(almost) summer corn salad

I feel like a stranger in my own life, and wonder if I’ll ever fit in again. The more I walk the streets of New York City, a reality is settling in. I’ve said this to friends, but somehow saying it here is going to make it feel real. Saying it here means I really have to face this fact, and figure out my next step…

My story feels finished here in Brooklyn, in New York City, in fact. The thing is I can’t really go anywhere until next summer. Isabella has one more year left in elementary school, and for all she’s been through, she deserves to close that chapter with her friends. They’ve come so far, and to move before then would be robbing her of precious moments and memories.

This feeling of unrest in NYC is nothing new. Years ago, back when she started kindergarten, Mikey and I talked about a five year plan. Even then we were tired and battered by this city. People travel from near and far to catch a glimpse of the excitement, the energy, but for two city kids, the hustle and bustle was beginning to wear us down. Just writing about this has thrust my heart into my throat. I feel a little nauseous thinking about leaving my friends, my family, my home… Continue reading »

sauteed kale & white beans {how to prepare winter greens)

This article irked me recently. Perhaps it was my defense system kicking in. After all, my livelihood is creating recipes. It is also a source of immense pleasure. I go to sleep dreaming about ingredients and flavor combinations.

I totally agree with the merit of pattern recipes. Yes, "learn to cook a few basic meals and you'll be set" holds much truth. Until you get bored with those same three meals. Then you need inspiration, and while walking through the farmers' market is what works for me, I understand it doesn't come that easy for others. For many people, recipes are not the crutch or burden Ms. Buzzell makes them out to be. They actually make life easier.

For others, recipes are a means to learn how to cook. To learn technique. How to chop an onion, for instance. Without recipes and cookbooks, I wouldn't be the proficient cook I am today. My formal training consists of shelves of cookbooks, spattered with stains and notes written in the margin.

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carrot “fettucine” with lemon thyme butter sauce

Life has been a blur lately. The last week has been especially wonderful, being surrounded by some of my favorite people.

But it has still been a blur, nonetheless. Fast-moving and then it all came to a screeching halt when a stomach virus took over on Monday night. Talk about down for the count. 27 hours later, I emerged, exhausted, but no worse for wear.

While I tackle the deadlines piling up, and get ready for the three-week carousel of business trips starting tomorrow, I'll leave you with this recipe for carrot "fettucine". According to a recent article by Kim Severson, American's don't eat enough vegetables. I'll admit we don't have them every single night. I try to include them as part of the main course—a handful of spinach in a pasta dish or some shredded lettuce and tomatoes for tacos.

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radish & cucumber crostini + spicy peanut noodles

Years ago, the Mr. worked with someone whose mother used to send him off with a home-packed lunch. Being an Italian-American guy, I wasn't surprised he still lived with his mother into his mid-to late twenties. Frankly, hearing she prepared his lunch every day wasn't a shocker either—us Italian mamas have trouble letting go.

What did make me raise an eyebrow was when he mentioned mama packed the bread separate from the meat so it didn't get soggy. Honestly, it was a brilliant idea, and I must confess I now use that trick when packing roadtrip lunches for my own family. There are sometimes, though, when you want your bread to soak up some flavors.

Soggy, no.

Drenched in juices, yes.

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summer farro salad

update 6.25.10—this recipe is up for best recipe using mozzarella over at Food52, so click here to vote for it if you love it as much as I do!

School is down to the wire with only five days left. That means Isabella only has 31 hours left as a first grader. How is that even possible? The first day of pre-K seems like it was just yesterday.

This week is about new beginnings for me too. At the end of the month, the amazing community of women I've come to know through my writing for NYC Moms Blog will go their separate ways. In fact, all the SV Moms sites will feature their last original posts June 30th.

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asparagus & arugula panzanella

Asparagus is akin to childhood—its season is fleeting and by time you realize how good you had it, the moment has passed. I especially like asparagus because it's a sure sign the growing season is gearing up. After a winter of root vegetables, the first glimmers of green stalks are like seeing old friends again.

Since spying it at Maxwell's Farm Stand a few weeks ago, we've enjoyed creamy lemon asparagus risotto every week. Then last Thursday, I decided we needed to add a new recipe to the mix.

Somewhere between waking up and dinner time, I began thinking about panzanella. It might have been the leftover mozzarella cheese in the fridge. Or, maybe it was the stale bread on the counter. I don't really know how it happened, but along the way I got the idea to make an Italian bread salad, usually reserved for tomato season months down the road.

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