July 30, 2009

Right Now

Enjoying a shady playground despite the heat and humidity. Shovelling
sand, listening to cicadas, rocking babe. Summer, I love you.

July 28, 2009

Pasta with Arugula, Tomatoes, Feta, and Toasted Garlic

This is a summer favorite. Super easy to make, fresh ingredients and it packs up nice for a picnic! Just make sure you watch that garlic carefully while you toast it! From the fabulous Cafe Johnsonia.

Pasta with Arugula, Tomatoes, Feta, and Toasted Garlic

1 lb. spaghetti (or another kind of pasta)
2 cups arugula, washed and dried
3-4 Roma tomatoes
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (or as much or little as you like)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
salt and pepper

Bring 6-8 quarts of water to a boil in a very large pot. (I use a stock pot.)

Drop the tomatoes into the water and boil for a few minutes until the skins split. Transfer the tomatoes into a bowl of ice water. Let sit for a few minutes until tomatoes are cool enough to handle.

After the tomatoes have been removed from the stock pot, salt the water generously. Add the spaghetti and cook until the pasta is al dente. (About 7 minutes or so.)

In the meantime, slip the skins off the tomatoes and roughly chop them. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a small skillet and add the minced garlic. Cook garlic over medium heat until it starts to turn golden. Remove from heat to keep the garlic from burning. Set aside until the pasta is cooked.

When pasta has finished cooking, drain and place in a large bowl. Add the arugula, chopped tomatoes, crumbled feta, toasted garlic, and the rest of the olive oil. Toss to incorporate.

July 22, 2009

Connecticut Weekend...in photos

Friday morning we got a late start, then missed our train by 2 minutes (slow cab driver!), waited an hour for the next one, missed that one (don't ask!), waited another hour, and finally got on the train. We were all exhausted! Fortunately, the rest of the weekend was much more pleasant!

The Cove in Old Wethersfield.

Playing with the camera.

Chatting with family in perfect weather!

A whole lot of swimming!

Late night sparklers.

Berry picking in the hot, humid sun.
I meant to get out first thing in the morning, but you know how it goes.

Enjoying those sweet moments.

July 21, 2009

Rainy Day

right now...our hallway...how we "get out" on a rainy day

It's a rainy day here in New York City and according to the forecast it looks like the whole week will be gray and damp. By late afternoon I was feeling like I had wasted the day away since I am still in my p.j.s (well, all of us are).

But then I got to thinking what we have done today...so far:

*straightened up most of the house (it was a disaster!)
*cleaned the bathroom
*made breakfast and lunch
*kept both children happy
*built a fort
*sent out several e-mails
*Isabella decided to potty train herself!!!!!!
*took naps
*put on a puppet show
*played with clay
*nursed many times
*changed many diapers
*created a few blog posts
*vacuumed some of the apartment
*took out the garbage
*all while holding an unusually fussy Oliver
*and with minimal t.v./movie watching

Even if I'm still in my p.j.s it's been a great, productive day!

Pan-Roasted Corn Salad with Tomatoes and Feta

photo from Williams-Sonoma

Can I just tell you I absolutely LOVE this salad?! My friend, Beth, made it a few years back and it became of my favorite summer dishes. Yesterday I made it to the Greenmarket in Union Square, picked up fresh, juicy corn and some of the season's first tomatoes. Actually, all the ingredients (except the feta) came from the farmer's market yesterday. Oh, and the thyme...I'm growing that myself in my window herb garden. I made it up quick yesterday and took it to a picnic with some friends in Central Park. I LOVE SUMMER!

Pan-Roasted Corn Salad
A seasonal blend of sweet corn and juicy tomatoes is tossed with fresh herbs, spiked with lime and enriched with salty feta cheese. Serve as a light lunch with fresh baguettes, or as a side dish with grilled chicken or lamb kabobs.


4 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
2 to 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. coarsely chopped fresh thyme
1 bunch green onions, green portion only, thinly
sliced on the diagonal
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 to 3 cups halved cherry tomatoes
8 oz. feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Juice of 1/2 lime, plus more as needed
2 Tbs. finely slivered fresh basil


Holding each ear of corn by its pointed end and steadying its stalk end on a cutting board, cut down along the ear with a sharp knife to strip off the kernels, turning the ear with each cut. Alternatively, remove the kernels with a kernel cutter. You will need about 3 1/2 cups corn kernels. Set aside.

In a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm half the butter and 1 Tbs. of the olive oil until nearly smoking. Add half the garlic and sauté, stirring constantly, 20 to 30 seconds. Add half the corn and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden and just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add half the thyme and green onions and sauté for about 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining butter, 1 Tbs. of the oil, and the remaining garlic, corn, thyme and green onions. Transfer the mixture to the bowl. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

In another bowl, combine the tomatoes, cheese, the remaining 2 Tbs. oil, salt and pepper and toss gently to mix. Add the tomato mixture, the lime juice and basil to the cooled corn and toss to mix. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper and more lime juice. Serve at room temperature. Serves 4.

July 16, 2009


Since Oliver was born and summer is in full swing I've been craving more creativity in the kitchen. Some new recipes have been tasteless flops, but this one was amazing, packed full of spicy flavor. I keep thinking about these sandwiches since I made it two weeks ago; which is a sure sign of goodness. The leftover pickled onions are chilling in my fridge calling to me to use them again.

I found this recipe through Fresh Direct, a wonderfully convenient New York City company/service where I order groceries online and have them delivered to my door. I wish I had a photo of the beautiful sandwich, but there's only so much a hungry mama with two hungry babes can do at a time. Next time!


from "Rosa's New Mexican Table" by Roberto Santibanez

This sandwich is traditionally known as Cemita Estilo. In some parts of Mexico, cemita means a type of bread, but in the city of Puebla, a cemita is a sandwich made with chicken, beef, or pork milanesa (cutlets coated with seasoned bread crumbs and fried) or simply ham and cheese. At Rosa we feature chicken milanesa in our cemita, but you can substitute plain cooked chicken. If you have pickled onions and pickled jalapeños on hand, this is a snap (and the recipe can easily be doubled). The breaded and panfried chicken is delicious on its own as a simple dinner or lunch. Traditionally cemitas are made with papalo quelite, a pungent field green that grows wild. A mixture of cilantro and watercress is a tasty alternative. Be sure to choose ripe, soft (but not brown) avocados. One of the keys to a successful cemita is an avocado that is ripe enough to spread over the bread.

Makes 2 sandwiches

For the Chicken
One 7- to 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt, plus a pinch
1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon chile de árbol powder, or other pure chile powder
1 egg
1/2 cup coarse dry bread crumbs
Vegetable oil
For the Sandwiches
2 ciabatta-style rolls, about 6 by 4 1/2 inches, or 2 similar-sized sections from a long ciabatta loaf
4 teaspoons chipotle adobo puree (see note)
1 ripe Hass avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and sliced
Two 5 by 4 by 1/2-inch-thick slices queso fresco (about 6 ounces), or another mild, tangy white cheese such as feta.
1 firmly packed cup fresh cilantro sprigs (thick stems removed)
1 firmly packed cup watercress sprigs (thick stems removed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup Pickled Red Onions (recipe follows)
2 pickled jalapeños, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
For the Pickled Red Onions
1 1/2 pounds red onions, cut in half and then into very thin (about 1/8-inch-wide) strips, about 5 cups
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, or as needed
2 habanero chile

Bread the chicken: Set the chicken breast on a cutting board. Holding a knife parallel to the board, slice through the chicken starting at the thicker long side and stopping just before the chicken is sliced in half. Open the chicken like a book and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap.
Pound with a meat mallet to a fairly even 1/4-inch thickness. Cut the chicken in half.
Spread the flour on a plate and stir in 1 tablespoon of the salt, the oregano, and chile powder until evenly distributed. Beat the egg in a wide shallow bowl with the pinch of salt until very well blended. Spread the bread crumbs on a separate plate. Turn the chicken in the seasoned flour to coat all sides evenly, and tap off any excess flour. Turn the chicken in the egg to coat evenly, then hold it over the bowl to let any excess egg drip back into the bowl. Lay the chicken on the bread crumbs and turn once or twice, patting gently so the crumbs stick, until evenly coated.
Pour 1/2 inch of vegetable oil into a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat until rippling. Add the breaded chicken and cook until the underside is deep golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip and repeat, adjusting the heat as necessary so the chicken gives off a lively sizzle without splattering while cooking. Remove to a small paper-towel-lined baking sheet to drain. The chicken can be cooked up to 1 hour before making the sandwiches. Keep at room temperature.
Assemble the sandwiches: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
If necessary, remove the paper towel and rewarm the chicken on the baking sheet in the oven. Meanwhile, split the rolls or bread open, place on a baking sheet, and warm in the oven just until softened.
Spread the cut sides of each roll with the chipotle puree, then top both cut sides with the avocado slices and spread them evenly over the bread. Place the slices of queso fresco on the bottoms of the rolls and top with the warm chicken. Mound the cilantro and watercress over the chicken and drizzle the olive oil over the greens. Top with the pickled onions and jalapeýos, dividing them evenly. Cover with the tops of the rolls, press down lightly but firmly, and cut the sandwiches in half.
Note: To make chipotle adobo puree, scrape the contents of a can of chipotles en adobo into a blender and blend on low speed until smooth. Store any excess in a small glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
Pickled Red Onions: Toss the onions, salt, and oregano will in a mixing bowl. Pack them into a tall narrow glass or stainless steel container. Pour the vinegar over the onions, then add the lime juice. Press the onions down lightly; there should be enough juice to cover the onions. If not, add more juice. Cut a small slit in the tip of the habanero and tuck the habanero into the onions.
Weight the onions down lightly (a small heavy custard cup or ramekin works well). Refrigerate overnight. The onions can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

July 14, 2009

Getting Out!

Oliver has been an excellent travel buddy, letting me schlep him all over the city. Here are photos from some of our recent outings.

Our urban garden.


Central Park.

Meeting daddy for lunch.

Summer water exhibit @ CMOM

Unsupervised Toddler

This is what happens when baby #2 comes along.

The High Line

On the 4th of July we had fun visiting the recently opened High Line trail/park/path. It was quite lovely!

Strawberry Season

I love picking berries. We made it up to Connecticut briefly one weekend to introduce Oliver to everyone and to taste some yummy strawberries!

1 Month Already!

I really can't believe it has been a month since Oliver was born; but it also feels like he's been a part of our family forever.

Some observations on Oliver:

He often smiles--and sometimes chuckles--as he drifts off to sleep.
He likes to be swaddled.
When his hands make it to his mouth they are a yummy treat.
I love it when he gives me "kisses" (aka rooting).
He sleeps well until evening when Isabella is hungry and I'm busy trying to prepare dinner.
When he cries his face turns red, his bottom lip comes out so far and he usually only lets out one sweet holler.
He makes silly sounds--like a horse breathing through its lips.
Oh, how we all love him dearly.

July 10, 2009

True Story!

Two Saturdays back I had a party scheduled for a sweet little girl. Late that morning my assistant, Allison, came by my apartment, picked up the huge duffel bag full of kids science experiments, the cooler filled with dry ice and then headed to the Upper West Side to entertain a bunch of rowdy 5 year olds.

About 15 minutes later Allison called. My mind raced, "Did I forget to give her something?" "Is she lost?"

In a panicked voice she related how she paid the cabbie, told him to open the trunk and hopped out. Then the cab took off! Fast! With all the party supplies! She chased after the cab for three blocks and almost caught him stopped at a red light, but the light changed at the wrong time and she never caught him.

Since the party was about to begin and the "show must go on" I threw a whole 'nother party together in minutes and dashed down to the UWS in record time. Fortunately the kids were occupied with a craft, the mom was mellow, and I had a few fabulous gals who got everything set up quick. After getting all the supplies ready and making sure the mom and birthday girl were happy I headed home to feed my famished newborn and rest my healing body.

As for the duffel bag and cooler...Allison spent hours on the phone shuffling through the Taxi Commision beaurocracy, filing a police report and finally finding the supplies stuck out in Queens at "Taxi Fleet Managment". Last Friday while Brian and I had a car to go to the beach we stopped by the said Queens location. I walked in and waited. Within a few minutes, a man hauled the dufflebag and cooler out from the back and handed them over without saying a word.

July 8, 2009

Spare Moment, Free Hand

This a rare moment indeed: sitting at the computer, one hand available (Oliver in the other arm). My one-handed typing skills are definitely improving again!

Brian had last Friday off of work, so we rented a zipcar and headed to the beach in the morning. We were there a few hours and left by 11:30am, right before it began raining cats and dogs. It was fantastic!

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