Monday, December 17, 2012


you pop in the CD.

Dash. Do you know what this is?

A speedy rhythmic boom boom boom bounces around the living room.

No. But it sounds intense.

You point to your chest.

It's this. In here. But it's yours. From when you were in my belly.

He looks left. He looks right. He looks like he wants to run away.

What? It's me? When I was a baby? 


I was beating my own heart in there?

Yes you were.


The dog barks, the rain rushes down, and you make French toast—your son's heartbeat rocking through the house.

printable recipe
serves 4
You can soak this overnight but the texture will be more like a soufflé. If you do it 30 minutes before baking, it's a bit crunchier. But both techniques work well. You want the baguette to be stale but not as hard a a rock. You could save scraps in the freezer for a few weeks until you have enough for this dish. 

1 baguette, a bit stale
3 tablespoons butter
3 eggs
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
pinch of kosher salt
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
powdered sugar for the top

ideas for toppings:
warm maple syrup
warm maple syrup mixed with warm honey

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Trim 1/2 inch off of each end of the baguette and feed scraps to the dog. Slice baguette in half. Cut into serving-size pieces (4-5" long). Place bread cut-side up in an ovenproof dish and butter the top of each piece. Don't overlap the pieces.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the eggs. Add milk, vanilla extract, orange juice/zest, and salt. Whisk until foamy. Pour over bread. Flip the pieces around every 10 minutes or so to make sure both sides are soaking up the liquid . Leave in the liquid for about 30 minutes total. You want the bread to be wet but not soggy and falling apart. When you bake it, the bread should be resting in a small pool of the liquid but not drowning in it. You might need to pour off a few tablespoons of the liquid if the bread doesn't soak most of it up.

Make sure all pieces are cut-side up. Sprinkle turbinado sugar all over the top. Bake until the bread is puffed up and golden (30-40 minutes). You might need to throw it under the broiler for optimum crispy crunchy caramelized beauty. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and eat right away (but it does reheat nicely). Serve with optional toppings listed above.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Wakes up every Monday morning and vows to stop drinking wine forever and ever and ever and ever.  Forgets to drop her son off at his best friend's birthday party. Can't remember how she got from point A to point B but knows a car was involved and that the kids were in it. Likes to eat caramel sauce on top of caramel ice cream for lunch. Slams the dishwasher door shut with such anger that it breaks. Feels guilty when she does anything for herself. Drowns out her newborn baby's screams with Eminem. Wears her nightgown underneath her coat during the Monday morning carpool drop off. Knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that she could lift a truck if her son were trapped under it. Takes forever cooking dinner so that she can be by herself in the kitchen.  Makes her son go without his morning milk because she needs it for her coffee. Kicks a hole in the kitchen wall. Desperately misses her pre-breastfeeding breasts. Drinks martinis while cutting her childrens' hair. Grounds herself by placing a hand on her son's head. Wants to run away once a month. Still believes that Prince Charming is coming. Yells what the fuck at her son. Parallel parks her car into a tree branch. Sneaks in while her children sleep and inhales their exhales. Has an abortion because she is scared her marriage won't survive a third child. Keeps pretending she's too tired to read "Charlotte's Web" to her son because she doesn't want to live through Charlotte dying again. Doesn't love her babies until they're no longer babies. Says to her son you are my beauty cakes my little goose my precious donut. Doesn't always use a car seat. Calls her son a jerk in front of his best friend. Listens to Kelly Clarkson even when the kids aren't in the car. Is always one poem away from bursting into tears. Climbs into bed with her son when he's sleeping because that's when it seems like he loves her the most. Is scared of her daughter's beauty. Forgets she has children. Wonders if the love she feels for her son is the same kind of love that other moms feel. Gets jealous when someone else's kid is amazing. Loves one of her children more than the other. Throws books at her husband. Feeds her son dinner in the bath. Yells at her kids a little bit every day. Calls her husband  motherfucker in front of her son. Still knows the dance moves from Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield" video. Flirts with her daughter's teacher. Is one tantrum away from taking away Christmas.  Thinks white bean soup with potatoes and Brussels sprouts can fix anything. Wishes she had a large tribe of women picking her up, carrying her along, rooting her on. Says out loud I'm a mama I'm a mama I'm a mama I'm a mama I'm a mama I'm a mama and still doesn't quite believe itFeels like she's drowning. Feels like a superhero.

(Thank you to the six women who told me about mamahood and then oh so generously allowed me to intertwine their stories with mine. I owe them all truckloads of soup and ice cream.)
I've had a lot of Caramel Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce on hand for the past two years.  But I just started making this White Bean and Potato Soup with Brussels Sprouts. My newfound cracked out love for Brussels sprouts has sort of freaked me out (I used to hide them in my napkin or try to feed them to the dog). I coat them in pesto and crème fraîche. I sear the heck out of them in brown butter. I nibble on their crispy little caramelized leaves. I crave them as much as caramel ice cream. 

Make some crème fraîche and keep it festering on your counter for a few days. Confit some garlic and set it aside to cool. And then get busy making some soup. 
printable recipe
serves 4-6

for the soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil (or bacon fat)
3 stalks celery, diced
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 head fennel (tough outer layer peeled off), cored and diced
kosher salt
3 anchovies
3 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1/2 cup white wine
10 medium-sized potatoes (my favorite are Yukon gold or butterball), peeled and cut into about 2" by 2" pieces
6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
2 cups or more white beans (navy, cannellini, or butter; previously cooked or from a jar or can)
kosher salt/pepper to taste
lemon juice
white or sherry wine vinegar

for the Brussels sprouts:
24 Brussels sprouts
kosher salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 cloves garlic confit
1/4 cup chopped parsley
kosher salt/pepper to taste

optional toppings:
chopped parsley
olive oil
coarse salt
thick balsamic vinegar
parmesan cheese
pine nuts

Place large soup pot on the stove over medium heat. Add olive oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Add celery, onion, fennel, and big pinch salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and softened (about 10 minutes). Add anchovies and garlic, stir for a minute on medium heat until anchovies are dissolved (use back of wooden spoon to help them disintegrate). Add wine. Stir and cook down until liquid evaporates (about a minute). Add potatoes and chicken stock. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes). Add white beans and simmer for another 20 minutes. Remove and puree half of the soup (or use an immersion blender). Add puree back to chunky soup. Taste and adjust. Season with salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice/vinegar. If it's too thick, add more chicken stock. Cover and keep warm while you make Brussels sprouts.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Trim stems off of Brussels sprouts and remove any brown outer leaves. Grate off half of each Brussels sprout. Set grated slaw aside. Don't worry if the intact halves look scrappy and funky. Salt and pepper exposed grated sides. Heat butter in a cast iron pan on high heat until it just starts to brown. Place Brussels sprouts grated-edges down into the brown butter. Keep an eye on them. When they're nicely browned (a minute or so), add olive oil, toss them about, and then throw the pan into the oven. Cook until just tender (about 20-25 minutes). Remove from the oven and toss in grated Brussels sprouts slaw, lemon zest, garlic confit, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mush up the garlic confit so that it spreads throughout the slaw. Throw back in the oven for two minutes. Remove from oven, stir, and taste. Season as needed.

Serve soup piping hot. Garnish with cooked Brussels sprouts/slaw and any of the optional toppings above. The soup freezes beautifully.

Friday, December 7, 2012


I've been a stalker of Food52 and all of its loveliness for a few years now.

So right now I'm going to try and be all nonchalant and whatever, people it was no big deal but OMFG I wrote a story for Food52's Halfway to Dinner series.

Here it is if you missed it: One Batch of Gremolata, Six Dinners.

I've been cooking up all kinds of craziness. Follow me on Instagram or Facebook for a daily onslaught of tarts, French toast, and martinis. Or check back in next week. I have a few more stories to tell before the end of the year.