Posts Tagged 'family meals'

Shepherd’s Pie and the “Trip” to England

Well, we’re back. Kids in bed, kitchen cleaned up. How did it go, you ask?

I’m happy to report that it was better than last week! I’d rate it a 6 out of 10. The Shepherd’s Pie was a nice Sunday supper on a cool fall night. Melisa and I thought it was just the thing and had two helpings. Jasper first complained “it looks gross” and “I’m sorry I ever brought it (going to England) up.” Then he ate his whole dinner. Hey, it’s meat and potatoes, two of his favorite things. I think it also helped that we told him it was his friend Toby’s (young man, not square train) favorite.

Magnolia was not so impressed. She 1) doesn’t like mashed potatoes (I know. Sometimes we wonder where she came from) and 2) isn’t really all that into things like spaghetti sauce, which is kind of what the meat is like.

We served the whole thing with a side of peas. Peas are often found in Shepherd’s Pie and I can see why. Sounds strange, but they just fit perfectly into the meal. It all tastes right together.

It was pretty easy to prepare.

All put together and ready to go into the oven

And it looked hot and gooey and good after it had cooked.

Hot on the table

And pretty on the plate:


The trifle, as you might imagine, was a hit. I used spiced pears, fresh whipped cream, raspberries, and pound cake.

We bought the spiced pears at our little Fifth Avenue farmer’s market and have been waiting for the right opportunity to use them. This seemed like the time. I poured some of the juices over the pound cake.


The finished product looked as good as it tasted.

I think Sir Topham Hatt would be pleased.

Chrissy, you're a really useful engine.

Okay. I should go now.

Thank you, Helen, for the recipe and advice!

Related posts:

Weekly Menu, Complete with Trip to Sodor


Family Weekly Menu: April 18-24th

Cherry Blossoms

Spring is Here!

Wow, it’s been a few weeks since I actually planned our weekly menu, mostly due to travel and entertaining getting in the way. Things are calming down a bit with the guests (canine and human) back at their own homes, and with us settling into ours. So while others are stalking the farmer’s market for ramps and artichokes, I am just happy to get back into the swing of things and a regular week.

Continue reading ‘Family Weekly Menu: April 18-24th’

What CSA Is, and Why It’s Cool for Urban Families



Whenever I tell a local friend or neighbor I’m a part of CSA (and, for us, local means Park Slope, Brooklyn), they assume I’m talking about the sweet, well-tended little community garden on 6th Avenue. “Oh, yeah, I’ve walked past that garden!”

Nope. This is CSACommunity Supported Agriculture — and it means Chrissy and are part of a group of fellow city dwellers who buy Farm Shares from a farm outside the city in order to get super-fresh veggies and fruit delivered to Brooklyn each week. (Actually, we bought a half-share, so our pick-ups are every other week.)

We opted to get fresh eggs and flowers, too, and the whole thing costs a few hundred dollars for a steady supply of delicious produce that runs from June through the end of October.

Tons of other parents belong to our local group, Greenwood Heights CSA, too, and, while I can’t speak for them, I can say we’re loving it as a great choice for families because:

  • well, duh, it’s local and fresh, of course, but also….
  • the quality of the produce far surpasses what I could find with packaged fruits and veggies shipped in from who-knows-where and on display at my local Key Food or C-Town
  • the variety is fun! We’re all trying (and the moms are learning to cook) things we probably never would otherwise.

So far, we’ve had radishes, garlic scapes (think of them as garlicky green beans), green garlic, Japanese turnips, carrots, kale, peppery arugula, many kinds of lettuces, cabbage, cucumbers, zucchini, basil, scallions, berries, apricots, and more.

We still love our local farmers’ market, too, where many farmers turn up with their goods weekly. But this is kind of different and cool because it’s a real partnership between a specific farm (Hearty Roots in Tivoli, New York) and the people who support it by buying shares.

Curious about CSA? Here’s how to find a CSA farm near you.

Food glorious food

Is your kid a gastrokid?  Do you know what a gastrokid is?  If you answered no to both questions, or if you answered maybe and okay, I don’t know, then you are just like Melisa and I!

We received this book in the mail yesterday from a friend:


It’s written by one Welsh guy (thus the whole U.K. gastro-thing I assume) and a guy who writes for Bon Appetit.  They have a website, btw, called  Melisa and I thumbed through the book and found a lot of delicious sounding things.  Burrata and tomatoes and basil with extra virgin olive oil? Yes!  Japanese eggplant, grilled and tossed with haloumi and mint? Sounds tasty.  Sausage with sagey white beans?  Serve it up.  Moroccan chicken with olives and capers and pine nuts? Been meaning to make it for years.  Salmon saltimbocca, pasta with red pepper flakes, anchovies, and cauliflower, oh yeah…oh wait.  The kids won’t eat this.  I’m actually still on the fence about anchovies myself (I like them camouflaged- no need to see their fishy little bodies).

Anyway, I don’t know.  I’m not sure I agree anymore with the authors’ idea that every kid is born ready to like everything.  I might have gone with this based on kid 1 (remembering his first food tour of France as a big success),

Jasper chowing down  in France- age 1

Jasper chowing down in France- age 1

…but kid 2’s “everything” is a decidedly more discerning list.

That said, we are desperately trying to get out of the rut we are in.  You may recognize the rut: mac ‘n’ cheese, pizza, hot dogs, hummus, grilled chicken.  We WANT the kids to be adventurous eaters and love risotto and pancetta and shrimp and chorizo as much as we do. And exposure to new food seems to be a good way to start…

I think we’ll start  slow- maybe the zucchini hummus and cornflake chicken first, and then we’ll try working our way up to the parsley and pine nut pasta sauce, brussels sprout chiffonade and whole cooked branzino à la Bill Buford’s book Heat.

Stay tuned…

Whoops, I guess a kid table isn't the right image for this

The kids table...maybe not the most appropriate image for this post, but cute!

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