One of the things I miss most about my prepandemic eating habits is the casual intimacy of sharing food. I don’t just mean passing things around, but eating them with my hands: tearing from the same big piece of injera, or scooping the same bowl of curry with sticky rice.
I’m so ready for the party vibes ahead of this Super Bowl weekend, even if it won’t involve a big communal dish. I have a vision of Kay Chun’s hot tofu sliders on my kitchen counter — the crisp pieces of tofu dripping with spicy butter — and everyone reaching for one, unable to talk properly because their mouths are full. Next to it, there’s a platter of Zainab Shah’s pea and potato-filled samosas and some green chutney.
And we definitely need something doused in Buffalo sauce: Ali Slagle has a wonderful and very simple recipe for Buffalo cauliflower that involves the broiler — you don’t have to bother with frying! — and a bit of Ranch dressing made with yogurt. And these grilled Buffalo-sauced mushrooms are delicious (if you can’t grill, you can also get them crisp under the broiler, just keep a close eye because once they start to brown, they go really fast!).
I love to make a menu in my head only to completely deviate from it. I might just go to the farmer’s market and see what’s good, then make something spontaneously to have with crispy chickpea pancakes. I got so into baking these recently, putting all sorts of different things on top of the olive-oil-soaked, crispy-edged base.
I think it’s an ideal dish for a small gathering because you can make the pancakes ahead of time, then set them up with any topping you like: seared radicchio and cheese, a mix of roasted vegetables with salsa verde, or just a heap of aloo masala under cilantro and crushed cashews. All food can be finger food if you’re good at eating with your hands!