bringing home the veggies

So Nate is now playing on a soccer team that Michael coaches and I "manage" which brings the entire family to Mccarren Park every Saturday morning around 10am. Which means, of course, we are obligated to go to the amazing weekly farmer's market there that we too often avoid out of sheer laziness.

Last weekend we hit it after a winning game and Michael and I separated, each buying way too much produce. When I told Michael that we could not buy any more vegetables because we didn't have room in our fridge and it would all go bad before we could eat and what was the point of buying it if it was going to go bad...he said, "I love you very much." And then proceeded to buy more carrots.

We are a good match because Michael curbs my neurosis with passion and good humor and I fulfill his culinary dreams often based on too much of a good thing. He is the dreamer and I'm the doer. And of course I made it my mission this week to eat, cook, serve or preserve all the many veggies we bought which started with Michael cleaning and cutting the carrots and celery. Huge help!! The only way the market load every really works is if you get home and do all the primary prep work so you see beautiful clean colors and not bags of dirt when you open the fridge.

Anyway, I was on a mission so every evening we had cut up veggies and dip to tide everyone over until dinner. Mack must have eaten 60 carrots this week. Next best use: soup. I made a beautiful zucchini soup which lasted us all week. And finally, this incredibly delicious spaghetti squash with garlic and cheese.

zucchini makes an easy soup

Basic recipe: Cook zucchini (and/or yellow squash which is what we had) in broth and then puree it. HERE is the recipe.

Notes: I didn't have creme fraiche on hand (who does?) so I used some Ricotta and a little milk but you could use cream cheese or plain yogurt. Or nothing--the cream just gives it a little richer taste. I added the sherry vinegar right to the soup but you can also serve on top of each bowl. It's a very mild yet tangy soup which any kid who eats soup would like. You could even throw in a few noodles! And it really can be served hot or cold. Make a batch and freeze half for November. 

There is another recipe for zucchini soup via Grant Achatz that I also love and is only a tiny bit more complicated but richer and better for a party. 

my version of friday take-out

For some reason, I cannot order takeout when the rest of the intelligent world would, so tonight's dinner is a result of what was in the freezer/fridge after a week with TWO school holidays, six loads of laundry and a movie about cartoon turtles who fall in love. Eaten silently with a spoon in two identical bowls. And yes I realize they don't really go together and yes, I was too hungry to take pictures so this is a somewhat lame post but actually both were pretty awesome...Michael and Mack ate every last bite. I will make both recipes again. Unless someone orders takeout.

Easy Chicken-Broccoli "Fried Rice"

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  •  chicken thighs cut into small pieces
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli defrosted
  • 1 tsps each fish sauce, soy sauce
  • 1 small bag Uncle Ben's parboiled brown rice
  • 1 egg

Heat olive oil and garlic clove in saucepan. Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes then add fish and soy sauces. Cook for 5 minutes and add broccoli then rice. When hot, add raw egg and mix to cook. Season with soy or hot sauce to taste.

Easy Greek Shrimp

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • 1 pound raw shrimp cleaned and shelled including tail (I used bag o' frozen)
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1/4 cup feta

In saute pan, olive oil and one garlic clove then add tomatoes, tomato sauce and salsa and cook until tomatoes are soft. Add raw shrimp, stir until covered then scatter feta on top. Cover and cook over medium high until shrimp is cooked and feta melted (about 3-5 minutes).

cauliflower rice for people who don't have private chefs

We went to the Fagen/Rose East Hampton estate this weekend (omfg) and they still employ that lovely chef Glenn who made the shakshuka. He is incredibly talented and inspiring, and he cooked five healthy gourmet meals for 20 people in 2 days alone without blinking. Meals that you wouldn't believe and I wish I could produce a picture of the luxurious beautiful spreads but I was too busy oohing and eating and trying to suck up to Glenn so he would tell me secrets. I did get a photo of the table though...I know, I know.

A few culinary highlights from the weekend before I forget: Fresh fava beans (Glenn removed beans from pods then boiled to remove skin from beans) and feta salad. Deconstructed Nicoise and paella with cauliflower rice...I've heard of cauliflower rice before. I know it's the next new best thing. Watching Glenn hand grate 15 cauliflowers however made me think it was not for me. However, after a little research I found a recipe from for using a food processor to pulse the florets into a couscous. And it really is like a couscous in taste and appearance. I sauteed some onion and then added the cauli-couscous and a little butter and spices. Then I got fancy and added some cooked broccoli, raw yellow peppers finely diced, diced and sauteed turkey deli meat seasoned with smoky paprika (optional) and some herbs. I put a fried egg and some avocado on top and was pretty proud if it. Glenn would do it better but I'll keep this cauliflower couscous/fried rice recipe in my repertoire.

a three ingredient sauce you should know about

Last night I made  Sam Sifton's Adobo Chicken. I was looking for a recipe for chicken thighs and this one has hundreds of four-star ratings on the New York Times site. Pros: super easy and the reduced sauce is rich despite having only a few ingredients.  (Michael thought it was peanut sauce-that's how nutty and creamy it becomes.) Cons: I burned the chicken so would advise a shorter broiling time. I did not take a picture of the chicken because I was so upset that I burned it (and also that I wasn't watching it because I was wiping a tushie...) Takeaway: make the sauce. It's three ingredients that you probably already have, mixed together. Then serve it with some easy broiled chicken.

when the kids don't finish their pasta

There is always leftover pasta so I usually save it and sometimes turn it into a slightly more grownup dinner for us. Here's the gist: saute some fresh or frozen veggies and either leftover meat or maybe frozen shrimp** in a large frying pan. Add seasonings and a little chicken broth then dump in leftover pasta. Serve with parmesan cheese.

A note on frozen shrimp--all shrimp is flash frozen even if you buy it fresh in a good fish store. So don't feel bad about buying a big bag in the freezer or seafood section of any grocery store. You can buy raw or cooker but go for already deveined and cleaned (most are.) Keep it in your freezer indefinitely then when you have nothing else for dinner, defrost overnight in the fridge or just let it sit under running water in a colander for a few minutes. Then eat or add to any pasta dish.

spinach dip

Michael calls me the "queen of dips" for good reason. I can make a dip out of almost anything and they are usually pretty good. My standard "we're having guests and I need a dip" is yogurt, plus mayo plus spices. But I went out of my comfort zone and made this one for a mom's night holiday party. Not difficult, not fancy but good-looking and indulgent. 

  • 2 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper

     Mix everything. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

     Serve in a bread bowl with reserved bread cubes or fresh vegetables, pita chips.

easy chicken cutlets

Over thanksgiving weekend, with 6 adults and 4 kids staying in Edgehill for three nights, I had the opportunity to do some cooking on that fabulous old stove. One night I made a version of Barefoot Contessa's seafood stew (I eliminated shrimp and added more cod to keep the price down; also replaced potatoes with parsnips.) I also made chicken cutlets from memory and it seemed to work very well, so I wrote it down here.

Edgehill Chicken Cutlets

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Pound 4 chicken breasts to about 1/2 inch thickness. Set up three bowls
  3. Set up three bowls with 1. flour with salt and pepper 2. 2 eggs mixed with 1 tbsp water 3. panko and Parmesan (mostly panko)
  4. Dip into flour, then egg, then panko.
  5. Heat large skillet over med-high heat and add t tbsp vegetable oil and 1 tbsp butter. When hot add breasts one or two at a time and cook on each side about 4 minutes until brown. (Add more oil and butter to cook additional cutlets if pan seems dry.) Transfer to baking sheet and put in oven for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Meanwhile, add 1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth to pan and scrape up cooked bits. When liquid has almost evaporated add 1 tbsp butter and 1/2 squeezed lemon to finish sauce. Pour over chicken to serve. 

fish dish

I made this fish tonight and it was delicious and easy...

Marinate one pound of fish fillets  (any kind of white fish) in 1/4 cup lime juice and salt/pepper for 10 minutes.

In skillet, cook one minced onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, a can tomatoes, 1 cup chicken broth, 1/2 can black beans, half bunch cilantro chopped roughly,1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tblsp chile powder. Cook until reduced (20 min) then add fish w marinade and cook until done. Add salt/pepper. Serve with avocado on top or sour cream/yogurt. Could also serve over pasta.

a new kind of pasta sunday

Yesterday when we awoke at 5:45am, we learned that our pasta sunday date with the Gessers was cancelled and thus there were 18 hours left in the day to spend alone with the kids. We quickly rescheduled pasta sunday -- with the Remis. Pasta Sunday actually made a lot more sense with these guys since 1. they can cook and 2. Bev was our inspiration for our new pasta attachment maker which I've just started to practice with--more on that later. And she is a Pasta Master so she demoed her technique for me.


For my part I made a sauce using what was in the fridge (leftover from the fish I made last week) and also highly influenced from that dish.

Ma Pa Broccoli Rabe

  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup wine
  • 1/2 lb firm silken tofu cut into 1/4 inch squares
  • 2 cups broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 lemon squeezed
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • 1 cup parm cheese
  1. Blanch broccoli in salted boiling water for 5 minutes then shock in ice bath.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over low heat and cook garlic for 3 minutes. Add pork and cook over med-high until cooked. Add wine to deglaze.
  3. Add tofu and mash until creamy.
  4. Add tomatoes, broth, lemon juice, salt and pepper
  5. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring. Then add cream and cheese.

early morning beans

It’s not even 8am and I’m eating spicy cilantro and jalapeño humus with a baby spoon straight from the container. Mack decided to preempt daylight savings time and get up at 4am. Michael’s instinct when we hear these early (middle of the night?) cries from the boys’ room is not to run in and separate the two so Nate will at least sleep until a normal time, but to debate the matter. “Why is Mack doing this to us?!” “It’s 4 fucking fifteen in the morning…unacceptable.” So it’s mostly me doing the running, saving, changing of diapers, baba making and entertaining of our 1 year old with a vocabulary (so far) of “boat” and “cheese.”

It’s been a long morning. I’ve watched multiple movies, made cauliflower soup, done laundry, cleaned the house, run the dishwasher, gotten both boys dressed, broken up many fights, punished Mack, woken up Michael and now with everyone finally out of the house (where? dunno. playground maybe...) I’m alone with my humus, looking for recipes for dips for tonight’s pasta Sunday.

And I’m thinking…White bean dip, a close cousin to humus. It’s not a hard thing to make. In fact it is almost too easy (even Rachel Ray promises a 2 minute version which comes out fine.) So how to make this a little more exciting? And do I even bother since I’m feeding the Moshan-Gesser clan who think any cooking is “magic.” 

A little research and I found some inspiration. Mark Bittman said Marcella Hazan told him that grated lemon peel is this dish’s the secret; David Lebowitz who I now adore suggested using the bulk of the oil on the top rather than blended in to maximize it’s contribution. Also, I’m feeling a bit lustful towards the huge rustic garlic cloves from yesterday’s lovely fall farmer’s market; and I have a whole lot of fresh Thyme about to depart for a better world. So here goes:

My White Bean Dip

  • 2 cans white beans
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme
  • ¼-1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt/pepper; sea salt
  1. Blend beans, lemon juice, garlic and thyme in blender (or Vitamix). Slowly add olive oil until it’s creamy, reserving some for garnish.
  2. Grate zest of entire lemon and add to dip. Adjust with salt/pepper to taste. Top with olive oil and sea salt for a little crunch. Serve with crudite or pita chips.