Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Hello, dear friends! I hope this Tuesday finds you well and happy. I am writing with a couple of new food columns over at family.com. I am just going to link to the landing page since the site is under transition. But over there you will find excellent recipes for hummus and banana muffins. Do you want to check in again, when you get a chance, about wish-list recipes? Someone mentioned pasta salad, and I'm going to do that one soon. But please let me know if there are others. I've been in a real phase of "Oh god--it's already 6. What do we have in the house?" Hence all the chickpeas.

Another thing: the cooking class at Love to Cook is going to be rescheduled for the fall, as a number of people who were hoping to come in June can't make it. So I will look forward to seeing you then!

Meanwhile, our lives have taken a turn for the summery. We spent a gloriously green weekend at my parents' house in upstate New York, where we took a favorite walk that meanders past an old hunting perch.

Ben kept saying, "Wow, I remembered this being so much bigger and taller!" which really cracked me up. Sometimes the children seem to be reading from scripts about growing up. And Birdy spent some time down below, gathering her courage for the ascent, which she eventually made. You go, Birdy.

We also had a chance to troll through my parents' attic--a favorite activity. The results were a two-day-long game of Risk (I don't love the war theme, and I had to opt out since, just as I remembered, that game makes me so competitive that I practically punched Michael in the face, but boy is that 1963 board gorgeous) and also some very ancient deck chairs that we schlepped home to revamp.

I hope your lives are every bit as minutely thrilling as ours.



  1. It's a good thing I'd already read the recipes. I'm the sort of person who would say "Hummus and banana muffins? That sounds gross."

  2. I'm glad about the class reschedule in Logan. We really miss dad over here, and though he was very supportive about my going to the class on the 13th, I know he's just dying to see the kids, and moi of course. But I'll see you in the fall!!!!

  3. Oh I am sending you cyber hugs for the hummus-- as my clan is in need of a new taste in that department (we have been in a reduce the chickpea stockpile mode too). As CSA season has kicked in here, I'm always on the lookout for new ways to incorporate Kale or swiss chard into dinner (especially ways that won't leave the boys shrieking or plugging their noses while swallowing. ahem.) and also, I'm on the hunt for some easy but different lunches-- that season of beach days and picnics is fast approaching (nor not. It is 40 degrees here today.)

    Anyway, LOVE those chairs. And still think you should just come cook in northern Michigan, where we'll have fall colors and Bells Oberon Beer to entice you....

  4. PS-- an update on your rhubarb: my dog ate the whole pan. THE WHOLE PAN. Good thing that mutt is cute and good thing that whole crumb creating experience was like meditation, because otherwise-- watch out.

  5. Me, Me, I requested the Pasta Salad!

  6. Risk! A fight in a box! WE used to play huge games of that every weekend at my parents. It was very aggressive. Very. People frequently came to blows.
    What lovely summery pictures!

  7. We fight very much over Settlers of Catan, which I think was being discussed recently, so I'm sure we'd fight over Risk too, if we ever played it.
    As for recipe ideas, things that cook themselves while we all laze around on the patio looking at the thirsty, thirsty garden. Or just dishes that don't heat up the house by cooking for hours sound summery and good.
    I also second Kate's suggestion of adding the chard and spinach to dishes unnoticed. My second born can spot cooked greens from across the house and calls them "yuckies" whenever she finds them in her food. More for me, I guess.

  8. Your hummus recipe has inspired me to make some today-I have only tried once and it came out disgustingly "dirt" flavored. Ah, Settlers of Catan you mentioned a couple posts ago-my sister, brother-in-law and I were addicted one long winter. But once things started getting a little "competetive" shall we say between them, we are playing less.
    Recipe suggestions: some BBQ recipes-a.ka. I don't know how to cook fish or steak on the grill to save my life. Maybe by fall I can get to Logan-only a 5 hour drive from where I am in Idaho. Keep up the yummy recipes and fun posts.

  9. We'd love a recipe for pizza base that doesn't taste like cardboard...
    and thanks so much for the hummus - we have taste tested quite the variety of recipes to date, and are still not quite there, so I'm really looking forward to this one.

  10. Anonymous10:51 PM

    I commented over on the other site, but I'd love to see a recipe that might help my 5 year-old grow to love eggplant.
    Great chairs! I have a pair that I want to re-fabric (upholster?) and they look just like yours. Did you have to disassemble the chair to slip on the new fabric? Am trying to come up with a way that won't require the disassembly. Velcro?


  11. Anonymous11:36 PM

    I love you, friend. Please, never, ever stop posting. You are the bestest. XOXO, Jenny in MD

  12. Anonymous11:54 PM

    While I love all your recipes, perhaps Michael could do a guest column on his pesto that you wrote about a long time ago (maybe back on babycenter?)

  13. Ooh, permission to request recipes? Ok, how about Butterscotch Pudding, and Caramel Pudding, and Banana Pudding? We had your chocolate pudding today and while I had to make it with a four month old strapped to my chest and a four year old dying of hunger, only staved off by stray chocolate chips, while it s-l-o-w-ly congealed on the stove and I bounced and wiggled and FINALLY it was done. We ate it with raspberries over top and every rich, delicious bite was perfection. I swear I will never buy a box again.

    But if you're not in a pudding mood, I would love a recipe for Chicken Marsala, or Pad See Eew (do you do Thai food?).

    Also, since I'm blathering on here, I wanted to say congratulations for making the transition from writing about the craziness of parenting into the world of food. It's a beautiful thing, not just because we get to share your dining room table (and still see glimpses of the children) but it also gives me real, honest-to-goodness hope that I can transition my own career in the same Houdini-like fashion.

    And if you want a great new board game (WAY better than Risk, but with some of the same strategy elements), try Settlers of Catan.


    Much love to you, Catherine. You rock.


  14. Oh... that photo of the two of them in the woods is blow up and frame ready - what a gem of a photo!

    Catherine, today, my kids move up from Kindergarten and 4th to First and Fifth graders - how am I going to get through this day???????????

  15. Anonymous1:29 PM

    A pasta salad that uses the yummy "green sauce"!!

  16. Anonymous4:28 PM

    I have a request-- either tabouli (sp?) or a chimichurri sauce on something? lots of parsley and other herbs to use and I love that big flavor. your recipes are always great! the corn chowder is one of my favorites, and so easy! thanks!

  17. Hi! I tried to leave a comment for you over at Disney, but had trouble registering.

    Anyway, I was going to say that our hummus used to taste weird compared to that from restaurants, too, until we started using roasted tahini (which they never tell you to do in any recipe I've ever seen) and it made all the difference. We use Joyva brand--it's readily available and pretty cheap.

  18. Anonymous8:46 AM

    Risotto. Here's why--one time way back you wrote that you were stirring a pot of risotto on the stove and hoping that the day would come when you would have that luxurious time to sit and do puzzles. At that time, my little ones were so little I couldn't imagine having time to stir something on the stove. But they grow, they do. Now, I have time (not a lot, but more than before) to cook, which I didn't really know I liked to do until I started trying your recipes. So, I want to stir risotto. Maybe summer isn't the best season for this recipe, but some day. Thanks! --Cathy K

  19. Thanks so much for your hummus recipe. Good to know I'm not the only one obsessed with middle eastern food but hate tahini.

    If you ever teach a cooking class in NY or even in MA I'll be there.

    I've re-read your book many times and passed it on to friends.

    For all you do, much thanks!

  20. Summer grilling recipes? And/or what to do with what's in the CSA box. Salad dressings would be good for this week. ;)

  21. Anonymous3:06 PM

    Yes! Have a cooking class in Massachusetts! I would love to go. --Cathy K

  22. ooooo. i love forest pictures and the deck chairs. i can't wait to see the revamp. xo e

  23. So, at first I read "hummus and banana muffins", and I was very intrigued by how you (even you!) could put hummus and bananas in muffins and make them taste good.

    We are in desparate need (with our CSA) of salad and salad dressing recipes. And veggie stir fry (something I should just know how to do but really don't). I also want to know how to make a good batch of rice and beans to go with that veggie stir fry.


  24. Mary-Alice7:29 PM

    Do you have any good variations of pizza on the grill? We do this in lots of forms over the summer, but I'm always on the lookout for new ideas.

  25. Catherine: I have a question about editorial license. In the July issue of Family Fun, you state that you're not knowledgeable about Boston. How is that possible if you live in Western Massachusetts? Just curious.

  26. Anonymous8:41 AM

    I tried your rhubarb crumble last night and loved it. It's the first one of your recipes I've made. I've printed out several of them, because they look so yummy and wholesome, but maybe I didn't have the confidence to make them. I don't know. Thanks for inspiring me to try more, and for sharing with us.

  27. I vote for curry. Yellow, green, red, peanut, chicken, whatever. I just have no idea how to make that stuff. I love eating it out, but always get the feeling it's like downing 3 cups of coconut milk, and it would be nice to have a little more information about how it's made so I can evaluate it better and maybe experiment with different versions. Tx!

  28. How about some ideas for what to do with quinoa? So far, I use it in place of rice, in a fritata with broccoli, and in a salad with fresh dill, feta, chopped tomatoes and cucumber. Any other ideas?

  29. Anonymous7:35 AM

    I'd second the non-cardboard pizza recipe. Try as I may, there's just not much taste to either my dough or my sauce. I wish my dough would taste more like ciabatta, and I wish I could get the tomato sauce to have more zip. Fresh mozzarella is good but the kids prefer the gooey Polly-O type stuff.

    And re: the Boston/W Mass question -- I can't answer for Catherine, but as someone who grew up 50 mi. from Boston and lived there for a few years too -- I have been in W Mass for 15 years and have seen a MAJOR political/cultural divide between the two ends of this small state.

  30. Anonymous8:44 AM

    Oh, I thought of some more suggestions. How about jam? Strawberry, rasberry, peach. I've heard it involves dangerously hot boilng, or something like that, and it kind of scares me. But we have this peach tree and always have so many incredible little juicy peaches later in the summer. We tried to freeze some and it didn't work out too well. Also, maybe bruschetta? (I'm going to comment over at Disney, but it's probably going to be on an older post, I hope that counts.) Thanks! --Cathy K

  31. So glad I found this blog--just read Waiting for Birdy while I was waiting for my second baby boy to be born, and loved it. Now I'm looking forward to trying some of these recipes, once sleep returns to more or less normal--but love having 2 kids!! So much easier than one, oddly, so far, does that change? We'll see!

    Thanks for the laughs and inspiration!

  32. mariep3:07 PM

    Sorry not to comment/ask my questions about the donut cake at disney, but...

    I'm interested in your opinion of some alterations to your recipe:

    Do you think it's possible/OK to add blueberries or raspberries to the batter before baking? That way I could use thawed berries from last summer's bounty (to make room for THIS summer's) and they might not seem as mushy as they might if they were alongside the cake?? Or will that ruin the pure simplicity (and texture) of the cake?

    What about pouring a lemony sugary glaze over the warm cake (making little poke-holes with a skewer before doing so)? Would that ruin it?

    Am I revealing my can't-leave-well-enough-alone self?

  33. I had one more idea for recipes... how about things that are good to make while camping? I could really use some ideas that are one-burner or no-burner, if you know what I mean.