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Meet Tuckernuck Girl: Anna

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You know your most inspirational friend -- the one who’s insanely well-traveled, constantly checking out cool bands at clubs you’ve never heard of, reading dozens of sophisticated books a month while also being a superb chef and devoted mother? Oh, you don’t think such a person could exist? Meet Anna, this month’s Tuckernuck Girl. A former English teacher, who's focusing her energies on keeping herself and her family well-fed in mind, body and spirit. She’s also a Tuckernuck shopper – a major compliment to us, since her personal aesthetic is as cool as her personality. Get ready to fall in love – not only with her tips and ideas, but with her.
I started cooking in my mid-twenties when I was a new teacher. Cooking helped me decompress after long days, and bringing the leftovers in for lunch gave me something to look forward to in the middle of the day. It’s the little things, you know?? It turns out that the more you cook, the better you get so once I got going, I was quickly hooked.
My husband is a pescatarian, so we don’t do much meat. I make a lot of pasta with veggies, roasted fish, pitas stuffed with hummus, veggies, feta, herbs, and big pots of lentil soup for dinners. Remy generally eats whatever we eat, but deconstructed or simplified. Sometimes when I have a lot of veggies at the end of the week I’ll do summer rolls with peanut sauce.
I’ve been doing a fun throwdown meal on Saturdays for “date night,” but otherwise, I’ve been keeping things simple during the week. I love these recipes because they are very easy, very good and rely on pantry staples I always have on hand. You can put them on and forget about them for a while, giving you time to get other things prepped.
Remy and I are doing a lot of cooking and baking, going on walks in the woods, digging in the dirt in our little garden, chalk drawing, and of course, watching Daniel Tiger :) She’s also into water play or “water painting,” aka using water instead of paint, filling a plastic storage box with water and bath toys, and playing in the sink.
Moms! You are amazing! Show yourself some loving kindness every day and let yourself marinate in even really small victories. Remember that everyone’s just doing the best they can given their circumstances – it’s okay to not feel okay! Listen to podcasts in the background when your brain feels numb. And try to take some time for yourself every day, even if that means letting go of something else.



Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
sea salt
black pepper
paprika, curry powder, or other spices (optional)

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the chickpeas on a kitchen towel and pat them dry. Remove any loose skins. Transfer the dried chickpeas to the baking sheet and toss them with a drizzle of olive oil and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Roast the chickpeas for 40 minutes, or until crispy. Ovens can vary, if your chickpeas are not crisp, roast them for 5 to 10 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and, while the chickpeas are still warm, toss with pinches of your favorite spices, if using. Store roasted chickpeas in a loosely-covered container at room temperature. They are best used within a few days.



Tomato Sauce with Onions and Butter
Serves: 6 | By Marcella Hazan
This is the simplest of all sauces to make, and none has a purer, more irresistibly sweet tomato taste. I have known people to skip the pasta and eat the sauce directly out of the pot with a spoon. Reprinted with permission from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. Copyright 1992 by Marcella Hazan. Published by Knopf.

Ingredients
2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and roughly chopped, OR 2 cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
5 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
salt
1 to 1 1/2 pounds pasta
freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Instructions
Put either the prepared fresh tomatoes or the canned in a saucepan, add the butter, onion, and salt, and cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for 45 minutes, or until the fat floats free from the tomato. Stir from time to time, mashing any large piece of tomato in the pan with the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and correct for salt. Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta. Serve with grated parmesan.

Notes
May be frozen when done. Discard the onion before freezing. Recommended pasta: This is an unsurpassed sauce for Potato Gnocchi, but it is also delicious with spaghetti, penne, or rigatoni.



Anna's Tuckernuck Wish List



More About Anna


Most importantly, how are you holding up, and how is your family?
I am doing okay! I’m in the middle of doing a yoga teacher training and it’s keeping me grounded and grateful. We are very lucky – everyone is healthy and employed so far.

What is keeping you (as) sane (as possible)?
Reading, yoga, walks in the woods with our dog, cooking, my family and friends. Basically, all the same things that keep me sane usually!

How did you hone your talents, and from whom did you learn?
My dad is the best home chef I know, so I definitely got the itch from him. He’s on speed-dial for all my cooking questions. I’m also always learning through from reading cookbooks, from talking to talented friends about what they’re cooking up, and from lots and lots of trial and error.

What restaurant are you most excited to visit when the world opens again?
Can’t pick just one! Little Sesame, Timber Pizza, Ellè, Thip Khao. My friends are opening a pizza spot called Dear Martha in our neighborhood (hopefully) soonish, so that, too!

Any tips for picky eaters?
I am married to a picky eater! I’d suggest starting with what is comfortable and familiar and building up from there. And try not to put pressure on them... though I’m still working on this one. I understand you’re also an avid reader, concert connoisseur and traveler.

What’s on your reading list right now?
I just finished Writers and Lovers by Lily King and am currently reading Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker – the first nonfiction I’ve read in a while and I’m into it. I think I’m going to read the new Louise Erdrich novel, The Night Watchman, next. Or maybe Girl With the Louding Voice, by Abi Daré.

What are you listening to, and who are you most excited to see post-quarantine?
Honestly, right now we are listening to a lot of the Moana soundtrack. But ideally, Father John Misty, Lucius, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon. I had tickets to see The Tallest Man in Earth this week, so maybe him!

Dream travel itinerary when travel is a thing again?
I’d love to do a trip to Greece, Jordan, and Israel.

What is the best gift you’ve ever gotten and why?
My husband gave me a first edition of a Virginia Woolf novel for our anniversary a few years ago. It was very thoughtful and unexpected and geeky and reminds me of how kind he is every time I look at it.

Where do you hope to be in five years?
Mostly I hope to go to concerts and festivals, to get on airplanes and to give people hugs! And I hope to be back in schools working with kids and with teachers to build engaging literacy programs.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
A Netflix or Hulu binge while munching on Remy’s cheddar bunnies. Mix them with walnuts.