20150621-SaladDan Jurafsky's Medieval Salad
june 21, 2015

This salad comes from the days of castles and knights in shining armor - the fourteenth century, or 1390 to be exact. It is surprisingly modern and you can find something similar on the menu of many San Francisco restaurants right now: the ingredients are fresh, simply prepared and able to speak for themselves through a light dressing.

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Jason's Birthday DinnerDeborah Madison's Celery Root Chowder
february 23, 2015

Deborah Madison's Celery Root Chowder is a favorite of ours, I make it every winter when celery roots are in our CSA box. This time I served it with some fresh bread from the bakery, soft ripened cheese, and pâté, for my husband's birthday. Pâté is one of his favorite things that we almost never eat. We also almost never have Manhattans with dinner. 

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Potato Spinach PiePotato-Spinach Pie
january 21, 2015

Usually I make my own pie crust or use one from the freezer, but this time I took the author's advice and bought one pre-made from the store. It's a good thing I did, since prep for this recipe took a while, leaving about two minutes to roll out the dough and assemble the pie before kid-duty commenced.

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Buy the bookAsparagus & Fava Bean Salad
may 31, 2014

Favas and asparagus make a delicious combination that tastes like spring. This recipe, p. 275, is a template for a lettuce-less salad that can highlight almost any vegetables from this season. The magic here is in the dressing: lemon, olive oil, capers and lots of herbs. Makes a great dinner with a roast chicken and Madison's Toasted Millet "Polenta".

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Chez Panisse Pasta, Pizza & Calzone

Spring Pasta with Red Onions & Leeks 
may 8, 2014

Handpicked from Omnivore Books by my husband, I received this book for my forty-first birthday. It is a 1984 first edition, published long before I had heard of Chez Panisse or ever eaten there. On the back cover are the usual sort of "praise for" quotes, one from M.F.K. Fisher and one from Richard Olney. Both writers now long dead, it gives me a thrill to own something that I know they read.

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Buy the book

Celery Root Chowder
january 21, 2014

This is an old favorite, from Deborah Madison's Local Flavors, p. 209. I'll serve it with bread and our favorite cheese from Cowgirl Creamery. For more info, see my post on this meal.


20130210-CeleryRootCelery Root Chowder
february 10, 2013

Winter is ending and so is my family's enjoyment of celery root and leeks. It happens predictably and without fail, this tiring of seasonal produce, every season, every year. We crave something new as the temperature shifts, our ability to be satisfied adapting with the weather. Only a stellar recipe can prevent much of the CSA box from going into the compost bin during these transitional times.

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20120304-RisottoA Fun Thing To Do With Leftover Risotto
march 4, 2012

"Leftover risotto?" you ask, "why would I ever have that?"

For starters, risotto is an easy last minute dinner that is limitlessly flexible and requires little thought. It is the perfect solution to an overabundance of leeks, freezer space that needs to be reclaimed from bags of frozen shrimp, or a drawer full of green things preventing the fridge from closing.

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20100509-SorbetPolenta and Blood Orange Sorbet
may 9, 2010

Homemade polenta can be an intensive affair, it requires half an hour of near continuous stirring. Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone has a walk-away version, but it needs to simmer for an hour and a half, after two separate pots of water are brought to a boil, one at a time, on top of each other. That takes more pre-planning than I can handle.

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Sometimes we turn to last minute alternatives.

The kids and I spent the morning visiting the doctor,  investigating my son's complaints of tummy aches and other intestinal issues that have been carrying on for the last few weeks.  I figured his GI problems were due to the fourteen days of antibiotic he'd ingested to treat an ear infection back at the beginning of the month, in addition to the seven days of antibiotic he'd taken for a staph infection about a month before the ear thing. But when his eyes got goopy and he started barking like a seal I figured I should take him in.  

"Hrm..." the doctor said "his tummy feels fine, but he has a really big ear infection".

Well imagine my surprise that he'd been able to foster a new, nasty infection so quickly in the same ear. But, it turns out, its the same old infection, just bigger and badder, and now identified as antibiotic resistant.  So he gets another fourteen days of a new antibiotic.  And when the doctor confirmed my suspicions that the stomach problems were probably a result of the antibiotics, she asked me about my son's diet.

"Gus is kind of like a bat.  He eats mostly fruit." I told her.  And she thought that was fine, but recommended that he (which of course means we) start eating lots of "white, starchy things".  "Don't feed him any whole grains", she said.  And with that she was gone, leaving me with a blindingly white prescription flapping in my hand and two insane children groveling at my feet, shredding the exam table paper and rubbing themselves all over the clinic floor.  

Yikes.  No whole grains?  Thats like, all we eat.  Aside from fruit and vegetables. Perhaps that should clue me in to why my son has such active bowels.  But I took it in stride and realized we had a wonderful opportunity to have white, processed grain pasta with our scheduled dinner. 

Except that my kids wouldn't eat it.  In fact, I wouldn't even eat it.  When the recipe asked me to simmer the leeks in chicken broth I got a little nervous, and in hindsight I wish I'd gone with my gut and sauteed them instead.  Even my husband, who actually ate the pasta, was surprised that I hadn't.  He thinks that will fix any problems, but I'm not planning to test his theory.  This one won't make it into my three star and above archive - which, by the way, I'm planning to put up sometime soon, in printable 4x6 notecard format - get your recipe boxes ready.

So instead, we had a cheese plate and toast.  Havarti and Cheddar from Say Cheese, where we'd stopped after the doctor, luckily. Thanks guys, for saving the day!


Creamy Leek, Pea, and Chicken Pasta (adapted from Sunset Magazine, April 2010):

8 oz spaghetti or other pasta

1 cup shelled peas

1 bunch leeks, sliced (about a cup)

1 green garlic, sliced

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup coarsely shredded chicken

1 cup cottage cheese

salt & pepper (about a teaspoon of each)

Cook the pasta in salted water, following package directions and adding the peas to the pot for the last few minutes. Drain and put it in a large serving bowl. Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a boil and cook the leeks and garlic in it.  When the leeks are soft, add the chicken and pour over the pasta.  Stir in the cottage cheese and salt and pepper.