Monthly Archives: September 2010

The Gateway Bean

Last summer, on the final day of school, I drove Phoebe up to Skaneatles, a beautiful postcard-y town in the Finger Lakes region of New York. It was a belated sixth birthday celebration, and an opportunity for a little old school father-daughter bonding. The plan was to stay two nights in the Sherwood Inn, go for a cruise around the… Read more »

Restaurant Replication

The first time I made this chicken and broccoli for Abby she bestowed upon me the highest form of praise: Mom, how’d you get this to taste like the one we order from the Chinese restaurant? Now, granted, this is no fancy Chinese restaurant. It’s so not fancy, actually, that we’ve never even seen the inside of the place. But… Read more »

The Accidental Keepsake

Last week I forced myself to put together an iPhoto album from my massive file of summer vacation pictures. I try to do this once a season and enlist the girls help with caption-writing — the final product could rival a John Irving novel for how many exclamation points they make me use – and usually this is all I need… Read more »

Apple Gazette

A few years ago my coworker Alex was describing a friend of his — let’s call her Anya. While Alex sat in Anya’s kitchen he watched as she removed a homemade pie crust from the freezer, rolled it out, peeled and sliced a few Cortland apples right into the middle of the dough, sprinkled them with cinnamon, butter, sugar, nutmeg…. Read more »

A Few Questions for Deb Perelman

Last year, after hearing the news in a filled-to-capacity conference room on the 8th floor of the Conde Nast building that Cookie was folding, I went back to my office to begin the painful task of dismantling my bulletin board. The board (which I also called “my brain”) filled an entire wall in my office and was covered with about… Read more »

Wax-On Wax-Off, the Kitchen Edition

bacon and brussels ingred

My friend and Time for Dinner co-author Pilar Guzman has a theory about cooking from recipes (as opposed to improvising with what you’ve got in front of you). She calls it the Wax-On/Wax-Off theory. Remember how the Karate Kid had no idea he was developing muscle memory for defensive blocks until Mr. Miyagi took away the car-waxing cloth???  Pilar believes… Read more »

Back-Pocket Bolognese

bolognese in pot

OK, Valerie….I mean Readers….Meet Turkey Bolognese. This recipe has been in the rotation in our house for almost two decades. It was the sauce we cooked together in Andy’s first apartment (in 1994, in Brooklyn, when the only restaurant on Smith Street was The Red Rose) and the same one he made when we first came home from the hospital… Read more »

Reader Feedback, both Good and Not-so-Good


First the good ones. From Reader Romi: I recently discovered your INCREDIBLE cookbook and now your Family Dinner site.  I’m a challenged cook (and working mother of 3) and the book — I swear – has changed my life in the kitchen.  I whipped up turkey bolognese in the morning yesterday (yes, in the am!) and have used your recipes every night… Read more »

Have a Baby, Win Some Books!


I’m not so good with remembering the everyday details of my life. I can’t tell you the name of my eighth grade math teacher, or my freshman year dorm room number, or my cholesterol reading from my last checkup, or even who I had lunch with last Thursday (without checking my calendar first). Just last week, I’m not proud to… Read more »

Spaghetti with (or without) Clams

spaghetti and clams

I love sharing these kinds of recipes with parents. Doesn’t it look like we cooked up two completely different meals: one for the grown-ups (left) and one for the kids (right)? We didn’t at all. The astute eye will notice that everything you see on the right makes up the meal on the left. It just took a little think-work… Read more »

Command Central


The first week of school was a little out of control. That weird bubble in the kitchen ceiling finally turned into full-blown leak. After five years of having not a single mechanical issue with the Mini, the brake pads decided to give way on the way to drop-off. Iris, our usually bordering-on-bonkers Boston Terrier, was slinking around lethargically for days… Read more »

Vegetable Hater Special

veggie cake

My 3-year-old nephew Nathan is not a big fan of vegetables. Or the idea of eating in general. I spent a few days and many meals with him on vacation last month and watched as his dad — my brother — agonized over each crumb that did and didn’t go down the hatch. Annie’s Mac & Cheese is pretty much… Read more »

Keeping the Flame Alive

I think our “Grilled Chicken for People Who Hate Grilled Chicken” recipe has been the breakout dish of the season. And not only in your house as so many of you have mentioned — but in mine, too. I’d say we’ve served up some version of it at least once a week since June. Which troubles me. I’m worried that… Read more »

Dinner in the Morning

I mentioned my dinner-in-the-morning strategy last spring when I asked you to marinate drumsticks in buttermilk before heading off for the day. (Meanwhile, if Abby had her druthers, she would subsist on that buttermilk “fried” chicken and that buttermilk “fried” chicken alone for the rest of her life.) The strange science behind the idea is this: If you take one… Read more »

Summer Recipe Round-up

We only have about 48 vacation hours left to squeeze in more body-surfing, spiral-honing, sandcastle-building, cannon-balling, shell-collecting, beach-snoozing (Mom), and bike-riding. But you have the whole month, starting with Labor Day to squeeze in a few DALS dinners you’ve been meaning to try out on the family all summer. Herewith, the best of summer: Barbecued Chicken with Cabbage-Peanut Slaw (pictured… Read more »

Meat Camp

Guest Post by Matthew Hranek, photographer; creator, The William Brown Project This summer, my wife and I didn’t enroll my daughter 7-year-old daughter Clara in any kind of traditional camp. We were traveling a lot and there were only a few weeks where we’d have to fill large blocks of time. Plus, Clara’s usually pretty good about entertaining herself —… Read more »

Trust Me On This One

Guest Post by Todd Lawlor, aka Todd of Todd’s Minty Peas, aka Big-10 Blog Man, Hoopraker. Jerusalem Artichokes. Bacon. Onion. Arugula. These four ingredients tossed with a good-quality balsamic vinaigrette work together to make one of the tastiest dishes I’ve had since the Clinton Era.* The showstopper here is the Jerusalem Artichoke. You might also know it as the Sunchoke,… Read more »

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