TO READ (May): I am a bit late to the Six Seasons bandwagon, but perhaps it’s new to you too? This cookbook is full of incredible recipes that will change the way you cook. Bonus: you will eat more vegetables! The ingredient lists aren’t overly complicated and the dishes are bursting with flavors that I wouldn’t ordinarily put together. The first thing I made was an instant hit: a celery salad studded with dates, toasted almonds, parmesan ribbons, and finished off with a squeeze of lemon and some toasted croutons. When you want to stuff your face with celery, you know the recipe is a winner. Still unsure? Reserve a copy from your local library, and make THE celery salad while you wait.
TO TRAVEL (Caroline): One of my self-given titles is “expert packer”. I’ve traveled a ton since college, so I’ve become a savant at knowing what to take and what to leave behind. I once packed for a week in Greece in a what was basically a large purse. (May’s note: this really did happen, and I was mostly concerned, but then very impressed.) Besides being a textbook under-packer, my other secret is packing cubes. I’ve had a version of these for seven years now and they have served me well. It is remarkable how much stuff can fit in them. They have often been the difference between a checked bag and a carry-on.
TO MAKE (May): Perhaps you planted some basil and naively thought it would yield enough for some pesto and enough for a margherita pizza or two. And then your basil plant went totally gangbusters and you hardly know where to begin to use it all. Well, lucky you! This NYT Green Goddess Roasted Chicken recipe uses a ton of basil. If you are oven averse these days, grill the chicken instead of roasting. The leftovers are delicious in quesadillas, salad, taco bowls, etc. I mean, what can’t this chicken do?!?
TO TACO (Caroline): I’ve never been good at making fish at home, but I adore fish tacos. I finally swallowed my pride and asked the butcher at the fancy Albertson’s in town how he would make fried fish tacos at home. Without skipping a beat he recommended an Asian catfish called Swai. (Apparently, it’s a controversial fish, but overall is better quality than US farm-raised catfish. And it’s hella cheap.) I used this fish when I made this recipe for fried fish tacos with creamy coleslaw, and it was the easiest, best fish I’ve ever made. The cole slaw with this recipe is perfect, but I recommend using less red onion than is called for and making a half recipe. We had a ton of slaw left over.
TO TRY (May): File this under “ways to beat the heat”, or “ways to not look like a dirty greaseball”. There are days that even the most liberal applications of dry shampoo cannot save my hair. Enter this reverse crown braid tutorial, inspired by watching Caroline effortlessly braid her hair into a boho-chic crown in minutes. She has had the distinct advantage of spending many childhood afternoons watching Nickelodeon and teaching herself to braid her hair. This tutorial has been helpful, along with muttering to myself which strand to braid when I get to the dreaded back-of-the-head section (“top-middle… okay… bottom-middle…”). (Caroline’s note: stop gathering hair behind the second ear as you're approaching the forehead, then begin to gather again at the temple. Then loosen the braids a bit, lest you look like you’re waiting for a ride to your first cotillion.)
TO MIX (Caroline): My brother-in-law is my only competition for the role of “family lush.” But he has a far more discerning palate than me when it comes to anything that’s not clear liquor. He has been on the hunt for the best margarita recipe and recently held an (informal) blind taste test to determine the best lime juice or lime juice substitute. His findings were that Santa Cruz lime juice (not limeaid) could not be differentiated from fresh squeezed lime juice. But the real winner was Nellie and Joe’s key lime juice: Everyone favored it over even the fresh lime juice! I know I'm a fan because now I have an excuse not to squeeze all those dang limes!
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