strawberry rhubarb crisp


Today is my wonderful father's birthday. Last weekend we threw a party to celebrate and one of the desserts was this strawberry rhubarb crisp. I was too busy enjoying the party to remember to take a lovely shot of the crisp fresh from the oven, but luckily I made lots so I was able to take a quick a photo of the remains while we cleaned up. Since both strawberries and rhubarb tend to get very soft when cooked I added some apples to the mix to give the fruit part of the crisp a little more body. It was really delicious. Happy birthday Dad - I love you!



for the topping:

1 cup oats

3/4 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into pieces


Place the oats, almonds, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and continue pulsing until the mixture is crumbly and has some big lumps. If you want to make this ahead you can; just keep it in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator or freezer.  


for the filling:

juice of 1 lemon

3 golden delicious apples, peeled and cored 

2 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 quart of strawberries, stems removed, cut in half

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup instant tapioca


Place lemon juice in a large bowl. Thinly slice apples into the bowl, tossing to coat with the lemon juice to prevent browning. Add rhubarb and strawberries and stir to combine. Add sugar and tapioca and stir until everything is well coated. 


Transfer to a buttered ovenproof dish and top with crisp topping. Place in a preheated 350° oven and bake 45-60 minutes or until juices are really bubbling and fruit is soft. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream. 


chicken korma


My kids love Indian food and we order it in fairly regularly but we still struggle to have a well balanced meal. The boys don't really like any of the vegetables, and Bea finds the curries too spicy. I decided to try to make a curry that they would all like, and serve it with simpler vegetables than the restaurants tend to offer. Not only was the chicken a big hit, but you can prepare this in advance and let it marinate in the refridgerator so all you have to do at dinner time is cook.


I've started noticing boneless skinless chicken thighs in stores recently. They work well in this dish but I've made it with boneless skinless chicken breasts too and both work well. 



2 onions, papery skins removed

3-4 cloves garlic, papery skins removed

2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more if you like spicy food)

1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds

1 small container greek style yogurt (7 ounces)

1 3/4 pounds bonelss skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bitesize pieces

2 tablespoons coconut oil 

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish


Coarsely chop one onion and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, and salt and pulse until everything is chopped very finely. Add almonds and pulse again, until mixture is a thick paste. Add yogurt and pulse to combine. Place mixture in a dish, add chicken, and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.


Slice remaining onion into thin slivers. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add coconut oil. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add chicken and marinade to pan and cook, stirring often, until sauce starts to brown on the bottom of the pan, 7-10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of water and cook, scraping bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen brown bits. Add another 1/2 cup of water and stir. Reduce heat to low, cover pan with a lid, and simmer another 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in cream and cook 2 minutes more. Serve with aromatic rice (recipe below) and top with fresh cilantro leaves. 



1 3/4 cups brown rice

4 cardamom pods, smashed

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter


Check your rice for amount of liquid and cooking time. Combine rice, cardamom, cinnamon stick, salt and butter in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and reduce to a simmer. Cook until water has evaporated, according to package recommendations. Let sit, covered, 5 minutes before serving. 


eggless caesar salad


I recently discovered that my kids love caesar salad, and although I am not particularly squeamish, I prefer not to give them raw eggs unless I know exactly where they are coming from and how fresh they are. This recipe is inspired by one of the first recipes I ever learned, from Gourmet magazine, over 20 years ago. The salad dressing's ingredients bear little resemblance to a real caesar dressing, but the overall effect is surprisingly similar. To make a simple meal of caesar salad we top it with chicken and avocado.



1/4 cup sour cream or thick greek style yogurt

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon sea salt

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 head of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped


Combine yogurt (or sour cream), mustard, worchestershire sauce, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and whisk to combine. While still whisking slowly add olive oil. Toss romaine with dressing and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.


lazy lunch: avocado


For me, one of the worst things about working at home, is that I hate to eat alone. It is not really the eating itself that is the problem...more the motivation to make something, etc. One thing I have realized is that it is really important for me to keep a few things on hand that are healthy but serve as an instant lunch. Avocados are a perfect choice - creamy and full of "good" fat they are also a good source of fiber, vitamans C and E, and potassium. I like to drizzle the fruit with balsamic vinegar or lime juice and a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground pepper and eat it straight from the skin with a spoon. 


construction paper sculptures


The last time Lila and Lauren were at our house the girls decided they wanted to do an art project but we did not want to start something that was too involved. Lauren remembered the construction paper sculptures that kids were making when we visited the Children's Museum of the Arts. The only supplies needed were contruction paper, scissors, and glue sticks and we had it all.



I had borrowed a cool paper cutter from my friend Jodi that the kids love to use. It makes cutting nice straight strips a breeze. Bea and Lila had fun using the cutter and then curling the strips around a pencil to make spirals for their artwork.  I also put the cutter to good use making mini flash cards for Owen out of some index cards. 





rhubarb lemonade


When I saw beautiful rhubarb at the store I could not resist buying it but I really didn't have time to bake a pie. I decided to make a rhubarb simple syrup that could be used to make lemonade or flavor seltzer. It barely took any time at all and it is delicious and so pretty.



2 1/2 cups sugar

2 1/2 cups water

3 stalks rhubarb, cut into 4 inch lengths, spit in half if stalks are thick.

Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepot and bring to a boil. Add rhubarb and reduce to a simmer. Cook about 10 minutes. Allow syrup to cool before transfering to an airtight container. Refrigerate until ready to use.



1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/3 cups rhubarb syrup 

2 cups water

lots of ice

Fill a pitcher with ice and combine lemon juice, rhubarb syrup and water. Stir to combine and serve immediately.


young gardeners


I recently had someone come and help me with our rooftop gardens...a few things had died (thanks to the cats designating the pots as a good litter box substitute) that I wanted to replace. In addition, there are always things, such as pruning, that I am too unsure of to do myself. It all went very well and I was so happy to have crossed something off the never ending to do list. Then two things happened. First, my dear cats relocated to different pots that they had ignored prior to our replanting, digging up some strawberies and herbs, much to my horror. Second, my kids were really disappointed not to get to do some of the gardening themselves. Luckily the first situation necessitated a bit more work, so the kids got to help after all.



Oliver is particularly obsessed with the garden and ran excitedly through the shop wanting to buy everything in sight. Like me he has a real affinity for succulents so we bought quite a few of those. We also got some ground cover to fill in around the plants where the cats were digging. Oliver took charge of the planting when we got home, and allowed Bea work with him...I found that to be extra special since the two don't always like to cooperate with one another. I also loved seeing my city kids taking the opportunity to learn and explore nature. Even just a small job in the garden amused them for hours.



mushroom birthday party


In honor of my young friend Coco's birthday, which we sadly missed while we were away, I thought it might be a nice time to share the great party Page threw for her last year. Page has been obsessed with mushrooms for as long as I have known her, and now that love has passed on to Coco. That prompted an Alice-in-Wonderland-style fantasy mushroom party that was visually amazing. Page made enormous paper mache mushrooms and painted them bright red and white and used them to decorate the lovely little barn on their property. In addition to the giant mushrooms she also made a smaller version by twisting brown paper bags so that the bottom of the bag becomes the top of the mushroom and the twisted part makes the stem. These were also used to decorate the barn, and were tucked into the lawn too.



As an activity for the party she gave each of the kids a canning jar and let them make little terrariums filled with moss and tiny mushrooms which they then got to take home as the party favor. Another nature themed activity was a scavenger hunt: the kids had to find a feather, a rock, moss, mushrooms, and a dandelion...all things that were naturally present in their yard. Last but not least, she painted a few large boxes with bright orange paint (there were bright green ones too but somehow I neglected to take a picture!) and cut windows and a door in it to make a little clubhouse on the lawn...and I almost forgot...there were enough big red balls scattered on the lawn that there was constant motion as all the kids kicked and threw the the balls. The whole party was great fun and so pretty.



mango rice


Inspired by Thai cooking, I love the sweet flavors of coconut and mango combined with the fresh bright flavor of cilantro. I make this dish when I notice great mangoes in the store. It combines well with something a little spicy such as the spice rubbed shrimp I posted earlier this week.



1 can coconut milk

1 1/2 cups basmati rice

1 ripe mango, peeled,  and diced

1 red pepper, core and seeds removed, finely diced

1/3 cup freshly chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Lime wedges


Place coconut milk in a liquid measuring cup and add enough water to equal 2 3/4 cups liquid. Place in a pot with the rice and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 15-18 minutes. Turn off heat and allow rice to sit for a few minutes. Stir in the diced mango, red pepper, cilantro and salt and serve with a wedge of lime.



spice rubbed shrimp


Making a dry spice rub is such a simple way to season things, in this case adding both flavor and color to grilled shrimp. These spices combine well with a sweet accompaniment such as mango rice (I will post that recipe next) or a fresh fruit salsa. This is enough spice rub for about 3 pounds of shrimp but once you make the mixture you can just use about a teaspoon per pound of shrimp and save the rest for another day.



1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon corriander

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

pinch cayenne

3 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined, tails left intact

2 tablespoons olive oil


Heat grill or preheat oven to broil. Combine all spices in a small bowl. Place shrimp in a large bowl and sprinkle spice mixture over them and stir to combine. Drizzle with olive oil to coat. Arrange shrimp in a single layer on grill or on a sheet pan if cooking in the oven, and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until opaque. Serve with lemon or lime wedges.