We are finally back in Madison after two months of travel, and we’re trying to soak up every last bit of this summer. Aldo is toddling around like a crazy man, and between running after him and comforting the inevitable bonks and bumps that come with new mobility, we’re focusing on all the joys of late summer in the Midwest – tomatoes, corn, eggplant, peppers, melons, and more tomatoes, and more corn, and more tomatoes, and more corn. Most evenings I cut up a hunk tomato for Aldo with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and because he’s in the midst of an ardent tomato strike (not his first), I slurp up the leftover pieces from his plate and don’t think twice about it.
The first weekend we were back we were invited over to a friend’s house for burritos, and we wandered the Capitol market that morning to stock up on summer basics (aforementioned corn and tomatoes) and to grab the supplies for a Mexican-inspired roasted corn and poblano salad. I’m a huge fan of corn salads in the summer and generally go with a raw base, but when I saw the poblanos which I knew I’d want to char and peel, I let the corn follow suit. Read more
On Sunday, I taught my last class before starting my summer hiatus. We have grand travel plans this summer, and who wants to be in a hot kitchen on a beautiful summer evening, anyway? Thinking about summer brings back memories of waddling around a kitchen last summer, hugely pregnant, teaching from a stool and trying to avoid picking up my heavy tubs of equipment and groceries. Ha! So glad that’s not me this time around. Instead, I’ll be cooking over a camp stove, eating dinner from a picnic table, and happily lugging around 22+ pounds of purely adorable baby chub in a hiking pack.
Before we head out on our adventure, I want to share with you a perfect summer recipe from this last class – it doesn’t require any heat, and packs perfectly for picnics or lunches or backyard barbecues. The class was a collaboration with my friends over at Table Wine, with special gifts from the French jar company Le Parfait. We put together a beautiful, summery salad of farmers’ market snap peas and radishes with torn fresh mozzarella, dressed with lemon and sesame and garnished with chive blossoms from Vitruvian Farms, and paired it with a lovely Italian white wine (more on that, below). Read more
Two days ago we came back from a weekend trip to Pennsylvania for a wedding, and – just like that – it’s summer. We’ve eaten every meal since on the porch, and one of our first tasks when we returned was to exchange our long-faulty propane tank and fire up the grill for our standby summer dinner menu – a mess of grilled vegetables, some sort of starch (in this case, a quinoa pilaf), cheese (we do live in Wisconsin, after all), and white wine (Trader Joe’s new boxed sauvignon blanc is actually quite fantastic).
But lately I’ve had that itch – the one that drives me to pick out random things at the grocery store and try something entirely new – and this time it was (among other things) a small round head of radicchio that called out to me. I planned a slaw at first, but a quick perusing of cookbooks during Aldo’s pre-dinner nap led me to grill it in wedges. I made a quick vinaigrette (more on that later) and tossed it all with some fresh mozzarella and herbs, and it was an excellent part of what can otherwise be a fairly standard meal. Read more
(It took me over a week to get this post written and posted. Since then, the year has changed! Happy 2016 and here’s to a delicious new year!)
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how I thought life would change with a little one in the house. I figured we wouldn’t get much sleep (and we’re actually doing much better on that front than I would have expected), that we wouldn’t be able to get out of the house that easily (and in the winter, that’s mostly fine with us anyway), and that we wouldn’t be in control of our daily schedules nearly as much (true more than I predicted). But I hadn’t really thought about how much more difficult it would be to cook, especially healthy meals, and how difficult it might be to get moving on a daily basis. Pre-baby we had a pretty solid exercise routine – gym, run, or yoga 7+ times/week – and while our diets were sometimes a bit indulgent, we primarily cooked meals from scratch and prepared a lot of vegetables.
But with baby, all of that has changed. We rely on takeout and quick meals much more than expected, especially considering evenings are the main time the three of us have together. We’re making an effort to turn that around, but some days it’s easier than others. Aldo is happiest rolling around on the floor with a pile of toys and an attentive parent or two, and he usually only lasts in a seat in the kitchen for 15 minutes or less – generally not enough time to get a healthy meal together.
But a few days ago, with Brett working from home during the day as sort of an ersatz Winter Break, I took advantage of a bit of energy and quiet time to pull together a healthy lunch of items we had in the fridge and pantry – French lentils tossed with mire poix and a mustard vinaigrette, topped with fresh parsley and some crumbled feta.
This one’s been on my list for a while.
By “my list” I mean the running list of things I want to cook – recipes I’ve come across, ideas I’ve picked up from here and there, random inspirations that come to me at random. It’s a long list, and until recently sort of wild and overgrown like an uncontrollable and unmaintained patch of land, growing far more quickly than I could make any progress on it. I’d throw almost anything on the list, from a full-fledged recipe to just a word or two. (Until recently, one entry said merely “bacon.” Who knows.) It began to feel like a losing game, so a few weeks ago I culled and organized it, organizing it by type of dish and by season so I can more easily use it as a resource.
That’s how I remembered about gribiche. Read more