Monday, October 26, 2015

crockpot chicken chili

See you in 10 hours, crockpot chicken chili.

Over three months ago I wrote about Sour Cherry Conserva and then vanished into the void. I can’t feign apology, because I don’t think many people noticed, and I’m not saying it to be all , don’t make me sing! I mean that in the sense that we are all busy and have a lot of things going on. And the living—the real kind, that is—is made up of human interaction, not bits and bytes via a series of tubes. And these months, I’ve been focusing on exactly that with a tiny human who has enough energy to power a small town.

One quick aside before I cut right to the chase: many of you have asked what I feed Avi now that he’s older and eating solids. I’m happy to write about various things I’ve cooked for him, but I don’t want to sound at all condescending or suggest that there’s a right or wrong way to feed babies. So, if you’re interested, I’m happy to share what works for us.

Anyway—let’s get right to business, shall we?

Continue reading crockpot chicken chili.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

sour cherry conserva

I've been bringing breakfast to work lately. A dollop of sour cherry conserva covered by plain full fat yogurt - this was inspired by the superb White Moustache yogurt which is ne plus ultra of yogurts. I even reuse their jars which are perfect yogurt ves

In the first few weeks that we brought Avi home, I was convinced that I’ll never cook again. I was tethered to him night and day. Between feedings, pumping sessions, more feedings, a few stolen naps here and there, and severely fractured sleep, I thought that throwing a piece of meat in the slow-cooker and dumping tomatoes over it was going to be as advanced cooking as I was ever going to do. But you good people, you assured me that one day, in not so distant future, I would cook again. And I didn’t believe you. Honest to goodness I thought you were all full of shit. I even laughed to myself about it – the kind of mirthless laugh that’s full of regret. Cooking was, is, and will be the way I anchor myself to the world. It’s the way I know how to make myself feel like I belong somewhere. And not having that piece of myself made me feel unmoored.

I’ve been meaning to drop in here sooner and write about postpartum anxiety, and somehow I haven’t been able to find the right words. I still don’t think I have them, but screw proper phrasing and waiting for the right language to present itself. Here’s the gist. Around eight weeks after Avi was born, I decided that what I was feeling and going through wasn’t healthy. In addition to being severely sleep-deprived and shell-shocked from transitioning from a household of two adults and one large cat, to a households of two adults, one large cat, and a tiny screaming baby – who refused to sleep anywhere but on a human (which at nights meant me) – I was also severely anxious.

Continue reading sour cherry conserva.

Friday, April 17, 2015

lentil kofta curry

Last night's most excellent dinner. On the blog in a bit. Thanks, @taraobrady for the recipe and for your beautiful book!

It’s a rainy Friday April afternoon and as I try to write this post, I’m a little bit at a loss where to start. There’s a lot on my mind: upcoming return to work, Avi making these funny new clicking sounds, the desire to make myself another pot of coffee, and at what point can you say that your slouchy boyfriend jeans are a too slouchy, i.e. you look like you’re wearing mom jeans. I contemplate important questions, folks, don’t ever doubt that.

I know that there are things I promised to write about – and I will – when I have more time to tweak and edit, but today, I want to talk about friendship. These days I sing a lot of friendship songs with Avi – or to be exact – for Avi. Our nanny got him this CD of Russian children’s songs – the songs of my childhood – and I get to relive my wee years by singing along to Avi. He loves it so much, you’d think he got front-row seats to his favorite act, and maybe, in a way, he has. I’m no Pavarotti, but Avi thinks I’m bloody brilliant. As far as he’s concerned I deserve a Grammy for my covers of Russian Winnie the Pooh songs. Taylor Swift, you better watch out.

Continue reading lentil kofta curry.

Friday, April 10, 2015

gong bao chicken with peanuts

Gong Bao chicken - plated. Excellent and will become a regular staple here.

This gong bao chicken (also sometimes written as kung pao chicken) with peanuts is the second new thing I’ve cooked since Avi was born. The first was that amazing pot roast from Deb that I’ve been making entirely in the slow-cooker. There’s also been some light cooking happening, mostly of old favorites and quick weeknight meals that can be made in advance and reheated, or meals that come together in a flash. And I’ve gone so far as to make Marcella Hazan’s bolognese while Andrew’s mom helped to watch Avi. But what I’ve stayed away from was opening cookbooks and learning something new. It was as if my brain was incapable of processing new information. In a way it was — I wanted to write today about postpartum anxiety, which I was diagnosed with a few weeks ago — but I’ll save that for another day, for another post. I’m doing better, I think, than a few weeks ago, but it’s something I definitely want to talk about here in hopes that it might help another new mom or make us all more informed collectively. This parenthood thing is not for the faint of heart.

In a little over a week and a half, on April 21, I go back to work, and I can’t wait. It’s strange to realize that I love my work so much, I have been missing it over the last ten weeks. I also miss the routine and control over my schedule. I’m excited and nervous about striking a balance that works for me; but I’m also a little sad to leave Avi — right as he’s getting more interesting and fun – I have to leave him. I’ve been thinking a lot about the US maternity leave (and how much it is lacking compared to other developed countries), and there’s not much I can add that hasn’t been said before by people far more eloquent than me. It’s a funny conundrum: While I’m ready for more structure, I wish, at the same time, there was more time to see how Avi develops and changes. He’s currently into being sung and read to, likes having a conversation while getting his diaper changed, seems to love both Dvorak and Dr. Dre, and gets really mad when you take the bottle out of his mouth mid-feeding. And I mean, furious! Overall, he is smiley and wiggly, and is turning into such a fun little guy. Also, that hair!

Continue reading gong bao chicken with peanuts.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

leek and potato soup

There's a lot to be said for something as humble as leek potato soup. One of the best things about winter - filling and comforting.

Greetings from winter wonderland and the fortress of sleep deprivation; a hastily written dispatch here! Quickly, before Avi wakes up; before the snow melts!

I had initially thought I’d missed the soup season. It’s March after all, and I am hearing complaints from everywhere just how over winter they are. I’ll agree that the cold has been relentless and painful; but here in New York, we got the shaft as far as snow is concerned. If we’re in for a mild winter — fine; but if it’s going to make me pile on layers, please bring on the snow. I don’t want to suffer in vain.

I wanted to tell you about leek and potato (potato and leek?) soup before Avi was born. I had gotten into the Sunday cooking habit of making a large batch while cooking (and freezing) other things. But then I gave birth, and almost six weeks later, I’m still not better off managing my time. Because the concept of “my time” has, at least for awhile, been radically altered. I’m on Avi’s time, Avi’s schedule. I’m still wrapping my brain around that whole parenthood thing. Talk to me in a few years – I bet you I’ll still be trying to grasp it.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

he’s here to stay

My hand for scale. #avigram

Hi friends, hope you’re surviving February. That massive silence that followed my last post, the one where I told you about my favorite brownies and where I promised you a worthwhile recipe for leek and potato soup, that silence was us having a baby.

A blizzard baby to be precise. We did it. Avi is here. And he’s here to stay.

Continue reading he’s here to stay.