Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Monday, June 20, 2016
Oh, my darlings. The summer is upon us! I hope that this means, in your house, some time for fun and games, and not just a big, hot slog through an impossible scheduling nightmare shadowed by a terrible feeling that the world is going to shit. Fingers crossed.
Here it means that we never see Michael, because he is picking berries. Strawberries first, and then, in a little while, blueberries.
|This is Smitten Kitchen's perfect little Raspberry Buttermilk Cake, but made with strawberries. Easy and delicious.|
|Hands to the head: The universal Kubb sign of "I knocked over the king by accident!" What I really wish I had a photo of is my mom flinging a piece into my dad's shin and the ensuing purple lump. It's not the safest game!|
Tuesday, June 07, 2016
|A little out of focus to be the lead photo, eh?|
|My whole garden is peonies. Which is the best thing ever, for 5 minutes of the year.|
|Put this photo on my gravestone. (I almost never make two different things, but I sure do love to complain about it!)|
|I keep a bed of weeds I like to call my "mint patch," which is why I'm such a profligate mint user. Obviously, if herbs are not a backyard proposition, it is fine to pick just one kind.|
|Do "pickle" *something*! It's as easy as sprinkling seasoned rice vinegar on it! If you don't have seasoned rice vinegar, you can use half white vinegar and half water, with a little salt and sugar dissolved in it.|
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
It feels like the big wind-down right about now. The kids have a month of school left, yes, but they've already taken their big tests, had their spring concerts. (Birdy playing Space Oddity on electric guitar! Be still my heart.) The lilacs have given way to the peonies. My cigar-tube vase is full of bleeding hearts and lilies of the valley and even, already, a purple iris.
|Perfection on toast.|
|Fresh cherry-mint mojito.|
|Arugula with peppered farm cheese, slivered dates, toasted almonds, and a warm white-wine-vinegar vinaigrette. Can I get an amen? I promise that if I had pictures of Michael and me fighting about stupid stuff, I'd post those too.|
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Plus, asparagus is in season here, and we really do gorge on it while it's gorgeous.
|Speaking of Mother's Day, Birdy and I spent the weekend at the most incredible rug-making workshop taught by the most incredible Crispina Frrench at the most amazing Snow Farm, which is like art camp for grown-ups (and teens). We went in the fall too, and I wrote about it here. After I write the bestselling Catastrophic Da Vinci Code, we are going to go every weekend.|
|The salmon eaters in our family ate it with salmon, and I made this sauce for it. Oh my god! So good. Lightly whipped cream with a little mustard and lemon zest and herbs (I used tarragon and chives) and my own personal addition of chopped capers to make it taste like a cross between pie topping and tartar sauce. Delish.|
|The non-salmon eaters were served herby scrambled eggs. Everyone had toast because, well, toast.|
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
|I wish I'd gotten a fairy to photo bomb, for scale.|
|We have been listening to Purple Rain, which I bought in 1984 after seeing the movie with my (persistently dead) friend Ali. Loss compounds loss, it turns out. Maybe you already knew that.|
|Birdy asked me to cut her hair, and I was happy to have the excuse to touch and smell her head. "Does it have to take so long?" she said, and I said, "It does."|
|Mostly, foraging is an excuse for being outside in the spring air with Birdy, girl of my dreams. Hunting for wild food lends a shape and purpose and treasure-hunt-y feeling to our wandering, and we both love that.|
|Steamed, with butter and lemon? I mean, seriously. "The more you eat, the less bitter they are!" I said, and then worried briefly that it would be the last thing I ever said, but no. Fully edible!|
|Cheater Cassoulet. Criminally insanely good.|
|Ben, taking a break from driving and music and xbox and calculus to help build our raised garden bed. "I'm kind of surprised to see you out here!" I said, and he said, "Not as surprised as I am!"|
Edited to add: If you make this with whole leg quarters, the chicken will give up enough fat that you only need 1/2 cup or so of olive oil, just to get it started. You probably don't even need that, to be honest, but that's what I do.
This is not a real cassoulet—which is the famous French bean/duck/pork/sausage/breadcrumb dish—but it is so good that I thought I’d mention how I made it. In a deep cast-iron skillet, I sautéed a chopped onion, a large chopped carrot, 3 chopped stalks of celery, 2 garlic cloves, a sprig of dried thyme, and some chopped-up Canadian bacon in olive oil and butter. (I could also have used regular bacon and cooked everything in the bacon grease. Ham and/or other pork things would work too, and I would have added a couple of cut-up hot dogs or some kielbasa if I'd had them. For pork-free smokiness, add a teaspoon of smoked paprika with the tomato paste.) When the veggies were tender, I added 2 tablespoons of tomato paste to the pan, stirred and fried until I could smell it, then ½ cup red wine, which I cooked off. I added a cup of the chicken confit juice (you could use stock) and brought it to a boil, then I stirred in 4 or 5 cups of cooked pinto beans with enough of their liquid that the whole thing was fairly soupy (You could use white beans, which is more traditional, but I love pintos. Also, if you’re using canned beans (3 cans), rinse them off and add extra broth to make up the liquid. ). You will want to salt as needed, depending on your beans / stock, then I nestled in a bay leaf and the 4 chicken legs (I would have used more if I’d had them) and cooked the whole dish at 425 for an hour, with the broiler on for the last 3 or 4 minutes to crisp the skin. Served with a sharp arugula salad = perfection.