There are pluses and minuses with a last-minute trip. On the upside, you get out of your immediate surrounds, and sometimes, that’s just what you need after a couple of stressful weeks. For the chief cook in the house, there’s a break from planning and cooking meals and packing lunchboxes (as with any trip, really). You could save money, like in our case with this road trip to Washington, D.C. as opposed to flying somewhere. On the downside, there’s a long stretch of driving, which my husband thankfully offered to do on the way there and which we split on the return journey. And one might forget things in the frenzy of packing and have to drag male children into Victoria’s Secret, where they blush and comment on how female the place is. “Look, that woman is practically naked!” one cries in horror. I reckon they’ll change their tune in a few years 😉
The lack of planning aside, however, we lucked out on food, which was the only thing on our agenda after we arrived in D.C. late on Monday.
Contrary to our usual flurry of activity and playing the tourist at the weekend, today we took it easy. After pottering around the house and doing our 4th grader’s helping our 4th grader with his French project, we did a bit of window shopping for outdoor furniture. Then, a welcome stop at our local wine store, the Amanti Vino, to pick up our club wines. We’d been members of the WSJ Wine Club in the early recession days (before newspapers dared to use the R word) but were thrilled to find this great deal close to home 😉 Two outstanding wines, from anywhere in the world, specially picked out by the store every month, allow us to try a much wider variety than we otherwise would, and to discover new favorites along the way. (more…)
Another favorite of the kids (and us, too). This is a dish that can be purely vegetarian, or fishyterian. We go meatless 3 or 4 times a week and I find these are the meals the kids can demolish in minutes, possibly due to the lack of chewing?! They’re perfectly content with wholegrain pasta with a homemade tomato sauce, into which I bung a few other veggies too, plus lots of cheese, or wholegrain chapati (an Indian flatbread) and dhal and chickpeas with tomato, or noodles done any style, like this one with Asian spicing. Of course I couldn’t hold back and added chillis to the peanut sauce, but you don’t have to. And yes, the entire family gobbled it up!
Those with nut allergies may easily substitute the peanut content for a few tablespoons of sunbutter or no-nut pea butter.
This is what we did for Easter. Had a fabulous jaunt in Brooklyn’s Botanical Gardens (combined with a matzah ramble and picnic – second last day of Passover), which is having a cherry blossom festival, and then we joined our friends Rachael and Mark and family for an egg hunt at their home, followed by a veritable feast. And that was just tea (I didn’t have a chance to take photos of the rest of the food) – imagine what they do for brunch or dinner! I brought along my Passover Toffee-Chocolate Matzah Brittle, which, I can now proudly say, has been tried, tested and approved by no less than a rabbi! I desperately wanted to bring along a proper Easter dish, but it was hard to think what exactly, when no grains are allowed within 200 feet of me. But the brittle went down a treat with Christians, Jews and atheists alike, and I have improved my original recipe, so keep checking back for the details 😉
Now, here’s a story of family Easter celebrations by Georgette Gilmore, a friend and owner and editor-in-chief of the wonderful kids’ blog, Barista Kids.
Coming from a home with an American, Southern Baptist mother and a Greek father, our table was filled with a rich culture of foods. American Easter was religious and Greek Easter was all about the food. It was cultural for us and my favorite holiday.
It’s so thrilling to see that, in between the downpours and floods, spring is here with a vengeance! Last night, we had friends over and took advantage of the gorgeous weather to barbecue. On the Passover BBQ menu were: Asian-spiced chicken fillets and legs, peanut gravy with Thai basil, salmon with honey and soy (very scrummy, and brought over by my friend Gudrun), tomato salad, green salad with cranberries, rice pasta and veg salad in pesto, finished off with fresh berries, meringues and whipped cream. Yum! Three fantastic things about doing a barbie – it’s always delicious, the mess is outdoors, and the hubby cooks 🙂 I was worried I hadn’t cooked enough because the food had all disappeared, except for some of the orange-scented cream which I rediverted to the next morning’s meal (see below). (more…)
Is there a fragrance more enticing than that of a home-brewed chicken soup? Everyone I know attests that their own mothers and grandmothers make the best chicken soup (top prize in my case goes to my mum-in-law). I grew up having lots of chicken soup, although much of it was the sort that goes into, and with, a dish called Hainanese chicken rice – a big hit with my family from our days in Southeast Asia.