Category Archives: food

Meatless May, Again. 

It’s that time of year. At least twice a week I get this sort of email: Dear Parent, please send in pictures of your child doing something she loves, something she hates, and something while speaking French and standing on one foot. OR this: Dear Parent, please come in to school for a two hour long presentation/party/celebration on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week and please make sure your child senses NONE of your resentment. And finally,  my favorite: Dear Parent, please purchase 200 pieces of poster board for the endless projects you and your child will fight about over the next five weeks. 

Luckily for me, it’s also Meatless May! And while it’s more of a Mostly Meatless May (meat can happen on weekends if need be), I actually feel like mostly is a pretty good bar, as in – I am mostly a decent mother, I am mostly a good wife, I am mostly a productive writer. 

Everybody gets on board with the meatlessness. My eldest loves it the most because he complains about the lack of variety come dinner time, which is actually how Meatless May was born. Last week he said, “Wow, you really turn into Guy Fieri in May.” I have no idea who that is, but I’ll take it. 

I rescued the veggie Pad Thai after the tofu turned into a gelatinous mush when I followed the recipe and tossed it in cornstarch (never again.) 

Even though know the chickpea omelette looks and sounds pretty revolting, it’s actually a big hit here. You have to ignore the fact that the batter looks like inedible gunge.

Everybody gamely tried the cilantro and basil pesto, even my youngest who believes that if it’s not covered in Nutella, it’s not actually a food.

The herbs are all made possible by M., who built these rockstar vegetable beds for Mother’s Day. 

(Never mind that I told him to build them in a spot which is under the shade of a giant tree and nothing will really grow except for the herbs. Never mind that instead of making me feel like an idiot, he offered to build me something somewhere sunny in the garden.)

I guess I can safely say that I am mostly capable.

Happy Meatless May, peeps.

Leave a comment

Filed under cooking, food, gardening, Mothers Day, school, Uncategorized

Garlic

I know this much to be true: 

1. If you are a nine year old girl, you should NEVER prank your older brothers.

2. If you are a nine year old girl, you should NEVER prank your older brothers if they are slightly unhinged and given to manic fits of vengeance. 

3. If you are a nine year old girl, you should NEVER prank your older brothers if they are slightly unhinged, given to manic fits of vengeance, and there is a bucket of crushed garlic in the house. 

The facts: 

I think it’s safe to say that I blame Costco for much of this. Costco and our gene pool. Someone thought it would be funny to prank her brothers by pulling a trick from their playbook and putting saran wrap on their toilet. 

Exhibit One:  

 
Said nine year old was ratted out by a witness before anyone peed on saran wrap. Many hours later, when her brothers were actually babysitting and she could not figure out why her room smelled so foul, she learned that they had EMPTIED A JAR OF CRUSHED GARLIC INTO HER BED. 
Exhibit Two: 

 
There is now very little left in this jar.

That is because there was garlic under the sheets, on the mattress, in the pillow cases, and once I began to toss sheets hither and yonder, there was also garlic on the floor, under the bed, and shortly thereafter, all over the laundry room. 

While I was definitely not yelling at them, I asked them both what possessed them to be such complete and utter asshats. 

Child: “She has to know when you’re pranked you have to fight back with a bigger, meaner, crazier prank.”

Me: “Yes, you do. Unless you are getting pranked by your nine year old sister and she just wants some attention.”

They felt awful. I didn’t yell, not because I didn’t want to (sadly, I always want to),  but because I didn’t have to. I left them on their hands and knees (in the company of a poor friend who happened to be sleeping over) scrubbing the floor, windows wide open, fans blaring. 

I did several loads of laundry. It turns out that it takes a few runs in the wash to get garlic out, and if you happen to wash garlic, you will be smelling it everywhere for days. 

I believe there was also a Costco-sized can of Pam involved, but I am trying not to think about it. 

1 Comment

Filed under children, food

Cakes of Fish.

The word fish-cake seems sort of unfair. Maybe fish-fritter would be better. Because the last thing you really want to do when you think about cake is to think about (or even worse, taste) fish.

But when you have leftover salmon there’s not much you can do other than throw it in a cake. I am not a lover of leftovers in general. But few things say revolting to me more than congealed fish in my fridge.

They are very fancy fish cake recipes. But any recipe that is more than three steps long confuses me. And the whole point of a fish-cake is to be easy. Thus, if I have to start boiling and mashing potatoes, or grind oat flour in the food processor which lives in my basement, then I’m out.  

 I just mash up the fish, throw in some sort of breadcrumb action, toss in some eggs, and squirt in the happy sauce. By happy sauce… I mean ketchup. I firmly believe there are a few things in life that cannot be improved by many layers of the red stuff.

I also, as a rule, do not fry.  I do not fry because I cannot fry. Frying to me means burning the pan, burning the food in the pan, melting the spatula in the pan, setting off smoke alarms, and living with the smell of the offending burnt food for days, not to mention tossing said food into the garbage, and eating cereal.

Therefore, the fish-cakes, like the chickpea fritters, are baked. The cakes do not in any way resemble peanut butter cookies, so nobody will be confused and wronged. 

 

As you may be able to tell from the picture, even if you forget about the fish-cakes, and only remember them when the smell of burning fish fills your house, they are still quite good.

2 Comments

Filed under children, food

One week in: Meatless May

Here’s what I have learned so far.

1. This stuff is awesome. 

 

2. I miss meat a little, but I do not miss cooking or eating chicken. This is surprising. M, who, if he could, would turn the smell of roast chicken into cologne, feels quite the opposite. (He confessed to me that he snarfed some chicken at his parents’ house last week.) 

3. Hanna’s miso salmon (see previous blog post) is spectacular. I made it two days in a row.

4. Overall, the kids are impressing me with their sense of culinary adventure… Which was really the whole point of this stunt of fleshlessness. 

5. It’s good to know your audience. My friend S gave me a recipe for chickpea fritters which included fresh parsley. My kids will eat herbs in a salad but if they appear in cooked food, looking all menacing, green and stringy: game over. I omitted the parsley — SUCCESS WAS MINE.

6. Sort of. Next lesson – BEWARE FOOD DOPPLEGANGERS. The above chickpea fritters looked remarkably like peanut butter cookies. 

Poor Efram took a bite thinking he was getting a cookie.  He was unable to move past the disappointment. 

7. Not all my adventures in vegetarianism will be a success: I made a revolting chana masala for Friday night dinner. It had the texture of vomit and the taste of tin foil. M, who would probably give away a child before he threw out food, tossed the entire pot into the trash. (I would tell you where the recipe is from, to warn you for making the same mistake. But M said mine didn’t remotely resemble the picture in the recipe, so I assume the mistake was all mine.)

8. Tomorrow is Meatless Mother’s Day. Honestly, I do not care if the children eat my food tomorrow. All I want for Mother’s Day is for them to be nice to me. All day. And do whatever I want.

1 Comment

Filed under food, parenting, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? 

I’m quite thrilled about my first ever guest blogger. One of my favorite things about my husband is his first cousin, Hanna. I absolutely adore her, and have from the moment we met. We truly bonded when we were both pregnant with our now eleven year old boys, and I had horrible insomnia. I’d call her in London while it was the middle of the night in LA, and we’ve been talking ever since — sometimes daily. 

Hanna is a remarkable cook, her recipes are fool proof, and if you don’t believe me – she blogs at http://www.buildingfeasts.com. (I know, I know, the pictures are INSANE.) 

Here is Hanna’s contribution to Meatless May. We had it for dinner last night, and I won’t pretend I wasn’t a little annoyed at what rave reviews it got: 
————

Firstly, I would like to say how totally honoured I am to be guest blogging here today. 

Despite being divided by an ocean (and for many years a continent to boot), Lea and I share a mutual love of books, art, shoes, dark chocolate, the colour lime green and the beach.  However, while she loves to run (I only ever run out of necessity), I love to cook (she claims only to cook out of an obligation to fuel her team).  

Three of our children are the same age.  In my early years of motherhood, this was somewhat anxiety producing for me.  Those Geller children would chow down on lentils (all pulses to be precise), quinoa, seaweed, tofu and devour every colour of the vegetable rainbow. Daily. Mine, on the other hand, had a very consistent white diet – fish and chips, grilled cheese, macaroni. Not even a stick of cucumber or a lick of pesto would pass their lips. 

During our almost daily catch up, we would discuss at length any recent shenanigans and of course, the menu. So here I was, in a cloud of shame and envy, a failed mother, giving recipe advice. I just did not understand. There was nothing I loved more than to cook.  And my children rejected it all.  And here was Lea, who claimed  that meal prepping was the bane of her existence, and hers ATE ANYTHING SHE PUT ON THE TABLE.
However, as the years roll on, I have come to the realisation that Lea secretly loves a little culinary endeavour. And here is how I have slowly come to that conclusion:

1. She always makes 57 items for the table (I make 3). 

2. There is always a backup option.

3 I have had many meals at her house, all of which are excellent. (Ed.: THIS IS A LIE.)

4. Only someone with a larder (pantry) as well stocked as hers actually loves putting meals together.  And it means that whenever I give her a recipe she always has every ingredient on hand.

5. She goes to the supermarket at least 5 times a week.  

Out of deference to this apparent (but not quite true) dislike of cooking, I want to share what I consider to be my most basic recipe, and assist the Meatless May campaign. Miso Salmon is loved by all (even my own boys who have finally increased their repertoire).  It has only two ingredients (I used to make it with a lot more), takes seconds to throw together and minutes to make. Et voila! Dinner.  

 Miso Salmon

I used to make the miso grilled salmon recipe from John Ash’s book, Cooking One on One, a staple in my collection and given to me by Lea many years ago.  But after my last baby, I was short on both ingredients and time and made this.  And it stuck.  It is so simple it is almost embarrassing to share.  But here goes.  It’s a winner.

Note:  I used 8 salmon fillets as the Geller family is larger than most.  But the general formula, is 1tsp white miso per fillet so it is a cinch to scale up or down. 

8 salmon fillets, skinned
8 tsp white miso (this is approximately 1/4 cup or 70g)

Take the salmon out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking to allow it to warm up to room temperature.  
Line a sheet pan with foil 

Rub 1 tsp miso onto each fillet and allow flavours to merge until ready to cook

Preheat broiler/grill

Place each piece on the prepared sheet pan and cook approx 3 minutes

Turn each piece over and grill another 3 minutes until just translucent in the middle.

Enjoy!

4 Comments

Filed under children, food, technology, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

Taco Tuesday meets Cinco de Mayo meets Meatless May.

I think I need to be stopped. As if I wasn’t making myself crazy enough, I decided tonight we needed to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Actually, my cousin Hanna, a fantastic food blogger, is really to blame. Sort of.

You see, every effing vegetarian cookbook has a recipe for a black bean burger. Those black bean burgers are unavoidable and inescapable. They have 9000 steps and one of them always involves grinding your own flour out of an oat or stomping barefoot on cashews to make paste. (Any recipe that has me hauling the food processor out of the basement is generally immediately suspect.)

Still, if the black bean burger was a staple, then God dammit I was going to make one.

Until Hanna talked me out of it.

She said the black bean burger would bring me nothing but disappointment and heartache. She said they would either disintegrate on the grill leaving me with an enormous mess and the smell of burning black beans, or they would stay whole (in the oven) but gum up in the kids’ mouths leaving them unable to breathe but just able enough to tell me how awful they were.

“You will spend all day making them. Nobody will like them. You will want to cry. Don’t waste your time. Sauté the black beans with onions, some cumin and salt, and use that for taco night.”

I don’t know how often taco Tuesday lines up with Cinco de Mayo, but I now firmly believe that if you celebrate both of them at the same time you will have five years of good luck. Our luck began when we got to have a vegetarian taco night, and I didn’t have to use that revolting fake meat, which I have said before I am sure is made from dodgy soy, used car tires, and gum.  Frances discovered that she does after all like black beans. That in and of itself was worth Meatless May. (Even if the beans look like rabbit poo. I have had several rabbits, so I know of what I speak.)

I like to relish whatever victories I have, even when they are minuscule. Happy Cinco de Mayo!!
 

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Vegetarian

Taco Tuesday meets Cinco de Mayo meets Meatless May.

I think I need to be stopped. As if I wasn’t making myself crazy enough, I decided tonight we needed to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Actually, my cousin Hanna, a fantastic food blogger, is really to blame. Sort of.

You see, every effing vegetarian cookbook has a recipe for a black bean burger. Those black bean burgers are unavoidable and inescapable. They have 9000 steps and one of them always involves grinding your own flour out of an oat or stomping barefoot on cashews to make paste. (Any recipe that has me hauling the food processor out of the basement is generally immediately suspect.)

Still, if the black bean burger was a staple, then God dammit I was going to make one.

Until Hanna talked me out of it.

She said the black bean burger would bring me nothing but disappointment and heartache. She said they would either disintegrate on the grill leaving me with an enormous mess and the smell of burning black beans, or they would stay whole (in the oven) but gum up in the kids’ mouths leaving them unable to breathe but just able enough to tell me how awful they were.

“You will spend all day making them. Nobody will like them. You will want to cry. Don’t waste your time. Sauté the black beans with onions, some cumin and salt, and use that for taco night.”

I don’t know how often taco Tuesday lines up with Cinco de Mayo, but I now firmly believe that if you celebrate both of them at the same time you will have five years of good luck. Our luck began when we got to have a vegetarian taco night, and I didn’t have to use that revolting fake meat, which I have said before I am sure is made from dodgy soy, used car tires, and gum.

Frances discovered that she does after all like black beans. That in and of itself was worth Meatless May. 

Even if the beans look like rabbit poo. (I have had several rabbits, so I know of what I speak.)

I like to relish in whatever victories I have, even when they are minuscule. Happy Cinco de Mayo!!
 

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Vegetarian