Pasta con broccoli recipe

Pasta con broccoli recipe

Nights are getting longer and colder, and that means dinners are getting a little heartier and warmer. . . time for Pasta House Company-style pasta con broccoli with their house salad. Make it at your house with these recipes.

How to stuff a wild zucchini

How to stuff a wild zucchini

The zucchini have gone completely wild this year. It didn’t start out that way; they were actually slow to grow. I planted the 4″ starts the second week of May; by the third week of June they’d barely doubled in size. So I worked a handful of Dr. Earth into the soil and got the drip irrigation going. Drip, drop, drip, drop, 1 gallon psi for 30 minutes every other day. With a week 3 foot high stems sporting dinner plate-sized leaves waved high in the air. One day I found a monstrous 3 pound zucchini I swear hadn’t existed the day before. I went away the second week of July and, returning home, discovered the zucchini had gone completely wild. They’d snuck out of their raised bed, crowded out the cucumber and spinach, and sported platter-sized leaves. Hidden underneath were dozens of tastefully-sized baby zucchini . . . dinner! I’d just been reading the Southwest Airlines flight magazine featuring this recipe for zucchini carpaccio recipe, so we were on. I didn’t worry too much about arranging the thinly sliced squash in lovely pattern on the plate, just sliced, sprinkled drizzled, and ate – and it was so good! Dinner from the garden – a fantasy coming true. We’ve made it several time since, occasionally using white balsamic vinegar and leaving out the olive oil and lemon, depending on what’s handy. Then we started harvesting zucchini blossoms – they’ve starred in over a dozen meals over the last 8 weeks – and they really are the best part of the plant.  We’ve eaten them stuffed with mozzarella and chives, dredged in...
The messy truth

The messy truth

The honest truth – I make a tremendous mess when I cook. I never manage to put things away as I go and always leave cupboards and drawers open, as the teriyaki-laced bamboo skewers in my utensil drawer attest. So this, or a similar scene, is what awaits me most mornings. By the end of every day I’m too tired, too cranky, too sore, too buzzed, or just too bummed about having spent the better part of the morning doing the previous night’s dishes to tackle the mess. This photo is not as bad as it gets – but still, it would be nice to get a grip. Once a friend turned me on to Flylady, but I’m too much of a contrarian to get with the program. I felt better about my mess after I read the bit in Frank Bruni’s Born Round where he explains that his mother had a second kitchen installed in her basement, one she didn’t let on about. Family would come over to her hot, scrumptious, multi-course meals of freshly made pasta with homemade sauces and roasted meats and freshly baked desserts and marvel at how she could have produced such a feast and kept the kitchen so clean, too. Even Mama Bruni needed to make a mess. I’m in good company. The messy truth is that if you cook a meal you have to clean it up. Eventually. Although preferably before the fruit flies and mice find it. If I had a superpower, I would DEFINITELY be able to summon a cleaning fairy who would load the dishwasher the way I needed it to be...
Tartiflette

Tartiflette

Short days and cool nights often call for a rich, hearty entree. Try this tartiflette, a type of potatoes au gratin with ham that is made using the distinctive reblochon cheese. Delicious!

Sunday Supper, a poem

Sunday Supper, a poem

This poem is much like my children in that I’m occasionally astonished such a thing came out of me. I scribbled this down – an intact stream of images – while at the hairdresser’s, sitting under a fan of hot lamps, individual chunks of hair wrapped in foil. I remember I was giggling at the time. Perhaps I should try and write more under the influence of aluminum. Enjoy your Sunday Supper.

Grilled pizza how-to

Grilled pizza how-to

Jack Prelutsky’s pizza poem made me hungry! Since I’m thinking about pizza I thought I should let you in on the secrets of one thing I do really, really well – handmade barbecued pizza.

California cassoulet

The the very best of my recent experiments in leftover land turned out to be a stew LL dubbed California cassoulet. It lacks beans but really, I couldn’t resist the alliteration. The process is fairly typical of the way I cook that basically guarantees I’ll never be able to duplicate a recipe. But I did jot it all down after we figured out how mouthwateringly good it is, so I have hope. Here’s the “recipe” – Day 1: chicken stock. I had a leftover rotisserie chicken, half a large red onion, looking a little dry on the edges, and celery tops. Tossed in a stockpot and simmered with pepper and salt for several hours. Cooled then strained out all the bones, veg, and meat and tossed them out. Day 2: vegetable soup. I sauteed a VERY large julienned leek in a bit of olive oil, added two chopped peeled parsenips, two chopped peeled carrots and two chopped ribs of celery. Added the chicken stock and simmered for a couple of hours. Cooled and divided into two batches; one in the fridge and one in the freezer. Day 3. Nothing. The vegetable soup wasn’t very exciting so I just let it sit in the fridge for another day while I decided what to do with it. Hoped I’d remember to use it before it went bad. Remembered a cold, foggy day last summer when Kid Two astonished me by asking for chicken stew with polenta for dinner. It threw me because I’d never made chicken stew OR polenta. Turns out he’d had it at his Buddy’s house, who was unfortunately out...
Eat more kale! (a field trip)

Eat more kale! (a field trip)

Water connects a favorite summer pastime to the ingredients I buy and prepare for our meals. Here’s a drive past some of the farms, fields, and food lining the roads to Highway 101, taking us to play in fresh, clear lakes and rivers of summer.

The Potluck Slumber Party

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The boys are taller and drive themselves, but on their last day of high school, Kid One’s friends join us for dinner, as they have for a decade. It all started with the Potluck Slumber Party.

The Impromptu Vegetarian

Lentils and eggplant, oh my! Kid One makes a deal with a friend to go vegetarian for a week. Mom calmly accommodates him, and in the end is inspired to continue experimenting with meat-free meals.