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The next thing

Hello from Seattle! (More on that in a moment.) It’s been a long time since I’ve been here on this site, and I apologize for that – it was a very long and tiring spring, and the other side is long and tiring for plenty of other reasons, involving moving boxes and homeownership and starting preschool and all sorts of other things that come along with moving across the country. But I want to check in, give an update, and pass along a few recipe recommendations.

We moved to Seattle! We’ve spent most of 2017 thus far focusing on an impending move and all the details associated with it, and we’re very happy to say we’ve ended up back in the Pacific Northwest. We have two full salmon in our freezer and a raspberry bush in the backyard, and on the way back from camping last weekend we casually stopped at a oyster farm for lunch. Needless to say, it feels good to be back.

We’re settling into a new house in West Seattle and Aldo’s started part-time preschool, and I’m focusing on doing some communications freelancing and perhaps a bit of personal chef work. That’s right, no more cooking classes! I love teaching, but evening and weekend work is difficult with little kids at home and a partner commuting and working full-time, and to be honest I was ready to explore some different things (lugging pots and pans and massive bags of groceries around town is no walk in the park). I’ve been doing communications work – writing, editing, graphics – for my entire career, and I’m excited to help small businesses and organizations tell their stories. I’m still working on finalizing a website and other materials, but a basic web portfolio of my work is up here and I work with clients all over, so get in touch if you’re in need of writing, design, editing, or culinary development work.

If I’m totally honest, I’m not sure what will happen with this space – I’m planning to keep cataloging and sharing the things I make that I love, it just might not happen as often as it once did. But I’m still here!

In the meantime, here are some recent hits:

Sarah’s mapo eggplant

Squash, greens, and quinoa fritters – I doubled the eggs to get all that fluffy chopped kale to stay in line

Pulled pork for Aldo’s second birthday party

Pork and shiitake udon – we used non-instant udon and both pork and shitake, and it was one of the best things we’ve made in months

Miso sweet potato and broccoli bowl with farro or quinoa

Curried coconut red lentils, which is a very frequently used recipe in our house

Tomato and watermelon salad, which you could probably make once or twice more before summer slips away

Roasted wild mushroom pizza


There was only a short period of my childhood where we had a structured weekly meal plan – tacos on Tuesdays, Hamburger Helper on Wednesdays, and so forth – but as life gets a little more hectic these days and we’re committed to our weekly meal plans, I see the allure! It would certainly be easy to slot in variations on our favorite meal categories on a weekly basis, which I can verify in part because we fit in a pizza night every week. I’d say 1/3 of the time we order a basic, conventional pizza, 1/3 of the time it’s from one of the fancier places in town (like Pizza Brutta, Sal’s, or Ian’s), and 1/3 of the time we make our own, which provides some nice variety even though it’s still pizza, week after week. It’s comforting, to know that every week one evening of meal planning is known and set, and all three of us love that there’s usually pizza leftovers for lunch the next day.

This is one of the best ones we’ve made recently, and a particularly good one considering all the amazing mushrooms that will be springing up (pun intended) in the farmers’ markets as they open again in the coming weeks. It’s packed with mushrooms both above and below the cheese, since in lieu of a basic tomato-based sauce it uses a puree of the intensely-flavored roasted mushrooms that top the pizza, using the liquid that comes off the mushrooms during roasting to help hold the sauce together (plus a little cream, should you be into that sort of thing).

Mushroom-pizza4 Read more

Greens and white bean gratin


Don’t let the greens in this recipe dissuade you – this is not one of the healthier things you could make yourself for dinner. But even my toddler eats greens when prepared this way, and it’s written nowhere ever that greens must always be unadorned, chaste, pious. Sometimes they, too, deserve gilding, gusto, and zeal, and I’ll be the first to make that happen. Read more

Wild rice and Puy lentil bowl with roasted squash, za’atar, and tahini


One of the many strategies we utilize for keeping things moving along at home without too much chaos is to spend time on weekends cooking batches of meal components to put together at a moment’s notice. We usually cook a big batch of a grain, a bean or lentil, and a variety of roasted or otherwise cooked vegetables, and – if we’re really on top of our game – a sauce or two, maybe a big batch of soup, and some breakfast and snack items for Aldo (like smoothies poured into reusable pouches, a batch of these mini muffins, or some homemade Lara bars).

This meal was one that worked into that routine – I had planned out the combination ahead of time, but doubled the batches of rice, lentils, and squash and used those in other meals throughout the week. Leftover rice became gallo pinto with fried eggs for breakfast, lentils were mixed into pasta and other dishes for Aldo’s lunches, etc. etc. Weekday lunches for Aldo and I are commonly portions of grains and beans and vegetables in various configurations, heated in pans on the stove (or incorporated into packaged macaroni and cheese or Indian food – lest you think I do everything from scratch). Read more

Eggs poached in smoky tomato sauce


As will come to the surprise of absolutely no one ever, getting a meal on the table becomes supremely more complicated with a kiddo who suddenly wants to participate in every step along the way. There are lids to take off, jars to pour out, “sauces” to make (a recent favorite – chicken stock, sugar, pepper, furikake, and parsley stems), and plenty of ingredients to taste (and then put back in the bowl). We’ve gotten better at identifying kitchen tasks that will keep him occupied, but overall these days all about simplifying. What’s quick, what’s tasty, what’s not going to turn our kitchen into a complete disaster? (Partial disaster is inevitable.)

This recipe is a perfect example of one of those dinners – hearty, straight-forward, consisting mostly of things we’re likely to have in our kitchen at any given time. A few eggs cooked in a hearty, smoky tomato sauce is a perfect main dish to accompany nearly any starch (bread, polenta, pasta, etc.) and can flexibly accommodate nearly any cheese or cooked vegetable you might have around. It comes together in one pan and requires surprisingly little attention, which might be better paid to the child gleefully trying to smash whole eggs on your cutting board. Read more