31 December 2008

family dining

Menus from the blurry week of Christmas:

Menu One:

*Winter Vegetable Marinara with Spaghetti 

*Campbell Kids' Favorite Garlic Bread

*Garlic Roasted Broccoli Spears

*Mixed Greens with Vinaigrette

Menu Two:

(Boxing Day Party)

*Christian's Black-Eyed Pea Beef Chili

*Lara's Four Bean Potato Chili

*Brown Rice

*Chili Toppings--Lime, Cilantro, Scallions, Shredded Cheddar, Sour Cream

*Dian's Corn Bread

*Dian's Guacamole

*Big Salad

*Red Pepper Hummus

*Ice Cream with Grandma Eva's Hot Fudge Sauce

*Some Other Things I'm forgetting

Menu Three:

*Sunday Roast with Onion Gravy

*Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes

*Garlic Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower

*Peppermint JoJo's

Menu Four:

*Mackenzie's Favorite Eggplant Parmagianna Grilled Sandwiches

*Nappa Cabbage/Apple Salad

*Red Pepper Hummus


28 December 2008

I love Christmas, I hate pronouns

I don't want to talk about the pronouns. Just hate them with me.
Other than that, though, I am Good At Europe! I'll tell you all of my GAE moments, starting with the most important:
I dreamed in German!!!!!! That is right! Your little Ingy is getting more multilingual as the days go by, though I still have trouble with the Platt-Deutsch (sp?) that my Oma and Opa speak.
I got invitied to somebody's house! She is freaking wealthy, but that means that she likes ice cubes and I encountered my first of four months. Hooray!
I ran all the way across town in high heels and a very opressive LBD, which doesn't sound like an achievement until I tell you that our town is paved in cobblestones.
Christmas was great, though I think it's much more about the journey than the destination here. But my Host Family gave me stuff, including home knitted socks (so cute!) and my Biological family gave me stuff, including four different pieces of jewelry that had birds on them. Wonderful! And I watched a crappycute Krippenspiel in the big church and wore my angel wings in public (trying to find the mysterious Ay Caramba, which is a disco that turned out to be for 18-upfolk). While we're talking about birds, though, they're different here, and all very beautiful. There are big brown birds of prey that sit on apple trees and look important, and Blue-gray herons or cranes that walk around on the rolling hill on our way to and from school, and teeny chickadees that I look at instead of the black board. But only sometimes, don't worry.

26 December 2008

boxing day

After the decadence of the past, um, how many weeks has it been since Thanksgiving? I'm eating a slice of whole wheat toast and a lightly poached egg (and a frosty can of diet coke). I feel like an invalid. Especially the way I just jumped out of my skin when I heard, through the dead-quiet house, MoMo's fire truck say: "We've got an emergency. Please respond." No more adrenaline. No more deadlines. My nervous system needs a break.

At least until New Years' Eve, when I am considering throwing a gigantic party (or, maybe just medium-sized.)

My boxing day plan is:

1) Chillax
2)Long Bath
3)Low key chilli dinner
4)Long walk
5)Play games/read stories/watch movies with kids.

What is your post-Christmas antidote?

23 December 2008

crazy beautiful moon

i'm sitting at my writing place looking out the window at 7.13 am.  every couch is occupied by relatives who got stranded here in a snow storm. i can see the entire moon, but only a tiny sliver is lighted.  a shred of grey clouds is passing over it, but the tiny sliver shines through, and then it emerges again.  i'll stay here with the moon until it's gone.

22 December 2008

Family Dining


Menu 1:
*Hawaiian Haystacks garnished with pineapple, coconut, raisins, crispy chow mein noodles, and green onions over brown rice

Menu 2:
*Bright Star Black Bean/Roasted Lemon Soup garnished with sour cream

*Shredded Napa Cabbage and Swiss Chard Slaw

*Brown Rice part deux: Rice pudding studded with almonds

Menu 3:
*Scratch Macaroni and Cheese

*Garlic Roasted Broccoli Spears (I should have made twice as much)

*Emily’s Mincemeat Cake with lightly sweetened whipped cream and candied clementines

Menu 4:

*Mark Bittman's Luccan Farro Soup

*Toasted Sharp Cheddar Cheese Sandwiches on Sourdough Bread

Holiday Treats from neighbors:


*Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

*Candied Almonds

20 December 2008

The Red Pepper Hummus Lady

Tonight at Steve and Janell's party, someone asked me if I was the "Red Pepper Hummus Lady."  The answer is more complicated than it might seem, for, while I did bring red pepper hummus to the party that I did make, the real red pepper hummus lady is Nigella Lawson. Didn't you all hear her on NPR recently?  She suggested adding roasted red peppers to your hummus to make it more festive for the holidays.  I thought that sounded like an okay idea, but didn't really think I'd ever try it.  However, a couple of weeks ago I was making hummus and something went horribly wrong.  Since I have an aversion to following recipes, I had put either too much salt or too much tahini and not enough lemon in the hummus.  As I desperately searched my refrigerator, sure that I had another lemon rolling around somewhere in there, I came across half a jar of roasted peppers.  Thinking that the acidity from the preserved peppers might make up for the lack of lemon and over salted and over tahinied humus, I remembered what Nigella said, and I threw the peppers in the food processor with the hummus.  I still wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I had to go, and I had to bring something to the party, so I threw it in a bowl and left (I had made a double batch, and packed the rest in crockery for book club later that week.)  I've now taken this hummus to three parties, and it's been a big hit every time, and it does elevate your pedestrian dish of hummus to a slightly more intense and festive dip.  Thanks Nigella!  And thanks Janell, who throws awesome parties with tables full of delicious food and a beautifully decorated house.

Red Pepper Hummus Lady Dip
(I think I can call this my recipe, because I created the hummus recipe--but the idea was Nigella's)

2 cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c. tahini
1/4 c. olive oil
one fresh lemon, juiced
3 cloves garlic
1/2 of a big jar of roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed*
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 t. smoked paprika (I'm using this in everything these days)
a drizzle of olive oil for garnish

In the bowl of your food processor, pulse tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, 1 t. salt and garlic.  After ingredients are fully incorporated, add beans and red peppers blend for about one minute in food processor.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper and lemon juice if needed.

To serve, make a pretty swirl on the top of the hummus and drizzle olive oil into the swirl.  Grind a few grinds of black pepper on top.

*For anyone who lives in Provo, Albertson's has big jars of roasted red peppers on sale 2 for $4.00.  You might want to get some for your food storage.

p.s.--I decided that from now on I'm going to get one really tasty treat recipe and bring it to every holiday party of the season.  I stocked up on pita chips, tahini, roasted red peppers and lemons, and now I don't have to stress about what to bring to a party.  I have three more parties to go this season and I already know what I'm bringing and have all of the ingredients. 

Maybe everyone else in the world already knows this trick.  I'm admittedly bad at simplifying and streamlining, and this epiphany represents a big step forward for me.

19 December 2008

The Alices

There exists a triumvirate of women named Alice who inspire my cooking, and therefore my entire life: Alice D., Alice W., and Alice T.

Alice D. is my friend from Seattle: activist, artist, cook, radical, friend. When you go to her house, she will cook beautiful, unexpected food in her beautiful kitchen that overlooks the beautiful Puget Sound and then she will take you upstairs to her studio and show you her beautiful paintings. She will cook for you some Korean pancakes, or an organic free range chicken cooked in clay, or an apricot crumble, and you will ask her questions about the world and she will never say what you think she would say, and she will never say what anybody else would say. She inspires me to be less occidental in my approach to food, and I encounter combinations of flavors in her kitchen that I never get anywhere else. And she gave me the Chez Panisse Dessert Cookbook one year, and it is my favorite cookbook.

Besides the one "written by" one of the other Alices, Alice B. Toklas, Miss Gertrude Stein's companion--The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook. I put the "written by" in quotes because it has been postulated, and seems quite plausible, that Miss Stein actually wrote the book as if it were the memoirs of Miss Toklas. At any rate, her chicken salad with heavy cream is the best. And her stories of cooking as an ex-patriot American in war-time France for the great Miss Stein are fascinating and delicious. I have a poem inspired/stolen from her coming out in Fence fall 2010. What I come away from this book with is how much the food and the art intersected in Miss Stein's life, and how creative scavenging in hard times can bring about delicious discoveries, which reinforces the last Alice's most important premise: that food is precious.

The last Alice is, of course, Alice Waters. She is frustratingly purist in her approach. No compromises. You are a bad person if you don't procure the best ingredients you can. I sometimes feel angry at her. She has easy access to sixteen varieties of Jerusalem artichokes in Berkeley. I have access to zero. But I also feel inspired by her--what are the best ingredients in my food world? What are they? Where are they? What am I willing to sacrifice in order to buy organic flour? Danish butter? Am I willing to give up my Netflix account? My favorite bubble bath? If not, I'd better have a good reason why, or Ms. Waters will spit on me from her food throne. She is responsible for the locavore movement, for more responsible farming practices, for a resurgence in heirloom varieties, for making Americans care more about food, and is currently working very hard to get schools to provide better food for children by reconnecting them to their food cultures. She claims that food is our number one national security issue, and she is right. Also, I learned to love cauliflower all over again because of her. If you don't own The Art of Simple Food, you should. Ask for it for Christmas. It might make you mad, but it will definitely make you a better cook.

I Heart the Alices.

17 December 2008

Bright Star Soup

Today I was talking to my neighbor Dawn and she told me how when the snow plows came through yesterday she ran outside and begged the driver to plow the snow into the cul-de-sac in a big pile. She said he smiled and took a really long time to make a good mound, patting it down in between scoops. Dawn has four really awesome boys, and I love watching them play. They're always outside using their imaginations in cool ways.

So today after school, Momo, Cecy and Lula put on full snow regalia and played from 3.15 until 7 pm, until it was pitch black outside, on the mound with Dawn's boys. They built a tunnel through the mound and a short tobaggin run, and who knows what else. Moses was in heaven getting to play with the big boys. Their extended no-maintenance play time enabled me to write down a recipe for my favorite soup, the one I've been making for years but only today formalized into a written recipe.

Winter Black Bean/Roasted Lemon Soup

AKA: Bright Star Black Bean Soup

1 heart of celery, including leaves, chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 med. Onion, diced
2 med. Carrots, diced
2 med. Potatoes, peeled and diced
4 T. olive oil
3 cans black beans/12 oz. dry beans, cooked
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 Lemon
1 T. smoked paprika*
1 T. chili powder
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
sour cream for garnish

In the winter I rely heavily on beans and canned tomatoes. My family and I adore this soup, which is savory and hearty, but meatless, and brightened by the lemon juice and roast lemon slices. (I love how we don’t get as many fresh veggies in winter, but the citrus comes into make up for it like a bright star against a dark night.)
Soften diced veggies and three cloves of crushed garlic in 3 T. olive oil. Season veggies with paprika, chili powder, s &p and cook for one minute more.
Add stewed tomatoes, (in packing juices), drained and rinsed beans and six cups liquid (your choice of stock or water—I often use water to keep the cost down.) Bring soup to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
Finish the soup by puréeing in a food processor and blender in batches. If you like it a bit chunky, you can purée only half. Stir in the juice of one half of the fresh lemon to brighten, adjust s&p if needed, and garnish with one lemon slice (it can get too sour if you add more) and a t. of sour cream.

Roasted Lemon Garnish
While the soup is simmering, wash and slice the other half lemon into half rounds. On a baking sheet, toss the lemon slices, three cloves of garlic and 1 T. olive oil together with sea salt (coarse ground is pretty and adds texture if you have it).
Roast on high heat until the lemons and garlic are browned and carmelized.
*The smoked paprika makes it taste like you’ve had a ham-bone simmering in the soup, sans the meat.

Here it is. Feel free to add any suggestions for making it even more delicious in the comments section:

Sign a petition for FOOD DEMOCRACY NOW

This is the time when we need a rock n' roll Sec'y of Agriculture.  Help make that happen by signing this petition.

Alice Waters' Food Credo

I kind of got all of my ideas from her, and hers is much more concise and developed than mine:

*Eat locally & sustainably
*Eat seasonally
*Shop at farmers' markets
*Plant a garden
*Conserve, compost & recycle
*Cook simply
*Cook together
*Eat together
*Remember food is precious

I'm still waiting to hear y'alls food credos.  I really, really, really want to know.  Even just one tiny thing.

momo's holiday post-its

We made a snowman outside in the snow and Moses named him NED! So cute!


Miss Kelsey

Moses was such a GOOD FRIEND yesterday.  It was time to line up and put our coats on, so he got his jacket and helped Jayden by giving him his jacket too!


Miss Kelsey

Moses is an amazing singer.  He loved singing our new Christmas songs, especially the one about Santa being "too fat." :)


Miss Christy

Yesterday on the way home from 'benture time, Momo said, "What's touching?"  I explained then he said, "Boundaries!  Let's keep our hands to ourselves."  I decided to drop the subject for now.

16 December 2008


I found out that rice matters at Alice's solstice party one year.  I took a mouthful of the most beautiful and delicately fragrant rice, adorably short-grained, startlingly white, and then had the rice epiphany as the little grain pearls rolled around on my tongue and made me feel like I was eating a mouthful of teeny weeny baby toes.  Without hurting any actual babies.  Oddly, the rice reminded me very much of babies, which is never a bad thing. There was something about that indefinable mother's milk smell and the indescribable texture of baby skin.  And then I bit into the rice, and it had a pleasantly firm, toothsome feel.  I wanted to forsake the rest of the food: (tho of course i didn't) like Alice's tofu aioli (yes, tofu can be delicious! not just tolerable, but delicious.  if you add enough olive oil) and her Copper River Salmon grilled in a packet atop lemon grass and doused in Pernod.  Or her plum tart.  Or the big bowl of puffed Cheetos.  I didn't forsake the rest of the food for a few more bowls of rice, but I dreamed about that rice for years, a short grained sushi variety, but wasn't actually empowered enough to make great rice in my own home.  Then when I met Mikilani and ate delicious rice at her house, I finally determined to find my own delicious rice, and to no longer settle for an side dish with a mediocre texture and flavor.  That led me to First Oriental in Orem.  I'm sorry, but if you live in Utah Valley, you have to go to Orem to get good rice.  So make a list of everything you have to do in Orem and just get it over with.  Then come back to whatever cute place you live in and get out your rice cooker prepare to never eat Calrose again.

And let me know if you think my baby toe metaphor was on the mark or not.

15 December 2008

click on "I meant to do this" and it will take you straight to my boyfriend's latest article in the NY Times

I meant to do this:

but. . .

How do I reconcile how much I heart Bittman with how much I heart Williams and Sonoma?

No Excuses

Check out this post from Bittman:


I heart him so much!!!!!

Family Dining

Some menus:

Menu 1:
*Petite Sirloin and Mushroom Stroganoff over Brown Rice*
*Steamed Broccoli
*Snickerdoodles that Bertie’s nurse brought over in little balls so we could bake them ourselves for FHE

Menu 2:
*Clifford Family Farm Eggs Over Easy
*Sweet Potato Pancakes a la Mark Bittman
*Sweet Italian Sausages
*Hothouse Cucumber Salad with Dill

Menu 3:
*Black-eyed Pea/Red Bean Chili with Baby Potatoes over Brown Rice* garnished with Scallions, Cilantro and Sour cream
*Ghiradelli Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Menu 4:
*Black Forest Ham and Swiss Cheese Sandwiches on Ciabattini
*Mixed Greens and shredded Chard Salad
*Cheetos (shhhhhh)

Movie Night Treats:
*Ghiradelli Chip Cookies part deux, Popcorn, Chocolate Orange
Party Food:
*Clifford Family Farm Deviled Eggs with Smoked Paprika, Hummous with Sweet Red Roasted Peppers

I'm thinking about food to make when you're feeling under the weather. I've been dragging around for a couple of days and woke up with a bad cold this morning. I need to make some thing healthy and easy, and also something I can shop for at the Creamery, or make from the pantry.

*the Brown Rice is Soukayaki Gemai from First Oriental on State Street. I learned about it from Mikilani, who's from Hawaii, so she should know, and it's delish. We buy the same brand of white rice as well, and a big bag of cheaper rice for when we don't care as much. I like having the extra delish rice with a humble dish like chili because it makes it a little bit special.

14 December 2008

Guess who just got to go to church!?

That's write, our spiritually starved little Ingrid. But don't worry-- I'm hungering for righteousness, and Jesus has promised many times to feed me. He just did, in fact! I also got sexually harassed in the bahnhof. It turns out I resemble Pippi Langstraumpf to sexual predators as well as my host mom's boyfriend and everyone at the disco. lols. It would have been a lot funnier, though, had I not been standing alone in the bahnhof in Gotha, which is not quite a safe and supportive environment. But Brother Mohr came to pick me up, and it was all better. We baked cookies. (vanilla sugar. Use it. Worship it. Have a jar waiting for me when I come home and I will feed you the best baked goods in the whole world) The next day was pretty chill-- I made a jigsaw puzzle and played board games and we watched Get Smart. Then we had the branch Christmas fest which was a riot. I liked it. And Sister Mohr told me she was sure I'd been taking German lessons for years before I came here. Hooray! I'm still. dreaming. in. English, though, so I'm not being too pleased with myself. Also, Eva: send me a letter. Also anyone else who wants to. Is it safe to post my address on the Bloggity? No. I don't think so. The man from the bahnhof is probably creeping around online as we speak. Church was great, of course. I almost cried during sacrament. In fact, I did cry. One thing I will say to you all is: do not take your wards for granted. Go to church next week and give the entire building a big hug, because you never know when it will be the last time you go for months. What else has happened this week?
Oh yeah, a BIG HUGE CYBER-FIVE FOR MY AWESOME PARENTS! They sent me prezzies and write good letters and a million books that I love. Give them a hug too next time you see them, because you never know when you'll have to leave the country for ten months.
You know what I realized this week? The Germans are not human. They can't be. There'S no way. I think my main culture shock problems will not so much be missing peanut butter and boys who pee standing up so much as trying to compensate for being a mere mortal.
I think they're actually robots from the future sent to teach the world how to take care of the planet and do EVERYTHING exactly right before we initiate an apocalypse. So I am actually a very important vessel of information. They're going to pump me full of it and send me home to spread my spores of environmental education through the land. Here is a nugget:
Don't use plastic bags. Carry your groceries out all loose and wild in your grocery cart to your car, where you should all have a basket or two. Put everything in there, and then take the whole basket inside when you get home, and return it to the car when you finish unloading.

13 December 2008


I broke out of the cocoon this week and went to some parties, and it wasn't half bad!  I don't know why it was so surprising.  There are a lot of uber cool and interesting people here, and furthermore, I used to enjoy going to parties, but I've been experiencing an intense period of introversion.  Perhaps it's the novel thing, a gestation of sorts.  On one hand, it's like reading a really great book that you can't put down--the real world is such an unwelcome intrusion.  On the other hand, it's not quite that effortless (Don R. says that writing poems should feel effortless, and I've experienced that many times--perhaps I just don't have enough practice at novel writing.  Not perhaps, certainly.) and I think I'm afraid to do anything that will break my concentration. I feel like if I stop thinking about the novel it will disappear.  I'm afraid to look away for a moment, and I know fear is not a good state in which to write, so I have to change that mentality asap.  

And the world in a book or the worlds we create when we write are sometimes so much cleaner, so much more homogeneous and so much easier to deal with.

Anyhow, I've always fought against introversion, because it seems unhealthy and wrong, as opposed to extroversion which tends to make things happen and its owners popular, rich and famous.  But right now I'm giving in to it.  Especially tonight it feels incredibly luxurious:  it's cold and snowing out, I rented Stardust and made cookies, and the five of us will snuggle up on the couch in this most privileged and lucky moment.

12 December 2008

Some Food Heroes

*Alice Waters

*Mark Bittman

*All of the women in my family. All. And three of the men.

*Alice B. Toklas--thank you for feeding such nice things to Miss Gertrude Stein

*Laurie Colwin

*Irma Rombauer

*M.F.K. Fisher

*the farmers who also work two full time jobs at Clifford Family Farm


Some food philosophy and their derivations:

*A bad bagel topped with garlic and parmesan does not = a good bagel. The best food in the world is created with flour, water and salt when those ingredients are given their proper love & respect. (via Alice Waters)

*Good food doesn't have to be hard. Pick a star flavor, just one, and let it shine. (via Mark Bittman)

*Make sure your food is the right temperature. My mother would never serve an uncrisped salad or rolls that weren't right out of the oven. Thanks, Mom.

*Sit down with your people every night and eat together. (Thanks, Dad.)

*Everything is better when Bammy's in the kitchen rolling out a thin pie crust made with tenderflake lard packed in a suitcase and driven down from Canada.

*Your food tastes better when it's beautiful. (Dad)

*Make friends with farmers and gardeners if you can't be one yourself. (Alice Waters)

*Respect the seasons. (Grandma Beth)

I'd love to hear some of your food philosophies, even if you only just now realized that you had them.


Mama Lara

10 December 2008

Do your part

to stave off the fall of our empire by examining and rejecting the so-called baby carrot.

What is this food?

Is it really a food?

I have at times fallen prey to the lure of the baby carrot, fantasizing for a brief delusional moment about how easy it will be to come home and rip open the package and throw them on the table, or for my kids to grab a handful and stuff them in their lunches. In those moments of weakness, I forgot that someone would actually have to eat them. As I was peeling and carrot-sticking some beautiful orange carrots tonight for the kids I thought, really, this is not the same food as the baby carrot at all, with its unappealing dry patina, its woody texture, its un-carrotlike flavor. How hard is it to peel and cut a carrot? I thought. I don't know if the baby carrot is actually different variety of carrot altogether, or if they just salvage pieces of old woody carrots they were going to feed to their hogs and make them into little bullet shaped carrots.

And really, do we need them in individually sized packages?

How hard is it to put your carrots into a container?

The advent of the baby carrot, which led to the even more insidious individually packaged baby carrot, is the ultimate sign, the canary in the coal mine if you will, of a culture in decline. Help me resist this decline by boycotting this little orange Trojan horse.

Furthermore, let me exhort you to choose loose carrots over pre-packaged bulk carrots. It's true, they cost more, but they taste more than twice as good as their woody old ancestors in the large packages (harvested in 2005), and I always end up wasting more bulk carrots because they can be bitter, tough and misshapen. You can even save plastic by letting your loose carrots roam free in the cart and in your shopping bag. You will be washing and peeling them, after all.

Carrots are a delicious and precious food that can sustain the most humble of cuisines through hard times. Let us give them their due, and forsake their predators the baby carrots in both bulk and individually-sized packages.

p.s.--Look for a coming post entitled "The Pre-Packaged Sliced Apple."

09 December 2008

questions/circular logic/animal classification

Can we be rough with bad guys?

Ummmm. . . only if we need to to get away.

Can we go get Spiderman?


Can one Spiderman tie the other Spiderman up with his web?

There's only one Spiderman.

Why are bad guys bad?

They are bad because they hurt us, it's in their nature.

Can we kill them or just stop them?

Just stop them.

What are octopuses?

Sea creatures, kind of like fish.

Why don't they have tails?

They have eight arms.

No, they have eight tails.

Good point.

Why are they not fish?

I don't know , let's call Dad and ask him.

(Calling Dad--dad and mom discuss: are they crustaceans? arthropods? arachnids?)

Dad says we can look it up on the internet.

What happens when we die?

Our spirit leaves our body and goes to heaven.


Because that's where Heavenly Father lives.

Is he our Jesus?

Kind of.

What happens if we kiss?

I don't know.

Will he help us up?


08 December 2008

family dining

Here are a few menus from last week:

Menu One:
*Savory butternut soup (I'm on a quest for a less sweet soup--I'll post my recipe when I've perfected it)
*Grandma Wendy's rolls ( I had a tray of frozen dough, bun-shaped, in the freezer still from Thanksgiving)
*Greens with pomegranate seeds and vinaigrette
*Baked apples stuffed with pecans and raisins drizzled with pouring cream (Allred's apples, local, very good, wish they were organic)

Menu Two:
*Grilled petite sirloin strips from the Creamery (their beef is local too, but not organic or grass-fed) atop baby spinach with pomegranate seeds and grapefruit sections, apple cider vinaigrette
*apple pie with Alice Waters' crumb topping (this too was frozen from Thanksgiving, and was not as delicious as the first time, but still good, and the Jonathan apples from Allred's have great flavor)

Menu Three:
*Savory Butternut Soup part deux (the kids love this soup)
*Sharp Cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches on Grandma Sycamore's bread (local, decadently white and soft)

Menu Four:
*Orrechiette with crispy bits of pancetta, spinach ricotta pesto, artichoke hearts and steamed broccoli (the pesto was inspired by a cooking show I had watched that day--I wasn't crazy about the ricotta flavor, and probably won't make it that way again.)
*Lindt chocolate (on sale for one dollar at Smith's)--this was our movie night meal and treat

I had planned to make sweet potato pancakes, but that didn't happen, and a recipe I've been creating in my head with spaghetti squash, but my squash were all mushy when I took them out to preapare them. Next week.

But do help me out with my recipe: I want to cook the spaghetti squash, remove the spaghettis and toss them in a marinara and then rebake the spaghetti and sauce in the sqash shells with cheese and bread crumbs on top. I'm trying to come up with one more ingredient to give it a little more oomph. Thoughts? Don't you think these will be adorable, all browned and crispy on top, and self-contained in cute little boats, called Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash.

03 December 2008

the children's hour or better than a cuisinart

So ten days ago I purchased my first food processor--a gorgeous stainless cuisinart with frighteningly sharp blades (we were actually given a food processor for our wedding almost twenty years ago, but I returned it to Costco thinking that we needed cash more, and besides, our kitchen on 95th and Amsterdam in Manhattan had literally two inches of counter space and no cupboards.) This machine is dreamy, and I've used it every day for the past ten days to puree soup, make hummous, julienne jicama, shred sweet potatoes, mix pastry dough, and best of all to make fresh bread crumbs.

But today I realized that there is something better for vegetable prep than a cuisinart: small children. Here are the tools and materials you need: one three-year- old, one five-year-old, two butter knives, two chopping boards, two prep bowls, one large prep bowl, and a head of cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into eighths, and give each child one-eighth of a cauliflower to prep at a time. Instruct the little choppers to cut the cauliflower into small pieces and to break off or trim off the large stems. It takes them a good hour to prep the whole thing, what with the concerted effort of chopping with a butter knife, finding a good angle for cutting, and most of all, moving the cauliflower from the cutting board to the small prep bowl and then eventually from the small prep bowl to the big prep bowl (don't try to save dishes on this one--the time you spend washing prep bowls will be returned to you ten, nay, even fifteen times in the extra time it takes the kids to move the cauliflower around.)

While the kids prep cauliflower, you can prepare the rest of dinner, or eat popcorn and write on your blog. It's heaven. Try it.



p.s.--one more reason why I returned my first food processor to Costco is that I heard some famous chef say that all one should ever need in the kitchen is a good French chef's knife. So that intimidated me into taking it back.

p.p.s.--I feel a tiny bit guilty that I have a food processor and Mark Bittman doesn't, can't fit it in his very small Manhattan kitchen. On the other hand, he gets to live in NYC and I get to live in Provo.

01 December 2008


I love the three-year-old mind, a mind free of assumptions about the world. When Eva was three, we had to make a question limit to save our sanity.

"Why do rocket-ships go upwards?"

"Why do shooting stars shoot?"

"Why is everything everything?"

"Why are the clouds snuggling on the mountains?"

"Why does poop have germs on it?"

"What do ghostes say?"

"Why are ghostes not real?"