Easy for a crowd

We had big numbers at the Cape this weekend. Though I can take no responsibility for it (I was there with both kids and no husband) I have to say, the meals were super-successful and seemed relatively easy to prepare, serve and clean up after.

Friday night was Green Posole, the most delicious quesadillas—I don’t know what André did, he said it was just olive oil—and a gorgeous salad. We did our new-ish paper plate, buffet-style, eat-outdoors-while-kids-run-around thang and it was seamless.

Saturday we had Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Tzatziki, sausages and salad. The pasta dish is always a winner and is super-easy to prep ahead of time. Also, it doesn’t need to be served super-hot which is good when you’ve got people coming and going, which we did.

Thanks to Jenya and André who really pulled the whole thing off.

Solo salad

I’m super bummed to be missing out on being on Cape Cod eating my all-time favorite dual-purpose vegetarian and/or turkey chili, and hanging out with friends whom I haven’t seen in eons—not to mention friends & family I see all the time.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my nearly 10 years of being a parent, it’s that when your child has a stomach bug, the best thing you can do for the child, for yourself, for your sanity and for all of humankind, is to get that child the hell away from everyone else as soon as possible!

So Rose and I are back from the Cape early, she is recovering on the couch, and I’m going to make the most of my time at home. Starting with one of my favorite salads: roasted eggplant, goat cheese and arugula with a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

Be well, one and all.


TLTs and BLTs

Actually, tofu, lettuce and tomato sandwiches (aka “TLTs”) are really good.

I’m sure BLTs are good too, but I’ve never had one. Nor had I ever had a TLT, until last night.

When Shane called and said “We’re having BLTs tonight, Nina, and I got you some tofu.” I didn’t complain. Not only because Shane was doing the cooking, but because a TLT sounded kinda good.

Here’s how you do it: Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment and spray with cooking oil (I like canola). Slice a block of extra-firm tofu into 1/4″ – 3″8″ slabs and lay them out on the greased parchment. Drizzle them with soy sauce. Really, you can douse them, tofu can totally take the salt. Then spray them with more cooking oil, right on top of the soy sauce. It seems weird but it works. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the slices begin to get a bit leathery.

Meanwhile, clean some Boston lettuce leaves and slice up some tomatoes. Toast your favorite kind of buns in butter (we used challah). When the tofu is ready, assemble your TLT sandwich with mayo and Frank’s Red Hot. Yum!

Optionally, you can tuck into a traditional BLT, as demonstrated by Rose below. P.S. Don’t forget to follow us on instagram @thesteadytable it’s really where all the action is these days. xo

Father’s Day

“All I want for Father’s Day, Nina, is steak and eggs for breakfast.” said my husband (and father of my children). So that’s what we had, plus cheese biscuits.

The eggs were from Drew & Cathy’s own, happy, western Mass, free-range, table-scrap & weed-fed chickens. They were particularly beautiful and extremely delicious.

Cheese biscuits are really my sister’s gig, but she wasn’t here so I took a stab at them. They came out good. The recipe is below. Here’s to all the good dads out there. Or as my mom likes to call them: the motherf#*kers.

Cheese Biscuits •
Adapted from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads
Makes 20-24

4 cups flour
8 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1-1/2 cups grated cheddar
2 cups whole milk at room temperature

Heat oven to 450. Line two baking trays with foil and grease them. 

Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

Cut in butter using a pastry cutter or two knives. Stir in grated cheese. Add milk and mix until just combined.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Flatten into an approx. 8″ x 8″ square, fold square in half and flatten again. Do this two more times lightly dusting work surface as needed to keep dough from sticking. 

Flatten dough to 1/2″ thick and cut buiscuits with a glass. Gather remaining dough, flatten again and cut until there’s no more dough. 

Place biscuits about an inch apart on prepared baking trays and bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden. Serve warm with butter.

Hot days

Mostly, we’ve been on Instagram @thesteadytable these days. With our big move back to our new/old house unpacking has taken priority over posting.

But tonight it’s hot. Crazy hot. Too hot for unpacking.

We’re having cilantro-lime chickpea, jalapeño & corn salad, Caesar salad & dawgs (which will ultimately be cooked).


Bowties with breadcrumbs, gruere & squash

Bowties with Breadcrumbs, Gruyere and Squash is one of those dishes that sounds kinda weird but is actually really good and interesting. I posted about it once before, but to be honest my photos didn’t make it look all that appealing, and so I won’t blame you if you didn’t try it.

The recipe is from the cookbook Keepers which is a great source for quick weeknight meals. This one takes very little effort, just basically grating and boiling.

I like to serve all of the parts separately, that way if certain people don’t like certain things they can skip them. Also that means I can go real heavy on the squash for a nice, high veg-to-pasta ratio.

You can use whatever kind of pasta you like. In fact, I don’t think we’ve ever used fusilli, which is what the recipe calls for. Also you don’t have to restrict yourself to zucchini, summer squash works real well in this dish too. And if you’re a vegetarian, go ahead and skip the anchovies, it’s just fine without them.

Here’s the recipe. Oh also, we’re on instagram now, please follow us @thesteadytable Enjoy!

Weeknight salad win

Greek Salad

Sometimes in my struggle to get Rose to eat food that isn’t complete junk, I forget that she loves Greek salad. Recently, we’ve been all about feta, romaine and olives.

This is a great salad to make in bulk, so long as you don’t dress it, a big salad can last for a few dinners.

All you need is some nice romaine lettuce (chopped up), decent tomatoes (campari tend to be reliable), cukes, Kalamata olives (pitted – do yourself a favor), some great feta (french and bulgarian are my personal faves) and fresh oregano leaves.

The fresh oregano leaves really make the dish, just wash them and throw them right in there with the romaine. We don’t add raw onions or anchovies, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

For dressing, make (or open a bottle of) your favorite vinaigrette. If you use some of the brine from the feta, it adds a nice salty flavor and takes down the tang of the vinegar in the dressing. Don’t forget to serve it on the side if you want to stretch your salad for a few days.

Now go, eat!

Easter Saturday 2017

This is the first Easter in forever that we have not had at my parents’ house. That’s because their lovely house is currently being torn apart and turned into a two-family house, with one unit for my folks and one for our crazy gang of four.

We had our annual Easter Saturday lunch and egg hunt at my parents’ temporary gigs, where due to size restrictions we simplified significantly. My mom asked people to bring salads and she and my dad served up lots of good bread, cold cuts and other sandwich fixings.

It was not our usual savory pie extravaganza (which you can read about here, here, here and here) we’ll get back to that next year, but it was easy and perfect. And a gorgeous day to boot.

As always, there were over 100 eggs and a gang of kids who were delighted to find them. This year, the eggs were numbered and it wasn’t the kid who found the most eggs, but the kids who found the three lucky eggs with a fiver in them who won. So basically everybody was happy and every kid won.

After lunch we died eggs using tinted shaving cream in plastic bags, which was pretty weird and also lovely to behold.

Christ is risen, y’all.


Sous chef Sid and eggplant

I love me some roasted eggplant. It’s my go-to thing for when my family is eating meat, or just to have on hand for adding to salads to make them more delicious and special.

The easiest way I’ve found to cook eggplant is to slice it thin-ish, lay it out on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spray with spray oil, sprinkle with salt, flip over, do the same, and then roast at any old temperature (really—I just bung it in the oven with whatever else is cooking, it’s very forgiving) until soft and a little golden. Flip it halfway through if you like.

It may seem weird to hear me talk about using spray oil—it’s weird for me to hear me talk about it—but after experimenting with lots and lots of eggplant-roasting methods, I realized that this is really the best and easiest way to evenly coat your eggplant with oil.

It may make you feel a little better to use canola or olive oil spray rather than Pam which can seems ambiguous in terms of being something that’s ok to consume.

Are you dying to know what’s in the taped-up aluminum foil box? I know you are. That, my friend, is the work of sous chef Sid. We discovered these gorgeous tomatoes called flavor bombs which—contrary to what the color, flavor and name would lead you to believe—are not actually genetically modified.

Sid thought they would best be presented like so:
And then insisted we tape the box back up. Thanks for the help little guy.

All hail the hot dog

Hot DogsLook, I don’t eat hot dogs, I don’t even like them, but give me some dogs on a busy weeknight and I’m one happy mother. Why? Because while my family is happily eating their meat, I can have a lentil salad with roasted beets and goat cheese all to myself.

Lentil SaladI’ve been making lentils cooked like risotto lately and they’re really good. You can eat them on their own or combine them with salad stuff (like roasted beets, goat cheese and arugula) and a simple vinaigrette for a complete meal.

• Risotto-style Lentils •
Serves 4 as a side dish

2 tablespoons butter
1 small or 1/2 an onion chopped fine
1 cup small green lentils
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups vegetable broth or water mixed with 2 teaspoons vegetable Better Than Bouillon

Sauté your onion in the butter on medium low heat until soft and translucent. While that’s happening, heat your broth to a simmer and leave it simmering. When onion is soft, reduce the heat to low, add the lentils and stir until they’re coated with the butter. Add the wine and stir until evaporated. Add the broth one ladle-full at a time, cooking the lentils slowly stirring occasionally until the broth is nearly absorbed. Add more broth as the broth in your lentils gets absorbed.

Cook for about 25 minutes at which time the broth will probably be all gone. Test lentils for doneness and add a bit of water if they are not tender enough yet. Cover and cook until they reach desired tenderness – keep them moist with more water as needed to keep them from getting dry. Serve as part of a salad or however you like.