon coffee cake, chicken scallopine (good!)
    • Trader Joe’s Items of Note: Hardwood Smoked Tuna, Kung Pao Chicken, Peppermint Hold the Cones; Mochi Cake; honey aleppo sauce; grainless granola; kibbeh; green goddess dip; kung pao mochi; plantain croutons; just chicken (ate a lot, sometimes convenience wins over quality); chicken drumellas, Calabrian tomato soup; spicy lentil wrap; Cacio Pepe pasta – with lobster! (or brussels sprouts!)  Bambino Pizza (thanks, Danielle!); frozen salmon including bbq plank, cauliflower gnocchi; bazaar mix; Saag Paneer; shrimp burger; meatloaf; crispy champignon mushroom snack; chicken piccata, frozen Mexican corn; fermented bomba (on Josephs’ lavash with cheese and egg), peanut udon noodles; french fries; Portuguese egg tarts; seafood cioppino; chicken sausage egg burrito things; Matcha Green Tea Japanese Noodles; southern peach crisp ice cream; cooked octopus; strawberry-oat ice cream bars; tangerine cream bars; fish sticks; ube mochi pancake mix; corn and cheese arepas; chickpea masala with pickled vegetables; cheese crisps; SPINDRIFT, bbq chicken, thai chicken kabobs, organic vanilla bean paste, breakfast egg frittatas, korean cinnamon filled pancakes (Hotteok), Gingerbread Coffee, Shade Grown Espresso Blend
    • Cottage cheese with various things
      • blueberries; oats, maple
      • passionfruit curd from Formaggio
      • olive oil, salt and pepper
      • on an OMG english muffin
      • peaches and cinnamon sugar
    • The Air Fryer! (Ninja 4 Qt. Would Recommend!)
      • Air fryer fish over “sushi rice” with furikake; tomatoes
      • Cauliflower
      • Red’s Calamari with Cocktail Sauce
      • Cheesy bagels; bagels with butter
      • Meat: Cubed ham; Perfect pork chops; TJ’s shawarma beef
      • lots of chicken strips
      • Chickpeas
      • An entire roasted chicken
    • Scottie dog shortbread
    • Rancho Gordo Bean Share: BEPS, Coronas (twice), pintos with honey, Popcorn, yellow eye beans, black lentils with onion (and red wine vinegar) – need to really start eating down the stash.
    • Hot cocoa with mini marshmallows
    • From John, specifically: Aldi goat mac and cheese, Elephantine Easter Lemon Curd tartlet, LEVAIN COOKIES (coming to Boston and I’m IN TROUBLE), Indian Pudding Ice Cream from Lagos, Poppyseed cake, from Zabars, lots of good things from Elephantine, Eggs and Maple from White Gate Farm
    • Tahini Faux-reo from Sofra
    • Turkish greek beans
    • The Starbucks Oatmilk Brown Sugar Latte (2) – I normally drink only black coffee?
    • Star Market Sushi (…not good, but I ate more of it than I’d admit)
    • Costco Bibigo dumplings
    • Overnight oats, particularly: Peach Overnight Oats; Cookie Dough
    • Skate Picatta
    • Hoisin Chicken and Asparagus
    • April 22nd stew of some kind with potato (no idea!)
    • Marinated lamb with cauliflower and tomato salad
    • Ikea Fish Balls (so easy!)
    • Frozen Passionfruit at Whole Foods
    • Baked beans and bbq jackfruit with cheddar
    • May 7 in Rye Beach: Roasted Chicken and Manti
    • Rasbpberry/Lemon Pucker Upper Sorbet and Limeade slushie
    • Baked Potato with sour cream
    • Michael Twitty’s Okra Soup from High on the Hog
    • Monkfish poached in wine, cucumber salad, beet hummus (eataly)
    • Sleep: Beam hot chocolate; House of Wise Gummies – Sleep and Stress (HIGHLY recommend – affiliate)
    • June 29th – One Rancatore’s Chocolate Dinner Shake
    • Tiki Slam Boulevard Brewing (from my favorite peeps at Craft Beer Cellar Newton)
    • Macaroni and cheese with scallops
    • Texas: hatch chile chicken, with amazing eggplant and pita with tahini sauce and pomegranate (the pomegranate was a FAIL that tasted like rotting fish)
    • Breakfast taco at Caroline’s house with bacon and egg and HEB tortilla
    • A waffle FISH with matcha and red bean ice cream at Seaport at Taiyaki
    • Momofuku Noodles and Chili Crisp
    • Hello Fresh Southwest Pork Tacos, cabbage slaw, sour cream

Mostly Local Takeout

  • Good Takeout
    • NYE Sushi dinner from Super Fusion 2 (With Tamago!)
    • Sakanaya Bowl
    • Shake Shack Korean chicken sandwich
    • LeDu Pad Kee Mao and Green Papaya Salad; crab rangoon***
    • Shan a Punjab Butter Chicken with Masala Chai; kheer and bubs licking the container (5 times)
    • Sandwich shared with my sibling from Monicas
    • Lunar New Year: date  Nian Gao + 8 Treasure Rice, sweet sesame balls (Feb 12), lo mein, and an orange (sent in cold hands for my walk home)
    • Lazuri Cafe – Iskender Kebab and Sutlaç
    • Cottage Lobster Sandwich and Burger
    • Shake Shack (more Shake Shack)
    • Chicken and Rice Guys (that garlic sauce!)
    • Vietnamese Bun (from pho-1 Brighton) – it’s no Pho So 1 Boston!
    • May 28th: Thistle and Leek
    • June 4 – Taqueria Mexico
    • June 6 – first Lobster roll of season at Beach Plum (10 oz.)
    • June 17 – Carriage House with Mom
    • June 19 – Eataly with Lizzy, Sofra, Legal Seafood, Rye Beach Lobster Rolls, Pho So 1 Boston
    • Lakon Paris – Thai Tea and AMAZING chocolate chip hockey puck thick cookie
    • McDonalds Pineapple Mango Shake (post-workouts)
    • A very good Chile Verde burrito from Los Amigos
    • August 21 end of season lobster roll in NH
    • Hugo’s Restaurant Week (Houston), with Julia, Hector, and Caro
    • Kolache Shoppe breakfast kolache
    • Sushico ($50.. for a tiny chirashi bowl; but decent. Would be WAY better in house)
    • Mr. Kim’s – meat and kimchi on rice with a fried egg, and papaya salad, and noodles, cheesecake with blueberries and lemon meringue (and a noodle kugel from mom)
    • October 24th. [Celebrate Dad’s Life] Barnacle Billy’s Steamers and Chowder
    • Dragon Star: HUGE AMOUNTS OF FOOD after the private funeral – pupu platter, etc.
    • Wild Willy’s Burgers
    • Cafe Sushi and Boba Milk Tea from next door
    • Zheng Garden Beef Noodle Soup
    • The chicken sandwich in Springfield from Granny’s Baking Table with pimento and jam
    • Clover Lunch (x4) – new around the corner from my house!
    • Tatte (with Caroline): egg sandwich (and she had mushroom shakshuka)
    • Cake from Cake Boss (don’t judge.)
    • Christmas Eve: Lobster Wok – wonton soup (amazing!) crab rangoon, shrimp lo mein
    • Max and Leo’s – Pepperoni Mushroom
    • Cranberry Curd Tart from Elephantine
    • A small bowl of ham bone soup from Somchay
    • Fresh Oysters from Island Creek

Take-out Adjacent:

During the months of September and October, I had the worst two months™️ as my dad was dying of cancer. I needed to feed myself, and wasn’t doing a good job of it. I also didn’t have the energy or desire for most takeout. So I went for a few prepared options, that were truly my saving grace during a hard time. I chose Diane Sanfilippo’s Balanced Bites meals for my freezer – high protein, high quality ingredients. My favorite meals were the spaghetti squash bolognese, egg roll in a bowl, and sloppy joe chili. And for a local delivery option, ordered from WeCo Hospitality, a few times a week.

  • WeCo Hospitality – started at the beginning of October, and so many great meals. Some of the standouts include:
    • Shrimp scampi fettuccine: lemon + garlic marinated shrimp in white wine + butter sauce with blistered cherry tomatoes and torn herbs; hand cut fettuccine, shaved parmesan, roasted broccoli
    • Soba + Dumpling Bowl: edamame + roasted shiitake dumplings, buckwheat soba noodles, miso-marinated eggplant, pickled carrots + ginger and roasted sesame dressing
    • Roasted Eggplant and Farro Bowl (top!): roasted eggplant with black garlic + wood ear mushrooms over poached farro + barley with blistered cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, field greens, feta cheese and meyer lemon vinaigrette
    • Salt Roasted Beet and Burrata Bowl**: salt roasted Applefield beets, watercress, golden quinoa, toasted pistachios, tarragon dressing and creamy burrata
    • NY Strip Steak Au Poivre: peppercorn crusted marinated strip steak, four peppercorn + cognac sauce; paprika roasted yukon potatoes, black truffle parmesan butter, blistered broccoli with smoked garlic honey + pickled shallots
    • Pumpkin Soup
    • Curried Orzo and Braised Chicken Thigh
    • Roasted Carrot Salad
    • Roasted Chicken Ramen: soy marinated roasted chicken breast with hoisin + ginger glaze; shiitake mushroom + spring onion broth, spicy miso paste; spring beans + peas with curry leaves + wilted spinach, fresh wavy noodles, scallions, pickled mushrooms and marinated egg
    • Foragers Bowl: shredded duck confit over barley with roasted mushrooms, rehydrated pickled mushrooms, roasted asparagus, carrots, and pesto
    • Roasted chicken biryani: yogurt + curry marinated chicken breast, basmati rice cooked in shorba with saffron, onion, mustard seed + coriander; sweet potato korma braised in coconut milk with chiles + spices; cucumber + red onion raita with mint + dill, naan
    • Oolong Tea Braised shortribs with charred alliums, sichuan peppercorn honey jus, toasted farro with maitake + oyster mushrooms, dried cherries + tahini brown butter; roasted cauliflower + broccoli with sweet chili garlic crunch, charred kale + arugula salad with torn herbs + candied orange; matcha vinaigrette
    • Baja Shrimp Tacos: citrus poached shrimp with guajillo-agave glaze, fresh mango salsa, pineapple-chipotle mayo, cilantro-lime rice, crunch napa cabbage slaw with shaved veggies + citrus, pickled red onion + lime
    • Desserts of note: Cranberry + Apple Crumble with pecan brown butter crumbs, Weco COOKIES, Carrot Cake, blueberry cheesecake with oat crumble

What’s next?

Here’s to great eats in 2022! I’d love to hear your favorite 1-3 recipes or meals. I’ll add them to my list for next year!

The Second Lunch Kitchen Resolutions 2020

julia child in her kitchen

One of the key insights of the past decade: if I write it down on a list, I’m more likely to do it.

Lists enable me to dream and achieve in ways that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to. They are the structure that enables me to envision more and do more. I keep master lists, reading lists, home projects, work lists, and more. Some are written as a way to to plan, others as a way to acknowledge achievements – one of the highlights this year was my “movie consumption list” – my goal to watch 52 new to me movies! (I even have lists of lists.) 

One of my favorite lists to come back to each year is my Kitchen Resolutions: my commitment to spending more time doing the things I love: cooking, reading about food, talking about food, and eating…. all of the food.  

I’ve been writing these resolutions for more than a decade, and some of them pop up year after year – affirm doing good things that work – and a handful are new each year. You can take a peek through previous years here:  (2012) (2016) (2017)  (2018

First, here are some of my previous resolutions I’d like to continue with: 

My weekly meal planning process – this has gone through different iterations over the years – waffling back and forth between digital and paper, depending on mood. Currently it’s a revised template that ends up either in my Evernote or paper journal (which I then snap a photo of before heading to the grocery store.) Each week I sit down and assess the things in the fridge or freezer that need to be used up, plan out things to batch cook, and dream up my dinners, lunches, and snacks. Then I shop.

Bucket list restaurants – I can count the number of times I ate out on my two hands in the past year. While I’m all for home cooking, I’d like to continue to eat my way through some of the local gems we have in this area. (To that end, I use the Eater 38 as a guide.) 

100(0) fruits, nuts, and seed to tryhere’s my list; quite a few of these I’ve definitely eaten (but can’t actually remember eating…. hello aging) so I’ve left them on my master list to actually re-try for the record. A good friend is on a quest to fall in love and try new vegetables, so I might rope her in to some of them and see how we do. 

Minimize the amount of stuff on the counter in my kitchen  – I generally like access to “all the things” in my kitchen. That doesn’t mean that they have to all be on the counters everywhere. This year I added a handful of new pots and pans without getting rid of other stuff, and it’s clear that I need a better storage solution for everything. (I did however add spice racks to my kitchen, which was a good move!) 

Cooking recipes from cookbooks – while I’ve never been one to actually cook recipes from cookbooks regularly (I usually read, learn, and adapt), Alison Roman’s Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes had SUCH great recipes that I cooked many of them this year, and will concede that sometimes it’s fun to let someone trusted “take the wheel”. I’ll make an effort to add at least one cookbook recipe to my weekly meal plans, and combine this with some favorite cookbook re-reads:

What other resolutions are on the docket for 2020? 

Blogging my weekly Good Things: yup, back on the wagon. I’ll note that one of the biggest differences between writing each week and not writing each week (hello, crazy back half of 2019!), was that without the suggestion of public accountability, my meals got much more boring, and not in a good way

Cookbook Dinners: over the past few years I’ve made some half-hearted attempts to form a cookbook club, but I think I’ll take it up again this year, even if it’s only me doing the cooking. The last one I did was Zahav, and it was a good time for all. (Despite the recipes needing more seasoning, but I digress.) My goal here will be a minimal and doable 3 times this year

Revise my backup list: (a version of it here) even when I meal plan, some days, I just want comfort food that requires little effort and really only muscle memory. A bowl of rice with yogurt, a box of Annie’s macaroni and cheese, or gasp – TJ’s chicken nuggets. I’m going to peruse Dinner: A Love Story, because I seem to recall that she has good inspiration here.

Food memoirs and literature: while I made it through more than 52 books in 2020, there was NARY a food memoir or food history, and boy do I need to change that. It’s one of my favorite genres.  To do this week: add a handful of these to my January reading list to get off on a good start.

Garden 2020: this year I made the effort to grow more in my pots and had ample fresh herbs. I also weeded and tended to the back plot – and grew some medium-happy potatoes (I’ll probably go for bigger ones next year), an outsized rosemary, lavender, and more. 

Other notes: taking a new stab at a Kitchen Projects list, having people over for casual meals more often, cooking with my Turkish spices more often, making a batch of ice cream every so often, baking pumpkin chocolate chip cake.

Do you have any kitchen resolutions this year? I’d love to hear about them!

Edible adventures: 1000 new fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds

I added a new list to my list of lists this week: one of my kitchen resolutions for this year – a thousand new fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, stretching both my culinary chops, shopping habits, foraging opportunities, and encouraging and indulging my travel bug. I suppose this is more of a lifelong quest to eat with curiosity. I don’t exactly plan on trying a thousand new foods this year, but hopefully I’ll get a good start. Game, on!

The full list (or at least the start!) is here.

Have you gone on any epic culinary quests? Traveled the world to try a new food? I want to hear about it!