During my eighties childhood, a halved grapefruit appeared in the breakfast portion of any diet’s sample menu. My family took that as a cue, I think, and served up these healthy halves of grapefruit, too. Except, in a move that definitely undid whatever health benefits the fruit had, the adults spooned a modest sprinkling of sugar onto their grapefruit, while I dumped a good-sized mound onto the same. As a rule, we should be wary of a fruit that requires sugar to consume.
We should also be wary of a fruit whose most popular varieties have been chosen because of how well they ship and store rather than how good they taste. Where grapefruits are concerned, the emphasis has long been on ease of distribution. But those of us who like to eat (even in winter) are lucky that grapefruit technology has come a long way. Better distribution, producers who understand that people want flavor too, and a general upscaling of everything mean that flavorless grapefruits have mostly gone the way of mealy Red Delicious apples. (Even if the bad rep they earned seems to linger.) read more »
Things have been the usual kind of nuts lately. Our days have been busy, spent juggling deadlines and this and that. Yesterday, we made last minute dinner plans with friends, and sat down to a perfect winter feast that included these roasted chicken legs (my fourth go around on the recipe –– it’s that good), plus a batch of savory cheddar waffles (recipe coming later in the week), and a green apple and spinach salad with shallots and garlic. We made palomas and sampled great tequila. All that revelry has left me a little behind today, but no matter –– it was totally worth it.
I wish I could tell you the night was capped off with a slice of this pretty chocolate layer cake with a kumquat glaze, but we devoured it long ago. read more »
Brian and I had our first daughter almost exactly 10 months after our wedding. We both knew we wanted kids and people kept telling us that it took a lot of trying. So as soon as we were married, we figured we’d better start trying. But in our case, there wasn’t really much trying involved. We were blessed with a honeymoon baby. Except that we took our honeymoon two months after the wedding and four weeks into my pregnancy, so Brian drank wine for two, bought great breakfasts, and wandered around Paris alone while I finished sleeping for 12 hours each day.
At the one year mark, we managed to celebrate our wedding anniversary at home with a lovely meal of steak, vegetables, cake, and wine. Only, after a half hour of trying to eat together, we had to eat the now-cold food separately while the other tended to our fussy two month old. Around this same time, we went out to meet friends at a bar with our little one nestled in a baby carrier. The couple in question were loving and affectionate towards each other and I remember thinking, “Ahhh, newlyweds.” Only later did I realize that they had gotten married around the same time we did. We were newlyweds, too, but in the midst all the chaos and mild terror that comes with a first baby, we’d kind of forgotten. read more »
I’ve never been one to sneak vegetables into food. I want my girls to embrace foods of all kinds and eat them gladly. But wanting things and having those things are not the same. And understanding the ever-changing likes and dislikes of a seven and three year old isn’t a science –– a dish one will eat in its entirety one week can easily go untouched the next. So it was a relief to see that both girls loved this pesto shells and cheese recipe. read more »
Certain winter vegetables feel like they are only for the most devoted seasonal eaters, with turnips and rutabagas at the top of the list. Ugly, with radish-y undertones, it’s not surprising these homely roots don’t make their way onto a lot of home menus. But, by this time of year, seasonal vegetables come down to a choice between bracing brassicas and sweeter vegetables like beets and sweet potatoes, or winter squash. And after all the sweets and rich foods of the holidays, the slight bitterness of brassicas make for a welcome change of pace. The humble turnip, for example, doesn’t just have to be buried in a stew. It can be a delicious base for a fresh salad. read more »
Peanuts were first. I’m not clear on exactly how it was discovered, but as long as I can remember I’ve been allergic. I was also allergic to tree nuts and avoided them, mostly. There was that one time on a plane when I ate that white chocolate almond-studded ice cream number. It was a cross country flight, I was alone, and a kid, so I ate the thing (though I did my best to pick out the almonds). Things turned out fine, but even then I knew I’d made a bad decision. read more »