• Cooking

    Orzo pasta salad

    chopping turmericorzo pastasalad

    Here’s a pasta salad I just love. I make it for moms with new babies (to go with a bag of marinated steak, and cake), and I always make two batches so we can have some at home. Something about using turmeric to dye the orzo makes it taste more exotic, and the triple salty punch of feta, olives, and capers is divine. You can eat bowls of this, by yourself, for several days.

    It doesn’t exactly double well, better to have two separate bowls going as you chop things up.

    Orzo and Feta with Lemon-Caper Dressing and Kalamata Olives from The Whole Foods Market Cookbook

    1 teaspoon turmeric

    1 pound orzo


    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

    1 teaspoon salt

    1/2 cup finely minced fresh parsley (this part takes forever but it’s worth it)

    1/8 cup fresh lemon juice

    1 tablespoon capers, drained

    1/2 teaspoon sugar

    1 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes

    1/2 cup pitted, roughly chopped Kalamata olives

    1 cup crumble feta cheese

    Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the turmeric, and then add the orzo. Cook according to directions for al dente. Drain the orzo, rinse it in cold water. Set aside.

    In a bowl large enough to hold the orzo, make a dressing by blending the olive oil, pepper, salt, parsley, lemon juice, capers, and sugar. Add the cooked orzo to the dressing, and combine. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Carefully toss in the feta cheese, mixing lightly, so the feta stays in nice pieces.




  • Cooking

    Miso kale dressing

    zingy kale salad

    Even though I’m proud of the boring (and scary?) fact that we have survived 10+ days on one grocery trip, I have been so excited to get more kale in the fridge so I could eat this salad again. So zingy and sweet with miso humming along underneath—it has my favorite flavors! I discovered this recipe from Tim at Lottie + Doof, who wrote about for kale chips.

    When I was in the process of making the kale chips, I fell in love with the dressing on the fresh kale. So I skipped the chips part the next few times. Sold. Winner. Dinner.

    Even though this looks a little bit like a “massaged kale ” recipe, the type where you rub the dressing into the salad and it tastes better every day from then on, I actually think this tastes best in the first 4-12 hours. I didn’t love it as much 24 hours later.

    Sesame Miso Kale Dressing ( from A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones.)

    • one bunch kale
    • 1 teaspoon miso paste*
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
    • juice of 1 lime
    • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds

    Chop up your kale as finely as you have time to; bite size pieces is best. Pour all the dressing ingredients in a bottle, screw on the lid, and shake them up. Pour and toss with your hands.

    * If you are in Massachusetts, or have a Whole Foods, you might be able to buy the delicious local South River Miso miso.

  • Cooking

    yum lately


    Red beans & rice with chorizo and a bit of ham. Wish I’d doubled this number. We got to eat it for a couple days, but I could have eaten it for a week!


    You know your baking powder is old when…your cream biscuits turn out all slumpy like this. They are so irresistible anyway though. Joan eats the dough, Lux helps me cut them out.

    almond_date_milk cold_brew

    Almond macadamia date milk. I’ll just quote Noelle because she said it so well I thought of her words the whole time: so creamy, with a hint of brown butter from the macadamia nuts, and a caramelized sugar note from the dates.

  • Cooking,  Montessori Bunnies

    strawberry dream cream


    Strawberries were in season when we were in California, and this coast is now enjoying that fact by way of sumptuous bright red discounted California strawberries in our grocery stores. I let Lux pick a recipe out of the Simply in Season Children’s Cookbook for us to make together. That book’s a good one–a big spiral bound thing with bright photos. Within it, all the recipes are organized by what’s in season. She picked strawberry dream cream, a delicious spring frenzy that ends up tasting like ice cream but does not involve an ice cream maker.

    strawberry dream cream, 

    • 3 cups of mashed strawberries
    • 2 cups whipping cream beaten until soft peaks formed
    • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
    • 1 cup of water
    • 1/3 cup of sugar
    • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
    • 1 pinch of salt

    Add everything, including the mashed strawberries, to the whipped cream and beat with an electric beater. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13″ pan. Freeze for three hours. Remove from freezer, scoop back into the bowl and beat again until smooth, but not melted. Distribute into popsicle molds, or bowls and freeze for another three hours.

    * I didn’t see a lot of consistency change between the two freezings & mixing, so I think you could experimentally skip the last step. We kept ours uncovered in the freezer, in small ramekins, for up to a week and tasted delicious throughout the time.

    kid-friendly crinkle knifesimply in season children’s cookbook


  • Baby,  Cooking

    notes on weaning, eating young


    What to say about feeding your young before they can masticate for themselves with chomp and gusto? What’s on the line for you, after all? The grace with which you approach meal times. The economy you manage in your pantry. The pleasure you might once have taken in a tidy kitchen. The belief you like to hold that your children are growing well, taking part, and developing a food fervor that will someday match your own.

    Joan is not buying the whole milk theory. I always forget this is what hovers behind weaning–first wean, then find out they want you to serve what feels like gallons of whole milk to supplement the calories. Sniff sniff what’s this? says the baby. Cow’s milk? No thank you.

    Lux is digging the baby oatmeal even more than Joan. So I find myself offering vitamin-enriched-gruel at all hours of the day, some kind of grey-hued comfort food. She’s even started asking that I not “mix it up.” So she can see “all the parts.” Thus I give her a bowl of the parts, parts being: powder, gruel, watery gruel. It’s like–would you like oatmeal with bananas, heavy cream and a dash of maple syrup, or watery gruel? Watery gruel please! Thank you.

    In moments of desperation with a grouchy baby I pull out thick plastic bags of frozen blueberries or peas. I put these frozen pebbles in front of her and she grasps at them eagerly, munching through them and smearing bright blue on the table, the chair, her pants, my hair, and under our nails.

    We go out for texmex. Joan sucks salt off the chips and then drops them to the floor, observing their fall from on high, like a benevolent god watching the progress of Spring across the earth. I dip into the bowl of guacamole and scoop spoonful after spoonful into her mouth. Joe taps his finger on a straw and traps droplets of Lux’s lemonade, then releases them in her mouth to buy us leisure time. This second child gets whatever she wants really.

    I review my standbys almost daily, mulling in front of the refrigerator: lumps of sticky rice, spoonfuls of greek yogurt, shreds of steak, nubby piles of scrambled eggs, whole avocados, brocolli roasted till soft, thick peach slices, pink flecked strawberry puffs, mushy sweet potato bits, ground up meaty spaghetti sauce. I think I’ve got the options nailed this time around, but it’s the elemental stuff that’s much harder for me now: sit down with them. wait for them to open their mouths. if they don’t like something, don’t offer it again for awhile. respect your fellow diner. look at them as you feed them.

    Joe invented a handy trick that always makes me think of a mama bird: take an apple, bite off a big chunk. Pluck the piece from your mouth and hand to any interested child in the vicinity, which is always both of them. Repeat at three minute intervals.

    We break a raspberry popsicle into a bowl and let Joan pluck out the pieces. Lux and I made them, but I don’t remember how much sugar we put in. I briefly pretend to divide the tablespoon per ounce amount, like the back of a cereal box. Joan eats the whole thing with a shocked look on her face. Not from the sugar, I’m certain, but from the sensation of plinking tart, hot pink ice onto her tongue.

    Brave are we warriors who strive forward into the smears, splats, whacks, and oacks (that last one is for all you Make Way for Ducklings readers).

    Just for reference, I wrote the rather carefree Pintos with Lux when Lux was fourteen months old. She didn’t seem interested in food for a long time, so I didn’t bother with it until she was twelve months, much to the consternation of her pediatrician. Turned out fine and was much easier than early-introduction, in hindsight. 

  • Books,  Cooking

    The Orangette Reading


    photo from this morning. The lilacs in the city are in bloom!

    It’s easy to add up the ways Molly has influenced my life because all of them are tangible and concrete. I make the oatcake recipe she borrowed from 3191 Miles Apart for many play dates, always to accolades. Her writing introduced me to The Breakfast Book, the now-most bespattered cookbook on my shelf, the foundation of many cozy mornings. Her blog introduced me to my now-internet friend Andrea of Book-Scout, the blonde bookworm of Portland.

    I was so happy to be in a basement in Wellesley last night, listening to Molly talk about her life. Happy to have a new book in my hands, full of stories of food and experimenting and taking risks for dreams. Happy to leave with my friends and walk next door to share crusty bread and pink cocktails and split a butterscotch budino at the end.

    At the reading I spotted Jess Fechtor of Sweet Amandine, a food blog she writes from Cambridge. I’ve liked Jess’s writing for a long time, and it was treat to meet her in person. She was towing along her littlest newborn daughter and accompanied by her friend Andrew Janjigian (on twitter here), associate editor of Cook’s Illustrated and pizza-dough-expert. It just so happened that I’ve had several concerns the last few times I made pizza, namely: 1/ does parchment paper placed on top of my pizza stone negate the crisping power of the stone? 2/ Is the new baking steel now more legit than the long-favored baking stone? These questions jumped to the front of my mind when Andrew mentioned he occasionally teaches pizza-making classes out of his apartment! I was delighted he allowed me to corner him for a few minutes with pedestrian-sometimes-baker concerns. Please forgive me for finishing up this long tangent, but for those of you who also love homemade pizza: Andrew recommended getting a super peel to solve the depended-on-parchment problem, and verified that the baking steel was the real deal, not just a trend.

    Anyway, there we were, waiting for Molly to sign our books, surrounded by more books, lined up next to people who were just as curious about the next food-book event in Wellesley: a book signing with Jeni from Jeni’s Ice Cream, talking about dough, and good writing. It was my ComicCon moment: the happy glory of these are my people and we are happy here. 

  • Cooking,  Website Reviews

    veggie tricks


    Since I last posted about plated.com, I’ve ended up cooking almost twenty dishes through them! I’ve also gifted plates to several people in place of making them meals myself. At this stage in my life, they are my favorite takeout place and my favorite-recipe-for-a-friend rolled into one.

    I thought I’d post a couple tricks they used, ones I liked so much that I use on my own now.

    Broccoli: My favorite part was their suggestion to break the broccoli off leaving longer stem pieces. The stem are delicious roasted! Toss the broccoli with olive oil, sprinkled with grated pecorino or parmesan cheese, and roast at 450 for ten minutes.

    Cucumber ribbons: I had never tried this before but it was such an elegant way to serve cucumber. Plated had me toss them with a tahini dressing, but next time I’m going to try what my friend suggested on Instagram–salt and light vinegar. As a child I loved marinated cucumber but I had completely forgotten about it.

    Citrusy Carrot Hash: Saute diced onions in olive oil for five minutes. Add diced carrots and three tablespoons water and saute them for ten minutes. Add the juice of one orange and one lemon to the pan, and let cook for two more minutes. Stir one tablespoon butter at the end. Delicious!


  • Cooking

    bulletproof chai tea

    bulletproof _black_chai_tea

    One month in and I’m black tea addict. It all started when a little girl named Joan began waking up at 5am every morning with the reliability of the garbage man. I needed something quiet to make, that I could have multiple cups of, that I could drink all day.

    To make things more fun for myself at this grim hour, I decide to buy solidly indulgent supplies. First I bought a nice raw sugar, brown, grainy and faintly molasses flavored. And I bought two nice strong black teas. Still cheaper than a week’s worth of coffee, I did love loitering in the tea aisle at Whole Foods for awhile and browsing the dreamy marketing. Goodbye Twinings Earl Grey: you simply were not strong enough for me. I would love to get some of Cambridge’s MEM tea next time I’m at a retailer.

    Then, last week, I went over to Bridget’s house for a playdate (in which the moms play and the children sit quietly and discuss health trends). She offered us bulletproof coffee, which I had never heard of, and it was delicious! Essentially buttered coffee with coconut oil, grass-fed butter, some cream, some cinnamon, all of it blended together into a latte-colored frothy mugful. Satisfying and quenching all in one.

    Bulletproof was developed from the animals-fats-and-cholesterol-make-things-better school of thought, same idea as Nourishing Traditions or Nina Planck’s Real Food. (I probably don’t need to tell you that these theories attempt to fight the blame put on saturated fats from the ’70s that older adults are still espousing to this day. Ideas like “butter clogs arteries,” and “don’t eat too many eggs,” that have since been disproven.)

    I would link to the guy’s website who trademarked the genius term bulletproof, but frankly: it’s ugly. And he’s a bit obsessed with butter. Let’s take this in moderation, shall we? This is something to have one cup of, in the morning, to begin your day satisfied.

    My question was whether it would work with black tea. I tried it with a chai tea blend. It was quite good.

    I would still like to be invited to Bridget’s regularly to have her coffee version, but this was very nice before a blustery Boston morning. My only thought is that you should make the tea stronger than you typically would–maybe three bags worth for 16 oz of liquid.

    bulletproof_chai_teabulletproof chai tea

    16 oz water steeped with three black tea bags or chai blend
    Spoonful / 2 T unrefined organic coconut oil
    2 T butter (grassfed if you can find it, kerrygold is everywhere these days)
    dash of cinnamon
    dash of cream

    Blend, in a blender!

  • Cooking



    Making waffles for your household is a handy habit because they refrigerate well and they freeze very well. They are quite filling and you know exactly what went into them. I was raised to put peanut butter and cottage cheese on my waffles–sounds crazy but it is a remarkably balanced carb-protein snack. If you’re in the market for that kind of thing.

    These have no sugar, so that means you can be extra enthusiastic about the maple syrup dipping.

    Blueberry syrup was developed for this occasion. I scooped half a cup of blueberries out of the freezer, put them in the pyrex with the syrup and heated them both in the microwave. I wasn’t too convinced by the flavor but Lux thought it was the best thing ever.

    Sugar Free Whole Wheat Waffles from Simply in Season, p. 297

    2 eggs (beaten)

    2 cups plain yogurt

    Combine in a large bowl.

    1 cup whole wheat flour

    1 cup flour

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Combine in a small bowl then stir into egg mixture. 

    1/4 cup oil

    Add and stir together until blended; do not over-mix or the waffles will get tough. 

    Bake in a hot waffle iron.


  • Cooking,  Darn Good Ideas,  Website Reviews

    plated, a review

    My mom is both very generous and very tech savvy. She frequently laments that she does not live closer to help me out more. Thus it was not a shocking surprise but still a super pleasant one when I found a gift for four dinners from plated in my inbox. Mayhaps she had seen a recent Facebook post wherein I basically swore off cooking dinner until Joan was two.


    I immediately clicked onto their site and selected two dinners to be shipped for that Tuesday. Lamb burgers with a greek salad side, and broccoli chicken curry. I specifically picked two things that I wish I cooked with more frequently–lamb and curry.

    Obviously I was immediately smitten with having everything neatly labeled and divided. I think the cooking channel has made us all long for that:


    The only thing either dish needed from my pantry was olive oil, salt and pepper. Both dishes were designed to be prepped in about thirty minutes.

    The whole family really liked both dinners and I particularly liked that the easy recipes taught me a few techniques. For example–the lamb burgers came with directions to quick pickle red onions, mix feta into the mayonnaise, and lightly toast the buns beforehand. All of these were easy things that completely upgraded the dish, things that I typically wouldn’t think to do. I had an aha! moment when I read “Wipe pan clean from burgers. Return to heat and briefly toast buns in the pan.” So simple, yet I never do it.


    I love cookbooks, I read them all the time. I love trying new recipes. But I appreciated the user-friendly aspect of something like this. I think it’s perfect for people who say “I’m terrible at cooking.” Or for a young single guy who wants to cook at home, but has no idea where to start. You could do a couple weeks of this, and go forth feeling like you know what you’re doing and have some serious experience under your belt. For me, it helped me snap out of the “whaaat do I make tonight?” rut that I was knee deep in.

    They ship to a surprising number of places (like, Pennsylvania, Iowa and California!) which makes them a potentially awesome Christmas present.

    And for those of you googling this stuff–there is another service out of New York called Blue Apron. Here’s the skinny on a couple of the differences between these competitors. 1/ The menu for plated changes every week, and you can decide your order up to 24 hrs before it ships. 2/ Blue Apron is $3-5 cheaper per plate, but you do not get to pick the food, you just pick whether it is vegetarian or not. 3/ plated has an optional monthly membership that discounts each plate. Blue Apron is cheaper overall, but requires you to receive a certain amount of dishes each week.

    I’ve still got two more dinners to order–I’m eyeing those potato goat cheese cakes for next week! This isn’t sponsored, just a personal review. BUT do note: if you use a referral code to sign up, you get two free plates!