Entries from May 2010
A lot of people have been asking me what I hope to accomplish with this website. I come from old-school media where we attend all-day offsites with the sole purpose of creating a mission statement, so before I wrote a single post, I worked and reworked and fine-tuned my About page. I never dreamed that reader feedback would align so perfectly with what I outlined there — so again, a big thank-you to everyone who has written. In particular I wanted to share this note:
“I just wanted you to know how great it is to see a blogger who doesn’t make me feel like a bad person for giving up on dinner some nights, doesn’t always go organic and, on occasion, tries a little too hard to make sure that dinner is something that my whole family enjoys. I work full-time and I’ve always made it a priority to have some semblance of a home-cooked dinner on the table for everyone to enjoy. It is something I love to do, plain and simple.” –Amanda, San Francisco, CA
Some back-and-forth with Amanda revealed that her go-to meal is salmon tacos. She sits down with her family for dinner every night — except Friday, when they all eat in front of the TV and watch a movie — “By far my 5 year olds favorite night of the week.”
Anyway — sharing stories and rituals like Amanda’s, building a community around feeding our families well….that’s what I hope to accomplish.
Read more about family rituals.
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Until fairly recently, I had been an absolute slave to the written recipe, i.e. it was a dealbreaker if the ingredient list called for shallots and all I had was an onion. If Everyday Food told me to serve the sausages with horseradish mustard and I only had grainy, then by God I went out and spent the $4.39 for the horseradish mustard. When I was 16 my neighbor hired me to help prepare and serve hors d’oeuvres at a cocktail party, and not only did I incinerate the cheese puffs, but I stood there and watched them become more and more incinerated because the recipe said 15 minutes in the oven and it had only been 12.
If this sounds like you and you don’t like it, I have two pieces of advice for you. First: Have children. (What is parenting if not one long improv routine?) Second: Force yourself to cook only with what you have at the end of the week. Look in the fridge and the pantry. Then back in the pantry and the fridge…and see if anything comes to you. Pasta plus any vegetables (even those on their last legs) is the ideal default dinner. Last Friday I was fortunate to have a box of spaghetti, some asparagus, peas, and (yes!) even a shallot. And look, I managed to get it right.
Spaghetti with Spring Vegetables
1 pound spaghetti
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed at the bottom, and chopped into 1-inch pieces as shown above.
1 cup peas, preferably fresh organic (but thawed frozen will do just fine)
1 shallot, chopped
1-2 teaspoons lemon zest
4-5 basil leaves, slivered
salt & pepper
freshly grated Parmesan
Prepare spaghetti according to package directions (make sure you salt the water). During last 2 minutes of cooking, throw asparagus and peas into the boiling water. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat and add shallots.
Before draining pasta, use a slotted spoon to scoop up as many of the vegetables from the pasta water as possible, and chuck them into the skillet to finish cooking.
Drain pasta and add back to pasta pot. Toss with a little more olive oil, vegetables, lemon zest, basil, salt, pepper, and Parm.
Another pasta-veg dinner that ignited a frenzy on DALS: Fettucini with Brussels.
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Tags:pasta for kids·pasta peas asparagus·pasta with peas and asparagus·pasta with vegetables
It’s way too easy for me to shovel down the straggler crusts of my kids’ PB&J or grilled cheese sandwiches and call it lunch…only to fight a losing battle with a bag of tortilla chips an hour later. This quick open-face has recently proven to be a good antidote to that cycle — and a vegetarian antidote at that. It’s a whole wheat pita spread with hummus and topped with a simple salad: bibb leaves, grape tomatoes, and feta tossed in red olive oil and red wine vinegar. It also packs up nicely for the lunchbox for the kids or for you — should you be trying to kick that Chipotle takeout habit at the office.
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Tags:heatlhy lunch for kids·vegetarian lunchbox·vegetarian lunches