Archive for the 'weekly menu' Category

November 5 – 6: Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas

tea time sandwiches

Tea time! (photo by Leslie Kalohi)

Thanks to Halloween, jury duty, and some fun new freelance ventures, I’ve had precious little time to blog this week. But I’m pulling my crap together today to get something short and sweet out — since I know there are, like, three of you sitting on the edge of your seats out there wondering, “God, when are they going to post again?!”

Well, my dears, here you go.

It’s pricey — $25 a kid — but dying to take the kids to this DIY (but with the help of a NYC chef) Yummy Tea Time Party at lovely DUMBO shop Pomme tomorrow. (Reserve a spot by email.)

Can’t wait to make tracks to the new space for the Children’s Museum of the Arts. Looks awesome.

On tap to cook this weekend — gotta knock out the last CSA squash for the season — is Mark Bittman’s Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Bacon. If you’re looking to take down a lurker squash or two at your house, I recommend these Garlic and Herb Roasted Potatoes and Squash — made them last night and yum, yum. The balsamic vinegar adds a ton of flavor. One other late-breaking idea, from a friend I just had lunch with: Butternut Squash Risotto. This one, a Chez Panisse recipe, looks good.

I’m also eyeing this chili, from the fine folks over at Dinner: A Love Story.

Happy cooking, eating, socializing, wine drinking, kid wrangling weekend!

(flickr photo: Leslie Kalohi / never cool in school)

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!

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.

Weekly Menu, August 21-27 (Paris Parens)

Well, we really are back. Almost three weeks now, and still everyday, I miss our carefree lives overseas. I’ve been reluctant to post again, not wanting to break the spell of our magical month away. Keep it sacred. And yet, here we are in the City, back to reality. More on that later.

Our last two days in Paris we didn’t write about. Probably because we were too conflicted about our departure.

Paris was beautiful. Just as it was when we arrived, but hotter at the change of July to August. We cabbed it to Appartement Blanc on a Sunday, dropped our things, and went out in search of fun. We found it in the Tuileries, at the trampolines. Ten individual trampolines. Two Euro for five minutes of jumping. I would have paid more. The kids loved it. Brilliant, brilliant idea. I may quit my job and bring it to New York.

Jumping, jumping, jumping

Next stop, the amusement park in the Tuileries, where the kids honed their bumper car skills, among other thing. And then home, for dinner out on the square.

The next day, we woke up early(ish) and headed to our local cafe for pain au chocolat, fresh squeezed o.j., cafe creme and espresso. Our last day! Melisa and I wanted to take the kids to the pyramid at the Louvre. And we wanted to walk.

This plan was met with some resistance from the train fetishist, but walk we did, through the Right Bank, and to the Louvre.

Waiting for the metro, in the Marais

On the way discovering some gorgeous streets, shops, passages, like this one:

Here’s the obligatory picture of the kids in front of another monument.

At the pyramid

There was down time.

Time for everyone to get in something they need.

Including our budding photographer Magnolia (or was this Jasper?).

Time for more monuments. Here’s one of my favorites: Notre Dame.

And the resolution of the gelato v. glace smackdown: we declare a tie.

It's all good.

We had a great day!

And then we were off the next morning, too early, too soon. We had just arrived; how could we be going home?

Back at Charles de Gaulle

I took some comfort last week in the words of someone new I met. Try to make a little of every day a vacation. Why wait for those precious weeks every year?

Weekly Menu:

Sunday: Great day on the beach! Chasing it with our version of Diana Kennedy’s Shrimp in Adobo sauce, with rice, avocado, and scallions.

Monday: Pasta with fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil and parmesan, side salad with CSA lettuce

Tuesday: Skirt Steak marinated and grilled with summer squash

Wednesday: Date night for Melisa and I! The kids will have burgers on the grill.

Thursday: Chicken Fajitas with grilled onions, mushrooms, fresh salsa and guacamole

Friday: Grilled whole fish stuffed with scallions and herbs and tomato/cucumber salad

Saturday: Might be time again for pizza on the grill! Melisa and I are partial to a white pizza and the kids like margaritas

May your week be filled with starry nights, sunny days, and melon and olives!

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!

Weekly Menu, June 12-18

First week of the CSA, and the pickings are all GREEN. Arugula, bok choy, mesclun, garlic scapes and yes, kale, but now we are not so intimidated by it, hooray! Plus radishes, which means radishes with salted butter. Mmm.

Last week’s Sticky Balsamic Ribs were a hit. A bit work intensive for the week (unless you are at home or have someone at home to bake the ribs prior to grilling). So was the Strawberry Rhubarb Pie via Smitten Kitchen I made with the rhubarb a colleague brought to me from his country garden.  Made a great early summer meal!

Mine looked ALMOST this good. Photo by tvol

Weekly Menu:

Sunday: Sunday Gravy and CSA Green Salad. Yum

Monday: Dinner out with Grandma Parkinson

Tuesday: Grilled Lemon Chicken Breasts with Arugula and Quinoa

Wednesday: Last week’s experiment with the Roasted Tomatoes with Anchovy Oreganata made us interested in trying this recipe for Spaghetti with Anchovy Carbonara via Food & Wine

photo by Tina Rupp for Food & Wine

Thursday: Grilled Flank Steak and Kale Salad. We’re going to try a kale salad inspired by one we saw at Cubana Social over in Williamsburg with avocado, tossed with lime, pickled onion and jalepeno.

Friday: Grilled Pizza with Dorie Greenspan’s Garlic Scape Pesto

Saturday: Dinner Chez Gillespie

Enjoy the week!

Weekly Menu, June 5-11: Oysters + Romeo & Juliet

You might have noticed that when I like something I REALLY LIKE IT. To the point of being a little obsessive. Happens with the menu, with music, restaurants, books, you name it. I like to find what I think is the best and then enjoy the hell out of it.

The last few months, we’ve been lucky enough to be able to eat out on a regular basis. Which has in turn fed my mini-obsession with oysters. There’s something innately celebratory about having your own little iced tray of oysters on the half shell set in front of you. Malpeque, Bluepoint, Kumamotos, Wellfleets, Miyagis; I’ve tried them all and then some. I’m a bit intimidated about trying to serve them at home, but in coming up with the menu this week, I found this recipe I clipped from an old Bon Appetit: Grilled Oysters with Bacon and Cayenne Butter. Oh my.

Photo by Hans Gissinger for Bon Appetit

Three of my favorite things—call it four when you throw in the grill—in one delicious dish. I just have to brave the shucking process and I’m THERE.

And I still want to try this recipe for Lightened Up Oyster Po’Boys from MSL. Maybe with another oyster lover in the house this weekend we’ll get to it. Especially since, short of a financial miracle, we are not making it to our favorite fried oyster shack in Menemsha this year.

So the other thing on repeat in my brain is this great song called 40 Dogs (Like Romeo & Juliet). Really a confection of perfect pop, but with (don’t throw anything at me) Bob Schneider’s terrific lyrics that rattle around in your head over and over:

we’re like Romeo & Juliet…we’re like good times that haven’t happened yet, but will

come out tonight come out with me baby we’ll throw the careful into the crazy, turn a sky black into a sky blue, turn a closed shade into a WOO HOO

it ain’t no crime it’s just dreams we’re stealin anything to hold onto this feeling.

All better with music! We heard him perform it live at Bowery Ballroom a week ago, and we CAN’T STOP PLAYING IT NOW.  Seriously, watch the video (or don’t—just listen to the music—and you will not be able to resist). We’ve been plugging Schneider’s great new album A Perfect Day since it came out—now I have to make a plug for Lovely Creatures as well.

Weekly Menu:

Sunday: Roasted Tomatoes with Anchovy Oreganata and Salad via Bon Appetit and Gwyneth Paltrow. That’s right, Gwynnie! And let me tell you this was pretty fab, and we didn’t have time to slow roast the tomatoes. We just did a quick roast at 400 degrees for about 20 mins and it was great.

Monday: Tuna Tacos, Avocados and Slaw. Simple and delicious.

Photo by Dasha Wright Ewing for Bon Appetit

Tuesday: Grandma Patsy comes to town! Sticky Balsamic Ribs, Grilled Corn and Salad

Wednesday: Rotisserie Chicken and Roasted Leeks

Thursday: Fettucine with Prosciutto, Peas and Lemon Chive Sauce with a Salad

Friday: Eat out! Grandma’s choice

Saturday: Could be pizza…not sure!

Wishing you L.A. days, in other words, ENDLESS SUMMER

Weekly Menu, May 29-June 4


Hope everyone is having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Summer has officially arrived in New York, with sunny days, and the traditional uptick in temperature; seems like just yesterday it was 60 degrees, now it’s 90.  This transition is accompanied, per usual, by my seasonal musing on why we didn’t put in central A.C. while we had a chance. Alas. Part of the weekend’s festivities include wrestling the window units back in place.  Real feel is 100 tomorrow! I might be taking a dip in the kiddie pool.

Still, can’t complain after the winter we had.

Even Spidey didn't know what to do.

All to say that grilling season is now in full swing. Anything not to turn on the oven. See below.

Weekly Menu:

Sunday:  Dinner out, yippee! Momofuku Ssam Bar with Scott & Katie and then…Bob Schneider at the Bowery Ballroom! His new album, as you know, has been swirling in my head for a month.

Monday: Toby’s graduation party! How can he be out of college? Seems like he was just ten yesterday. Looking forward to Coca-Cola Ham

Tuesday: Grilled Fish Tacos and Cilantro Slaw

Wednesday: Spaghetti with Pecorino & Pepper with some sort of salad

Thursday: Grilled Shrimp Quesadillas with Homemade Tomato Avocado Salsa

Friday: Was going to grill a rack of lamb, but have you noticed lamb is $28/lb? So, instead…Greek Grilled Chicken with Yogurt Mint Sauce and Grilled Corn

Saturday: Trying Gwynnie’s Grilled Halibut with Mango Avocado Salsa from the June Bon App

Photo by Matt Jones for Bon Appetit

Here’s to SUMMER!

Weekly Menu, May 22-28 – Uncommon Women & Others

Saturday, I woke my family early (how’s 5:30 a.m. for you?), chugged a mug of coffee, and bundled everyone off to my 20th year college reunion at Mount Holyoke.

I applied to Mount Holyoke at the suggestion of my guidance counselor. I didn’t want to go to a women’s college because I went to a girl’s high school for three years and I felt it was time to enter the mainstream and mix in with the other 49%. Still, I applied, got in, and once I visited I was hooked.

I loved it. There’s something about going to a school that’s single sex; it strips all the noise out of your academic life. And it’s fun. Yes, before I ever saw Sex and the City, my girlfriends and I were out on the town(s), having the time of our lives, and coming home at night (or up at brunch) to laugh over it all.

Graduation day, 1991

My best friends are the women I met while I was there.

It’s funny; Melisa and I saw Bridesmaids today (hilarious, go now), and despite being crazy-raunchy it gets everything right about women’s friendships. The women I met at college are still getting me through my day-to-day. Some I talk to once a week, some I Skype with, some I keep up with via Facebook. Some I see every couple years and it’s like no time has passed whatsoever.

We drove back to my parents’ house* Saturday afternoon and I immediately started combing through old photos from college. I found a number that I have to keep off-line in order to protect the innocent (dad: “exactly how much did you drink in college?” me: “ummmm, alot.”). The best pix must be in an album in my attic.

20 years later!

Sure, we look different. We’re 20 years older, we’re probably only a little wiser, but still striving to be “uncommon women.”

Four years at Mount Holyoke, and I hadn’t realized that the concept of an “uncommon woman,” popularized by the wonderful MHC alum and playwright Wendy Wasserstein, one that resonates throughout your years at the College, came first from a man. Richard Gettell, President of the College in the 50’s, described her as:

“The uncommon woman is the person who is different from most in that she rises above mediocrity, leads rather than goes along with the crowd, forms her own opinions rather than accepts others’ uncritically, but has her opinions well-grounded on information and thought, not on hasty judgment or prejudice. Who is superior intellectually and morally, but doesn’t rub it in in the presence of others. She is a person who has a zest for life, a drive to accomplish great things, and a sense of responsibility to others. Who is never satisfied with the shoddy, and who is always striving for improvement. She is the person who knows how to think and enjoys doing so, whose curiosity is never-ending and whose horizons are without limit, whatever her future life, whether as a custodian of our highest culture, a molder of the next generation, or an active participant in the busy world’s affairs.”

He added that becoming an uncommon woman was the work of a lifetime, something he hoped that four years at Mount Holyoke would begin.

Every month, I get the Quarterly magazine, and read the class notes. It never fails to bring tears to my eyes. The earliest class notes are all obituaries, but oh, what these women have left behind. They were doctors, lawyers, teachers, philosophers. They were trailblazers. Explorers, in the world and the workplace. They were mothers. Philanthropists. And I’m sure a whole lot more that wouldn’t be printed in a polite publication. They are inspiring.

I can only hope to live up to the legacy of the Mount Holyoke women who came before me. And that I can convince my daughter to go as well.

Class of 2028

Weekly Menu:

The weather is forecasted to be rainy all week. Boo!

Sunday: What says love like Shrimp and Soba? Uh, nothing, to my mind.

Monday: We have some very ripe avocados, so I think it’s all about quesadillas or a (you guessed it) burrito.

Tuesday: Orecciette with Roast Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, Crispy Bacon and Spinach

Wednesday: Busy evening. Looks like Rotisserie Chicken and Kale Salad(see last week: we get a bit obsessive)

Thursday: Collapse! Order out.

Friday: Halibut Steamed in Foil with Julienned Vegetables

Saturday: Gotta be steak! It’s Memorial Day weekend after all! Let the summer begin!

May your days be rain free and full of friends…

*THANK YOU M&D for: food, sleep, babysitting. XOXO

Weekly Menu, May 15-21

So remember how I said I didn’t get kale? My friend Ari made us the most amazing raw kale salad last weekend. SIMPLE: Washed, stemmed, sliced, tossed with toasted hazelnuts, olive oil and raw garlic. Perfectly fresh, substantial and delicious. And not just because of the martini on an empty stomach. At least I don’t think so. See a similar recipe for kale below.

Kale salad. Doesn't it look wholesome?

What else do I have to tell you? OMG, 20th college reunion this weekend! All I can say is that 1) I have the white dress for the parade and 2) well, I’m not as skinny as I was in college, but I’m just as blond and thinner than I was at the last reunion! And of course, accomplished. Ahem. Seriously, though, looking forward to seeing the “uncommon women” on the green.

May sunny skies greet you all week!

Sunday: Salmon with Sweet Chile Glaze, Sautéed Green Beans

Monday: Pork Shoulder Ragu (terrific, simple recipe from Dinner A Love Story) and Pasta

Tuesday: Kids have their annual check-up, so again, easy: think we’ll buy a rotisserie chicken and make a Thai Chicken Salad.

Wednesday: Grilled Fish Tacos (if it’s not raining…or maybe if it is) something like this recipe from Food & Wine

Thursday: Looks like it might be the first day of the week without rain, which means: GRILL!! Ina Garten’s Tuscan Lemon Chicken and Raw Kale Salad and Parmesan & Hazelnuts (courtesy of London Foodie in NY- based on a salad from Marlow & Sons).

Friday: I have a work dinner to attend, so Melisa and the kids will probably order out

Saturday: 20th College reunion at Mount Holyoke! In honor of this exciting event, I bringing you the Mount Holyoke Drinking Song:

Tired of books and boring classes,

drop your books, pick up your glasses

toast – to those who boast –

of mixing Greek and Latin with a cool Manhattan

Smith, may have their iced tea hours

We prefer our whiskey sours

Drink and never think

about tomorrow tonight

And over there they have their Heidelbergs

And then there’s Morey’s down at Yale…

But when those Harvard boys

Drink to college joys

It’s dull, you must agree

Squeezing lemon in your tea….

The face upon the bar room floor

I’d rather be than dull once more

We’re HERE, Bring on the BEER,

Who cares tonight, we’ll be sober tomorrow

Here’s a toast to Old MHC!


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