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Hello and welcome to A Newsletter! If you’ve found your way over by some miracle but are not yet subscribed, here, let me help you with that:
The last few weeks have been the busiest on record, which in comparison to most of 2020–2022 simply means I was held accountable to deadlines other than my own (which are fake).
I am pleased to report we are still making our little show, more on the details of where it’ll be landing in the coming weeks. Or months! Who knows. Long story short, you’ll all get to see it one day, and I hope you love it as much as we all do. Making it has truly been one of the greatest joys of my entire life, and we can’t wait to share it with you. And no, this does NOT mean the end of Home Movies, which we’ll have more of for you in a few short weeks.
I’m also in the throes of finishing up the third cookbook- working through edits, finishing photo shoots, beginning design, sliding in last minute recipes that just simply MUST make an appearance, ruining everyones day by making this process much harder than it has to be but knowing it’ll all be worth it in the end (right, everyone?).
Because everything must happen at the same time or not at all, I’m ALSO wrapping up a renovation in an upstate house, which is a whole other story, one that I’ll share one day.
Anyway, all that is to say, it’s a weird feeling to be so busy and be so quiet. My relationship to the internet and what I share and how frequently has changed drastically in the last few years, and maybe it’s because I’m old, but I’m getting used to liking it that way. How subversive to my own mental health, to not broadcast every single thing I’m doing or start doing Reels because I’m feeling left out. Trust me, I sit in my own despair about those choices as much as I celebrate them! I’ll still call that 50/50 split personal growth.
Our insatiable appetite for daily content and check ins leaves very little room for the stage where one is simply seed planting. If you can’t watch the show, If you can’t read the book, if you can’t see the house— is it even happening? I can assure you, it is! But seed planting needs quiet, it needs nurturing, it needs calm. It needs fewer distractions and dedicated focus, two things that don’t come easy to many, myself included. A terrible way to force all of those things is to get Covid for the second time in five months— can’t say I recommend it.
Lately, I’ve caught myself toxically thinking “I’ve never been so busy and felt so unproductive” during arguably one of the most productive times in my life. So, I suppose this is just a note to self, and anyone else who needs to hear it right now: You’re doing enough! You’re doing so much. It’s okay to be quiet when you’re doing a lot! It’s okay to be quiet when the world feels harsh and you feel fucking hopeless about inaction from our government, or too much unwanted action from our government, or any other tragic fucking thing that happens on a daily basis these days. It’s okay to be too distracted or upset to “make content,” it’s okay to take time for yourself that doesn’t involve sharing it with the internet or pretending you’re okay. It’s okay if you don’t feel okay! We’re all just doing our best.
Anyway, uh, salads. Specifically, the starchy salad-y fan favorites you want as the plus one to your imminent Hot Dog Party, which I read about in the New York Times. These are the salads that you can make to sit at room temperature and they’ll still be perfect. They can sit in the sun on a blanket, and they’ll still taste amazing (sometimes better?). They can be eaten the next day (and the day after) when you realize you made enough for 90 people. The recipes can be doubled or tripled, they can be modified and fussed with. They can be eaten indoors, outdoors, out of a plastic container, a glass bowl, or paper plate. They’re your best friends from May to September and to know them is to love them. Today and tomorrow, get your starchy salads in your inbox. Up first: Pasta! See you tomorrow for Potato and Bean (good name for two pets).
PASTA SALAD WITH PEAS AND PARMESAN
Because there are too many pasta salads to be had, here is the first of many this year, a springy pasta salad. It’s got peas (frozen are fine), hunks of parmesan and lots of black pepper. It’s good warm, it’s good cold, it’s good fresh and it’s good old. God, it feels good to rhyme. This one lives more in fresh, lemony, crunchy, springy celebration territory than pickled pepper olive antipasto territory where pasta salad seems to have been born. It’s especially great the next day, but I also ate it immediately for dinner last night with some fish on the side, which made for kind of a weird pairing, but made me think that on a picnic, this specific pasta salad would be great with a side of smoked trout or salmon.
For variations, some additions that would be great: preserved lemon, finely chopped; crushed red pepper flakes or Aleppo-style pepper; feta or ricotta salata instead of parmesan. Another thing I will say, is that pasta salad really can soak up the ingredients in a way that can shock you. Adding more salt, pepper, lemon and olive oil will go a long way, but if you are feeling the need for more cheese or garlic, please go ahead!
12–16 oz. short or small-ish pasta, such as cavatappi, small shells, rigatoni, fusilli
1 garlic clove, finely grated
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
10–12 ounces snap peas, halved lengthwise
1–2 cups peas (fresh and blanched or frozen and thawed*
4 oz. parmesan, pecorino or other hard, salty cheese, coarsely chopped
1–2 cups herbs, such as parsley, basil or tarragon
1–2 cups pea shoots, if available, parsley tender stems and leaves, if not
*for blanching fresh, I usually go 60–90 seconds, until they’re bright green and tender. For frozen, I simply cover them in hot water from the tap to quickly thaw.
1. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente, or perhaps slightly past al dente, since this is the only time you’re cooking the pasta (i.e. it doesn’t go back into a skillet or anything). Drain, rinse with cool water and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, combine lemon zest and juice, garlic, scallions, and ⅓ cup olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and add pasta (it’s okay if it’s still warm as long as it’s drained well), toss well to evenly coat all the pasta.
3. Add snap peas, peas, parmesan, herbs and pea shoots (or more herbs) and toss to combine. Add more salt, lemon juice, black pepper or olive oil as needed (you may need more of all!).