Not every recipe comes with a cute story, a long origin tale, a photo-worthy finish. Sometimes we are just trying to get dinner on the table. Sometimes we’re dealing with real life here — that life where we have to get dinner on the table EVERY NIGHT, where lamb is expensive and beef unhealthy and your kid won’t touch lentils with a ten foot pole so you’re making chicken again, where if you see another boneless skinless “cutlet” you might have to throw something. That life.
In that life you might have optimistically bought two jars of pepper jelly at Christmas time – it’s so nice on cream cheese For all those parties you ended up not going to, since one kid had the stomach flu and the other had an ear infection. In that life, you buy too much cheese and have odds and ends of it overflowing the cheese drawer in your refrigerator.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Continue reading Split Chicken Breasts with Goat Cheese and Pepper Jelly
Photo: Christie Cook Photography
1. From the archives:
Father’s Day is this weekend and if the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach then the way to my man’s heart is through pie. I think Ken is going to be presented with his favorite plum pie.
2. Listen to this:
In the battle of classical composers, I’ve always been a Mozart girl, and anyone who has ever seen Amadeus knows that his final Requiem is pretty compelling. I’ve loved it ever since I sang the Requiem in college, and now I’m minorly obsessed with this version of the Confutatis sung by the band Las Rubias del Norte.
3. Retail Therapy:
My friend Cynthia knows high fashion (she has a hobby of buying and selling Hermes handbags) and she recently launched the plus-sized fashion site and marketplace Abbey Post. If you are looking for that special outfit or have one to sell, check it out!
4. Don’t confuse a buckle and a slump:
With summer stone fruit season coming into its own, many people could use a refresher on the difference between a grunt, a crisp and a cobbler. This rant from Slate reminds us of what a cobbler is, and more importantly, what it is not (hint: if it doesn’t look like cobblestones, it’s not a cobbler!)
5. Don’t skip this PSA.
With summer pool season in full swing, please read this article: How to Recognize Drowning. Then share it with everyone you know. Drowning is one of the leading causes of death among children under 15, and this might just save a child’s life.
Bonus #1:. I love these Fairy Tales for the Modern Woman. My favorite? “Once upon a time a woman was very good at her job, and she knew she had added value to the company she worked for, so even though she was nervous, she talked to her boss, and asked for a raise, and she got it.
Bonus #2: I am amused by this tumblr listing Library of Congress summaries of children’s books. Makes you wonder what we are reading to our children.
Bonus #3: I’ve thought Henry Cavill was cute since I watched those first three episodes of The Tudors (After the first three I got a little bored because I knew how it was going to end) but seeing him in all the promo photos for Man of Steel has made me develop a full-blown crush. For the ladies (or gents who may be interested), here is some eye candy. You’re welcome.
My baby boy has just turned one, and I have no clue how that happened. Just last week he was a tiny little warm bundle, whose floppy body fit – just exactly – into mine. His head smelled like powder and was covered with just the whisper of soft peach fuzz. He slept (and woke!) every two hours, and I was his sun.
I blinked and suddenly he’s walking around the house like a bear on his hind legs. Often with something dangerous – a fork, a length of jump rope, a permanent marker – clutched tight in one grubby little paw. He has the most delightful sly little smile, which is slower to come than it used to be, unless there is something TRULY exciting, which must also be shouted at and banged upon – like a drum, or a dog. He likes to tell jokes, and he wants to know what everything in the world is called, pointed and gesturing, and always saying, “que?” “que?” The peach fuzz is still strawberry blond, but has lengthened into curls – CURLS, which hurt my heart to look at, because WHAT is more darling than a little boy toddling around with blond curls? When he wakes up in the morning, he goes hunting for his sister, who is the MOST fun person in his world. He’s not a baby any more.
As if to squelch any doubt remaining in my mind about the end of his babyhood, the cruel calendar came round to May, and his babyhood year (why only one year?) was officially over. Toddlerhood is officially here, with all the joys that entails (stairs! And talking!)
So we made cake. And because I’m busy chasing the little blond monster all over creation, I didn’t fool around with layers and creaming, and baking and frosting. I made icebox cake.
Continue reading Lemon Blueberry Icebox Cake
Wine: JL Quinson Cotes de Provence Rosé, 2012
Region: France, Provence
Style: Dry Rosé, light on the fruit
Price: $5.99 a bottle
I have a confession to make. I like rosé wine.
Rosé wine gets a bad rap that can be traced directly to sweet, cheap California white zinfandel and Boone’s Strawberry Hill. My rosé love comes not from collegiate runs to the liquor store in town that doesn’t card, but from spending a few summers in the south of France, where Rosé is as common as water. French rosé isn’t sticky sweet - it shows a lot of fruit but it’s dry and nicely acidic and goes well with food. Plus, when you drink it you can imagine yourself sitting at a cafe on the Côte D’Azur gazing out over the Mediterranean. And it’s pink. What’s not to love?
I admit to being skeptical about JL Quinson Rosé when I saw it at Trader Joe’s. I thought it sounded like some Australian wine producer — I was mentally calling it Kwinsin in my head. Turns out that Quinson (pronounced more like Cansohn) is a village in the Provence. Who knew? Also turns out that this wine is a very nice example of a French Rosé – very dry, with a nice acidity and some forward fruit. It’s a great light wine to drink in the summer. (and as you can see from the first photo, I enjoyed it quite a bit). I’d pair it with this Grilled Provencal Chicken or some Soupe au Pistou; for that true Riviera flavor. Some roses can be a bit thin or musty flavored, but this one has a nice freshness. If I had to complain, I’d wish this wine had a bit more fruit, and I always like a more assertive PINK, but at $6, I’m not going to complain too much.
I must have missed out on the “party planning gene” that every other person in the world seems to have, or at least other moms. I look at Pinterest, with the decorations and the tablescapes and the elaborate menus – and break out into a cold sweat. The theme for my kids’ birthday parties is “birthday party.” Or really, “Come to our house and eat some cake.”
But I LOVE to have people over. My idea of the perfect summer evening is sitting on our back deck with some good friends while our kids run wild in the back yard, chatting over a glass of wine or a margarita and eating yummy food. The key is relaxing and having fun, not throwing a fit over a menu. So I’m always looking for low-key, low-stress recipes to feed a crowd. Things that I can make that don’t require a lot of last minute preparation (to allow for appropriate amounts of yapping and wine-drinking) but that are delicious enough that people want to come back and hang out some more.
Continue reading Crockpot Mexican Pork Carnitas