This weekend my mom came to visit. For the first time since my 21st birthday, I had my mama all to myself. I shared her with Maxine, of course, but it was wonderful to chat during naps and linger over dinners and giggle while we carved pumpkins.
We made pesto chicken salad with some of the best pesto on the planet (from our local Genova Delicatessen). We tossed pumpkin seeds in cinnamon and nutmeg, chili powder and sea salt, and roasted them in the oven. We even marinated feta–soaking it in olive oil with bay leaves and cracked pepper corns and rosemary from our backyard garden and a bit of thyme–though we never got around to eating it.
My mom was determined to make granola (ok, we actually insist that she make it every time she visits). I had just collected the ingredients for my own batch, though, so I suggested she work with what I had on hand. Maddeningly, hers still turned out better than mine ever does. The nerve!
John made us this fresh ricotta cheesecake from our Chez Panisse cookbook, dotted with marsala-soaked raisins and pine nuts. Someday I’ll share the recipe with all of you. You can begin thanking me now, though. That cake is so good we ate it for dinner one night.
And for our first dinner together, John made us Jenny Rosenstrach’s Sweet Potato Chicken Pot Pie. It’s the second time we’ve had it on our table, and it’s definitely earned a permanent spot in our dinner rotation.
As is always the case when my mom visits, I am reminded that it is not only the food before me that makes a great meal, but the company, too. Watching my mom play games with Max while she ate, swapping jokes and asking each other questions, could make any meal into perfect sustenance.
Thanks for coming, Mom. I love you.
The title of this post is both one of my favorite and one of my most dreaded questions.
It is my favorite when it’s coming from my mouth; it makes my throat tighten when it’s directed my way, sometime after 5 o’clock.
Before we were parents, John and I ate out pretty regularly. That’s what people who like to eat do when they have disposable income and curious palates. But then we became parents and with that change came longer days and shorter nights and tighter wallets and a mouth to feed with deep regard. Somewhere in there, we started staring blank-eyed at each other across the kitchen more nights than not when the topic of what to make for dinner came up. Read the rest of this entry »
No, this is not a post about John, even though it is our second third wedding-commitment-whatever anniversary today.
(Did that “second third” part confuse you a bit? See, we celebrated twice. Once in a windy woodsy park with our California friends and family, and once between days of epic rain in the backyard of the house I grew up in with all the rest of the folks we love. The first was three Aprils ago and the second was three (3? 3!) years ago today. Although, if you ask John, our anniversary is in November–because the man simply cannot be expected to respect such arbitrary concretes as a calendar–so maybe we’ll have a third third anniversary then, too. But I digress. BIG TIME. Onward.)
First some business. We are very happy to announce that the winner of Jenny Rosenstrach’s new book, Dinner A Love Story, is GEORGIA! Hope you like it as much as we enjoy Jenny’s blog of the same name and her book.
Anyway, when I–Janet–was reading the book last week, Jenny piqued my interest when she mentions “deal breakers,” the thing that we see in a recipe that immediately makes us turn the page. For some people it’s yeast (it was for her for a while); for others it might be phyllo dough. You get the idea. Anyway that got us to thinking about another kind of deal breaker — ingredients that we refuse to cook for one reason or another. So, without further ado, here’s our list of foods we refuse to cook. Are any of them on your list? What’s something you absolutely detest and won’t let in your house much less into one of your skillets?
I want to start by saying that when it comes to my family and meals, I kind of wish I could have a do-over. Not entirely because I messed it up — we regularly ate together and I made homecooked meals most of the time. But I made mistakes. I made separate meals for far too many years for various members of the younger set and don’t feel I did a particularly good job helping them learn to try new things. I took things too personally, as if they’re not eating something was about me rather than just regular growing up. What I would have given to have Jenny Rosenstrach’s blog, Dinner A Love Story, or now her memoir/cookbook — which I am calling a cookmoir. I would have realized that in fact I was doing a pretty good job. (And the book will help one of you lucky readers, too, because we’re doing a giveaway. Details at the end of the post.)
Here are just a few reasons why Dinner A Love Story, the book, is so great.