quick

30 days of posting challenge: Day 9

When Shane has to work at 6pm, as he did tonight, the arrangement is that I pick up both kids from two different activities in two totally different locations. This gets us home around 7:15, barely—just barely—in time to avoid a dinner’s-too-late meltdown.

How totally surprised and delighted was I to come home to dinner all prepped and waiting on the stove? I was so totally surprised and delighted that I exclaimed out loud “Holy ho ho! I’ve got the husband of the year!”

I don’t know where “holy ho ho” came from.

Shane had made us a fresh pot of Penne Alla Vodka and a bowl of par-boiled pasta. He even left a previously boiled pot of still-warm water so that we were able to eat literally minutes after walking in the door.

Awesome sauce!

30 days of posting challenge: Day 6

Today was one of those days. Shane was working. I tried to do some unpacking since we moved back to our house in June and are still in boxes. Between 10am and 1pm, I managed to unpack approximately one box, thanks to my incredibly helpful offspring.

I tried to take the kids for a “fun” trip to Party City.

Mistake.

Took them to Trader Joe’s partly as punishment and partly because I wanted to buy wine.

Mistake.

After rolling all over the floor of Trader Joe’s, Sid screamed all the way home because he wanted to take his sweater off, but couldn’t because he was in his car seat. When we got home, he stripped naked in the parking lot and demanded justice at the top of his lungs.

By then, Shane was home so I locked myself in the office to contemplate what kind of salad might just be good enough to turn my day around.

I settled on this salad from Epicurious, but substituted walnuts for pecans, and radicchio and romaine for red endive.

It’s a lot to ask of a salad to be so good it turns your day from poop to gold, but this salad did it’s best and I give it an A for effort. And I’ll definitely make it again.

Shane made pork tenderloin.

 

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

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).

Summer!

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!

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.

Puttanesca and Irish silliness 

This week’s dinner awesomeness came in the form of pasta with puttanesca sauce (the kind without tuna) and a simple salad. The puttanesca recipe came from the Italian Classics book which Rose got Shane for Father’s Day at a yard sale. Aw.

We also had some fun on St. Patrick’s Day with green rice and some awfully good (and totally unrelated) lentils cooked like risotto. If you like lentils you should really try cooking them like risotto. Green rice is fine if you can get your head around it, or if you’re hungry enough.

Today is Shane’s birthday, so check back tomorrow for a post about everyone’s favorite topic… cake!