vendredi, avril 29, 2011

oven fries

This recipe is always a winner in our house. We try to make enough to have leftover fries, which typically make their way into a Spanish tortilla.

From-Scratch Oven Fries

Makes 4 servings

1 1/2 pounds medium-size baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher or table salt
Ketchup (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Rinse potatoes in cold water. Drain and pat dry. Toss together potatoes, oil, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Place a lightly greased wire rack in a jelly-roll pan. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on wire rack.
  3. Bake at 450° for 40 to 45 minutes or until browned. Serve immediately with ketchup, if desired.

jeudi, avril 28, 2011

leek potato soup

Soup's on. (I had some leeks left over from last week's CSA share.) This one's a winner. I was skeptical about the buttermilk, but it balances the flavors perfectly. The soup itself tastes like a baked potato with sour cream.
Alton Brown's Leek Potato Soup
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 15 min
Serves: 6 servings


* 1 pound leeks, cleaned and dark green sections removed, approximately 4 to 5 medium
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* Heavy pinch kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
* 14 ounces, approximately 3 small, Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced small
* 1 quart vegetable broth (I used chicken stock)
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1 cup buttermilk
* 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
* 1 tablespoon snipped chives

  1. Chop the leeks into small pieces.
  2. In a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the potatoes and the vegetable broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream, buttermilk, and white pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately, or chill and serve cold.

mercredi, avril 27, 2011

street photography discovered

These shots are interesting not just for their artistic merit, but also because they were taken by an ordinary woman with an extraordinary eye. I'm curious how this nanny got to Yemen and some of the other places where she photographed. Unfortunately, much of Vivian Maier's story remains private (for now).
Amazing Mystery Photographer Comes To Fame After Her Death
An incredible story. Vivian Maier was a nanny who lived in Chicago for most of her life and passed away in 2009 at the age of 83. Little more is known about her, except that she was an avid street photographer. Her work was discovered at an auction in 2007, more than 100,000 negatives and undeveloped rolls of film, sold by a storage facility who were cleaning out her locker for delinquent rent. Here is a small sampling of Vivian Maier's stunning work from the Maloof Collection, spanning from the 1950s to the 1970s. Many of the photos, if they had any information at all, only provided a year and/or city.

been there, said that

Seba started crawling last night for the first time minutes after Leo got home from work. It was awesome, because both Leo and I got to see it and cherish the moment. As we headed to bed, I reminded Leo that sleep disturbances are common around the time that a toddler reaches each developmental milestone.

Suffice it to say that it wasn't a complete surprise to me when Seba awoke at 3 a.m. today instead of his usual 5-6 a.m. I still muttered the name of this book under my breath each time I heard him making the sounds he does as he gradually wakes up.
Go the Fuck to Sleep: a storybook for exhausted parents
Mark Frauenfelder at 3:48 PM Tuesday, Apr 26, 2011
Go the Fuck To Sleep is a bedtime book for parents who live in the real world, where a few snoozing kitties and cutesy rhymes don't always send a toddler sailing off to dreamland. Honest, profane, and affectionate, Adam Mansbach's verses and Ricardo Cortés' illustrations perfectly capture the familiar--and unspoken--tribulations of putting your little angel down for the night, and open up a conversation about parenting in the process. Beautiful, subversive, and pants-wettingly funny, Go the Fuck to Sleep is a perfect gift for parents new, old, or expectant. Here is a sample verse:

The cats nestle close to their kittens now.
The lambs have laid down with the sheep.
You're cozy and warm in your bed, my dear
Please go the fuck to sleep.

mardi, avril 26, 2011

craigslist jogging strollers

I'm on the prowl for a used jogging stroller. (Yes, I have a great umbrella stroller, courtesy of my friend Martha, but need something a little smoother for my all-terrain walks.) This ad slayed me. BTW, if anyone's selling a BOB (or can convince me why their stroller is as good) I'm all ears.
Dear people who think your USED jogging strollers are worth HUNDREDS - $9000 (San Diego)
Date: 2011-04-21, 4:58PM PDT
Reply to:

Dear people who think your USED jogging strollers are worth HUNDREDS of dollars:

I've had it with you and your $350 FIRM 3 year old USED Lance Armstrong edition BOB revolution and your $250 "decent" will not budge under any circumstances 20 inch allow wheeled baby joggers.

NEWS FLASH!!!!! You have this sick twisted emotional attachment to these strollers thinking of all your fond baby memories pushing around your little bundles of joy with smiles and giggles while the rest of us trying to purchase these are thinking of how many times your precious baby barfed, drooled, and shat all over the place and if we can even clean them good enough to actually feel comfortable putting our children in them.

You are selling a HIGHLY USED worn out stroller and GUESS WHAT....after three years of use they are not still worth $350 or more.

So, if anyone is interested in selling me their USED jogging stroller for a normal "this has been used for years with my drooly, farty, poopy, spilling baby" price, email me.

Oh and this goes for those of you who are selling USED Ikea furniture at astronomical prices as well.


Fed up craigslister.

* Location: San Diego
* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

dimanche, avril 24, 2011

breaking free of the "man box"

When I found out I was pregnant with my little boy, my friend Sally told me that there's something quite feminist about raising a compassionate son. She's right -- we're raising a little boy who will one day be a man and it's something Leo and I think a lot about.

This powerful TED Talk looks at the consequences of putting our sons into the "man box."
What’s Wrong With Being a “Man”?
At TEDWomen, Tony Porter makes a call to men everywhere: Don't "act like a man." Telling powerful stories from his own life, he shows how this mentality, drummed into so many men and boys, can lead men to disrespect, mistreat and abuse women and each other. His solution: Break free of the "man box."

vendredi, avril 22, 2011

epic eating in penang

I will forever remember Penang.

Leo and I followed advice from our friends Ash and Reggie and enjoyed many amazing meals. I'm looking forward to taking Seba there when he's old enough to appreciate the UNESCO World Heritage-designated city, gorgeously diverse and friendly people, unique harmony between Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims, and Christians, and (of course) the food.
12 dishes, 12 hours: Epic eating in Penang! « Street Foodie

samedi, avril 16, 2011

dimanche, avril 10, 2011

sweet potatoes, apples, and braising greens

We got a bunch of braising greens in our CSA share this week, so Leo found this recipe and I made this tonight, along with some pork sirloin chops in currant sauce.

The apples alone are to die for. Adding the sweet potato and the greens made for a nice balance of flavors.
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into quarters, then cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 3 tablespoons melted
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 medium baking apples, such as Sierra Beauty or Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into sixths
6 cups loosely packed braising greens such as kale, chard, or collard greens, stems removed and torn into 2-inch strips

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. On foil-lined baking sheet, toss potato slices with 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bake until cooked through and slightly caramelized, about 20 minutes. Keep warm.
  3. In heavy medium skillet over moderate heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add apples and sauté until tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Keep warm.
  4. In heavy large pot over moderate heat, combine remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons water. Add greens and sauté, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Lower heat to moderately low and add sweet potatoes and apples. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Serve hot.
Makes 10 servings

Adapted from Sweet Potatoes, Apples, and Braising Greens by Traci Des Jardins (Jardinière Restaurant, San Francisco) Epicurious, November 2007

lundi, avril 04, 2011

the power of vulnerability

Over the years, I've realized that I experience the most joy when I make myself the most vulnerable, when I decide to choose fearlessness and take the biggest chance in hopes of an even greater reward. To be sure, sorrow, fear, and painful disappointment have been part of that equation. But joy beyond words has also been the result.

Brené Brown studies human connection -- our ability to empathize, belong, and love by analyzing vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. Her talk on the power of vulnerability blew me away.

I've captured just a few of the things she said, but there is so much more in the talk. Enjoy. And be vulnerable.

"Maybe stories are just data with a soul, you know, and maybe I'm just a storyteller."

"When you ask people about love, they tell you about heartbreak. When you ask people about belonging, they'll tell you about their most excruciating experiences of being excluded. When I asked people about connection, the stories they told me were about disconnection."

"Courage -- the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart."
"They were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were."
"They fully embraced vulnerability. They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful."

"Here's the thing -- I'm struggling. I know that vulnerability is kind of the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness. But it appears that it is also the birthplace of joy,of creativity, of belonging, of love."

You know how there are people who when they realize that vulnerability and tenderness are kinda important, they surrender and walk into it?
A) That's not me. And B) I don't even hang out with people like that.

Religion has gone from a belief in faith and mystery to certainty. I'm right, you're wrong, shut up. That's it.

This is what politics looks like today. There's no discourse anymore, There's no conversation.. There's just blame. You know how blame is described int he research? A way to discharge pain and discomfort.

We perfect, most dangerously, our children. Let me tell you what we think about children. They’re hard-wired for struggle when they get here. When you hold those perfect little babies in your hand, our job is not to say, “look at her, she’s perfect. My job is just to keep her perfect and make sure she makes the tennis team by fifth grade and Yale by the seventh grade.” That's not our job. Our job is to look and say, “you know what? You’re imperfect and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” That’s our job. Show me a generation of kids raised like that and we’ll end the problems we see today.

But there’s another way, and I’ll leave you with this. This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee; to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we’re wondering, ‘can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?’ Just to be able to stop and instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say ‘I’m just so grateful. Because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.’ And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we’re enough. Because when we work from a place that says ‘I am enough’ then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.”

samedi, avril 02, 2011


Believe there are no limits but the sky. - Cervantes

cass' oreo pie

My friend Cass makes a phenomenal oreo pudding pie that consistently wins favorite dessert contests at work. I asked her to share the recipe with me and she did.

1 package oreo cookies, crushed into crumbs
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 large tub cool whip
1 package chocolate pudding mix
  1. Use food processor to crush oreos. Pour crumbs into a pie plate. Pour butter over crumbs and pack to make a crust.
  2. Beat cream cheese and sugar until combined. Fold in half the cool whip. Place in a layer on crust.
  3. Prepare chocolate pudding. When set, place in layer on top of cream cheese mixture.
  4. Spoon remaining cool whip on top of pudding layer.