One of the suggestions Timothy Snyder offers in On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century is that armchair activism isn’t enough. “Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen,” he writes. “Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.”
Julia Turshen didn’t need to be told — she’s a body in motion. As she writes in Small Victories: Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home Cooking Triumphs, one of the best cookbooks of 2016, she opened her first “restaurant” at 3 and became known as “Julia the Child.” At 6, “I threw a black-tie Valentine’s Day party for my family and our closest friends. I wrote out a grocery list and a timetable for the evening. My father obligingly put on his tuxedo. My dress was black, white and red, but I was careful not to change into it until I’d set out the platters of butter cookies filled with raspberry jam and cream cheese sandwiches stamped with a heart-shaped cookie cutter.” She had business cards at 13, interned at a food magazine, became a private chef after college and a collaborator of celebrity cookbooks.
Now, given the lemon of the Trump Administration, she’s making lemonade: Feed the Resistance, a 130-page book of recipes and “ideas for getting involved.” To support the book, she wrote a piece for the Times. She’s created a book tour, rare for a cookbook. She’s donating all proceeds from the book to the American Civil Liberties Union. And on top of her paid work, she heads the “Food Team” at Citizen Action of New York in Kingston, New York. “If you want to do something, don’t try to do everything,” she advises. This is not quite advice she follows. [To buy the book from Amazon, click here. For the Kindle edition, click here.]
These are the words she lives by…
“A silver lining of this new administration is the transformation of so many folks, myself included, from being sometimes activists to being fully committed members of the resistance…. I realized the work I was doing in my own community could be exponential if I put some of it down on paper and shared it with you so that you can better feed your own resistance.”
Her definition of The Resistance…
“In many ways, my vision for feeding the resistance is quite literal. The resistance is an active, living, ever-evolving thing, and like all living things, it needs to be fed in order to sustain. We have to take care of ourselves and one another, and one of the most important forms of care is what, how, and when we eat. When it comes to politics and power, food also opens up so many avenues of dialogue and understanding… To think deeply about food is to also think deeply about the environment, the economy, immigration, education, community, culture, families, race, gender, and identity. Food is about people, all people. It is the most democratic thing in the world, lower-case ‘d,’ and affects all of us.”
About the recipes:
“Everything leans toward affordable, and you can make something that will make you feel good. Activism begins with self-care — like putting on your oxygen mask on a plane before your neighbor. Before you can show up anywhere and stand up for someone else, you need to be nourished with healthy food…”
Cooking for yourself? Cooking for 10? Turshen’s recipes deal with many possibilities.
Easy Baked Pasta for a Little Crowd
This is a very flexible recipe. Yes, you can use all mozzarella instead of two types of cheese (when I made this, I had a bit of Fontina kicking around in the fridge and thought this would be a good home for it). You can also leave out the cheese entirely to make this vegan (if you do that, you can skip baking the pasta, or you could top with coarse breadcrumbs that you’ve mixed with olive oil and garlic; broil with those on top until crunchy). You could mix in some crumbled cooked Italian sausage. You can swap the pasta for whole-wheat pasta, your favorite type of gluten-free pasta, or just leave out the pasta and serve the vegetable mixture on top of grilled or toasted bread, polenta, or rice. The vegetables could also be a nice side dish for roast chicken, grilled fish, or whatever else you might be having for dinner.
2 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cored and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 pound zucchini (2 large), ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 1/2 pounds eggplant (2 large), ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound short pasta (penne, ziti, gemelli, fusilli … whatever you like!)
1/2 pound mozzarella, coarsely grated
1/2 pound fontina, coarsely grated
Preheat your broiler to high, and adjust your oven rack so that it’s about 6 inches from the heat source. Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil.
Place the tomatoes, garlic, basil, the 1/4 cup of olive oil, the vinegar, and 2 teaspoons of salt in a large bowl, and mix well to combine. Let the tomatoes relax while you get everything else going.
Place the zucchini and eggplant on a large baking sheet, drizzle with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Use your hands to mix everything well, and spread the vegetables out so that they’re in a nice, even layer. Broil the vegetables, stirring them now and then, until softened and browned in spots, about 15 minutes total depending on the strength of your broiler (keep an eye on these!). Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the tomatoes, and stir well to combine. Keep the broiler on.
Generously salt the boiling water (this is how you will season your pasta!), and drop the pasta in the water. Give it a good stir, and then boil until just cooked through, about 1 minute less than the package instructs. Drain the pasta, add it to the bowl with all the vegetables, and stir well to combine. If you’re vegan, you can stop here and serve it and call it a day.
Place half the pasta mixture in a large baking dish, and top with half of both of the cheeses. Top with the rest of the pasta and the rest of the cheese. Broil the pasta until the cheese is melted and browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately, or let it cool down for a bit and serve at room temperature (both have their merits).
Baked Oatmeal + Apple Squares
Makes 9 2 ½ inch squares
These baked oatmeal bars are the easiest way to make oatmeal not only portable but also really packed with flavor and long-lasting energy from things such as grated apple and ground flaxseed. They’re great whether you’re headed to a march or just driving your kid to school and need something healthy to eat on-the-go. If you don’t have or like apple, you can use two handfuls of fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries (no need to thaw if frozen), or even grated sweet potato or carrot. These can also be served for dessert if you warm them up and top them with ice cream.
2 large eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp honey
1 cup whole milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp ground flaxseed
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 large apple (any kind), peeled, seeded, and coarsely grated
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick baking spray.
Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray that too just to be safe.
Place the eggs and honey in a large bowl and whisk well to combine. Add the milk and vanilla and give it another whisk. Sprinkle the baking powder, salt, and cinnamon on top and whisk well to combine. Add the ground flaxseed, oats, and apple and stir well to combine everything. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan. Spread it out so that it’s in an even layer and press it down with a rubber spatula.
Bake until the oatmeal is firm to the touch and golden brown on top, about 35 minutes. Let the oatmeal cool for at least 15 minutes and then transfer it to a cutting board.
Cut it into nine 2 1/2-inch squares. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or wrapped well and frozen for up to 3 months (defrost and warm in a toaster oven or 300°F oven before eating).
SPICED BROWN SUGAR POUND CAKE WITH RUM MOLASSES GLAZE
Makes: 10 servings
Nonstick baking spray
1 ½ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tablespoons rum
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 10-cup Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray.
Place the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix on high speed until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until well incorporated. Slow the mixer to its lowest speed and carefully add in the flour in intervals of 1 cup. Add the sour cream and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out moist but mostly clean, 65 to 75 minutes.
Cool the cake for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack, and cool to room temperature.
In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, molasses, rum and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth and pourable. Drizzle over the cake and serve.
Nutrition information per serving: 752 calories, 35 g fat, 21 g saturated fat, 178 mg cholesterol, 102 g carbohydrates, 72 g sugar, 8 g protein, 256 mg sodium, 1 g fiber
Angel Food Bread Pudding
1 pound white or whole-wheat sandwich bread, torn or cut into bite-size pieces
1 pound cinnamon-raisin sandwich bread, torn or cut into bite-size pieces
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup granulated sugar
4 cups whole milk
1 1/2tablespoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
12 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray the bottoms and sides of a 12-by-18-inch roasting pan (whatever you would roast a turkey in— a disposable aluminum pan is totally fine) with cooking spray.
Place the bread in the roasting pan. Place the sweetened condensed milk, sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt in a large pot set over high heat. Warm the mixture, stirring now and then to dissolve the sugar, until bubbles form at the edge and then turn off the heat.
Place the cinnamon in a very large bowl with half the cream and whisk well to form a paste. Add the rest of the cream and whisk well to dissolve the paste, then crack all of the eggs into the bowl and whisk well to combine (making the cinnamon paste helps it incorporate evenly). Ladle in about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture and whisk well to combine. Repeat the process a few more times to gently warm up the eggs. Add whatever remains of the hot milk mixture to the eggs and whisk well.
Pour the custard over the bread and stir well to combine (I use my hands to do this). Press the bread pieces down to make sure they’re completely submerged in the custard. Bake the bread pudding until golden brown, set throughout (test by jiggling the pan), and slightly puffed about 40 minutes. Serve warm with the Butterscotch Sauce drizzled on top.
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 ½ cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Place the butter, brown sugar, cream, and salt in a medium saucepan set over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, decrease the heat and simmer, stirring now and then, until slightly reduced, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Serve warm. You can also cool it to room temperature, store it in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week, and then reheat in a saucepan set over low heat until warm. Makes about 2 cups.
This article originally appeared on The Head Butler
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