A math problem?


The morning after our snow day we had a problem to solve.  We had baked too many pieces of prosciutto for our grilled panini the day before.  Not ones to waste food, we formulated a plan for how to use the rest of the prosciutto while we ate our panini.   Some might call planning a meal while you’re eating another “a problem”.

Our plan came together in the form of a McMuffin style sandwich with a little more panache than the type that comes in a paper wrapper.  We added a little sprinkling of Grana Padano cheese to the bottom of the English muffin as well as to the top of a fried egg to melt it just ever so slightly.  The egg was still a little runny and the prosciutto was crisp and savory.  You will be happy to know that all of the prosciutto equaled all of the eggs and English muffins leaving us with no leftovers.  How’s that for kitchen math?


A Woman-Cooked Meal

Every once in awhile, when my husband has been on the road and eaten three too many fast food meals, he’ll call back and say, “I’m looking forward to a woman-cooked meal”.  It’s only funny because he isn’t a boorish oaf that would make sexist demands.  He’s the exact opposite of that.  I know that this means he misses us and looks forward to sitting around the table with us for a meal not served off of a plastic wrapper.

I had every intention of coming up with something really special for dinner the next night but the day got away and before we knew it, seven o’clock rolled around and I was looking for dinner options.  I pulled out the oldest and easiest standby, a bag of frozen tortellini and a bag of fresh sugar snap peas that usually get tossed with olive oil and freshly grated parmesan.  The boys love it and I feel a little less mother’s guilt because it’s a couple of degrees better than mac n’ cheese.

Last night though, I had a total brain storm.  Instead of just olive oil and parmesan, I made a carbonara sauce to toss with the sugar snap peas and hot tortellini.   It was, in the end, a “woman-cooked meal”.  I may have gotten a little help from the bacon but isn’t that what Feminism was all about:  bringing home the bacon and frying it up in the pan and never ever letting him forget that he’s a man?  (Before you compose that angry comment, watch the awesome Enjoli commercial for the 24-hour woman.)

Carbonara Tortellini and Sugar Snap Peas   serves 4 

1 lb tortellini

1/2 lb of sugar snap peas, fresh or frozen

1/3 of a pound of bacon, chopped into small pieces

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup of freshly grated parmesan

1 clove of garlic, crushed

freshly ground black pepper

Boil a large pot of salted water.  When the water comes to a boil, drop in the tortellini until they rise to the surface and the sugar snap peas until they are crisp tender.

In a separate bowl, beat two eggs with the parmesan cheese and set aside.

While the water comes to a boil, fry the bacon in a large sautee pan with high sides, until the bacon turns golden brown.  Once the peas and tortellini are cooked, drain and toss into the pan with the bacon and bacon drippings.  Remove the pan from the heat and then toss everything with the egg and cheese mixture until all is evenly coasted.  You don’t want to scramble the eggs, just warm them with the residual heat from the cooked pasta and peas.  Add freshly ground black pepper and crushed red pepper if you prefer a little more heat.


Quiche. Again.

Quiche is in pretty heavy rotation here, especially during the summer.  My plan was to make a mushroom and asparagus quiche, but the asparagus was way past its prime.  (Actually, my plan was to make the coffee-rubbed steaks I didn’t make on Sunday, but my steak was also past it’s prime.  I feel incredible guilt for both.)

So, quiche to the rescue again.  Specifically, a ham, mushroom, scallion and cheddar quiche.

I will make those coffee-rubbed steaks tonight.  I can’t let a steak recipe become my Everest.

– Catherine

A Little More Tutu and A Little Less “Toddlers and Tiaras”

I had a really ambitious dinner plan for last night.  Our daughter participated in her first dance recital yesterday and I thought we’d be celebrating as a family over dinner hours after arriving home.  She’s four years old.  Her most complicated dance routine to date has been “This is My Left Foot, This is My Right Foot.”

Given her age and dance credentials, I was expecting an adorable recital filled with pale pink tutus, wobbly plies and classical music.  Imagine our surprise when we realized that the recital included all dancers in the 2-18 year-old ranges, wearing shockingly revealing sequined costumes and makeup (which did not look like it was applied by loving mothers) while bumping and grinding to songs like “Barbie World”.  Have you heard the lyrics to “Barbie World”?

Oh, and did I mention that the recital lasted four hours?  All of which may have been tolerable if I wasn’t holding my other 18-month old daughter on my lap the entire time.  By the end of the 33-act (33!) recital, my arms and brain were equally sore.

Needless to say, we were shell-shocked when we got home.  Coffee-rubbed steaks and asparagus (a favorite of the four-year old set) was not happening.  Instead, my kids ate Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and my husband and I ate the most mentally restorative egg, avocado and cheese sandwiches for dinner.

One side of the sandwich was a classic “Toad in a Hole”; a piece of bread toasted in a skillet with an egg cooked in a hole removed by a biscuit cutter.  The other side of the sandwich was an intact piece of toast layered with cheddar cheese and sliced avocado.  When sliced in half, the runny yolk flavored each bite of the sandwich it touched with golden deliciousness.

It will be forever called our “Wishful Tutu” sandwich.   We paired huge glasses of red wine with dinner and toasted to the beginning of soccer season…

– Catherine

On Repeat

Our Swiss Chard situation got a little out of control this week (that’s it in the upper back right).  While we’re aware that Swiss Chard could be used in many other, delicious ways, there is just nothing like our stand-by, Polenta, Swiss Chard and Olive Oil Fried Eggs.  Yes, we did just eat this last week.  It’s that good.

The liquid you see pooled around the edge of the polenta is from the Swiss Chard.  I plated this a little sloppily, just grabbing the chard with tongs and throwing it on a bed of polenta without taking the time to squeeze out the excess water after sautéing it with olive oil, salt, pepper and lots of garlic.  I also took pictures a little hastily, after we started eating.  It’s that good.

You should make this before I tell you I’ve made it yet again.  Probably next week.  It’s that good.

– Catherine

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