Wednesday, September 24, 2014


The Mother's Prayer for Its Daughter

First, Lord: No tattoos.  May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but no Damaged, for it's the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach's eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half and stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her When crossing the street stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called "Hell Drop," "Tower of Torture," or "The Death Spiral Rock 'N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith," and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance.  Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. 

What would that be, Lord?  Architecture?  Midwifery?  Golf course design?  I'm asking You, because if I knew, I'd be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie with Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.  Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For Childhood is short- a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day- And Adulthood is long and Dry-Humping in Cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when one day she turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit.  I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, That I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 a.m., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.
"My mother did this for me once," she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby's neck.  "My mother did this for me."  And the delayed gratitude will wash over hear as it does each generation she will make Mental Note to call me.  And she will forget.  But I'll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.


Fey, Tina. Bossypants. New York: Little, Brown, 2011. Print.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


serves 6

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water

4 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, small-diced
1/2 cup apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam (see note)
2 tablespoons Calvados, rum, or water

For the pastry, place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Pulse for a few seconds to combine.  Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times, until the butter is in small bits the size of peas.  With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together.  Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Roll the dough slightly larger than 10 x 14 inches.  Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges.  Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.

Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem.  Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baller.  Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4 inch thick slices.  Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices.  (I tend not to use the apple ends in order to make the arrangement beautiful.   Sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup sugar and dot with butter.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown.  Rotate the pan once during cooking.  If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out.  Don't worry!  The apple juices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine!   When the tart's done, heat the apricot jelly together with the Calvados and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture.  Loosen the tart with a metal spatual so it doesn't stick to the paper.  Allow to cool anad serve warm or at room temperature.

Garten, Ina. Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2008. 191-3.


serves 6-8

1/4 pound ground chicken
1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons milk
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
 1 cup 1/4 inch-diced carrots (3 carrots)
3/4 cup 1/4 inch-diced celery (2 stalks)
10 cups Homemade Chicken Stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup small pasta such as tubetini or stars
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork.  With a teaspoon, drop 1 ti 1 1/4 inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  (You should have about 40 meatballs.  They don't have to be perfectly round.)  Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned.  Set aside.

In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot.  Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil.  Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender.  Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute.  Taste for salt and pepper.  Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted.  Ladle into the soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan cheese.

Garten, Ina. Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2008. 72-43.


This is one of my absolute favorite soups (probably only second to my grandma or my mom's stew!)
I have yet to use the chicken sausage.  I've generally used sweet/mild Italian sausage.  It comes out perfectly fine!
I've only gotten the dill proportions right on my first try, so I've started making it without, and it still has great flavor. 
I've also used store-bought chicken broth, and then the soup doesn't really require much additional salt, even with low sodium broth.


Makes 16 muffins

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 ounces ( about 1 cup) sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 half-pints fresh blueberries, picked through for stems

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place 16 paper liners in muffin pans.

In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed.  Fold in the blueberries with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup just over the top, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on the top and a cake tester comes out clean.

Garten, Ina. Barefoot Contessa Family Style. New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2002. 174.

I added chocolate chips, which I fell in love with the first time.  The second time, I felt like it clashed with the creaminess of the muffin but still complemented the blueberries well.  The next time I want to try Nestle Dark Chocolate Chips .
I was pretty stoked that I was able to get a 16 ounce tub of sour cream from Sprouts for only 99 cents!! Ridiculous!!
Try to avoid using frozen blueberries because it disintegrates into the muffin and causes soggy spots. 
It definitely made more than 16 for me, but I didn't use an ice cream scoop or fill it to the very top.
Hands down- best blueberry muffin I've ever had in my life!!  Every blueberry muffin will pale in comparison!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


"Before these rich had come we had already been infiltrated by another rich using the oldest trick there is.  It is that an unmarried young woman becomes the temporary best friend of another young woman and then unknowingly, innocently and unrelentingly sets out to marry the husband.  When the husband is a writer and doing difficult work so that he is occupied much of the time and is not a good companion or partner to his wife for a big part of the day, the arrangement has advantages until you know how it works out.  The husband has two attractive girls around when he has finished work.  One is new and strange and if he has bad luck he gets to love them both.

Then, instead of the two of them and their child, there are three of them.  First it is stimulating and fun and it goes on that way for a while.  All things truly wicked start from an innocence.  So you live day by day and enjoy what you have and do not worry.  You lie and hate it and it destroys you and everyday is more dangerous, but you live day to day as in a war.

It is necessary that I leave Schruns and go to New York to rearrange publishers.  I did my business in New York and when I got back to Paris I should have caught the first train from the Gare de l'Est that would take me down to Austria.  But the girl I was in love with was in Paris then, and I did not take the first train, or the second or the third.

When I saw my wife again standing by the tracks as the train came in by the piled logs at the station, I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her.  She was smiling, the sun on her lovely face tanned by the snow and the sun, beautifully built, her hair red gold in the sun, grown out all winter awkwardly and beautifully, and Mr. Bumby standing with her, blond and chunky and with winter cheeks looking like a good Vorarlberg boy.

'Oh Tatie,' she said, when I was holding her in my arms, 'you're back and you made such a fine successful trip.  I love you and we've missed you so.'

I loved her and I loved no one else and we had a lovely magic time while we were alone.  I worked well and we made great trips, and I thought we were invulnerable again, and it wasn't until we were out of the mountains in late spring, and back in Paris that the other thing started again.

That was the end of the first part of Paris.  Paris was never to be the same again although it was always Paris and you changed as it changed.  We never went back to the Vorarlberg and neither did the rich.

There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other.  We always returned to it no matter who we were or how it was changed or with what difficulties , or ease, it  could be reached.  Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it.  But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy."

Hemingway, Ernest.  A Moveable Feast. New York: Scribner. 210-11.

In regards to F. Scott Fitzgerald:

"His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly's wings.  At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred.  Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think and could not fly any more because the love of flight was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless."

Hemingway, Ernest.  A Moveable Feast. New York: Scribner. 147.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


10 slices smoked bacon or pancetta, preferably free-range or organic
small bunch of fresh mint (discard the stalks)
150g Parmesan cheese, finely grated (6 ounces)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
optional: 1 chicken stock cube, preferably organic
400g dried mini shells or other type of pasta (1 pound)
olive oil
knob (pat) of butter
300g frozen peas (2 cups)
2 heaped dessert spoons crème fraîche (2 tablespoons crème fraîche or
 heavy cream)
1 lemon

To prepare your pasta:
-Finely slice the bacon
-Pick the mint leaves and discard the stalks
-Finely grate the Parmesan

To cook your pasta:
-Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and drop in the stock cube (if using)
-Stir until it’s dissolved, then add the mini shells and cook according to the packet instructions
-Get a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a good lug of olive oil and the butter
-Add the bacon to the pan, sprinkle a little pepper over and fry until golden and crisp
-Meanwhile, finely chop your mint leaves
-As soon as the bacon is golden, add your frozen peas and give the pan a good shake
-After a minute or so, add the crème fraîche and chopped mint to the bacon and peas
-Drain the pasta in a colander over a large bowl, reserving some of the cooking water
-Add the pasta to the frying pan
-Halve your lemon and squeeze the juice over the pasta
-When it’s all bubbling away nicely, remove from the heat
-The sauce should be creamy and delicious but if it’s too thick for you, add a splash of the reserved cooking water to thin it out a bit
-Add the grated Parmesan and give the pan a shake to mix it in

To serve your pasta:
-Divide your pasta between plates or bowls, or put it on the table in a large serving dish and let everyone help themselves
-Lovely with a simply dressed green salad

Oliver, Jamie. Mini shells with creamy smoked bacon and pea sauce. Jamie Oliver: Official Site for recipes, books, tv, restaurants and food revolution. 9 Jun 2011.
In the first batch, I tried to drain the bacon fat and used heavy cream as a substitute for the crème fraîche which another site suggested.  Overall, the first batch did not have enough liquid..
I was really hesitant to try it with mint; and unfortunately, the amount I used was not noticable.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


serves 6-8
16 extra-large white mushrooms, caps and stems separated
5 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons Marsala wine or medium-dry sherry
1/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
3/4 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (6 scallions)
2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
5 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Trim the mushroom stems and chop them finely. Set aside. Place the mushroom caps in a shallow bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and the Marsala. Set aside.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it with a wooden spoon. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it's completely browned. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in the scallions, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the panko crumbs, stirring to combine with the other ingredients. Finally, swirl in the mascarpone and continue cooking until the mascarpone has melted and made the mixture creamy. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan and parsley and season to taste. Cool slightly.
Fill each mushroom generously with the sausage mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish large enough to hold them all in a snug single layer. Bake for 50 minutes, until the stuffing is browned and crusty.

Garten, Ina.  Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips.  New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2010.  184-5.

A scallion is a green onion.  (I did not know that.) 
There is an excess of filling leftover to fill more mushrooms or a site suggested stuffing for ravioli.
It did not require the whole 50 minutes.  The mushrooms shrink drastically and produce lots and lots of liquid. 
Next time, I might try substituting cream cheese for the mascarpone cheese.  (I'm thinking the Marsala and parsley may not make a big difference, but further experimentation is required.)