pancakes, pancakes!


Last week momfilter did this post by Adam...both Adam and my dad make these pancakes regularly and they are delicious every time. Gathering the extended family around one of our tables for a big breakfast is one of our favorite traditions. 



grilled shrimp with garlic and cilantro

Grilled shrimp only take about 5 minutes to cook, and if you have the fish market clean them for you, about 5 minutes to prepare. Tossing them with a lot of garlic and cilantro is one of my favorite marinades.



2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on

1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves

1/4 teaspoon sea salt


Toss shrimp with olive oil, garlic, cilantro and salt. Set aside to marinate for about 30 minutes. Heat grill very hot. Arrange shrimp on grill in a single layer and cook until opaque on underside, about 1-3 minutes. Turn shrimp over and cook another 1-3 minutes until just cooked through. 


homemade chicken stock


As a cook I am sort of lazy. I love great food, but for me the most satisfaction comes with taking really great ingredients and preparing them simply. I pride myself in keeping it pretty easy. I also am somewhat sponteneous in my cooking - my idea of a shopping list is something like this:

salad stuff, veggies, fruit, bread, lunch stuff, 2 dinners, cereal, milk, eggs, butter, etc.

You get the idea! I prefer to be insprired by what I find, rather than be frustrated that avocados are on my list but they are under or over ripe. As a result, things like homemade chicken stock usually get skipped. I want to make risotto or soup right now...not in a few hours or tomorrow.


Recently my dad had a major operation and one of the things that made me feel like I could contribute to his recovery was preparing the most delicious wholesome food I could. In the first days, when broth was a staple of his diet, I made an enormous pot of rich homemade chicken broth. I would like to think that I will forever take this extra step...the broth was so much more flavorful than anything you can buy, and the whole nature of it was different too - much more gelatinous. On an intellectual level I've always known that homemade stock was superior but to really feel like I made something that might help the healing process was a pretty special feeling. 


So, here is how. The list below is what I used but you can vary it somewhat as long as you have a good assortment of veggies.


Dark green portion of a few leeks, thinly sliced

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

4-6 carrots, sliced or chopped

4-6 stalk celery, chopped

1 or 2 parsnips, sliced or chopped

2 small onions, quartered (leave skins on but trim off roots)

3 or 4 garlic cloves, peeled

2 bay leaves

parsley stems

1 whole chicken (rinsed, gizzards removed)

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon salt


Submerge leek greens in a large bowl of cold water to remove any dirt. Lift the leeks from the bowl and if there is sediment in the bowl wash it out and repeat this step until the water is clear.


Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add the carrots, celery, parsnips, onions, garlic, and leeks, and cook stirring occasionally until vegetables are begining to soften but are not browning, about 10-15 minutes.


Add bay leaves, parsley stems, chicken, peppercorns, salt and 20-24 cups of water. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook for 60-90 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked. Remove chicken from pot, leaving the rest to continue simmering.


Once the chicken is cool enough to handle remove the meat from the bones. If you have time and want to make a really rich broth you can toss the bones back in the pot and continue simmering for another 30-60 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the solids out of the broth and discard them.


It is best to cool the broth before putting it in the refrigerator or freezer - I recommend making a large icebath and cooling it quickly, working in batches if necessary. This will help prevent spoiling. 


By the way, if you do not want to use the cooked chicken for soup it is perfect in chicken salad with cashews.



strawberry freezer jam


Last weekend Lauren and Ben took Lila strawberry picking and came home with a beautiful basket full of ripe strawberries. For years my mom has made frozen strawberry jam and it has always been my very favorite. She delivers a few jars each summer, and I am always tempted to hide them so that I can have them all to myself. And yet, I have never actually made my own. Well, Monday afternoon we did just that. The funny thing is that the recipe is straight from the pectin box (certo brand), and could not be easier...Bea and Lila practically made it themselves. Sorry Mom, your secret is out!




mr.tiny, revisited


When my twins were born I was so disappointed in the clothes available for them that I started fantasizing about designing a line just for boys. My sister, Lauren, was not very happy in her job at the time so we talked about this idea a lot, and ultimately decided to be uncharacteristically entrepreneureal and go for it. It was a bold move since neither of us had fashion or manufacturing experience, but we had faith in the vision. We had a great time over the next three years learning the ropes and creating a line that we were proud of. As the business grew so did the demands, and when we lost our manufacturer (and then our replacement manufacturer) within weeks of my daughter's birth, we sadly decided to call it quits. We still think about starting it back up again...more and more lately since Lauren's son Noah is now wearing our clothes and looking great. Maybe one day...


happy father's day!!


strawberry shortcake


Strawberry shortcake makes a perfect father's day treat - strawberries are at the peak of their season, and even small kids can help make the shortcakes. I am a fan of flaky bisuits (as opposed to cake), probably because that is what I grew up with - it is one of my own father's favorite desserts. 



2 quarts strawberries, stemmed and hulled, cut into quarters or halves depending on size

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cointreau


Combine in a bowl, stir, and set aside for at least an hour before serving to release juices.



FOR THE BISCUITS (makes 6-8, I doubled the recipe in these photos)

1 3/4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon heavy cream


Preheat oven to 425°. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal and the butter pieces are the size of small lentils. Transfer to a bowl and stir in buttermilk.  Sprinkle some of the remaining flour on a clean surface. Transfer dough to floured area and gather into a ball, gently kneading a few times. The dough will be very wet but that is ok. Press into a disk a little more than an inch thick, dusting top and bottom with a little more flour. Cut into rounds using a glass dipped in flour, or a 2 inch biscuit cutter. Place biscuits on a sheet pan lined with a silpat or parchment paper and brush tops with cream. Bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.


When ready to serve split shortcakes and spoon strawberries and their juices between the halves. Top with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and some more strawberries. 


rhubarb chutney and beef tenderloin


Time for one last rhubarb recipe before the season is finished. My first thought when rhubarb arrives on the scene is always strawberry rhubarb pie, but it can be used in a variety of other ways as well. For a recent dinner party I made a beef tenderloin - it is easy to cook but quite special, and it can be served at room temperature so you can cook it just before guests arrive and all you have to do is slice it when you are ready to serve it. I made this pretty rhubarb chutney to accompany the beef - the tart flavor was perfect with the meat.


Rhubarb Chutney

3/4 cup red wine venegar

2/3 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 whole star anise

1 small red onion, diced

1 cup crimson raisins

2 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb 

1 orange, sections removed from the membranes, and chopped


Combine red wine vinegar, sugar, salt and star anise in a small saucepot and bring to a boil. Add red onion and raisins and reduce to a simmer,cook about 10 minutes. Add rhubarb and cook 10 minutes more, or until rhubarb is tender but not completely mushy. Stir in the orange pieces and set aside to cool.


Beef tenderloin can be quite expensive but at our local Fairway whole tenderloins are about $8 per pound. They come vacuum packed and you need to remove the silverskin and tie the loin so that is is evenly shaped for even cooking. The first few times I bought it I did all this myself, but it is quite time consuming if you are not a pro. I have since discovered that you can ask the butcher to do it for you which makes it an even better deal.


I prepare the beef in the simplest way possible. Generously coat the meat with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper and drizzle with a little olive oi. Sear it on a very hot grill pan until nicely browned on all sides. Then place meat on a sheet pan and roast in a preheated 450° oven until a meat thermometer registers 140°. Timing will depend on size of the tenderloin but I start checking it after about 15 minutes.


Once the meat is cooked it needs to rest. This is a crucial step...if you do not let it rest for long enough the juices will all run out of the meat when you slice it.  Because of this I find it a perfect thing to serve at a buffet since you can cook it all in advance and just slice it as you need it...especially for spring and summer entertaining when a room temperature meal is welcome. 




I probably seemed a little crazy posting about oatmeal last week considering it was one of the hottest days we have had this year! For those who prefer to leave hot cereals for the cold months here is a delicious granola recipe. I personally prefer granola that is really crunchy and chunky. To acheive that I press the granola into a solid mass on a sheet pan before baking it, and then flip it halfway through. This makes it almost like a giant crumbly granola bar that you can break up after it has cooled. 



I have decided what to put in this recipe based on my own family's tastes: one son doesn't really like nuts but does not seem to mind them here as long as they are not huge pieces...as a result I use sliced almonds and pecans, both of which break up easily but add lots of flavor and nutrition. I personally love coconut and sesame seeds so there are healthy doses of each included as well. You can really experiment and see what your favorite combinations are. Hazelnuts add a great crunch and would pair well with dried cranberries or cherries. Pistachios add a lovely touch of green and work well with dried apricots. 


5 cups rolled oats

2 cups nuts of your choice ( I used 1 1/4 cup sliced almonds and 3/4 cup pecans, broken into pieces)

1 1/4 cups shredded coconut

1 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1 teasooon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon of cloves

A dash of sea salt (omit if your sunflower seeds are salted)

1 cup maple syrup

4 tablesoons of olive oil

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

Fresh or dried fruit 


Heat oven to 350°. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the maple syrup, olive oil, and butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the butter has melted. Pour into granola mixture and stir until thoroghly combined and mixture is moist throughout. Transfer onto a sheet pan (or rimmed cookie sheet) and press into an even layer. The more packed down it is the more chunky the granola with be. (If you prefer less chunky granola omit this step.) Bake for 20 minutes, or until fragrant and begining to brown. If you have a second sheet pan that is the same size invert mixture onto it. If not, use a spatula to turn mixture over, and then press it into a solid mass again. Retrun to oven until nicely browned, about 15 minutes more. Allow granola to cool in the pan before breaking up.


Loosen granola from the pan with a spatula and break it up into chunks. Store in a glass jar or ziplock bag.


You can stir in dried fruit all at once, or just have it ready and stir it in when serving. Sometimes I keep it separate so each member of the family can add what they like, and vary it for each serving. Alternatively, during the summer months, you can skip the dried fruit and add fresh berries instead.



iced coffee treat

I am a big coffee drinker but prefer it hot, even in the summer. Recently I was having a rare craving for one of those slushy frozen coffee drinks and decided to make my own. There was leftover coffee sitting cold in the pot so I combined what was left with some heavy cream (half and half or milk would work too), sugar, and ice and pureed it in the blender. Yum!