Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Shenanigans

Yowza! Did three weeks pass? They did. Where was I? Oh. I was here mostly, I guess. Eating strawberries with chocolate sauce, and beef burgers and veggie burgers on homemade burger buns, and grilled steaks with chimichurri.

Those are recipe links. I just thought I'd be clear about that.

Oh, what else?

Well, I got my toenails polished, as did Birdy and Michael. Have you ever been to the Pink Polisher nail salon?

I really recommend it. You just ring the doorbell.

And the Pink Polisher himself will let you in.

He's very fancy, but don't be intimidated. He's welcoming, and has a lovely selection of polishes to choose from.

I chose a color called, simply, "Pink." But Birdy picked "Mystery Pink" and loved it.

She was getting all snazzed up on account of the party she was throwing!

Everyone who is anyone was there.

Charlotte played quietly with a ballon, while Strawberry and Squeak enjoyed an uproarious game of Twister. Eebo just ate and ate.

It was a grand party. And to think: summer's only just begun!

(p.s. Birdy made the tiny Twister game from this book which I have mentioned before and which is, criminally, out of print. Still, Tiny Treats, which is not out of print, is another great one for whiling away an afternoon. And speaking of Amazon links, who here bought Waiting for Birdy for 68 cents? That cracked me up.)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Satiny Chocolate Sauce

I do especially love any sweet thing that shepherds a few extra nutrients into those growing little bodies. I don't mean that I stir yams into their flan or take measures with garbanzo puree or carob-spinach brownies; I just mean pudding or ice cream, on account of the calcium and protein, or fruit desserts, on account of, you know, the fruit. That's where this chocolate sauce comes in. I'm not going to make a case here for the healthfulness of chocolate and its antioxidant something or other, although a case can be made for such a thing. But if I make this chocolate sauce, then usually it becomes more or less a garnish to vast quantities of fruit. In the winter, I will cut up oranges and apples and pears and bananas and serve this in a bowl, fondue-style, for dipping--a dessert Ben has always called Frudité. (A few marshmallows or cubes of baguette or pound cake never hurt anyone, it's true.)

And now, well, now we're sitting pretty in fruitville, and, yes, perfect fruit doesn't need anything but a mouthful of teeth to be happily enjoyed--oh, but a little drizzle of chocolate really just takes it up a notch. I took pictures of ice cream sundaes mostly because that seemed like the classic chocolate-sauce vehicle--and partly because, given that this is what the kids were eating for lunch, I wanted it to be a little more substantial--but the truth is that it's usually just the fruit and the chocolate sauce. And the chocolate sauce is rich and satiny, deeply chocolatey and gorgeous, and it takes less than 5 minutes to make.  And everyone will be all, "You made this from scratch?" and you will be all, "I did."

Satiny Chocolate Sauce
Makes about a cup
Total time: 5 minutes

This is our "company" version. If it's only us at home, usually I just put the cream and chocolate in a bowl and microwave it until the chocolate melts, then stir in the vanilla. But it's well worth the extra 11 seconds to make it this way; the moment when the chocolate suddenly goes from grainy to creamy is a beautiful one.

1/2 cup half and half
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (about 4 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a small pot over medium heat, stirring, bring the half and half, butter, and sugar to a boil. Turn off the heat, dump in the chocolate, leave it for a minute or so, then whisk until smooth before whisking in the vanilla. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Store leftovers in the fridge.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Ah, you guys. So much advice on brown rice and iced coffee and Origami Yoda! So many loving words about a stranger's book. And Melanie, it was lovely to meet you in Thorne's. It is a beautiful thing, this virtual community. You are such a huge part of my life. Thank you.

"Beth" who logged in early under "Anonymous" is the winner of Jennifer's book! Beth, will you please email me so I can get it into the mail for you?

Meanwhile, there are recipes for polenta and Green Goddess Potato Salad over at 

Favorite Board Games post and homemade hamburger buns: on their way.

And I wanted to show you: I bought this box of glass cigar cases at the flea market for $2.

And it's the nicest vase we've ever had. Keep your eyes peeled. xoxo