oysters and arugula

A Return to Writing

Much has changed since my last post in March of 2012.  Dr. S and I are now married and we are in the process of creating our new home together, in a new town.  Though one of my daughters will finish high school in our former town, saying good-bye to it in spirit and beginning anew in a town a few stops closer to NYC, with a more vibrant downtown (including a hoppin’ Sunday morning farmers’ market) and no unpleasant memories, has been unexpectedly energizing.

That energy, combined with the encouragement and support of Dr. S and a few close friends, has me sitting here at my computer, returning to this blog as a writing practice.  I have so much to share with you – the ups and downs of a family vacation to France, Greta’s continuing development as a cook (though she asked me yesterday whether I would support her if she decided to adopt a vegan diet . . . ), several off-the-beaten-path eating adventures in Italy . . . so much to catching up to do!


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A Dinner in Bannay

Place Napoléon Bonaparte, Fontainebleu
Place Napoléon Bonaparte, Fontainebleu

Having been the successful bidders (at a school fundraising event) for a week at a small cottage in the Loire Valley, we arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport on an unusually steamy July morning.

After a circuitous trek through CDG, and a long wait for our rental car, we headed south toward Bannay, where we would spend two days exploring the far eastern edge of the Loire Valley. At Bella Sera in Fountainbleu, one of three restaurants sharing a piece of Place Napoléon Bonaparte, the Salade du Jour was a perfect lunch for this 105°F day – large wedges of icy cold melon draped in prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, tagliatelle with pesto, and wedges of grapefruit, along with a carafe of the local rosé.   Continue reading “A Dinner in Bannay”

Happy Birthday to Me

Though I had been toying with the idea for a little while, the final decision to host a dinner party on my birthday weekend was made only hours before the event itself.  I had not thrown a party in a while, and I considered the menu planning and grocery shopping a gift to myself.

Had I made this decision a day beforehand, I might have tried out the cassoulet recipe in The NY Times magazine last Sunday.  It’s still chilly enough in the Northeast to make the idea of a cassoulet party very appealing.  And it’s been something I wanted to try – such a project.  Bean-soaking, confit-making, in addition to providing another opportunity for me to confront my lamb issues.  But it may just have to wait until next winter.  Instead, I built the menu around a recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table, something called a sweet-salty potato far.  It involves grated potato, raisins, prunes, and a crepe-like batter.  (Oh, I can just hear the groans of raisin detractors far and near!)  Dorie’s description, and its Breton roots captured my imagination.  The infinitely more common version of the recipe is the traditional far breton, a clafoutis-type dessert, studded with prunes. Continue reading “Happy Birthday to Me”

Pre-Dinner Brussels Sprouts

On a recent evening, as my sister and I surveyed my mother’s cabinets for the makings of pre-dinner hors d’oeurves to accompany pre-dinner drinks, Greta piped up with an offer to roast some brussels sprouts.  Hmmm, brussels sprouts for cocktail hour . . . well, sure, why not?  Thanks, Greta! Continue reading “Pre-Dinner Brussels Sprouts”

My Daughters, the Sous-Chefs

Leslie Kaufman’s recent NY Times article, “My Sons, the Sous-Chefs”, is inspirational.  It describes the results of an experiment, now in its 6-month, requiring each of her sons, ages 14 and 10, to cook dinner for the family once a week.  They must decide what they will prepare ahead of time, to allow for mom’s yay or nay (the menu must be balanced, fairly healthful) and the requisite grocery shopping.  Much has been learned by all involved.  Mom has learned to curb her kitchen-control and I-can-do-it-quicker impulses, and the boys have learned about planning and experienced the pride and satisfaction that comes from seeing your loved ones enjoy a meal of your making. Continue reading “My Daughters, the Sous-Chefs”

If You’re Not Makin’ Whoopee . . .

How about makin’ whoopie pies instead!

Seeing the delight on the faces of the loved ones who are the fortunate recipients of these all-grown-up Devil Dogs will bring its own special satisfaction.  I used a 2003 Gourmet recipe, and so should you.

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