I’m known for cooking hot breakfasts for the girls every day, but I rarely partake in them during the week. Sundays are my day to linger at the table with coffee, a hot meal, and the newspaper, if I’m feeling extra decadent with my time. During the week, I usually set about the kitchen packing lunch and preparing for the day while the girls eat. I don’t feel particularly guilty for not sitting with them since the kitchen opens into the dining room. I’m a stone’s throw from them, just across the counter, caught up in chatter about the day ahead. Continue reading »
All I seem to be doing today is counting the hours until I can retire to my jammies, and curl up on the couch for pizza and a movie with the kids. I had hoped to share some details about a project I’m working on with Kidzvuz. Rebecca, one of the founders, is a long-lost sister of sorts, and I’m really excited to collaborate with her and Nancy finally. I will be back with the goods on it all next week. Continue reading »
The days suddenly started getting longer. I didn’t fully appreciate it until we sat down to dinner last night, and realized the only light casting a glow was from Mother Nature, streaming through our dining room windows. Today we left swimming class, and sure enough it was still daylight too. I often joke that I’m solar powered, so this is very good news. Last year I was amazed at how late it remains daylight in Paris during the summer. In the beginning of the month, darkness didn’t descend until almost 11:00pm. I thought I’d have to paint the windows black to get the kids to fall asleep! Continue reading »
There are few things in life that are perfect. This is something I keep trying to remind myself, but my inner Martha Stewart often battles with the realities of life. A little chaos never threw me for a loop, but lately reigning control over some variables in my life offers incredible solace. Being able to make what I consider to be the perfect roasted potato is one of those variables. I wrote about them last week for Relish Magazine. I’m so happy to share the news that I’ve started writing for them again twice a month.
I’ve got some video to go along with the recipe too. You were all amazing in your response to the pizza video a couple of weeks ago. Adding more video to the site is something I’ve been mulling over for a few months now. I’d hide behind widow humor, though, and sarcastically joke that my producer/camera man/editor is gone. Then one day, it all clicked. There’s enough perfect, glossy, produced content out there. That holds true for food, fashion, parenting magazines, etc. What we don’t have enough of is real life. I’m talking about an honest glimpse of being in the kitchen. That is what I hope to capture in the videos I’ll be sharing from now on. My hair isn’t perfect, my Brooklyn accent is so thick, even a Ginsu couldn’t cut through it, and I now realize I say “okay” and “um” a lot. Continue reading »
A few days ago I was in a meeting and mentioned that Fridays are always pizza and a movie night with the girls. In saying that, I also casually said I make my own dough. One woman at the meeting commented, “I love how your pizza night is with homemade dough and mine is takeout”. She told me she wished she had the time to make it from scratch.
I told the woman at my meeting that homemade pizza dough is no big deal, and much easier than most people think. Still, it got me thinking about how to really get this message across. The essence of Homemade with Love is not about the recipes per se; it’s about spreading my monumental love of being in the kitchen and cooking. My hope is that a little of bit of that love becomes contagious, and people begin to look at cooking as another way to express their own love for the people around them. I woke up with this lingering idea in my mind of how I could convincingly get my point across that homemade pizza dough is indeed easy. Continue reading »
I’ve been intrigued by Lillet ever since Heidi posted this recipe. I’ve yet to try those buttermilk milkshakes, but did finally buy a bottle of Lillet a few months ago. I tried it both straight up, well-chilled of course, and as a spritzer with a twist of lime and seltzer—my lasting impression being that Lillet was not my thing. That changed last night, along with my mood, which heaven knows needed some tinkering with these last few days. I’ve been feeling “off” lately, like a balloon floating across an open sky, bouncing wherever the wind fancies. Try as I might, nothing seems to shake this constant sadness that tugs at my heart. Actually it wavers between sadness and anxiousness, the kind with which you wait for it all to go wrong, for your inner happiness to disappear at a moment’s notice.
Grief bore down on my heart like a vice grip yesterday, and it ended with me in tears as my eyes scanned the empty dishes at the dinner table. They previously held homemade tortillas, beans cooked from scratch, and guacamole Virginia and I made together. But at that moment, while the girls were upstairs and I sat at the table staring at the extra chair that has sat empty for 13 months, all I could think was “why do I do this”. The “this” being all the food I had just an hour before lovingly prepared. Or was it really out of necessity and survival? I don’t know— at that moment, all day long in fact, the idea that I’ve used cooking as an escape had been lingering in my mind.
This is my seventeenth summer going to Cape Cod. Michael first took me just a few months after we started dating in August of 1995. I was a kid back then, just 21 years old, but still remember that summer so vividly. The 300 mile drive in his little red Toyota Celica, and the box of cassette tapes he used to pack for road trips. It was the first time I’d heard Cracker, and found myself singing Movie Star again all these years later as I made the drive out here last week. I still keep the Best of Van Morrison, Vol. 2 cassette in the glove compartment.
As we make the drive out here, I still murmur silly things like Bic Pen Drive, as we pass the Bic Drive exit on the I95. And crude things like “Exeter, I wasn’t even in her”—Mikey made that one up as we drove through Rhode Island once. Then there’s Mash-the-peas, as we pass Mashpee, one of the towns on the Cape. The motel we stayed at, Terrace Dunes, is just down the road from the house we rent now. I glance at the efficiency unit we called home for those two weeks every time I drive by it on my way down Shore Road.
And there I go with the “we” again. Technically, I’m still part of “we” because it’s me and the girls, but often the “we” I refer to in conversations is me and Mikey. It’s hard to remember that “we” is now just “me”, at least in the immediate, physical sense of the being.
I've been wanting to write about scrambled eggs for a few weeks now. They seem to have so much in common with my life these days. I mean, you crack a few eggs into a bowl, beat them with a fork, pour them into a pan and somehow they become a nourishing meal. I know I will come out of this a changed woman. My husband is dead. Half my heart is gone, the other half throbbing out in the open, strewn across these pages.
There is no doubt I will be a changed woman by all of this. The important thing to keep in mind is to try and come out of changed for the better in some way.
Will I be stronger?
Will I be more inclined to love again?
Will I be less inclined to love again?
Will someone want to love me again?
My relationship with homemade ice cream is a love-hate one. Part of it has to do with the incessant hum of the ice cream machine. If you've never made it before, imagine a power drill going non-stop for 20 minutes.
Yet, here I sit, trying to concentrate and string words together as it whirs in the background. There weren't originally plans to make ice cream today, but you know what they say about drastic times. I was at the Time Warner Center staring at a shiny new refrigerator Vanessa Williams unveiled for Samsung when I saw I missed a call from Mikey.
Then came a text—his mother had fallen at home and he was rushing to catch the express bus to the Bronx. It felt like the worst case scenario we'd planning for, traveling in midday traffic to the Northeast Bronx. She'd apparently taken a fall while City Meals on Wheels was making their daily delivery. When EMS came she refused to go to the hospital. When the social worker tried calling, there was no answer. This went on for 20 minutes until they called Mikey, him being their only child and their emergency contact.
Last week Olga wrote about artichokes and falling in love with cooking them. Like so many before her, she'd been intimidated. It's easy to understand why, with their gnarly look, tough exterior and those darn pointy thorns atop each leaf. They truly are nature's example of survival of the fittest.
Well, in the words of Maya Angelou, life doesn't scare me—and neither do artichokes. I was lucky enough to grow up with them at our Thanksgiving table every year. They were prepared with a homemade breadcrumb filling, then braised until the roots of the leaves were tender and succulent, the sauce requiring a crusty loaf of bread to sop it all up. Still, artichokes were reserved for holidays. I mean who has time to sit and linger over an item that yields such a small return? I'd rush through the leaves, then slowly let my teeth sink into each morsel of the heart, trying to savor the buttery flavor.
I was walking home yesterday and impulse bought a few. Surely I'm not the first to buy artichokes on a whim. Cleaning them can be daunting at first, but after you've done it once or twice, you get faster and the time actually passes rather quickly. Olga also recommends watching this video by Melissa Clark for a quick tutorial that demystifies cleaning artichokes. It really does show the simplicity and ease of prepping them.