I’m always on the lookout for vegetarian meal ideas because I try to plan three meatless dinners each week. My kids (and husband) would almost certainly be happy with a pasta dish on each of those days - and honestly I wouldn’t be too bothered about it either - but for the sake of variety and creativity and (probably) a trimmer waste, I usually mix it up with other vegetarian staples like eggs or beans and lots of hearty vegetables and grains. But beans and rice and frittata all get a little tired, no matter how many variations you try, so when I saw Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian at the library, I was so excited at the prospect of freshening up my meatless menus. And this book definitely delivers! It is impressively comprehensive. Bittman has so many tips and ideas and recipes with endless variations that I could use this book every day for a full year and still not have tried it all nor be tired of it. After looking through the book - and it is a huge book - I was almost tempted to go entirely vegetarian. It demands a change of mindset, one that takes those food groups generally thought of as supporting roles and makes them front and center. So challenging and creative!Read More
It’s the season for apples, cinnamon, pumpkin and all things autumn, and there’s really no better accompaniment for all those good things than a salted caramel sauce. It’s so versatile and adds another dimension to dessert with its more complex sweetness and buttery smoothness. Drizzle it over cheesecake or pie, swirl it into brownies, sandwich it between cake layers - there’s so much you can do!Read More
If you look closely at these photos, you’ll notice that the crumb is a little more open than it should be. Perhaps it wasn’t shaped as tightly as possible or the dough wasn’t developed as well as it could be for even distribution of yeast development. Guess why I don’t care. BECAUSE MY EIGHT YEAR OLD SON MADE IT. I realized one day that he was totally capable of baking bread start-to-finish all on his own and that not only would it be a great learning opportunity for him, but it could also become one of his “chores”. So I walked him through the process and wrote down these ingredients as we baked this loaf together - intended to be easy and forgiving and to yield a loaf that he would be proud of and all the kids would want to devour.Read More
I had my doubts about this cake. The ingredients and method both seemed unusual to me, and I expected it to be maybe one dimensional and unremarkable. I know the recipe promises the cake will be “light, delicate, and delicious … like a milk chocolate bar”, but I was skeptical. But I’ve been working through my vintage recipe project and the occasion of my 1 year old’s birthday was pretty low stakes, so I gave it try. And I am so glad I did! This cake came out of nowhere and totally won me over. It is so so delicious. It’s not fancy, it’s nothing gourmet or complicated, but it is light as a dream with a delicate texture and chocolate flavor. The cake layers and the whipped cream together are airy and not too sweet - in fact, the cake is almost salty in the way that the most delicious milk chocolate has the sweet/salty element that keeps you going back for more. The frosting is very sweet, but it pulls it all together and balances the cake and cream. I’ve made a lot of cakes and watched a lot of kids eat those cakes and most of the time they don’t finish, or they eat the frosting and leave the cake or pick out the cake and leave the frosting. Not this time. They inhaled it., each one of them, both days it was served. So did the adults… I mean, when a cake is this light, it goes down real easy.Read More
We are in full-on summer mode and we are loving it! I wish my kids would add sleeping in to the mix but they must love life so much they can’t wait to get at it again every morning - or at least that’s what I tell myself when 6:30 rolls around every morning and they’re (literally) springing out of bed. At first our utter lack of routine and responsibilities unnerved me - I felt like I had to impose a schedule and create a checklist just to keep some kind of regularity in our days. That totally tanked. Turns out homeschooling moms enjoy summer as much as the kids do. But we did end up finding a rhythm of sorts and it’s wonderful. Breakfast, outside play before it’s too hot, inside play while baby naps, lunch together, pool, dinner, evening walk... Same things every day. Simple and wonderful.
Now for some links!
Fun and interesting
This hovering backpack kind of blows my mind. It is mesmerizing!
“Very impressive starling murmurations” is kind of an understatement, imho.
These quizzes are so gimmicky. Unless they come out so right, haha. (I got snowy.)
Thought provoking reads:
Smash the Wellness Industry. Lots of good thoughts here. I’m not sure I agree with the author on the cause of the problem, but it’s definitely a problem and one I think women have to be conscious of and fight on a daily basis. “Women, can two or more of us get together without mentioning our bodies and diets? It would be a small act of resistance and a kindness to ourselves.” It seems simple enough, but I bet it would make big changes!
The babushkas who stuck around after Chernobyl. The risk of radiation poisoning vs leaving the only home you’ve ever known.
I got sucked in to this food blogger’s account of her experience of hyperemesis gravidarum and swore up and down afterwards that I would never again complain about my relatively slight morning sickness when/if I get pregnant again.
The durable feeling that a child is always at risk, but from the perspective of a physician.
For this holiday weekend:
How fireworks work. It’s time you understand it.
Assuming you go to a picnic this weekend, here are some best bbq sides that you can bring!
It’s good to reflect on the sacrifices made by the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
That’s all I really want to say to introduce this recipe. I could go on about how yummy they are, but really I just want you to take my word for it and make them. They are Ottolenghi at his best - simple but totally packed with flavor.Read More
These English muffins are so vastly different from our sourdough English muffins, both in terms of flavor, texture, method, and time. Our sourdough English muffins are bready and made in the traditional way of a yeasted bread - risen, shaped, proofed, cooked - and in order to develop the sourdough flavor, all of it done over the course of 12-24 hours. These whole wheat English muffins, on the other hand, are soft and wheaty, and the dough is almost more of a batter that gets scooped onto a griddle, flipped, and finished off in the oven - all in a wonderfully short 2 hours. They aren’t perfect circles and they look pretty rustic but they are undeniably yummy. You can get up a little early and make these for a same-day late breakfast or brunch. Kind of magical if you ask me!Read More
Summer is in full swing! I’d love to know how you all do your summers. Do you just let the days run their course or do you have a daily schedule? I have to admit, I don’t achieve my ideal summer day every day, which I envision as a balance of scheduled and free time. Schedule takes discipline and that just seems to go out the window when there’s no external accountability for it (like school.) Tips would be appreciated!
For now, I’m going to seize this lazy Saturday morning and browse these links. Join me!Read More
I hope I’ve gotten your attention. I hope you didn’t skip over this post thinking, “Blech, I hate oatmeal it’s so gross” or wondering why anyone would be excited about oatmeal at all. I used to not be excited about oatmeal, too. Now we have it every Monday and Friday and even my kids are happy about it. Here’s the thing: these tips are game-changers because they turn your bowl of oatmeal from a flavorless mess of gluey slop into something that is actually full of flavor, delicious, and doesn’t even need brown sugar. (Although you can still put brown sugar on. I do. Along with a lot of other yummy things. Read on!)Read More
Ok, so I haven’t been able to get Iced Fingers out of my head since I saw them on the show years ago. They looked like hot dog buns filled with whipped cream and jam and topped with icing. And Paul Hollywood’s nostalgia is almost palpable as he tries each one and calls them a childhood favorite. Naturally I was intrigued. Somehow (how exactly though..?) all these years have passed without me actually trying them.
What was I waiting for?! You guys. These. Are. YUM. I almost can’t understand why they are so yummy. They really are just hot dog buns filled with whipped cream and jam and topped with icing. The bun is so soft and light and not very sweet; and the whipped cream is so fluffy and light and not very sweet; the jam is tart and sweet and the icing is pure sweet and it all comes together as a soft, light, sweet-but-not-too-sweet mesmerizing confection.Read More
Hello lovely readers.
I hope your week was a good one and that you can enjoy these two days of rest, or whatever we Americans call weekends. They’re hardly restful. But hopefully they’re rejuvenating!
My week was … well … about the same as every other week. Kids do school, kids do soccer, kids play, we get outside, we see friends, I clean, I cook, I resolve conflicts, I negotiate hostage situations talk down toddler tantrums, etc. Some days I do it pretty well, some days I fall pretty low. Those highs and lows seems to be part and parcel of the gig. Sometimes it’s easy; other times, I’ll be honest, my love tank runs on almost empty. There’s a lot of self talk for times like that, but maybe the simplest is, well, someone did it for me. Maybe that’s what we can celebrate this Mother’s Day, that our mothers showed up even when they were low on sleep, stretched thin, over touched, tired of cleaning, or whatever it was. They showed us what it was to love even when they weren’t really feeling the love. I know that’s not the stuff of the grocery store flowers and sappy Hallmark cards, but it maybe it’s more meaningful for all that?Read More
This cake is all simplicity and delight. It is one bowl, as easy as can be, and so delicious. It is moist without being squidgy and sweet without being cloying. The crunchy sugary almond topping is obsessively yum. Does it seem like I’m raving again? Yeah, definitely. We had it last night for dessert with whipped cream and strawberries and I just finished a piece for breakfast with my coffee and I can’t get over how perfect it is. Sometimes dessert should be a go-big and pull-out-all-the-stops kind of deal. Sometimes - this time - less is more.Read More
Sometimes you combine two things and it really doesn’t work at all. Like Grape Nuts and oatmeal. That didn’t work. But sometimes imagination and reality match up beautifully, like in this potato salad. I had volunteered to bring potato salad to a bbq potluck but I wanted something more interesting than your standard American version. Esquites is just the off-the-cob version of the Mexican street corn called elotes, which is corn that gets charred and slathered in a creamy, zesty combination of mayo, crema, cotija, cilantro, and lime. It’s one of those dishes that makes your taste buds go crazy with textures and flavors. Perfect for tossing with some plain potatoes and turning into something delicious and interesting!
You will love this salad. So will anyone you share it with. Make it for your next BBQ! Or make it for your Easter luncheon. We had it for dinner with black beans and slaw. It’s really good warm or room temperature but it can be served cold, too. I never find roasted potatoes to keep amazingly well for the next day, but this holds up alright because of all the yummy extras.
A note about the roasting: I love the extra flavor and texture dimension that roasted potatoes add to this salad, but you could just as easily boil the potatoes until tender and then let cool a bit. They might soak up a bit more of the dressing, but that’s nothing to complain about!
warm esquites potato salad
serves 4-6, can easily be doubled or tripled
2.5 - 3 lbs potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into 3/4 inch chunks (I use gold or russet potatoes)
4 Tbsp vegetable oil, separated
4 ears corn, shucked
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1 garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, diced fine
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp lime
1/3 cup feta or cotija, crumbled
First the potatoes: Preheat the oven to 475. Put the chopped potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Salt the water well! Potatoes absorb a lot of salt while cooking, giving them flavor; otherwise they will be bland. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Boil for just a few minutes until the potatoes are just about fork tender but not quite. Drain. Place a large baking sheet in the oven with 1 Tbsp of oil and let it heat up.
Drizzle the remaining 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil over the potatoes in the large pot. Cover the pot with a lid and shake the potatoes around pretty vigorously to coat the potatoes with the softened starch and the vegetable oil. This will result in very crispy edges when roasted. (Note: if you boil your potatoes too much they may fall apart at this stage so be careful!)
Remove the baking sheet from the oven, tipping and shaking gently to spread the heated oil. Carefully dump the potatoes out onto the pan and spread out. Give them a sprinkle of salt, then stick the pan back in the oven.
Roast for 20-30 minutes or until tender, crispy and golden brown, turning over the potatoes midway. Remove and let sit while you make the esquites.
For the esquites: Whisk together the mayo, sour cream, scallions, cilantro, and lime juice.
Carefully slice the kernals from the cob using a sharp knife. Heat 2 Tbsp oil over medium high heat in a skillet. Add the corn, sprinkle with a bit of salt, stir a bit, and then let sit and cook and develop a little brown on the underside. Stir after a few minutes and let the other side brown for a few more minutes. Add the garlic and chili powder and stir for just a minute.
Scrape the corn into a large bowl. Add the sour cream mayo mixture and stir well to coat.
Add the potatoes and toss well to combine. Salt to taste. Sprinkle with the crumbled feta. Serve warm or at room temp.
Hello! It’s April!
YES. It is. And with it comes all the promise of spring and sunshine!
I love when Easter falls this late in April. It just feels so in step with the seasons. Spring starts to peek through the dismal long cold and then all of a sudden it’s busting out all over. It’s so refreshing and revitalizing, which, of course, is the promise of Easter.
Now grab some coffee and joins us for some links!
Where are GBBO winners now? I’m going to go find all those blogs!
Literary critique from unlikely places. Amazon really does have everything.
Good for a laugh. But seriously, it's ridiculous!
Don't text with good grammar! People might think you're being a jerk.
Bad diets, cigarettes, wine, sugar, lack of exercise. It's all killing us. But we're all going to die anyway...
There are just no words. Breath taken.
I'm intrigued. Would it catch, I wonder?
Have I mentioned how much I love Ottolenghi cookbooks? His recipes opened up a whole new world of flavor in my kitchen. He is so creative with flavors and food combinations. I’ve never been disappointed with an Ottolenghi recipe I’ve tried, and there are some that we return to again and again.
This recipe here is inspired by one from his newest cookbook Simple. It is simple. It’s also really delicious and makes a substantial meatless dish. The original recipe calls for ciabatta but I only had a loaf of sourdough so I used that. I made it a little more herby, too. I would maybe add some ham or bacon in a future version but it certainly doesn’t need it. It was puffy and light with delightful crusty cheesy baked edges. Mmmm. Serve it with a salad and you've got yourself a perfect weekday meal.Read More
I have a little gem of a cookbook called Beard on Bread, a collection of bread recipes put together by James Beard at a time when making bread at home was making an upswing in popularity. It’s utterly charming in its simplicity. Beard has a fantastically direct and unpretentious approach to bread. “If you can read and have an oven and a work space, there is no reason why you can’t make a decent loaf of bread,” he says.
I love that so much.Read More
I love this kind of salad so much. It’s colorful, it’s hearty, it’s nutritious, and it tastes delicious on top of all that. I serve a basic old house salad with every dinner, so a salad like this is kind of like a treat. It’s also a perfect side salad to fill out a meal that needs just a little more substance on the side.
Alternatively, you can throw grains (like farro, barley, or quinoa) or roasted veggies (Brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes are my personal fave) and make this a legit meal. It makes a delicious lunch or a lighter dinner. With all the different elements and flavors you end up feeling totally satisfied.Read More
We were having BBQ pulled pork the other night, and in my mind, BBQ requires cornbread. Problem is, my husband and kids don’t like cornbread (truuuust me, I know…) so if I ever make it I spend a week afterward trying to peddle leftovers to my kids until I end up eating it crumbled and warmed with butter and honey. It doesn’t sound like such a bad ending, but it’s just not worth it (much as I love crumbled up, warmed up, buttered and honeyed cornbread mash). Anyway, so I dreamed up these yeasted cornbread buns. Necessity is the mother of invention, right? I got my honey corn contrast to the salty BBQ and my husband and kids didn’t get … cornbread. Instead, they got these delicious, buttery, honey sweet cornmeal hamburger buns. They are tender and soft but sturdy enough to hold pulled pork (or later on I made them again for zucchini turkey burgers!). They are simply delightful. You know you’ve done something right when the kids ask for a second bun over the (very delicious) BBQ pulled pork.Read More
This bread is pretty dreamy. The chocolate flavor is pretty intense, amped up by the addition of some espresso powder. The toasted coconut adds a wonderful texture. And despite the ample amount of banana in the bread, the crumb remains pretty tender and not at all squidgy. It’s good for dessert, snack, or … yes … breakfast.Read More