Category Archives: vegetables

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The Lovely List

roasted asparagus recipe with fried egg

Sometimes, I walk into my room and stare at my closet. Most of the time, it’s pretty disappointing. What happened to the cute clothes? I used to think I had a good collection. Now, I find it wanting. I have a lot of clothing lust and, therefore, I know it’s officially Spring.

Striped shirts. Polka dot shirts. I do not think you can own too many of them.

And, for Maeve?  A striped nautical onesie. Or, a striped baby tunic? Adorable.

I’m in love with these bright colored jeans.

Is it too crazy to wear a jumpsuit? I must confess to owning more than one already. I love them. However, I’m concerned they might not be conducive to breastfeeding. What do you think?

Every year, I buy a new pair of yellow sandals. You might be surprised, but I find they go well with nearly everything. I like this pair. This one is cute and comfortable too.

How about you? What are you dying to have for Spring and early summer?

What about your meals? What’s in season where you live? Here in Seattle, you can finally find juicy tender asparagus. It’s very exciting! Would you like to learn how to make the above dish? It’s in an article I drafted for the Spring edition of Jolie Magazine. I hope you find time to read it. It’s a good one.

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Fresh Herb Meat Marinara | The Staples

It seems like yesterday I packed up an impressive collection of shoes, more than a couple fake Chanel jackets and several gingerly rolled posters of Pre-Raphaelite redheads. I was headed to college and I didn’t intend on returning home to California at any point during this lifetime.  At the time, it didn’t matter whether I liked it here in Seattle or not. It was a city on the west coast and it wasn’t home. A two state buffer zone sounded perfect. I was so thrilled to start my new life I nearly raced off the stage during high school graduation. The only thing that stopped me was a terrible blistered sunburn dotting the back of my legs and four inch platform heels. Both things severely hampered my ability to walk, let alone run anywhere.

All this is really ancient history. However, the feelings of newness and wonder came flooding back to me last weekend as I chatted with my niece. She’s a freshman in college now. It’s truly hard to believe and quite interesting to behold. She’s still youthful, but just beginning to dip her toes into the adult world. Her excitement about her classes, her boyfriend, and her brand new apartment are simply contagious. She talks breathlessly about these subjects for hours on end with the kind of unbridled enthusiasm only a teenager can muster.

I love hearing about it all, but it’s especially fun to hear her talk about cooking for the first time. All signs suggest she is a budding foodie. She’s making curries. She’s cooking scrambled eggs with farm fresh eggs. She’s perfecting her cupcake recipe. And mishaps that would certainly test the patience of any wearied adult do not phase her in the least.  She tells me the quiche she made with the graham cracker crust wasn’t half bad. The brownies that failed to set? Of course, they were still edible.

I beam when I hear her discuss these things. My transition into cooking was a bit slower. In the dorms, no longer restricted to my mother’s bulk purchased puffed rice cereal, I feasted on vats of sugared cereals. There was an omelet bar, pizza whenever I wished, and baked goods everywhere. It was heaven until it wasn’t. I gained weight. I felt sluggish. That’s when I realized it was closer to hell.

Once I had my own apartment, I was thrilled to begin cooking. However, I didn’t really know where to begin. I burned a lot things. I undercooked others. I bought processed foods and, for a time, lived on a near exclusive diet of marshmallows and diet coke. I’m not proud of this. If I had to do it again, I might work on the staples. You’ve really got to have a few foolproof recipes in your repertoire.  These are the recipes you can whip up from your pantry or a quick trip to the market.

It never occurred to me to write about my basic meat marinara sauce until my conversation with my niece. Everyone needs a starting point and this meat marinara is an adaptable recipe. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. What you need is a basic recipe. Once you have it under your belt, you can explore and get creative. You can adjust the seasoning. You can use different herbs at different times of the year. And, when summer bestows upon you a bounty of garden tomatoes, you can toss them into the mix or even roast them.

easy recipe for spaghetti marinara sauce

I make this recipe for meat marinara often. It’s great when I have little time or energy to do much more. It’s perfect for a budding foodie or a busy mom who wants nothing more than to avoid the jar of tomato sauce at the market.

Enjoy your weekend.

Meat Marinara Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 shallots, chopped (about 2/3 cup)

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 tablespoons fresh herbs, finely chopped (marjoram, rosemary, basil, and oregano)

2 cloves garlic

1 pound lean ground beef

1 teaspoon each (kosher salt, garlic salt, freshly cracked pepper)

1 28 ounce can of diced organic tomatoes*

Pour the olive oil into a large frying pan and heat on medium for about 2 minutes. Add the shallots and red pepper flakes.  Cook until the shallots are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the herbs. Cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the meat and break it up into the pan adding the the salt and pepper to it as you break it apart.

Cook the meat over medium heat until browned, turning often. This should take about 7-10 minutes.  Add the diced tomatoes and their juices to the pan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Adjust seasoning to your liking.

Makes 4 healthy portions (perfect for a pound of pasta).

Serve immediately.

* Muir Glen makes a wonderful canned tomato.

travel vegetables

The Lovely List

Hi. I hope you enjoyed your week. If you live here in Seattle, you probably basked in the brief rays of sunshine. It was wonderfully invigorating, but so fleeting.

Those rays, however, did get me thinking about farmer’s markets and mounds of fresh asparagus. It’s just around the corner! If you live somewhere where you already have a bounty of asparagus, I highly recommend making this pizza. It was a staple in our household last year.

And, if you need something cute to carry your vegetable loot, try this adorable bag on for size. Or, maybe this one, which already looks worn-out in the best possible way.

There’s not a whole lot of time in my life for things other than baby rearing and this blog lately, but I did have time to make a pinafore for Maeve. I used this free pattern.  It was so easy!

When I eventually get a bit more time, I’m going to try making this oilcloth tablecloth. Isn’t it adorable and just perfect for meals on the patio and baby messes too?

Finally, what do you think of the photo at the top?  K took it last weekend during an engagement shoot. The whole photo session was modeled after the movie, “A River Runs Through It.” You can see the rest of the photos here. Breathtaking.

I will see you all next week. Happy adventures this weekend!

autumn baby easy fall greens travel vegetables vegetarian

Easy Collard Greens | Redemption | Last Hurrah

Seattle Food Blog, Collard Greens

A couple of months ago, I attended a fabulous food writers conference where one of the speakers was James Oseland of Saveur Magazine. I was thrilled. Not only am I a fan of this brilliant magazine, but I really fell for Mr. Oseland during Top Chef Masters. His discerning palate, but gentle delivery of constructive criticism were part of what made the Bravo T.V. series so addictive.

Thus, I made a plan introduce myself during the cocktail hour at the conference.  I walked outside where refreshments were being served and found Mr. Oseland surrounded by a bevy of admirers. He was also in close proximity to the lamb meatballs. I decided to wait a moment before introductions as the lamb meatballs were calling out to me. After all, one cannot deprive a pregnant woman of such savory treats. I figured this would also provide an opportunity for the coast to clear for an easier approach.

I popped a lamb meatball into my mouth. It was delicious and I was momentarily distracted by its extraordinary flavor. I skewered a second meatball nearly immediately after devouring the first. I eyed it with the hunger of a woman who needs to feed every hour on the hour. Just as I brought it up to my mouth, the glistening ball of meat slivered off the toothpick and tumbled straight down onto my pregnant belly.  I looked down in utter dismay.  There was a greasy streak of lamb about 12 inches long on my cream colored shirt. I nearly cried.

I looked at my friend M in dissapoinment.  She tried to convince me the stain was not apparent, but I knew it was. I was ashamed.  I returned, a filthy pregnant glutton, to my seat at the conference without meeting Mr. Oseland.

Given this sad history, you can imagine my surprise and delight when I learned K’s picture is featured prominently in this month’s Thanksgiving edition of the magazine.  The picture is shown above. And, yes, that’s me holding the strainer full of gorgeous collard greens. K took the picture in our garden last year.

There is something redemptive in seeing this image. Although I didn’t have the opportunity to chat with Mr. Oseland, it’s somehow enough to know that my prize collard greens earned a little piece of his admiration. He is, after all, the editor-in-chief of the magazine.

If you don’t have a copy of this month’s edition of Saveur, I encourage you to nab one while it is still available on newsstands. The magazine is wonderful and the section on collard greens will certainly inspire you.

Not familiar with collard greens? You should be. There is simply nothing quite like a plate of slow-cooked collard greens. They’re earthy, nutty, and a touch bitter. Here’s my favorite collard greens recipe.

For now, I bid you goodbye for the remainder of the week.  I’m taking one last jaunt before my little bun arrives next month.  K will be attending a Bay Area photography workshop so I decided to join him for a couple of days. Besides, it felt wrong to deprive my mother in San Francisco of seeing me with a lump of love in my belly. I’m sure we will both enjoy the experience. She can rub my belly. I can feast on treats in her kitchen.

Have a wonderful week.

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