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.

Battle zucchini

Battle zucchini

Stick with me to the end and I’ll share some zucchini dinner ideas with you. After five days in St. Louis hanging out with mystery writers at Bouchercon, I came home with a recharged imagination and chaos in the garden. Seemed that summer ended in my absence. The pea plants turned yellow; leftover pods shriveled on the vine. Barren Roma tomato vines withered into dried brown tentacles. The last of the spinach leaves were riddled with moth holes, and the zucchini leaves had mildewed. So on the first day of autumn, I cleared away the detritus and harvested all the veggie booty I could find. Here’s the loot: Those #$*% zucchini again. Again! The biggest ones there are 5 – 8 pounders, and the summer squash that never quite got off the ground started going crazy. I tried to do my best by the harvest. Zucchini risotto. Another gallon of zucchini marinara. 5 loaves of zucchini bread. Zucchini on pizza. Zucchini sticks. Zucchini egg cups. I even bought this awesome spiral slicer and we had zucchini “noodles” with olive oil and meatballs. By Saturday – a full three weeks later after that harvest – we’d lost any semblance of desire for zucchini. But there were two monsters left.  So I gathered the Kids and the pumpkin-carving tools and told them to go ahead and crush the courgettes. Meet Daphne and Velma, the fruits of their labors, our first jack-‘o-zucchini lanterns: A creative end to the zucchini problem. I used to have a couple zucchini around year-round to add to stir fry or pasta sauce or to saute with garlic as a side...
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...

Cooking with children

Since I’ve been blogging here I’ve loved getting to know so many of you from the comments and email you frequently send. I didn’t realize until last week, though, how far you all come to visit. It was exciting to see from this cool new blog counter I found that Life In A Skillet has visitors from all over the world. Here’s a map; 70 countries and 6 continents are represented, including Columbia, Korea, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Maldives: I got an email recently from someone much closer to home – Dan Gilbert, communications director for Primrose Schools. He had a great suggestion for a guest blog post, and due to his position has some authority. Dan has written a number of articles on everything from bilingual learning to teaching the importance of volunteering and I’m happy to print his article here on “Cooking with Children.” Don’t be shy; grab your kids and dive right in. Cooking with Children by Dan Gilbert Modern day cooking can be fun, addictive and an easy way to teach meaningful lessons. At times the amount of time we spend in the kitchen as parents can take away from the time we spend with our children. This does not have to be the case. Instead, utilize the time you spend in the kitchen cooking or baking by engaging your child. This is not only a great way to spend quality time together, but you can also teach your child valuable skills and life long lessons while having a great time together. As Dr. Mary Zurn of Primrose Schools puts it, “The kitchen is often the most...

Sometimes I just have to amuse myself (3)

I found the milk carton in the fridge empty on Saturday morning, victim of Kid One’s early-morning pre-work power breakfast of Ezekiel 49 and bananas. Kid Two’s Buddy had spent the night and the remaining boys were promised waffles, but I couldn’t find a milk-less recipe in my Fannie Farmer – although I certainly could have done a Google search with much success. The waffle iron was hot, the eggs were out, so I figured I’d try to make scrambled eggs in the waffle iron. If Alton Brown could cook bacon in there, certainly I owed it to myself to give it a try. Here is what two eggs cracked into a bowl, sprinkled with salt, whisked to within an inch of their lives, poured into a hot waffle iron sprayed with olive oil, and cooked for 2 minutes look like. The waffled eggs got fluffy and frittata-like while cooking but deflated when met a cool plate and had a very un-egg like texture that was deemed “very weird.” The results on my experiment were unanimous: Better luck next...
Man on wheel

Man on wheel

Have you ever seen the movie Man on Wire? We did, a few months back. It’s a very nicely done 2008 documentary that probably fell under your radar, about Philipe Petit’s 1974 illegal walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Oddly, though, a few weeks later, a friend gave me the book Let The Great World Spin. It’s novelist Colum McCann’s fictionalized account of that same tightrope act. So balancing acts have evidently been working overtime in my brain, Last Saturday, then, when our local paper reported the King of the High Wire Nik Wallenda was slated to perform a stunt at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, I knew I had to go. Who’d want to miss the chance to see a man taking a stroll around a 52-foot Ferris Wheel? Definitely not me! The early morning fog was giving way to blue skies as I gathered Kid Two, his Buddy, and a pocketful of quarters. We set out for a bit of morning adventure, and the boys took in a few rides while we waited for The King of the High Wire to begin. When the time came, a crowd of two hundred or so gathered under the Ferris wheel, jostling for position. The wheel s-l-o-w-l-y started to move. Parents and teens brandished smartphones in anticipation. Roller coaster oriented children complained loudly at the interruption. Finally Nik Wallenda appeared, riding s-l-o-w-l-y to the top of the wheel. He summoned his balance pole from the ground, straddled the top of the ride, stepped out to the top, and strolled s-l-o-w-l-y around the wheel as it made a rotation....
Traditionally Halloween

Traditionally Halloween

What are the traditions – new or old – you do at this time every year? For me, the process of creating and carrying on traditions is one of the most challenging aspects of parenting for me, in part because my energies and interests don’t always match what the calendar and drugstore displays tell me it’s time to do. We’ve made some progress, though; click to hear how.

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.