Food & Drinks

I’m Growing All the Things

You know what they say: When life still refuses to give you ’gus even after weeks of patiently waiting, go plant some vegetable seeds and pretend like you know what you’re doing. Or something. At least, that’s how I ended up planting a micro veggie garden of Swiss chard, shiso, and edible flower seeds this week. They’re sitting in little pots on my bathroom radiator and I’m praying to Mother Earth that they will sprout seedlings. Did I mention I have no idea what I’m doing? I’m voraciously reading anything I can get my hands on related to gardening for dummies (including Gardening For Dummies). I’m loving this newbie’s guide to vegetable gardening with advice from Jeni Afuso, but also taking any and all recs for your favorite IG gardeners, books, resources, etc.

Speaking of trying to keep things alive while having no idea what I am doing, I have a new pet: a sourdough starter I got from my friend and baking extraordinaire Claire Saffitz; I have unofficially named it Claire Too. Maybe everyone else has tired of the at-home sourdough craze that took hold around this time last year, but it’s a whole new world for me, and I am enthralled. I keep Claire Too out on my kitchen counter where I feed her twice a day and stare at her all day long from my office (the dining table six feet away). The bacteria and yeast inside that sticky little quart container have very dramatic lives that play out over the course of a single day as they feast on the flour and water, and I love how it feels like both everything and nothing is happening in there. (It’s a metaphor for me inside the quart container that is my apartment during a global pandemic, get it!)

A few more things worth sharing from my little corner of the universe:

What I’m cooking

In the May issue of Bon Appétit, you’ll find a story I worked on about food waste and all the micro and macro ways it affects our lives. There’s a very thoughtful guide to composting (even if you’ve never done it before!) written by Aliza Abarbanel, my personal phone-a-friend for all things eco-minded. And there are a handful of recipes too, which we developed with the goal of reducing and/or creatively repurposing our food scraps, such as this Orange Peel Chai that brilliantly works citrus peels into a throat-soothing tea. Or these Stir-Fried Noodles with Chicken, which welcome the random carrot and hanging-by-a-thread scallions hiding in the back of your crisper drawer.

What I’m eating

Next week, I’ll be checking out events at ADDED VALUE, a collaborative fundraising series happening now through May 2 in NYC and the Hudson Valley featuring all kinds of pop-up dinners, block parties, menu specials, and more with a roster of very cool restaurant partners including Kitty’s, Ha’s Đặc Biệt, The Four Horsemen, and more. It’s a joint collaboration between the non-profit Sky High Farm and grassroots collective FIG, with all funds going to their work toward community-controlled food systems. I couldn’t think of a better way to ease into an extremely special (and safe-but-social) spring than by eating something extremely delicious made by people who are banding together in support of a more just food system.

I’ll be back with a report on seedling activity and Claire Too in two weeks.


Spring into these recipes:

Photo by Gentl & Hyers

Ricotta Dumplings with Asparagus and Green Garlic

Pea and Ricotta Potstickers With Homemade Dumpling Wrappers

Chicken Breast With Peas and Croutons

Fried Rice with Spring Vegetables and Fried Eggs

Spring Hot-and-Sour Soup

BA’s Best Bread


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