WHEN YOU HAVE A FRIDGE FULL OF TURKEY and a house full of guests, the best way to handle both is a big casserole of turkey pot pie, just like this one. It’s a new riff on the Barefoot Contessa’s chicken pot pie recipe we made over once (and still the number one recipe of all time on Foodlets), but it’s simpler, almost healthier and of course you could make it with chicken too. [Read more...]
I MADE THESE POT PIES TWICE RECENTLY, once big (for the family) and once small (for each person). The second time I used leftovers from Gwyneth Paltrow’s delicious Rotisserie Style Roast Chicken. Estelle LOVED it. Phoebe was sick. Paul liked them both though he did say that more crust on the bigger version was better. I thought Phoebe would like the flowers and stars on top. What she liked that day was crackers. So… [Read more...]
THE ORIGINAL VERSION, Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting and Salted Candy Peanuts, looks so amazing that I was tempted to bake the whole thing twice. And I still might. But for now, behold the oatmealy goodness that is the kiddy version of David Lebovitz’s prize-winning banana cake. (And you’d better do it quick because it’s almost gone…) [Read more...]
THESE TASTE LIKE EXTRA delicious Twinkies. That’s the first thing I have to say about this recipe. The second is, I’m sorry Mr. Lebovitz. (But I do hope you understand the method to my mini foodie madness.)
Inspired by pastry chef David Lebovitz’s gorgeous book, “Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes“, we’ve started a new recipe makeover series for February. In the next two weeks we’ll celebrate Valentine’s Day and Estelle’s first birthday so what better month to focus on recipes from a famous American-turned-Parisian blogger whose fruit-based confections are only outdone by those with “screaming chocolate intensity”? And it gets better. You can win a copy of this cookbook for yourself. [Read more...]
CAKES! THIS IS EASILY Phoebe’s favorite food. Especially chocolate. Especially when she gets to help make them. So the fudgy chocolate brownies from “My Father’s Daughter” by Gwyneth Paltrow were a hit before they were even baked. And after. [Read more...]
CAN I PLEASE HAVE MORE POTATOES? These are words I like to hear. Especially when the alternatives are, “Her touching me!” or the newest installment in sass, “I don’t care”. Arms folded. None of that last night though, which was a welcome blessing because Paul worked a little later than usual, leaving me with the kiddies and dinner duty on my own. What I needed was good food, fast. This recipe (along with rotisserie style roast chicken) from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook, “My Father’s Daughter” covered one of those bases very well: they were very good.
As for speed, I’ve got my own suggestions. As usual. [Read more...]
IT DIDN’T START WELL. First of all the book took ages to arrive, three weeks after I ordered it from the usually trusty Amazon UK. Then there was the matter of buying a whole chicken. I’ve had poultry trouble before. But today I went to the butcher’s counter directly. Go to the source, I said. He pointed to a variety of chickens behind the glass, some with heads on, some without (thank you!) and all with more feathers still attached than any American cook would ever want to see. (As I understand it, Italians actually like the feather remnants because it indicates freshness. Or a connection to the land. Or something. What I do know is this: I do not like them.) I also misunderstood the price when quoted in my awesome Italian and 10.89 EUROS later (at least $15) I left with my chicken. Still raw, still with a few feathers, thinking Gwyneth, this better be good.
And it was.
DESPITE THE UBER-URBAN SETTING, I WAS OBSESSED with all things domestic during my NYC days. Single, living in a series of 4th floor walk-ups and working all hours…it was an unlikely fit. (And definitely not very cool.) Then there was the question of space. None of the six apartments I eventually lived in had what the rest of America would consider a “full kitchen”. In fact, one of my worst was actually the entryway to a studio apartment on the Upper East Side where my equipment consisted of a mini-fridge, two burners and a wall-mounted oven that everyone assumed was a microwave. I called it my camper kitchen. It was in one of these setups that my total fascination with the Martha Stewart Living magazine began (followed soon by Ina Garten). On my first cold November in New York, I opened the impossibly glossy magazine to find a recipe for homemade apple butter, just like the kind my mom used to make. And even better, there were flaky hand pies, piping hot and oozing with that apple-cinnamon goodness. The photos looked so warm and homey that I practically burst into tears. Instead I lugged home three pounds of Golden Delicious and got to work. [Read more...]
WHAT STARTED OUT AS A DECADENT DUCK RAGU, turned into a slow-cooked pasta sauce full of roasted chicken, diced carrots and fragrant rosemary. Then it got baked. [Read more...]
WE HAD COMPANY OVER CHRISTMAS, including a 3-year old guest from Amsterdam. Phoebe was thrilled to have another “big girl” around but as you may know (and be reminded daily), it’s not easy to guess what will go over at this age. But when in doubt, I say go for comfort food. This recipe is based on Turkey Meatloaf by Ina Garten, naturally. [Read more...]
DON’T GET ME WRONG, I STILL LOVE my Barefoot Contessa. But today’s makeover recipe from Paula Deen looked so good — and had so many amazing reviews (766 and counting!?) — on Food Network.com that I couldn’t really resist. They’re both big ladies with even bigger personalities, and all that laughing. Come on, it’s joy in the kitchen which is such a welcome change from the usual fussing in mine (Sorry Estelle, I know you’re only 9 months old but we really need to work on this…) [Read more...]
WE’RE BACK TO TOAST around here. Every morning it starts around 6am. I hear murmurs from the next room, Phoebe’s ready to get out of bed and can I please make her some bekfist? On the plus side, she’s nearly two and a half and stays in her toddler bed until someone comes to help her out. This eliminates our initial worry that she’d be wandering around at night. On the down side, it’s 6am which is pretty brutal. She usually wants toast these days and this is how it must go: two pieces (whole wheat, natch) each with peanut butter and jam applied to every corner. Then we cut each piece into four sections, place on a paper towel and set it on her “high seat” tray table with a glass of milk and a side of dried cranberries. No substitutions, no changes. [Read more...]
WE WERE HEADED FOR THE BEACH and needed to bring a dessert for lunch afterward. The requirements were simple enough: must be baked ahead of time and also hold up for an hour in the car. (And if it could not involve a 30-pound Le Creuset baking pan, even better.) There would be six adults, two toddlers and two babies which meant it better be something good. [Read more...]
WE’VE HAD A BREAKTHROUGH in the potato department. Never a fan of them, Phoebe actually said, “I ont aunt tatoes” when I was trying to play up tonight’s dinner—a tough task considering that we were swimming (aka, the most fun activity ever) just before the potato conversation. But potatoes it was. Only I added a couple of her (current) greatest hits and it worked.
The salad was easy. Boil half a pound of new potatoes in salted water for 15-20 minutes then let cool in a colander. When they’re ready to handle, cut them into bite size pieces, whatever that means for you. (In our house we have a running dispute: my husband says everything is too big, I think it’s hearty.) Add half a cup of pesto, a splash of oil, salt, pepper and the most important ingredient, freshly squeezed lemon. Dice tomatoes, whatever kind looks best at the store (I usually use grape or cherry) and add them at the very end so they don’t splatter everywhere. And always trying to squeeze in an extra shot of green, I added peas.
Now, a note about pesto. People are always saying “it’s SO easy to make your own pesto”, just like it’s SO easy to make your own stock. To this I say, what’s so easy about boiling a bird for 4 hours? Especially when there are delicious versions ready to buy and use immediately? Such is true for pesto. I picked up a fresh jar (usually in the deli section) and went about my business in under 10 seconds. Soon enough I’ll be grinding up baby food for Estelle, I don’t need to start with pine nuts and basil now.
Anyway, the lemon chicken is simple and delicious, thanks to The Barefoot Contessa. Yes, another Ina Garten recipe but here’s the thing: it’s always good when it comes from the East Hampton manse. This is thinly cut chicken breasts, marinated in lemon. As usual, I updated the Contessa’s original Lemon Chicken Skewers recipe to make it a little healthier. (The satay dip included in her recipe, by the way, is excellent.) In this case, I simply reduced the amount of oil and increased the lemon juice. Tonight I used oregano because we’re on vacation and that’s the only herb I had but you could use thyme, parsley, basil or even dill and any one of them would be wonderful. I squeezed the juice from two big lemons, added about 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (fresh and yummy right from the Puglia region of Italy where we are staying), salt, pepper and oregano. Basically you’re making a vinaigrette to marinate the chicken. I do this in the afternoon to eat that night (yes, at nap time), but you could do it in the morning, or even the night before. Saute the chicken, grill it, throw it on the BBQ… Just do it over high heat and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.
Shockingly, Phoebe ate everything. The chicken (uniformly refused in the recent past), the potatoes (see toddler-speak above) plus the peas and tomatoes but those are perennial favorites so no surprise there. Just relief. Am I the only one who thinks it’s actually tiring to be on vacation?
WE LOVED IT, PHOEBE DIDN’T. Such is life, especially when you’ve got a toddler. This lentil soup, originally inspired by the Barefoot Contessa, is a favorite for Paul and me but this time I added a couple of special ingredients: lentils that Paul got from the Salone Del Gusto food festival plus fresh turkey sausage. Lentils are such a great source of protein and fiber, plus this soup makes a perfect meal any time of year.
To top it off, we had the good fortune to slather toasted bread with fresh olive oil, picked and processed by hand from Paul’s co-worker and friend David Bowen.
None of this mattered to Phoebe. She ate two bites and moved on to a banana. Two nights in a row.
- 1 pound green lentils
- 1 pound turkey sausage (cooked)
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for serving
- 4 cups diced yellow onions (3 large)
- 4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (2 leeks)
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 large cloves)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 cups medium diced celery (8 stalks)
- 6 cups medium diced carrots (6 to 10 carrots)
- 3 quarts chicken stock or canned broth
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons dry red wine or red wine vinegar
- Parmesan cheese grated on top
Start by pouring the lentils into a large bowl and cover with water. Allow to sit for 15 minutes then drain. While you’re waiting for the lentils, get started on the sausage.
Use a large stockpot and begin with olive oil over a medium burner. Cook the sausage until it’s done, then remove to a plate. Add a little more olive oil then saute your onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent and tender. Be sure to turn your burner down so you don’t brown the veggies, you just want them to be soft and tender. Add celery and carrots and saute for another 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and drained lentils, cover, and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat again and simmer uncovered for about an hour. Check for salt, pepper, cumin or herbs. When the lentils are tender you’re ready to add the sausage and red wine. Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan.
I’VE MADE IT BEFORE BUT THIS TIME, I ADDED A LITTLE MORE OOMPH. By now you know that I love my Barefoot Contessa. But you also might be aware of her delicious yet wildly fattening food, a dilemma for someone who is already 14 pounds heavier than usual, also trying to keep a 17-month old foodie happy and healthy. This is where Ina Garten meets Missy Chase Levine.
You might know Missy as The Sneaky Chef, and if you don’t, you should. She’s such a clever resource for parents trying to pack more veggies, whole grains and other good stuff into foods kids love. Her version of tomato soup includes a puree of white beans and cauliflower, mashed up ahead of time and quietly worked into the soup without any picky tastebuds ever detecting the difference. But since Phoebe actually likes both of these things (for now), I just added them in their regular form. It worked well because soup isn’t so easy for her to eat, what with her limited mastery of spoons and all. The beans and cauliflower chunks made it easier thicker and easier to get onto the spoon and that she did, with gusto. After all, this is one of Barefoot’s best soups.