Hi, lovely people. It’s Margaux filling in for Em. I’ve missed you!
My two kids went to sleep-away camp this summer, and while my partner and I did miss them quite a bit (sniff), one of the unexpected benefits of their absence was being able to eat whatever we wanted.
There was zero planning of meals catered to their ever-fickle tastes and aversions: no tomatoes for that one, nothing spicy for that one, no seafood ever for both. (I know parenting experts say not to to cater to your kids’ culinary whims, but a peaceful dinner is more important to me than a nutritionally balanced one. I figure their palates will expand when they go to college?)
We ate all of the spicy, vegetable-abundant, seafood-heavy meals possible over those two weeks, and it was downright blissful. The recipes below are the kind we enjoyed, and they are all outrageously good, fast options for a weeknight, whether you are temporarily free from the demands of picky eaters or not.
Emily will be back in two weeks. You can follow me on Instagram if you like, for kid, canine and cooking content. Have a great one!
The brilliance of this pasta recipe from Alexa Weibel is that it can be made with ruby-red cherry tomatoes still warm from the summer sun, or with the kinda-orange hot house variety found at a big-box grocery store in the middle of January. The secret is cooking down the tomatoes until they burst and their juices caramelize, and adding a little tomato paste to bolster their flavor. With over 1,750 five-star ratings, it’s a guaranteed winner.
2. Saag Paneer
Gosh, I love paneer. I just cannot get enough of it. Kay Chun’s recipe for saag paneer, a classic Indian dish of stewed, seasoned greens, hits the spot and uses cubes of the mild cheese, which are firm enough to cook without melting. When I make it, I save time by using frozen chopped spinach and roasting the paneer on a sheet pan instead of pan-frying it. (If you can’t find paneer, you can make a version of this dish with tofu.)
I am working remotely this week from Michigan (it’s pop, not soda!), and we are staying at our friends’ house while they are away. Their garden is positively exploding with gorgeous, emerald-green kale. So for dinner tonight, I’m making a double batch of this simple dish from Ali Slagle, which combines classic Italian vodka sauce with white beans and hearty greens. Before we leave, I’ll tuck a labeled container into their freezer as a surprise thank-you.