Category Archives: Cooking

Status report: 3 weeks of Family Dinner

So here we are, a few weeks in to our new system. Overall, I’d say I’m about 1000% less stressed by feeding Tuck than I was before. I’m much less concerned about buying special foods or worrying what he’ll eat if we go out, and I’ve enjoyed the new rhythm of our evenings, with Tuck’s bedtime meaning we’re done for the night, not just starting our own dinner, cleanup, etc. Ben makes it home most nights, though we’re still working on the timing and order of operations. Tonight I’m going to try bath first and dinner at 7ish, instead of dinner earlier and bath after.

First night of family dinner
First night of Family Dinner! Very focused.

The first meal I cooked was one of the most successful. I made simple chicken cutlets (pounded chicken breast, dunked in beaten egg, dredged in Italian-style bread crumbs, pan-fried) and served pasta with pesto and a salad. After refusing to touch any kind of meat, including chicken strips, for months, Tuck ate the chicken up and demolished the pasta.

Frittata, yum!

The most fun we’ve had has been with fruit, since he is obsessed with it and will eat as much as we’ll give him. We even played with chopsticks last week, inspired by a current favorite book, the adorable Spoon. (Little Spoon is jealous of his friends knife, fork and chopsticks until his mom points out that he gets to do fun things like dive into ice cream and stir hot cups of tea. So cute.)


Ok, so his technique isn’t 100%, but he got them to work!

I’m grateful that we’re heading into summer and berry season, since I don’t love buying a bunch of stuff trucked in from who-knows-where. Still, his joy over a bowl of blackberries is hard to deny!


We were traveling this weekend, for a wedding, and I was thrilled by how he ate. Breakfast was best, just because there were a lot of non-kid’s-menu options. (Other meals ended up involving a lot of chicken fingers and pasta.) One morning he ate pancakes, eggs, bacon, some of Ben’s cereal, several bowls of strawberries, and some pineapple! At home he’s now routinely eating his big bowl of yogurt and an english muffin or piece of toast with peanut butter.

I know there haven’t been any good photos or recipes lately–that’s up next! I’ve been relying heavily on my phone, and Instagram, but pictures I take of dinners end up being pretty unappealing. Here’s my peace offering: Since June is acting like March (and it was 90 degrees in March, so….who knows), I made a slow cooker stew for dinner last night. Tuck rejected it and ate a bit of bread for dinner, but Ben and I were deeeeelighted. I hate sweet potatoes but didn’t mind them here. If you’re the person who sent me this recipe, which I had pasted into a note page on my phone for the last 6 months, please speak up so I can give you credit!

Below is a direct quote from whoever sent me this. I did brown the beef, but thanks to a genius-time-saver-brainwave, I just browned the 2 big sides of the hunk of chuck instead of chopping it up before browning. Then I cut it into pieces, each with two browned sides, and added it to the slow cooker. The addition of tomatoes totally makes this. My usual Guinness stew uses only the beer and last batch it turned out bitter (burned flour, I think, actually). This had great flavor and was, of course, even better today. Super-quick prep, too.

“Also — in other news — easiest beef stew crockpot recipe ever:

1 can of Guinness
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, pressed (or less, if you don’t love garlic as much as I do)
2 bay leaves
1 pound (+) of stew beef (not too lean, or it’ll be tough) [Note from Kate: I used 1.5 lbs of chuck and I wouldn’t have wanted much less meat in the mix]

Sizes and amounts can change, depending on your tastes. Throw it all in the crockpot and cook it for 2 or 3 hours on high, or 5 or 6 on low. Technically, you’re supposed to brown the meat before you stew it, but I didn’t bother with this recipe, and it was delicious anyway.”

First real summer CSA pick-up this week! I signed up for a fruit share and they’re promising strawberries AND rhubarb; such riches. I plan to make this ridiculously appealing cake from Smitten Kitchen, but let’s be honest, I’m awfully lazy about baking. We’ll see.

Feeding a toddler: I refuse to be beaten

Occupation 3: Fireman!
How can this face be such a troublemaker?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I should be doing with this blog. (Obviously more than nothing, which has been the status for far too long.) Honestly, this pregnancy has been much harder than the first–chasing a very active toddler is incredibly draining, and I’ve been much sicker than I was the first time around. Still, right now I am feeling positive and excited about food, namely food for Tuck. Bear with me while I explain:

As I mentioned in my last post (ahem), months ago, I got fed up with catering to Tuck’s increasing pickiness, and started doing a bit of research. I quickly got to Ellyn Satter, whose dense-but-seminal “Child of Mine” is a classic “good sense” approach to feeding children of all ages. She basically says that parents are responsible for what, when, and where children eat, and the child is responsible for how much (or whether) they eat. Full stop. Family meals, one set of options, control of snacks, no catering, bribing, food as an emotional reward or punishment, etc., also play into it, but all of that fits into those zones of responsibility. According to Satter, if a child refuses what you give them (as long as it’s a reasonable selection; ie. things they can physically eat), they’ll be hungry enough to eat the next meal. No jumping up four times to make a new meal or present a quesadilla because the mac and cheese didn’t pass muster. She recommends having bread and milk on the table at every meal, and otherwise letting the child eat whatever the family is eating.

The prettiest greens, from our CSA
Greens from our spring CSA

Now. Obviously family meals are a wonderful thing, something we’d all love to do, but modern life dictates that timing can be a bit tricky. So for a couple months I got stricter with sticking to one set of offerings at each meal (he even went to bed without dinner a couple times), but since I was still cooking a meal for Tuck separate from our own dinner, we kept falling back on quesadillas, grilled cheese, or bread with hummus, always with some vegetables offered first but never with much success. He wouldn’t eat pasta. No rice. NO BREAD, except sometimes toast. He stopped eating meat at around 14 months (maybe earlier?), so his protein came from hummus, peanut butter and cheese, and his iron came from the fortified oatmeal we stir into his breakfast yogurt with applesauce.

Occupation 2: Competitive pie-eater (the layered bibs were his idea)
He does like pie.

After a few spurts of obsession with fruit, he wouldn’t even eat that, aside from applesauce or Plum Organics packets. I hated that his diet was comprised of carbs, cheese and snacks like raisins and Annie’s Cheddar bunnies. This was not what I envisioned; I’d always sworn to myself that I wouldn’t fall into the trap and allow my child to live on “kid” food.

Before our recent trip to the West Coast (about which, much more in a minute) I read that “Bringing up Bébé,” and then “French Kids Eat Everything.” I much preferred the latter, which is basically a memoir version of Satter’s wisdom (though she’s only mentioned by name once) with a few variations to fit French society (only an afternoon snack, kids *are* required to taste things, though not to finish them). It reminded me of how much I wanted to beat this thing, and the approach of our trip, combined with the increasingly obvious need to push Tuck’s bedtime a bit later, made me think it might be time to start sitting down together at the table.


We started in San Francisco for four nights, where we rented an apartment and Tuck ate hummus. But he did grab a few mandarin oranges in the grocery store, and try to eat them whole.

SF at sunset #nofilter
View from the roof of our friends’ building. I mean, honestly.

We went on to Carmel for a couple nights. Tuck ate grilled cheese (made with gruyère, on one occasion) and french fries. He refused plain pizza. I knew better than to try buttered pasta.


Enjoying the view. (oh dear.)
Distracted by the view (um) at dinner in Carmel.

Then we landed in Eugene for six nights with my parents. My mom and I had been discussing this for ages, and she was strongly in favor of a shock-therapy approach, letting the sudden influx of new foods and timing be part of being at Nama and Poppa’s house. I mostly cut his morning snack, so he was hungry for lunch. The afternoon snack was small but a real treat, like toast with the all-natural version of nutella. Every night we all sat down at 6:30 and ate appetizers–crudités, cheese and crackers, olives–while Tuck ate dinner. On night two he wanted the goat cheese, and then decimated it.

Goat cheese
Goat cheese is an excellent facial toner, you know. (I don’t know that. I made that up.)

On night three he grabbed for the carrot sticks and gnawed on them a bit before using them to scoop up more goat cheese. He picked out and tried a bell pepper, though he didn’t like it. One night I gave him some pieces of mandarin and he mushed them around for a while; the next night he ate the whole thing so fast I couldn’t get the peel off quickly enough. He wanted apples, and ate them. He ate almost an entire mango over two days. He ate gruyère, manchego and cheddar in slices and chunks (he’d previously refused any cheese that wasn’t grated, of all things).

Perhaps my favorite photo ever


Thai food

Here’s my theory (I always have theories):

Around 12-18 months, babies develop “neophobia,” or fear of the new. I think it’s probably a leftover self-preservation instinct from our hunter-gatherer days. They’re old enough to get around by themselves, which means that in the bush they’d have had the opportunity to pick berries or find mushrooms or whatever. The babies most successful at not being poisoned would probably stop eating anything they hadn’t eaten before, until they were old enough to do a bit more research (neophobia is usually gone by age 3, though of course by that point many children have been taught that being “picky” means “being catered to” and stick with the refusal to try). But what if the baby watches a trusted adult eat something? They might wait until they’ve seen it a few times, but then maybe it will seem like a safe idea to give it a little try–at least a poke or prod or lick. And after a few cautious attempts, that food will be added to the no-longer-new list and get into the regular rotation. [Note: I can’t wait to read my friend Stephanie’s book about REAL picky eaters (my brother was the pickiest ever until he was a teen, despite NO catering at all in our house), due out this July. Pre-order Suffering Succotash (hee!) now!]

Satter says it takes up to 20 exposures to a food for a child to accept it. She says to just keep putting it out, not forcing them to try, just letting them see it. As far as I can tell she’s right. We got home on Saturday morning, and he’s been eating everything from peaches to fig-almond cake with stinky cheese on the sample tray at Whole Foods. After never once getting him to eat eggs, he’s now a fan of “pancakes” made from leftover rice or pasta (it’s a frittata, honestly) and beaten egg. We haven’t figured this out completely, but I feel like his mind is open now, and he’s ready to try. It makes me excited to cook and share meals with him, and to have Ben at the table with him as well.

I just can’t believe it could work so quickly! Fingers crossed that we don’t backslide.

Spring treat share from the farm!!

So I hope to start recording our family meals here. Not every meal, but the ones I’m happy with. I already find myself thinking about dinner differently, knowing I need to try to get it on the table at 6:30 instead of after Tuck is in bed. And maybe we will find that it’s not feasible, that Ben can’t be home, that the compromise of vegetables and cheese while he eats is what we can handle right now. That was enough to make him fascinated by radishes while we were in Oregon! It’s fun to go grocery shopping and choose lots of different fruits for him to try for dessert (he fell in love with blackberries last night, but refused to taste raspberries). Our last Spring Treat CSA share is this week, and the weekly shares start the first week of June–I can’t wait to take Tuck to help pick out the vegetables. The new baby is due in early August, and hopefully by the time she comes along to rock the boat, we’ll have a decent routine figured out.

Will you come along for the ride? Do you have any questions? I feel like I poured out a lot there, and I’m not sure if it makes any sense!

Tuck’s food glossary, partial, May 2012:
Apple – Appoo
Pineapple – Appoo
Cheese – Chees
Grilled cheese – Chees
Pancake – Cake
Peach – Peachy
Blueberry – Blueboo
Milk – Mack
Crackers – Crackah
Pizza – Pizzie
Pasta – Pahttie
Yogurt – Yogi
Applesauce – Sauce
Water – Wahttie
Strawberries – Stawboo

By the way, food isn’t the only thing we’re up to! Look who was a cool customer helping assemble our new patio table after we got back this weekend:

Very, very helpful.

Ok, that’s still kind of food-related. More house stuff to come, though. The curtains have been made, the new doors are in, and I just need a curtain rod installed in the dining room!

Well, hello!

I thought I’d log in to make sure I still had a blog out there somewhere. Turns out it’s still here! Shocking. I can’t promise thrice-weekly updates but I would like to get back to something more frequent than every three months.

It feels like forever since the holidays–a lot has changed around here, about which more in a moment–but I guess Christmas was only a month ago. Tom joined us again, and cooked basically every meal while he was here. It was bliss. Among our projects:

Carnitas, per The Homesick Texan, as published by Smitten Kitchen:

Carnitas, 3.5 hours in. Browning stage.
After 3.5 hours of braising, during the brown-in-their-own-fat stage

Carnitas results: Last night's dinner
As tacos

The leftovers were a boon for almost a week–we ate lots more tacos as well as a number of quesadillas, and I think Tom scrambled them into eggs a few times. The citrus juice in the recipe made for a brighter flavor than other batches I’ve made. Definitely one to repeat.

For Christmas Eve, Tom made duck confit.

3 duck legs getting ready to be quick-confited for Christmas Eve dinner.

Those three magret legs rendered TWO CUPS of fat. I have so much duck fat, you guys! I need to start roasting potatoes, stat. Unfortunately we were too excited to eat for me to remember to take any decent photos. Oops. This is the feel of the meal (we had roasted potatoes and a sharp salad with the duck):

Christmas dinner

And then we descended into chaos. We moved, you guys. Mid-January. It was a mad scramble, especially because our babysitter suddenly left us two weeks before. My parents were here for a last-minute visit, and then Ben’s mom came up and saved our butts, and his brother/brother’s girlfriend joined for the day of and were also lifesavers. Man, moving is horrible.

Tuck hated seeing his books packed but he was a very, very, very big fan of the crane that moved the piano:

Running the crane

And now that we’re getting settled in, things like this are happening:

One of my favorite moments ever.

It’s going to be great. And the kitchen is 100% white (not as good as our old one, but better light), so it’s a lot easier to take pictures of, say, the only thing I currently want to eat, that asian-inspired butter lettuce/avocado salad:

Ok, that is a scarily large picture of a grapefruit supreme. But still. You know you wish you were eating that right now.

HOLD THE PHONE, I never wrote up that salad dressing? That will come soon. I promise. It’s too good not to share.

Aarti’s Kheema

Among my guilty pleasures is “The Next Food Network Star,” which I have found to be a fairly interesting look at what makes someone a good TV host (not simply a good cook, like on Top Chef). I like the judges and find their discussions of the business of TV fascinating. And last season I loved one contestant from the very first episode on: Aarti Sequira, who went on to win the whole shebang with her combination of warm TV persona and delicious-looking Indian twists on familiar foods.

We watch her show, Aarti Party, regularly, and it’s the only cooking show aside from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home that has ever inspired me to actually look up the recipes online and try them. A few weeks ago Aarti made Kheema, a beef dish that she described as ultimate childhood comfort food. (She was raised Catholic, so beef isn’t an issue in her cooking; my friend Kabir is from a similar background and came over shortly after I’d made this; he apparently loved kheema as a kid and was more than willing to eat up the leftovers.)

This recipe is VERY easy. I’m enjoying my new forays into Indian cooking; the technique is very different from what I’m used to: recipes (from Aarti and elsewhere) tend to start with slowly browning onions and then combining them with spices to make almost a sticky paste to which you add liquids and additional ingredients.

Go here for the actual recipe.

Pretty spices at the ready (coriander, paprika, garam masala, cumin, cayenne):


Onions get going:


Lots of garlic and ginger–by far the slowest part of the recipe is prepping them; easily avoided by having Aarti’s ginger-garlic paste (“recipe” at the end here) on hand in the fridge–join the browned onions:


Cook in the spices:


Add a pound of ground beef:


Cook it through, then add water, salt and pepper, tomato (and peas):


Simmer briefly, add some cider vinegar for kick and cilantro if you’re more organized than I am (also I hate cilantro) and you’re done.


We ate it rapidly, with naan.


I know that doesn’t look like much but it really was a very comforting, warm dish. I need to make it again, this time with something green added at the end–maybe parsley in place of the cilantro?

By the way, I think I’ve nailed down another reason I haven’t been blogging. We got recessed lights put into our kitchen last spring, and while the light is now much, much better for cooking, it’s horrible for photos–shadows no matter where I go, harsh light that makes everything look greasy and gross. Blah. I wonder what the solution is for kitchen lighting that works for cooking AND for photos: So much everywhere that the shadows aren’t a problem?

Oh look, summer

Maybe if I take the pressure off and post Instagram pictures from my phone I’ll update more often? Worth a try. Last night we ate a delicious (and deliciously-local) simple summer dinner.

Beautiful baby new potatoes from the farm:

I brought them to a boil with a couple halved cloves of garlic, then simmered until they were done. Drained, put back in pot (covered) to dry out, and tossed while hot with a vinegary dressing of cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, a little mustard, the mashed up garlic cloves, and a tiny bit of sugar. They were creamy and delicious and I can’t wait to dive into the leftovers for lunch today.

Aside from some hydroponic tomatoes from Maine that I got at Whole Foods (blah), the rest of the meal came from the little Harvard Sq. farmer’s market, which I frequent most Tuesdays. (Mariposa Bakery pretzel rolls!) Yesterday I got local pork sausage and a couple ears of corn; I managed to hold back from the local mozzarella or burrata that I end up splurging on most weeks.

I steamed the corn for about 2 minutes. It was crazy tender and sweet like candy. It reminded me of how my mom used to lecture about proper corn technique: Bring the water to a boil. Go next door to Williams’ Farm (this is in her hometown in Western Mass). Pick the corn and leave your quarters in the can on the doorstep. Shuck the corn, boil briefly, eat. I cooked it once everything else was ready to go, and man was it good.

To drink:

I muddled slices of ginger with gin and let it sit for a few minutes (longer would be better), then shook with ice, limeade, and fresh lime juice.

The corn was a great clue, but the other way I know it’s really summer (aside from the sweltering, repulsive heat) is my iced coffee obsession. Two summers ago, when I had time and energy, I was brewing stovetop espresso, sweetening and chilling it according to my dad’s recipe. I considered it “quick and easy” at the time; now the mere thought of cleaning the Moka makes me cringe. We had breakfast at Clover Harvard Square last week, and I was surprised by how delicious the iced coffee was, since the woman was drip brewing it straight over ice, then adding more ice once it was done. I expected a weak or bitter cup, but it was terrific. I asked what the trick was, and she said espresso-ground beans slow it down enough to make strong coffee that survives the ice. I’ve been doing it at home and it works!

Iced coffee method win! Hot-brew espresso grind in drip cone over ice. Add more ice + milk. #yaysummer

Creative reuse

Despite the reduction in major food projects around these parts, we ate pretty well over the holidays. The part I was a bit smug about, actually, was how I used up the many leftovers that were packing the fridge after Tom left.

For Christmas Eve we recreated the dinner from two years ago: steak, celeriac puree, and wilted spinach salad with bacon. I am totally hooked on that purée technique (cube up root vegetables, sauté some garlic in olive oil, add the vegetables and soften a bit, add stock, cover and simmer until soft, purée with a dash of cream and butter if you’re feeling fancy) and have had great success with rutabaga as well as celeriac. Dinner was tasty, though I over-cooked the spinach:


PSA: If you don’t have an immersion blender, do yourself a favor and get one ASAP. Over the last few weeks I used mine to whip cream (whisk attachment), purée things in their pans (blender attachment), and chop up stuff (mini prep). I have this one and it’s the best $40 you can spend on a kitchen gadget.

But somehow we ended up with mountains of the celeriac. I mean, ridiculous leftovers. We ate it with the leftover steak but there was a still a huge bowl sitting around. A few days later I got sick of looking at it, so I popped it all back in a pot with some milk (fine, and a little more cream), heated it up, made grilled cheese, and called it soup. It took a while, because I forgot to turn on the stove. But normally it would have taken about 5 minutes.



Early in Tom’s visit we made potato-leek soup, and we accidentally peeled too many potatoes. Tom diced up the extra and parboiled it, and used some for omelets and things while he was here. We also had two huge bunches of kale from the final winter CSA share, and I cooked it as per usual but we somehow had a ton leftover. Also I had a lot of bacon, since I planned to cook it for Christmas breakfast and we never got around to it thanks to a gift of Zingerman’s cinnamon rolls from Christy. And we’d made a batch of carnitas in the slow cooker, forgotten to uncover it to cook off the liquid, and thus scooped out some of the extra liquid, cooked it down (Tom again, always thinking!) and thrown that in the fridge where it turned into a gorgeous jelly (bone-in pork shoulder). AND Ben made pasta one night and cooked the whole pound, so there was a bunch of cooked rotini in a ziplock.

As you can imagine, all those bits and bobs were rendering the fridge a bit chaotic, and I was pretty much out of storage containers.

Here’s what I did: (This seems so simple, but guys, it was awesome.)

-Cooked some of the bacon as lardons, pulled it out
-Diced up some onion and cooked that along with the potatoes in the bacon fat
-Threw in the pasta to brown up a little bit and get heated up
-Added some of the pork jelly to glaze it all and provide a bit of moisture and sauce
-Mixed in the kale, heated it all up, topped with parmesan.


The potatoes were key here. SO GOOD. In fact, it’s 11 a.m. and if I had any of that in the fridge now I would be eating it. I’m hungry.

CSA Weeks 16-20: The wind-down

Oh, hello. I have a blog? Hmm.

We’ve come to the end of the regular CSA season, though I’m signed on for a winter share again and will get vegetables every other week until Christmas.

Week 16, 9/21:
CSA Week 16

Week 17, 9/28:
CSA Week 17

Week 18, 10/5:
CSA Week 18

Week 19, 10/12:
CSA Week 19

Week 20, 10/19 (Note the Freak Beet that is the same size as a squash. It was in the swap box. I traded cilantro for it!)
CSA Week 20

In the first October share I got gorgeous leeks–two bunches, because there was one in the swap box (??!!?). Who doesn’t like leeks? I had a few minutes to deal with them and I decided to cook off all of them at once, because I thought I remember my mom saying I could freeze them once they were cooked.


I use a Jamie Oliver tip for cleaning leeks: Slit them almost to the root and then rinse away from the root so the silt falls out the top.



Once they were cut up I really had a huge pile of them. Riches!


Into the pan with butter and a bit of oil. Low heat. Long slow cooking. (…hee.)



Once the leeks were cooked I used them in a frittata with some leftover pasta:


Parmesan in with the eggs:





The key with a frittata is to keep pulling the edges back and letting the raw egg run under the cooked part. And then eventually you use a plate and flip it over to finish.





The leftovers made good sandwiches for the flight out to CA that weekend. And coming soon, re. that trip: I finally got to eat a sunday supper at Lucques! And I took photos. And met Suzanne Goin. But I didn’t take a photo with Suzanne Goin, because I do have a LITTLE pride.

CSA Weeks 11-15: Summer to Fall

Wow, newborns are really time-consuming. I think Tucker can sense when I’m thinking of getting back to blogging, because that’s inevitably when the previously-silent monitor lights up with a ravenous scream. He’s a great baby, a solid night-time sleeper, and awfully cute, but during the day he doesn’t take well to naps in his bassinet, preferring me to walk my legs off all over Cambridge trying to get enough hours of sleep in for him. I finally went on Google Maps yesterday and measured how far I’d walked, and it was 4.5 miles for the day. (To the library! To Trader Joe’s! To Harvard Square! Walk walk walk walk walk!)

In the month (!!?!?!!!) since he was born, we’ve moved from summer to fall in the CSA. Here are the shares:

Week 11 (8/17)

CSA Week 11

Week 12 (8/24)

CSA Week 12

Week 13 (8/31)

CSA Week 13

Week 14 (9/7)

CSA Week 14

Week 15 (9/14)

CSA Week 15

The tomatoes were fantastic this year, thanks to the hot, humid weather. A few days before Tucker was born (in fact, the day I started labor!) I made BATs (Bacon, Avocado and Tomato!) to celebrate the bounty.




Ben had spinach on his:



I was lucky to have Ben’s mom here for almost a week after we got home, and my mom (and eventually my dad) came out from Oregon the following week. A joint production between Christy and Ben (who figured out the pork rub himself!), featuring delicious corn salad with the basil butter I made in July:


My mom made me lots of stuff to freeze, including a triple batch of pesto, which will keep us in pasta through the winter (I have a gallon ziplock full of little plastic containers in the freezer!). We ate some of the pesto the first night, along with more tomatoes and some leftover steak:


Now that the weather is cooling off and the CSA shares are heavy with potatoes and squash, it’s time to get back to the kitchen and dust off the oven. Now, to figure out how to cook while Tucker is demanding all my attention!

Coming soon: The epically awesome granola my mom has been making my entire life. (I have 6 bags in the freezer, aren’t you jealous?)

CSA Weeks 9 and 10: Full-on summer

No baby yet!

Week 9:

CSA Week 9

-New potatoes
-Purple cabbage (a frilly, pretty one)
-Summer squash
-Green peppers
-Cavolo nero!

Oh, August. You make dinner so easy. I steamed the corn and cut it off the cob, and mixed it with some of the basil compound butter I made a few weeks ago and froze.


Boiled the beautiful little new potatoes and dressed them with more of the butter, along with salt, pepper, and a hit of white wine vinegar. (I also put a little vinegar in the boiling water, Cook’s Illustrated tells me that helps them get tender without crumbling.)




Sliced up the tomatoes and drizzled w/ olive oil and salt, a bit of fresh basil over everything, grilled sausages for protein and voila! Easy easy dinner.


Week 10:

CSA Week 10

-Pattypan squash
-Purple beans

The Kitchn ran a recipe review of a french tomato tart from David Lebovitz last week, and it cried out to me. So simple! So pie-like!

I used frozen pie crust from Trader Joe’s (quite good; I recommend it), and fresh mozzarella instead of goat cheese. This led to some issues down the line. (I’m still having camera issues. We can have things blah and reddish and dark or way overexposed.)


You spread mustard on the crust; I didn’t taste it directly but I could tell it added nice flavor.


A layer of gorgeous pink lady tomatoes and some basil (I seeded the tomatoes and blotted them dry to try to reduce the moisture in the tart):


Then the mozzarella (or, if you’re following the recipe and don’t loathe goat cheese like I do, a nice goat cheese). I had marinated it briefly with some herbs, salt, pepper and oil to try to make it more interesting.


Close up the edges like a crostata, and bake it:


Two-thirds of the way into baking I realized that the water from the mozzarella was bubbling out the bottom and we were going to have some majorly wet crust. I transferred the whole thing onto a wire pizza rack and perched it over the baking sheet. Unfortunately there wasn’t really time to get it very dried out; next time I will use different cheese and start on the wire rack from the beginning, I think.


Still, despite the flabby bottom crust, this was mighty tasty and SO easy. I’ll definitely be experimenting. And I know I should feel guilty about not making my own crust, but honestly? The pre-made stuff was good, and made this a crazy-fast weeknight meal. A few minutes to assemble and then it bakes for 30 minutes.


CSA Week 7: Compound butter and fabulous corn

The disaster of the previous week’s corn was forgiven once we ate this duo. Oh man, was it good!

The haul:

CSA Week 7

-Zucchini/summer squash.

I wasn’t going to get to the basil before it turned black and sad, so I decided to make a compound butter that I could freeze.


I put the ingredients in my new boyfriend, the Vitamix, in roughly the order implied by a compound butter recipe int he binder that came with it. Unfortunately my butter wasn’t actually very softened and I was using totally different ingredients. Um, oops.


It did work eventually, but it took doing. And it was so hard to get the butter out of the bottom of the blender! I think the cuisinart wins on this sort of task.


The butter could have used a little more zip, but I have loads of it in the freezer so I’m going to be positive.

That night I applied it lavishly to the ears of corn we’d received. I’d soaked the ears in water for about 20 minutes, then peeled back the husk and desilked before buttering and closing them back up.



10 minutes on the grill and the corn was just barely cooked, incredibly tender and sweet.


Another night, I plowed through that summer squash, riffing on a suggestion from my mom to roast it and mix it with feta and mint. I added cherry tomatoes and used basil instead, since I still had some.

(I didn’t use the giant one in the end.)



The downside was using a 450 degree oven on a hot day. And I was too eager and put the tray in before the oven was hot enough, so the squash softened before getting really brown. Luckily I have plenty more where that came from to try again!




We ate it with sausage:

I made leftovers into a killer sandwich the next day, btw. And it would also be great tossed with pasta.

I had my baby shower this weekend! I am just 2.5 weeks out from my due date, if you can believe it. I don’t think I’ve posted a single photo of myself since I have been showing, so here you go, complete with a giant flower showing where the baby is. Between the hand gestures and the weird talking facial expression this is a very accurate photo of me!

Baby shower

My friends Lauren and Megan hosted in Lauren’s backyard. It was lovely, and I ate QUITE a bit of Megan’s totally ridiculous key lime pie. (She’s promised me the recipe. I will fully make this even with a newborn at home.)

Baby shower


And just to be silly, I brought craft-store wood veneer masks as favors, with Crayola markers to color them. Everyone was very sporting about it.

Baby shower