Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Dream that you forgot to study for your college statistics final.

Wake up to radio news of more tornadoes.

Poke, yank, drag your kids out of bed.

Stare blankly into the fridge.

Calculate that today is approximately the 1,620th day of making school lunches.

Feel totally uninspired.

Find your son asleep on the dog bed.

Marionette him up, whisper into his ear one week till summer one week till summer one week till summer, quadruple-kiss his delicious neck, rudder his body towards the kitchen.

Notice the time.

Abort the kitchen.

Yell out don't worry about your beds or your teeth just put on some clothes and let's get in the car.

Feed your kids a very special in-transit breakfast of BBQ chips, fruit rope, and Altoids.

See the relief in your daughter's eyes when you pull up just in time for drop-off.

Go to the market to buy breakfast cereal, school lunch items, and vegetables.

Walk out of the market with red wine, anchovies, six of your favorite cheeses, apricots, and cherries.

Re-enter the messy zone.

Ignore the dishes.

Make your bed.

Make your son's bed.

Make your daughter's bed.

Ignore the dishes.

Perform a floor-to-ceiling purge of the pantry.

Pick a dozen of the yellow flowers that shoot up every June and remind you of the day your son was born.

Ignore the dishes.

Regret never having written your son's birth story.

Sigh out he's six he's six he's six oh how could he be six.

Almost cry.

Add insult to injury by trying on all of your bathing suits.

Clear your desk to clear your head.

Blaze through dozens of emails to make sure you haven't missed out on a teacher gift, a birthday party, a memory book, a let's-do-soccer-in-the-fall push, a trophy presentation, a we're-done-with-kindergarten party.

Rant we are ruining our children with all of these celebrations and making them feel too special and we need to let them be ordinary once in a while.

Distract yourself by thinking about what you're going to do with the apricots and cherries.

Feel the magnetic pull of your kitchen.

Realize when you bite into a firm apricot and then a lackluster cherry that you've jumped the gun a bit on summer.

Broil half of the fruit with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, thyme, and ricotta.

Bake the remaining fruit into an apricot, cherry, and brown-butter crisp.

Groove to the extractive and color-enhancing properties of salt, sugar, and heat as they transform the apricots into tart and fluffy pillows and the cherries into a sticky sweet jam.

Rejoice that it's not even noon and fuck yeah the beds are made, the pantry is summer-ready, dinner and dessert are cooked.

Blast some music.

Do the dishes.

Do the dishes.

Do the dishes.

Sit back down at your desk.

Sip your coffee.

Float your way back to that sunny Saturday morning in 2007.

Remember your daughter holding your gaze, gripping your hands, swaying right along with you during those first few contractions, repeating you can do it mama you can do it mama you can do it mama.


Write the story of your son's birth.


printable recipe
serves 4-6 as a side dish

12-15 apricots
15-20 cherries
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (thick if you have it)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3/4 cup ricotta or fresh goat cheese (or both!)
1/3 cup chopped parsley

Preheat broiler to high.

Halve and pit the apricots. Halve and pit the cherries (use a cherry pitter for a bit less of a mess). Place fruit in a baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and thyme. Toss to coat. Broil (not too close to the flame) until tender, gooey, juicy, and just starting to brown, maybe even blacken along the edges (about 15 minutes). Remove from the oven and tuck spoonfuls of cheese around the cooked fruit. Broil again until cheese just starts to brown. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately with grilled bread and  a green salad. 

printable recipe
serves 4-6
If you have any extra vanilla-lemon sugar, it's delicious dissolved into warm milk (says my daughter).

for the vanilla lemon sugar:
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
seeds scraped out from 1/2 vanilla bean

for the fruit:
12-15 apricots
15-20 cherries

for the crisp topping:
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons brown sugar

To make the vanilla lemon sugar: In a food processor, pulverize the sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla bean seeds for 30 seconds. Set aside.

Halve and pit the apricots. Halve and pit the cherries (use a cherry pitter for a bit less of a mess). Place fruit in a baking dish (it's okay if it overlaps a bit). Sprinkle 2-4 tablespoons of the vanilla lemon sugar all over the fruit (up to you how sweet you want to go). Let it sit for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Toss together flour, oats, walnuts, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium-sized pot, melt the butter. Let it foam up a bit and then settle back down. Watch carefully. Remove from heat just as the milk solids start to brown at the bottom of the pot. Stir in brown sugar. Add the flour/oat/nut mixture. Mix until just combined.  

Distribute the crisp mixture all over the top of the fruit. Press down firmly. Bits of fruit might poke through a bit. That's okay. Bake until the crisp starts to bubble around the edges and the top is golden brown (about 40 minutes). Serve right away with ice cream, whipped cream, créme fraîche, or yoghurt. It's great for breakfast.


  1. I often have the dream of failing a test in school - damn hope it isn't serious!

    As for your recipes, not sure which I want first. Both sound sinful ....

  2. You are wonderful. We are about to have school holidays in Sydney & I am sitting on the couch suffering a mini-breakdown (aka cold) counting down the hours. x

  3. Hello,

    Congratulation to you. I am happy after reading your blog. good blog..nice artical publishing by you...appreciate on you...thanks for giving detail.nice recipes.....

    Ice Machines

  4. so recognisable (is that a word?)
    and what a great recepys

  5. This was so beautiful that I cried a little. But not too long, because I have to go out and buy apricots and cherries.

  6. Where's the birth story?

    1. i'm saving it for the birth and ice cream chapter in my book!

    2. I had a feeling you were going to say that!!!!

  7. beautiful entry! thanks for the awesome recipes and general life inspiration!

  8. I'm pregnant and in love with ice cream- so now I can't WAIT for your book! Absolutely adore your blog, hoping to be an awesome momma like you. Everytime there is a new entry it's such a gift.

    1. I feel the exact same way! Thank you for being so generous with your work and your words.

  9. Between you and Yummy Supper I'll be in cookbook heaven some day soon! I'd love to read your birth story, I thrive on them. Oh, and the recipes are great too!

  10. Love your fearless writing, cooking and living.

  11. Yummy on every level...the words, the pictures, the sentiment (to which I so relate), and the recipes. I'm making that stone fruit/ricotta business immediately.

  12. The trauma of trying on all the swimsuits is definitely something I can relate too;)

    Another amazing post Phyllis... you rock, dude!


  13. Dear, delightful Phyllis -- have you been hiding under my bed again, spying on my life? Because, once again, your story is oh-so-soooo familiar. Scarily so. Only yours ended with a delicious crisp. So now my head is in MY fridge looking for things to make a delicious crisp with...May need to go to the market :) Thank you thank you thank you for the wonderful post!

  14. That is SO beautiful, Phyllis, really truly thank you for sharing your morning with us. Meandering (and yellow flowers) are good for the soul. xx

  15. PS> I hadn't realised till this last week or so how close your Dash and my Nelle are in age. Yay! Another marriage prospect! ;)

  16. First of all the pictures i'm sure don't do the taste justice and they are very delicious looking. Second very much enjoyed reading your day haha felt like I was reading a book. Thanks for sharing

  17. Birth stories are the best. My boys love to hear theirs. For the first, I made a little illustrated book that told the story of how he got his name for his forth birthday - the second child didn't get his birth story book until he turned six..only two years behind :) (p.s. calling either effort 'illustrated' and a 'book' is a very generous description)

  18. Phyllis--thank you for making me laugh out loud! I had my husband convinced I was doing something productive on the iPad until then, so I had to share my food crush with him and read your blog out loud. It may be even funnier when read aloud...I hate making school lunches.

  19. Well you have done it again another great post... I too ignore the dshes..... ignore the dishes, etc. until I must bake something!

    Liz Tree

  20. God, that second picture! Can't wait to read your birth story, or anything you write for that matter.

  21. I found your blog this past week through a link on Pinterest about losing your keys. I've already made the salad dressing in that post (I used too much garlic, but still love it) and I've carmelized the onions, but need to gather the energy to attempt the tart dough recipe. I love your post above. Special thanks to the interweb gods this week.

  22. I love your writing! It always fills me with emotion because it's so honest and real, plus your wicked sense of humour ;) thank you!

  23. I want to live in Phyllisworld, eat your food, inhabit your brain, and feel that light on my face.

    I'm not a stalker. Just appreciative of your art.

    1. oh cheryl. thank you. your comments always kill me. i want to scoop you up and bring you into phyllisworld. and i want to swim on over to cherylworld. so sad you don't live next door.

  24. Any alternative for kosher salt ?

  25. Such a good reminder of all that can be done with a day even when we start out feeling like the tasks seem insurmountable. My apricots this week are sweet-tart perfect, but my cherries could use some help - I'll sacrifice some apricots to the cause. I can't wait to try this one.

  26. Looks like a great dessert to serve at a party.

  27. Wonderful dessert. It's a more creative dish, love it.

  28. I was concerned that I was the only person who had recurring dreams that some sort of college exam was the next day and that I had not yet studied at all. I think the sentence, my son fell asleep on the dog bed, may be the most succinct description of parenthood ever.

  29. Love all of this. Roasted fruit and cheese for dinner - great idea! My recurring dream (nightmare) is that I need to repeat my senior year of my miserable public highschool for some reason (despite the fact that i know i have graduated from college). I just cannot make myself do the assignments and begin to realize that I am undoubtedly going to flunk.

    Also, I am soooooo looking forward to the day that I can drop both my kids off at school and have time to grocery shop, cook, write, and do the dishes before they come home. Hope your summers are off to a good start.

  30. Aww, so beautifully written.
    Came across your blog through babble, and I am glad to be a follower now.
    It's hard to appreciate the kids and their sweetness, when all the chaos is going on, but the moment they are sleeping or off to school is when we realize what a gift they are.
    Happy Summer!!

  31. This recipe looks really good. I can't wait it give it a try.

  32. Wow, I would never have thought of putting cherries and apricots with Ricotta like that. What a great idea. It looks amazing.

  33. Hi Phyllis!
    Its really interesting article. Thanks for sharing.

  34. So beautifully written, Love

  35. Beautiful! Thank you for taking me back to each of those moments...beautifully and sensitively written. (and that was a long way back for me...I'm a grandma!) I could imagine my little kitchen with my old Wedgewood gas stove, where I once stood as a young mother stirring, tending, nurturing and guessing; the dishes piling in the sink; the sweet voices calling me into the garden, the neighborhood, to the end of the day the kitchen, of young stating with great enthusiasm, "Mommy, I want to eat that smell!!" Oh, the joys of motherhood;) It only gets better...and then there's the Grandma chapter...the best is yet to come! Love to all of you young Mommies;)

  36. Love your recipe!! I included in a feature article in my wellness blog on Tapas. The link is here ---->

  37. Love Blackberry pie; we have a field that is loaded here in the summer and usually end up doing a few cobblers also.