Thursday, June 30, 2011


Summer Squash and Onion Gratin with Garlic Chive oil and Lime. Trim squash and chop into somewhat even chunks (no need to peel it). Peel and thinly slice onion. Use your hands to coat squash and onion with salt, pepper, and lime zest/juice. Finely chop garlic chives (or regular chives). Mash chopped chives and olive oil with a mortar and pestle. Taste. If it's too pungent, add some more olive oil. Generously drizzle chive oil over the squash. Use your hands again to combine. Finish off with bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese, and quarter-sized dollops of butter. Bake at 375°F until top is crisp and brown and the squash is just tender. Eat right away. OR use as the base for a pasta sauce. OR serve in a pita with yoghurt, cucumber, and garlic chive oil raita (topped with chopped mixed herbs).

These are Bella's summer aspirations involving peaches. The smudged final item on the list is "grilled peach salad." She added it for me. Reluctantly.

Galette of Nectarines and Foraged Plums. Store bought (always) puff pastry. Macerate pitted stone fruit with lemon juice/zest, salt, vanilla, and a vigorous sprinkling of turbinado sugar. Maybe a splash of Grand Marnier? Paint the edges with a mixture of 1 egg + 2 tablespoons heavy cream. For extra crunch, coat glazed edges with more turbinado sugar. Bake at 375°F until fruit is bubbling and puff pastry is crisp and lightly browned. Eat the galette for breakfast topped with crème fraîche. Or ice cream. Ice cream for breakfast. Fuck yeah. It's summer.

Monday, June 27, 2011


I love coming up with new recipes. And so do my kids. Dash's latest is Supersonic Air Cream Pie. Combine eggs, chocolate, mint, basil, thyme, cream, and ice cubes and then bake at 350°F. It's edible. Really.

Last year, the editors at Real Simple asked some of their favorite food bloggers to come up with 3-ingredient recipes. Dash and I collaborated and made Bacon-Wrapped Broiled Figs with Goat Cheese. 3-year old Dash gleefully stuffed, snipped, and posed.
This year,  Real Simple is asking their readers to come up with the 3-ingredient recipes. The winning recipes will be featured on Real Simple's blog: Simply Stated. This is the final week of the competition so head on over right away!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


"Mama, what do anchovies do in school?"

Bash 10 anchovies with a mortar and pestle.

"They don't go to school. They swim in schools. With their families."

"Do they have teachers?"

Don't stop until the anchovies are creamy. Two-handed bashing works well for 4-year olds.
"Mama, does everybody love their parents?"

"I don't know. What do you think?"

"I don't know."

"Well, Dash, do you love ME?"

Hearty laugh followed by, "I love you because you're my MOMMY. Why wouldn't I love you?"

Add a stick of soft unsalted butter. 
"What do you love about me?"

"Mama, I love gardening with you."

"What else?"

"Maybe only that."

"Do you love making anchovy butter with me?"

"Uh-huh. Mama. I REALLY do."

Mix until butter and anchovies are fully integrated.
"Mama. Hey. What are you writing there?"

"I was writing a story about you."

Taste. Add salt if needed.

"Can you read me the story you wrote?"

"Sure, Dash."

Spoon into a ramekin. Dip. Lick. Repeat.
"Once upon a time there was a little boy named Dash. He loved to slurp up anchovies, just like his mama. He even asked if we could grow anchovies on the back porch..."
In case you need ideas for what the hell to DO with anchovy butter:
1. Use as a dip for carrots, radishes, celery or breadsticks.
2. Smear on grilled bread. Top with peeled and halved 5-minute eggs and chopped chives.
2. Add to cooked pasta with lots of parmesan, chopped herbs, and some pasta water.
(photo by Bella)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


When I first had children, there were very few signs that those squirming, pooping, and screaming creatures were related to me. There might have been a familiar eye color or expression, but that was about it. And then as toddlers they just seemed like crazy drunks.  There was no time to even think about what we had in common with all their drama and my constant fatigue. 

But now that Bella is older, I can't stop seeing myself. There's the arch of my foot, the curve of my shoulder, and the diagonal line of my tricep. When Bella sits, she crosses and then double crosses her legs just like I always have.
When I was Bella's age, a crazy hormonal monster used to wake me up early in the morning. So I would read to pass the time. This same monster has been visiting Bella for about 6 months. Thank god she loves books or she would just be staring at the wall until the sun came up.

Early yesterday morning, I went in to kiss Bella and she had already been reading for an hour. I stroked her hair, rubbed my finger against her check, and said, "Happy summer." And then I got all goofy and full of pride and excitement about her love of reading and I told her that something really exciting would happen if she read 100 books this summer.

"Like what will happen?" Bella asked.

"Um. Like something hella awesome." I hadn't had coffee yet. 

"Mama. Wait. 100 books is a lot. How about 60?"

"Deal, my love."

She skipped lunch and finished A Wrinkle in Time by dinner. 

Oh how I love Bella's ability to focus. It's just like her daddy's. 

And I love summer. Dash's optimism. My husband's support. Anchovies. HBO's Treme. New York City. My kids' faces when I give them ice cream (intake of breath, huge smile, pink cheeks).

A few months ago, asked me for an original recipe. I decided it was time to explore ice cream.  We haven't stopped churning batch after batch of eggs, cream, half and half, and sugar.

Over-the-knee boots. Harold McGee. My husband's sense of humor. Michael Ruhlman's Sex and Chicken article. Ina May Gaskin. Warm ice cream base.

The enhancements (flavorings, chunks, toppings) vary, but our base is always the same. And that base—just thickened, poured through a strainer, cooled in an ice bath—is one of the most comforting things I've ever spooned into my mouth. 
My mortar and pestle. Parents as grandparents. Avocados. Truly Madly Deeply. Heirloom tomatoes. Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. Writing. Caramelized onions. Crimes and Misdemeanors. Homemade chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.

We made some mistakes in those early batches. Too much cream. An overcooked custard. Not enough sugar. But now we've got it down.
My camera. Adele's voice. James Joyce. Pandora. Nigel Slater. Annie Hall. Yoga. My nephew. My old dog. Martinis. Cooking for my husband. La Tur cheese. Vanilla bean ice cream licked right off the mixing paddle.

"You learn from mistakes" is one of those expressions that no one wants to hear. Recipes are a really safe way for kids to explore this annoying message. Trial and error. Sometimes entire batches of ice cream are thrown out. It's okay. We start again.

Sardines. Birth. Pizza. Sardines on pizza. Writing recipes. Crème fraîche. Chocolate.
Check it (my new favorite expression from my friend Jen). My recipe for Creme Fraiche Stracciatella Ice Cream is over at in a feature called Meals for the Family: Over 50 Best Recipes from the 100 Best Food Blogs. Thank you You brought ridiculous amounts of ice cream and joy into my home.