Friday, June 06, 2014

This is what's up

This was sad. 
Some work came due and life has gotten busy with end-of-school year open houses, concerts, and dance recitals. Cooking has been sporadic, unfocused, and slapdash. A few days ago I accidentally omitted the brown sugar from a promising maple pecan chiffon cake. Two nights ago I burned (entirely my fault) the stuffed artichokes from Louisa Shafia's New Persian Kitchen. Our chickens eat all my mistakes so at least we’ve been saving money on layer crumbles. 

I did successfully make the New Persian Kitchen lamb meatballs and they were minty and delicious. And Shafia’s watermelon tonic is pretty and tasty, though I'd recommend making it for a party rather than everyday drinking.

I will fully engage with this lovely book soon. I swear. 

Other than that? I've been listening to Michael Pollan’s Cooked in the car (I agree with this review), reading an interesting book about alcoholic writers called The Trip to Echo Spring, and eagerly awaiting my copy of Jennifer Steinhauer’s Treat Yourself. Owen dragged me to X-Men: Days of Future Past and it was surprisingly not terrible. One word: Magneto. As a trade-off, Owen agreed to accompany me to Fed Up, which I hoped would convince him to cut back on his three bowls of afternoon cereal and the orange soda that he buys with his own money, but it’s left the theaters. What edifying movie should I make him go see instead?

We have dozens of tiny green figs forming (finally) on the three fig trees that I planted years ago, scores of plums about to ripen all at once, a couple of rose buds, and two broody hens. We put the goats up in the front yard every evening for a few hours and I love watching their progress eating down all the Scotch broom and blackberry brambles. Once they’ve consumed every last twig I hope to find someone to do some landscaping. This is what it looks like when you stand in the front doorway:

Very rugged. I don't actually mind it that much, but when we sell the house years or decades from now we’ll have to plant pretty shrubs, and terrace, so we might as well do it now and enjoy. 

I forgot to mention that I made these cookies from Kate Zuckerman’s Sweet Life.The recipe doesn’t tell you when to add the oats, but I added them right before the chocolate chips and raisins and the cookies are sensational. 

For now, that is all. 


  1. I have likewise had a week full of slapdash cookery, fraught with mistakes. In such times I find it is often best to just get a burrito from the local taqueria or eat meal after meal of scrambled eggs on toast. Even cooking up a pot of beans feels risky. I commend you for boldly embarking on new adventures in the midst of the last weeks of school! And thank goodness for chickens and compost! I once worked in a restaurant in St Paul, MN that gave all its food scraps to pig farms. Those bins were a real adventure in decomposition but it was nice to know that the sugarless cakes or burned quiches went to good homes.

  2. I'm pretty impressed that you cooked at all during the hectic schedule that you described. You'll get back into the swing of things when the time is right. In the meantime, just cruise. I wish I could make edifying movie suggestions, but I haven't seen an edifying movie in a long while. Are those oatmeal cookies better than the ones from Sweet? The variation with cherries and dark chocolate are calling my name.

  3. The Williams-Sonoma catalog arrived last week. On the cover: ice cream. I immediately went to the local store and bought the Zocu individual ice cream maker and made an individual serving of the Jim Dodge lemon ice cream you referred to in a post about the mature appreciation of ice cream. The advantage of making one serving at a time is portion control. And that of course is the obvious disadvantage, too. That ice cream was perfect for a lemon lover like me. Thanks for the reference.

  4. I watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi a few weeks ago with my two oldest sons. Thought-provoking! I also want to thank you for a link. The NY Times brownies were very much appreciated by a large group of swimmers at a pasta feed last week!

  5. That watermelon tonic looks amazing! I will have to try it ASAP. I have another suggestion for a great summer drink: iced green tea with ginger and lemon grass. Heat up a big pot of water, add 5 green tea bags, about 3 stalks of lemon grass, cut into pieces, and one good sized piece of ginger, thinly sliced. You can also add sugar to taste if you want a sweet tea (I like it unsweetened but a little sugar won't hurt either.) Let this steep for 20 minutes or so, depending on how strong you want it. Then strain out the ginger and lemon grass and chill the tea. I find this is a good way to drink lots of cancer fighting green tea when it is too hot to drink it hot- and the ginger and lemon grass add a nice touch.

  6. I would recommend seeing The Chef. I don't know if it was edifying, but it was a fun foodie watch. Plus, it has a son in it, which Owen might like. Also, the NPR interview of Jon Favreau was great. Apparently, all the food in the movie was real food, not plastic food or food sprayed down with glyceryn.

  7. Dear Jennifer, I haven't read your blog in three month so today I'll have a lot to read...and I'm looking fforward to it. I have chickens on my own now (don't ask me how I got them - like the virgin Mary came to her child-)but I wanted to say thank you again for your great blog and book -- please write another one about food and food trends soonn -- from your biggest fan from Germany