20130315-SaladChipotle Avocado Salad Dressing
march 15, 2013

This is another tweeted recipe from @CHOW. I made it for lunch with Eatwell Farm's radishes, romaine, parsley and chickpeas, but it could be for dinner, maybe with black beans instead. Recipes that take up 140 characters or less are extra nice for people like me who don't particularly enjoy following directions. The fewer there are the happier I am.

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MothersDayDinner

Love Your Mother: Lamb, Carrots and Fava Salad - may 11, 2011

This year I made my desires for Mother's Day known well in advance: no gifts, just a day at home in the garden and a big dinner, cooked as a family.  It was delicious, and I got gifts anyway - three of Andy Goldsworthy's books, much loved by my kids after we watched his Rivers and Tides together a week or two back.

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20110426-SalmonCakesSalmon Cakes
april 26, 2011

I've struggled with pan frying patties for a long time now. They never turn out right. Sometimes they stick, sometimes they fall apart, sometimes they burn to a crisp. So I asked my husband for advice, knowing that he has a tendency to remember everything he reads and that he had a copy of Russ Parson's How to Read a French Fry back when it first came out, in 2001. 

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TomatoTart

Tomato Tart and a Little Gem Salad - july 28, 2010

The week we left San Francisco for Tucson, this summer's volume of Canal House Cooking arrived with the mail. You may already know this, but Canal House is my new favorite thing. Besides Nigel Slater, of course. I love its irreverence toward normal day to day life - for those at the Canal House, everything revolves around food. I also love its quick vignettes: trout from a friend of a friend fishing outside the window, a whole essay on why their pal likes to get a buzz on and a few words about Patricia Curtan (illustrator of Chez Panisse Vegetables) and her apricot jam.

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BaleOfHay

A Bale of Straw and Some Sausage Salad - june 14, 2010

I finally figured out, after making a wrong turn on my way home from Berkeley last week, how to find Golden Gate Fields. This is where my friend Geoff, from the Edible School Yard, sent me to remedy my compost problems. My compost has been neglected for weeks now, growing slimy, stinky, and buggy, after running out of its only source of "browns" - a season's worth of dropped leaves from our ancient apple tree. 

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MothersDay

Happy Mothers Day! - may 10, 2010

I know, its a day late, but I like to drag things on. It gives me more time to enjoy. My family gave me the greatest Mother's Day gifts yesterday. Naturally, they revolved around food, so I have to share them here.

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ChickenSalad

Lemon Chicken Salad - may 6, 2010

 To come clean, lemon chicken salad makes our dinner sound more special than it actually was. Ina Garten's recipe in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook calls for grilled lemon chicken, which I'm sure is delicious, but was just not in the cards tonight. I used the remainder of our roast chicken from earlier this week, and while slicing it up, marinating it and then cooking it again on the grill was enticing, it was also too ridiculous. 

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Salad

Joy of a Roast Chicken - may 3, 2010

Today was a near perfect spring day - fitting, since May Day was this past Saturday. We had no plans this morning, which allowed me to tidy the kitchen to near acceptable standards of cleanliness, something it hasn't achieved since early two thousand six. There was only one timeout for the kids while I swept and rinsed and scrubbed and sorted, they were largely good on their own, playing "camping" in the sunny living room by redesigning the sofa into a tent complete with special secret agent devices.

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Doughies!

Doughies! - april 23, 2010

These little lovelies are something sweet my friend Steph reminded me of long ago. Steph and I go way back, before even high school, and today we still try to get together to cook and eat dinner frequently. For many years it happened once a week and often featured chicken pot pie, but now that we have three children between us, not nearly as often.

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BouchonBread

Tuna Melts with Cesar Salad - april 12, 2010 

More fish is more fun - at least today at our house when I paired canned tuna sandwiches with a mock Cesar salad, which is basically romaine lettuce dressed with anchovies, lemon juice and olive oil instead of cream.  It takes about five minutes to make. 

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Paste Ingredients for Leg of LambEaster Lunch
april 5, 2010

We had a wonderful lunch today - and the best part?  I didn't cook it.  My husband, who likes meat, cooked a leg of lamb and  a pot of beans.  He made fennel and blood orange vinaigrette. My friend Laure brought cream puffs.  All I had to do was go out into the garden and snip some lettuce and arugala. Luckily, I have a nice raincoat, because it was wet out there.

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AsparagusAndSnappeas  I have to say that the Easter Bunny has a tough job - hauling all that candy around, hiding all those eggs, I'm shocked he hasn't run out of creativity and taken the holiday off yet.  But I see that Paas has taken some sort of road out because this year there were only five colors in our box.  Pink, orange, yellow, blue, green. No purple.  No turquoise, or whatever that other one usually is.  But lots of Cars stickers - and three plastic egg wraps.  I guess that is supposed to take the place of the two missing colors.

Its a good thing our bunny took the high road in terms of candy this year, and shopped at Miette, the best candy store in the country.  Walking into the Hayes Valley Miette is like going back it time, to some magical candy store I never had as a child. I love it.  

The candy store I do remember from my childhood was up at the corner of my block and the cross street that would take us to school.  It was called Prospectors because it was on Prospect street.  They stocked ice cream bars and Bottle Caps, Twinkies and Snoballs and those weird snacks with Andy Capp on the bag that only highschoolers ate.  But the best treat of all - Wacky Packs.  And how wonderful if you spent 20¢ and ended up with one of the rare ones - like Hipton Tea Bags or Kook Aid.   I always seemed to have multiple copies of Chock Full o Nuts and Bolts or one of the cigarette spoofs, which my mother would confiscate.

Anyway, all this bunny prep necessitated an easy dinner - and it was.  The kids wouldn't eat the salad, but the pitas and chicken disappeared, which is good enough for me.

Grilled Chicken Pita Salad (adapted from Sunset Magazine April 2010):

2 chicken breasts

1 bunch asparagus

handful of snap peas (if you have them in your garden)

lettuce for four (one big head or a similar sized bag of mesclun)

2-4 pitas, sliced into 8 wedges each

3 Tablespoons olive oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

salt and pepper

Cook the chicken breasts on the grill.  Because grills are so different, its hard to estimate when yours will be done.  To test for doneness, cut into the thickest part of the breast.  If it is opaque and releases only clear juices, it is done.  If you don't feel like grilling, use a grill pan on the stove or just pan fry them in a bit of olive oil over medium heat.

Wash and dry the salad.  Bring a pot of water big enough for the asparagus to fit in to boil.  Wash and trim the ends of the asparagus, wash the snap peas, pull off any leafy bits you don't want to eat.  When the water is boiling, drop the asparagus and snap peas in for a minute, then drain them into a colander in the sink.  Brush the sliced pitas with olive oil, sprinkle salt on top and toast them, either in a toaster oven or regular oven, set to 450˚ or so.  Keep a close eye on them so that they don't burn. When the chicken is done, slice it.

In a small jar, put two Tablespoons of the olive oil, all of the lemon juice and some salt and pepper. Put the lid on and shake it up. Put the salad greens in a large bowl, shake the dressing again and just before serving, pour it over the top.  Toss the salad, then divide it into bowls.  Also divide up the asparagus, peas, pitas and chicken into each bowl.  Serve right away and eat!

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