Archive for the 'kid-friendly food' Category

Recipe of the Week: Homesick Texan Carnitas

Homesick Texan carnitas

Porky goodness.

So many things in Lisa Fain‘s new cookbook, The Homesick Texan, look good to me — and, of course, remind me of home — that I literally couldn’t decide what to make first. Then I saw Deb over at Smitten Kitchen tried out the carnitas, with great results, and I thought, OK, decision made.

Carnitas are basically tender-crispy bits of pork that you put into a corn tortilla, dress up with your favorite fixings, and eat as tacos. You braise the pork first in liquid — orange and lime juices, water, cumin, crushed garlic — and then sear to brown and crisp up all over once the liquid evaporates. It takes a good three hours start to finish and, I have to say, Chrissy and I thought the meat was absolutely delicious. Flavorful, perfect.

The recipe says to use pork shoulder or butt; we used shoulder. And the three pounds of meat was crowded in our medium-sized to large Le Creuset — so I’d suggest using the biggest damn dutch oven you’re got. Also: I’m not sure if it was in part because of the crowding, but not all of our liquid evaporated — we had to remove the excess ourselves. But it didn’t matter. We took out the remaining juice and let the meat brown nicely in the pot. Crispy, salty, addictive.

We made guac and piled on diced pickled jalapenos and cilantro, too. Yum, yum.

Carnitas, via The Homesick Texan (but as posted on Smitt-Kit — looks like Fain has adapted the recipe from her blog for her cookbook, so that’s what I’m linking to.)

For more Tex-Mex and other faves, scan the blog or buy the book.

Let me know what you think! (P.S. — The kids loved the meat, too, and there were plenty of leftovers.)

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Recipe of the Week: Gwyneth Paltrow’s Marinated Gigante Bean Salad with Grilled Shrimp

gwyneth-paltrow-gigante bean salad with grilled shrimp

Summer’s over, but we’re still making this light, lemony, garlicky salad and loving it. Don’t have gigante beans? Use butter beans or cannellini beans instead. No watercress in your fridge? Use any kind of greens or serve over sauteed spinach.

One note: Marinating the beans in olive oil, garlic, and scallions (or chives) for several hours before preparing is a key step in the recipe and makes a big difference in flavor. So do that earlier in the day and then assemble later for dinner — it’s fast and easy. And delish.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Marinated Gigante Bean Salad with Grilled Shrimp and Watercress.

What else is cooking:

Pork Shoulder Ragu

Spicy Veggie Burritos

Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze

 

 

 

Weekly Menu, October 2-8: Ode to the End of Summer

Well, here we are again. Back to the menu. Hi! It’s been a while. I’ve been a bit distracted. And uninspired. Felt a little hiatus was in order.

First, it was coming down off sabbatical. I’ll admit I checked out in July. Turned daydreams from a hobby into a profession.

Mmmmm. Daydreams.

So August and September, with all their attendant, resuming responsibilities, the stress of work, the noise of the City, was a bit of a shock to the system. Like winning the lottery, and then being told, whoops! It’s not you after all.

There is also the issue of the weather. The thing is (and you know this about me if  you know me at all): I’m a summer person. There’s nothing I like better than a bright sky, warm weather, bare skin, bare feet.

Poolside in Italy. Isn't this the way it should be?

When I start waking up in the dark, when I see City women get out the tall boots, when I begin to carry around a cardigan, and think twice before putting on a summer dress, my inner bear wakes up and begins to contemplate the winter ahead. Explore the hibernation options.

Trees, knees, sheesh. No sub for sun and heat.

Question: What’s up with all you fall people? What is fall really but a prelude to winter? I love the first snow as much or more as the next person, but after that, do we really need more snow if we are not skiing, sledding, or making snow angels? I think not. At least not here. And all those holidays squashed together so you barely get to enjoy them before they’ve rushed past and there’s nothing but months without a break (think about it: January – May is holiday free). Sadly, my lobby to move Christmas to February has never gained any momentum.

Remember this? That's our car buried in front of the house.

Yes, winter drags on.

I just haven’t felt inspired. We’ve been eating as much of the late summer harvest as we can, in a completely ad hoc manner, and I’m still gamely trotting about in sandals and breezy dresses. But I know, in so many ways, my number is up.

This menu is about trying to get past personal disappointment in summer’s sweet brevity, and everything ending with it. It’s about comfort food. Unless we are moving to warmer climes, I’m stuck with the next two seasons. So I’m trying to make the best of it! And happy to hear from you with great fall recipes.

Weekly Menu

Sunday: Family dinner tonight: Grilled Skirt Steak, Homemade Mac and Cheese. We’re still enjoying My Father’s Daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook. Her mac & cheese- a reasonable, not-too-rich recipe with mascarpone, parm and breadcrumbs– is nice addition our repertoire. A gorgeous, late summer CSA Salad rounded out the meal.

Monday: Roast Chicken and Braised Leeks; is there anything better? Not when it’s only going to get up to 61 degrees.

Tuesday: Grilled Shrimp and Watercress Salad with Gigante Beans Something a bit lighter, and again, from My Father’s Daughter, but you could make this up, easy. In fact, we’ll probably skip the watercress (which to me always tastes a little bit like eating dirt) and sub in some other green.

Wednesday:Slow-Roasted Tomato Soup (from you-guessed-it: Gwyn) with leftover Mac and Cheese

Thursday: Grilled CSA Veggie (red pepper, maybe eggplant- what does one do with eggplant?) Burritos

Friday: Melisa is out-of-town, so the kids and I will do something, don’t know what! Dinner with Katie, I hope.

Saturday: Road Trip! Dinner Chez Bush.

May L.A. days be your every day ALL OCTOBER!

Labor Day, September 3 – 5: Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas

La Esquina

Takeaway breakfast tacos, I think I love you.

I keep a mental shortlist of New York City restaurants, bakeries, and food-centric destinations I want to visit — this week, I ticked off Smith Canteen and La Esquina (both worth the wait and do-able with kids.) Smith Canteen is an easy and delicious takeout lunch — don’t forget a chocolate chip fleur de sel cookie to go — and La Esquina is awesome for streetside tacos and people-watching (yes, they have breakfast tacos, too. Get psyched.)

Still on my list:

Seersucker (from the same peeps as Canteen)

Hester Street Fair (they’re doing a Kid’s Day with special kid-friendly foods this weekend if you’re in town)

And, not open until December, but I am sooo excited about 606 R&D, from City Bakery’s Ilene Rosen. Finally, a bit of City Bakery comes to Brooklyn. Hooray!

And on and on….

It’s the moms’ Big Birthday Weekend around here — we’ll be celebrating at new fave Vinegar Hill House.

What’s on your gotta-get-there food list?

May your Labor Day Weekend be filled with end-of-summer fun, good food, and lots of laughs with the kids!

See you back here next week, when it’ll be time (already!) for back-to-school madness. Whoa.

Adios!

Weekly Menu, August 28-September 3

So we made it. I admit the hype about the storm, which I paid no attention to until Friday, finally got to me; I was nervous last night. At about midnight, I was walking around the dark house, alone, watching the trees bend 45 degrees in the rain. Wondering: will our 101-year old house, which has withstood a tornado (a block away) and an earthquake already this year, fall apart in a hurricane?

My nerves manifested themselves in a three ways: time spent on our various electronic devices (reading Facebook and Twitter, watching the radar, checking news updates and answering texts from concerned friends and family), and cooking and eating.

All the sweets, here for the taking

Friday, I picked up slices of peach pie, chocolate pecan cookies and red velvet cupcakes in Manhattan, and on Saturday made a run to our local Trois Pommes for more peach pie, blueberry pie, a red velvet AND an almond twinkie (yes, twinkie), brownies, peanut butter cookies, and seriously I can’t remember what else. Melisa roasted a whole chicken, and made French onion soup; I made various fruit and vegetable salads. Come on over and help us eat the leftovers (we also have plenty of wine, vodka, fixings for margaritas, and distilled water to serve)!

Tomorrow in the sunshine, let’s just say a long run is planned. But for today, I’m kneading pizza dough and thinking of chasing my iced coffee and sweets with salted buttered popcorn and a movie with the kids (done & done).

***

All the excitement did provide distraction from the fact that this is the last true weekend of the season. This week’s menu is an homage to many of my favorite summer things. I’m not ready to let it go. So more fruit, more tomatoes, more corn.

Weekly Menu:

Sunday: White Pizza with Roasted Garlic, Fontina, and Goat Cheese with Crunchy, Lemony Kale Salad and Melon with Cured Black Olives

Kale Salad. It really is good.

Monday: Grilled Skirt Steak (trying a La Esquina marinade from their forthcoming cookbook) with Charred Corn Tacos with Radish Zucchini Slaw (via Smitten Kitchen)

Tuesday: Orecchiette tossed with Roast, Marinated Tomatoes, Grilled Corn and Fresh Basil

Wednesday: Salmon Grilled on Cedar Planks with Cool Potato Salad, Sautéed Summer Squash and Tomatoes

Thursday: Shrimp Fajitas with Cabbage Slaw

Friday: Dinner out with Melisa to celebrate my birthday on Saturday. Where to go? Might be the garden at Vinegar Hill House or the one at Hudson Clearwater. Hmmm.

Saturday: My birthday!! I am off the hook for cooking, but looking forward to dinner Chez Gillespie.

Speaking of birthdays: here were two we just celebrated:

This one is called: "Fancy French Cake for a Five Year Old"

Seven year old strong!

Here’s to a September full of sweet summer days.

TimeOut New York Kids: Back to School Lunch-Box Ideas from NYC Chefs

big-apple-buddies-cat

Big Apple Buddies Lunch Bag from Built NY, $20

Sad but true: Sabbatical’s over, we’re back in Brooklyn, and, apparently, it’s not too soon to start thinking about back-to-school. A fat letter from P.S. 295 was waiting for me when we got home, reminding me how I could be supporting the school over the summer and preparing for the return in September, as well as telling me Magnolia‘s Kindergarten classroom number. Jasper‘s packet can’t be far behind.

So when I saw the TimeOut New York Kids article in the August issue on fresh lunch ideas from NYC chefs, I actually read it rather than tossed it on a pile to think about later.

Our regular PB&J/turkey sammie routine is way tired, and I need a few new, easy ideas to throw into the mix. Let me just say up front that I am NOT making veggie sushi for my kids (as one of the chefs suggested) — it’s just not in the cards.

Here are the ideas I found simple and inspiring, and that I plan to put into use come September.

  • Just say no to sandwiches entirely and pack a whole-wheat pasta salad with veggies.
  • If you do go with that old lunchbox standby — a sandwich — send the various parts separately and allow your kid to assemble them at lunchtime. It makes the meal interactive! And keeps the bread from getting soggy.
  • If peanut butter isn’t allowed at your school, or if your kid doesn’t like it, as Jasper doesn’t, try this instead: Pair softened, unsalted butter with unusual, yummy jams such as wild blueberry, peach, or cherry on good bread. (We also do this sometimes with whipped cream cheese in place of the PB.)
  • Dried fruit is a good substitute for a cookie or something else sweet: popcorn tossed with sea salt and Parmesan is a great swap for processed chips or pretzels.
  • Cube watermelon, honeydew, or cantaloupe and put them on child-safe wooden skewers. Everybody knows it: Food on a stick is just more fun.

And here’s the full article.

Related:

BPA-Free Lunch-Box Solutions for Back to School

Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for Picky Eaters

8 Questions for a Kindergarten Teacher

Differences Between Public and Private School

(Get the lunch box from Built NY)

Weekly Menu, June 26-June 30th: Countdown is On!

Happy Pride, everyone! I’m celebrating by booking a hotel on the Italian Riviera. Oh yeah. On the beach. You know what the weather looks like in Italy? SUNNY. HOT. PERFECT!

Pretty perfect looking in Provence, too.

Only five more days here in the states before we head off on the vacation to end all previous vacations! This week is all about: packing, pulling everything together, and getting ready to go.

Where? Paris, the South of France to stay chez Mousseron,

Don't the Mousserons look like fun? They are.

Tuscany, and then back again the way we came. The apartment in Paris is booked, the TGV tickets to the South bought, the car reserved, the house in Tuscany rented. Now, the countdown.

Mom & I in Paris, September 1988

Meanwhile, back in Brooklyn, things are pretty great! The Gods smiled and brought back gorgeous warm (not too warm!) weather AND our elected officials in Albany gave us legalized gay marriage in New York! Our last CSA pick-up yesterday yielded amazing greens (arugula, leafy lettuce, broccoli rabe), broccoli, beets, and of course, EGGS. Have to work our way through it all.

Weekly Menu:

Sunday night: We’re being entertained! Too early for SUMMER PUDDING? Hoping not.

Monday: Pasta with Crispy Prosciutto and Garlic-Scape Pesto (which we had on our pizza last night- delicious!) with Arugula Salad

Tuesday: Carne Asada Tacos with Grilled Vegetables

Wednesday: Fontina, Broccoli Rabe and Mushroom Omelets with Leafy Green Salad

Thursday: Rotisserie Chicken, Kale Salad with Avocado and Parmesan

And we’re off!

Paella from one of our last visits to France. YUM

Here’s to adventure!


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