Izzy (and Mama) Eat: The Gourmand Grows up...

Tales of Empty Nesting ...The Next Chapter

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Ready Or Not: Rhubarb

Rhubarb figured prominently in this week's delivery from Farmer Rich for a couple of reasons.

1. I have never baked anything with rhubarb before and I have always wanted to.

2.Other members were eager to bequeath me their shares, claiming they hadn't the time, nor inclination to prepare it anyway.

So a few nights ago, while Izzy was snug in bed, I prepared a Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble. I paired the rhubarb with some perfectly ripened strawberries I purchased from the Union Square Green Market. Once again, a recipe so astonishingly simple yielded vibrantly delicious results.

Smitten Kitchen provided the recipe I had in mind, although next time I may tweak it a bit by reducing the amount of sugar and adding some cinnamon and nutmeg to the crumble part. When it emerged from the oven it looked lucious, as the red juice bubbled about the sides of the dish. I couldn't resist eating a few warm spoonfuls, drizzled with heavy cream.
When Izzy awoke in the morning, he seemed surprised to find it sitting on the table. As a treat, I allowed him to have a few bites for an after breakfast dessert.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble

For the topping:
1 1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons Demerara sugar (or turbinado sugar, or Sugar in the Raw)Zest of one lemon
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
1 ½ cups rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 quart strawberries plus a few extras, hulled, quartered
Juice of one lemon
½ cup sugar
½ cup flour
Pinch of salt
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare topping: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugars and lemon zest and add the melted butter. Mix until small and large clumps form. Refrigerate until needed.
2. Prepare filling: Toss rhubarb, strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, flour and pinch of salt in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. (I used an oval dish this time, because they fit better in the bottom of a shopping bag.)
3. Remove topping from refrigerator and cover fruit thickly and evenly with topping. Place pie plate on a (foil-lined, if you really want to think ahead) baking sheet, and bake until crumble topping is golden brown in places and fruit is bubbling beneath, about 40 to 50 minutes.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Spice Boys?

With each and every passing day, Izzy's tolerance and interest in eating spicy foods has been increasing. Yesterday it was wasabi rice crackers, today it was spicy bean curd. Before I know it he will be, like his papa, dousing my delicately seasoned victuals with one variety of hot sauce or another. He seems to take great pride in the fact that he is beginning to enjoy spicy foods. Tonight, as he was nibbling on the Ma Po Tofu he asked, "Did you tell papa that I am eating spicy food now?" I instantly texted papa, who was on his way home, but apparently he didn't find this as newsworthy as I. To him eating spicy food is just normal.

What is it about men and spicy foods? So many more men pride themselves on the level of spiciness they can withstand. Why do they need tongue numbing spice to drown the flavors of their food? My theory is that their taste buds do not function in the same way as women's. Women seem to have a keener sense of smell so wouldn't it follow that we have a keener sense of taste too..I wonder if there has been any research done about this.

Meanwhile I can only hope that when the time comes, Izzy will use the hot sauce in moderation.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Towards A Greener Lunch Box

There has a been a great change afoot in the preparation of Izzy's lunches. In the past I used waxed paper bags for his sandwiches. Now I use the Wrap-N-Mat. This nifty little sandwich wrapper encases the sandwich and secures closed with velcro. It not only serves to wrap the sandwich but also functions as a mat. It is washable and can be used to wrap all sorts of foods. It is available in a spiffy eco-print which is the one we have. You can find it, along with other great items to greenify your lunch box at reusable bags.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dr. Pickle To The Rescue

If you know Izzy, you know he is a pickle fanatic. He eats them directly from the jar or heaps them onto his plate. What I had forgotten was that pickles are the perfect portable summertime snack. Dr. Pickle's solution works best. Pickle on a Stick..Last Summer I used chopsticks to make my own and I think after paying $1 for one pickle today I might just start that tradition again.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Not Hard To Love Swiss Chard

Familiarity certainly does not breed contempt when it comes to vegetables. In fact, with kids it is to the contrary. Kids eat what they know. The earlier the foods are introduced, the greater the chances are.

Swiss chard is a case in point. I had never eaten the stuff myself until we joined our first CSA when Izzy was two. I was happy to discover this new, leafy green with colorful stems (rainbow chard). We received an overabundance of the stuff so Izzy became quite familiar with it. At first he just licked it but eventually began eating it all, stems included. It has since become one of his favorite vegetables.

I prepare it quite simply. I boil the stems for 5 minutes. Caramelize onions in olive oil and then add chopped leaves. Cook for 5 minutes and add stems to heat through.

The batch from last week was quite young and Farmer Rich said it was fine to eat raw. Last night, while I was preparing to cook it, Izzy insisted on munching on the stems. He said that I didn't need to cook the rest but I decided that I preferred them cooked.

Sardine Scene

I rolled open a tin of King Oscar "brisling" sardines. Izzy watched with great interest.

Izzy: "Have I had those before?"
Me: "Yes, but not for awhile. They are like big anchovies."
Izzy: "Do we have any anchovies?" (goes to check..)
Me: "No, why don't you have one of these. They are so good for your body and they taste a bit like anchovies."
Izzy: "Mama, I want a bite of the tail. The tail is tickly.....ummmmmm. It's good...(takes another bite)

I guess this shouldn't surprise me since sardine eating runs in the family, on both of my sides anyway. Great-grandpa always has a stack of tins and Grandpa Joe used to eat sardines on black bread with cream cheese. In my many travels I have unearthed a whole world of sardines and I was just as fascinated as Dorie Greenspan to discover how many varieties actually exist. Our honeymoon, on Belle-Ile-en-Mer, led us to a veritable sardine treasury. I still have the vintage tins, too far past their prime to open.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sweets and No Real Food = Boy With Belly- Ache

When Izzy awoke at 5:00 a.m. crying I couldn't figure out what was wrong. Was his nose stuffed? Was he thirsty? No, he had a belly-ache, something that has rarely ever happened to him so he difficulty explaining it. I figured it out when he asked to use the potty. And then it all made sense... I reviewed what Izzy had eaten the whole day through and it surely did not amount to much.

We spent Father's Day (without Izzy's Papa who was still away), at Grandpa Joe's. The food was plentiful but there was plenty to distract Izzy from eating it (most notably a giant ring pop).

On an ordinary day, Izzy would have tried many of the dishes that graced the table. He loves cherry tomatoes and there was a beautiful, tasty salad with cherry tomatoes, cheese, and basil. He wouldn't go near it. Green beans with a spicy kick? They didn't merit a second glance although they top the veggie list at home. There was also guacamole, spinach salad, large hunks of sliced steak, chicken vindaloo, baked breaded chicken, baked tilapia on a bed of veggies and the list goes on.. But what did Izzy eat??

1. 1/2 a hot dog

2. a few roasted sweet potatoes

3. 1 lettuce leaf with cheese spread

4. A Ring Pop and a Brownie

He didn't even have room for this delectable Lemon Yogurt Pound cake

I brought home a few slices to share with him but they disappeared before I had a chance to offer him a bite...

Often moms complain that their children don't eat well at parties because they are distracted. Izzy doesn't eat as well as he might normally, but usually manage to ply him with a few healthy choices. Hopefully this party was an exception.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Most Wanted: For Sugar Pushing..

If you see this woman, call the sugar police. Note the evil smile as she lures my child with his first ring pop.. He hadn't even eaten a proper dinner at the time. When I found them together it was too late. He had been drawn in, by the call of tooth-rotting sweets. I was powerless as he began to lick and I was told, "He can have it. I gave one to all of the other kids."

I was saddened to watch as his tongue and lips turned orange, which I must say, paled in comparison to the blue tongue of his partner in crime. The worst part was, he would not put the dreaded ring down and it must have taken him a least an hour or more to finish it, by which time it was too late for dinner and dessert was being served. He did wash it down with a brownie and two glasses of milk.

What is a candy-monitoring mama to do??

Happy Birthday To Me

Indeed it was my birthday yesterday. When I woke up I told Izzy that he ought to be extra nice to me because it was my birthday. He asked if we were having a party. I told him I was not planning on throwing a party for myself and he said, "But you always make parties." I said "Not for myself." His reply, "I will help." Hmmm...maybe another birthday.

I had other plans. It was time for some primping in the city which unfortunately cut into lunch time. So I packed a lunch for Izzy and his babysitter L. and they went to a park in the city while I had my hair done.

I figured we would go for some birthday gelato at Cones, which we did after Izzy had his hair cut at Doodle Doo's (note to self: Don't go there on Saturdays, it is a madhouse). I had a medium cup of banana and chocolate gelato with their secret whipped cream. So creamy, dreamy and smooth, just as I had imagined. Izzy had dark chocolate and mint-chocolate chip. He deemed the mint-chocolate chip to be better than what he gets in Jersey City. I love that he is beginning to make comparisons on his own. I didn't even have to ask. I still maintain that the Cones experience beats Grom any day..though I will test Grom a few more times to be sure.

After that it was onward home, where we were stuck at the Path by a sudden downpour. By the time we got finally go there, it was time to go out for dinner. It was my birthday after all.

I had thought we would try Soul Flavors but we went back to our old standby and JC favorite, Marco and Pepe. I eat there time and time again and it is consistently good. Izzy favors their risotto and this time was no exception. He had the lobster-mushroom risotto and I had the burger. When the waitress came over to take our order, I said, "He will have the..." and she cut me off to tell me about the kid menu. I cut her off to say no thanks and Izzy piped in, " I WANT the risotto..." That's my boy!

The meal was lively as we were seated next to a preschool teacher from a school in Izzy's building. He is familiar with Izzy and seemed interested in our meal so we spent a good deal of time chatting with him. He marveled at Izzy's appetite which always makes me proud, especially on my birthday.

In all, I had a relaxing, unevently birthday and I figure that when Alex comes home..I may have at least another birthday celebration in my future.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Jersey City Market Update: Stony Hill Farm

June is the start of Green Market season in Jersey City and elsewhere. I just noticed that Stony Hill Farm is back at Pavonia/Newport right outside the Path Station. Although I receive my weekly bounty from Farmer Rich, I still need to supplement with other items. This farm is an excellent source for local Jersey staples like tomatoes, corn and blueberries. They also grow lettuces, assorted vegetables like broccoli, green beans and potatoes. I especially look forward to their cantalope and watermelons which are always juicy and sweet.

We have shopped at this market since Izzy was 15 months old. I always make a point of combining an outing to the nearby playground with a trip to buy something for dinner. Their extra-large basil bunches are perfect for a quick pesto meal and the homemade donuts make a great snack. We tried the strawberry ones today. I guess they were good because I saved one in the bag and when we got home, Izzy tore off a hunk and snuck away to eat it.

You will find them on Tuesdays/Thursdays from 11:30-7:00 p.m. and Saturdays (check for time).

Friday, June 15, 2007

Homemade Oreos: Ridiculously Simple, Ridiculously Delicious

Today was the "official" last day of Izzy's preschool. He will be back there next week for Summer camp but I still wanted to mark the end with some gifts and treats for his marvelous teachers. I had planned on baking last night but somehow it didn't happen. I then convinced myself that I would just pick up some cookies from a local cookie bakery in the morning.

When I woke up I was overcome with the urge to bake something, something I had never baked before. I had seen these incredible looking homemade Oreos on Smitten Kitchen and I figured teachers were the perfect test candidates for them. The recipe was simple enough and I had all of the ingredients at home. The whole process, from dough to icing probably would have taken only about an hour to do but I dilly-dallied a bit so it took a couple of hours. The finished cookies were impressive, the filling divine. I couldn't help but lick the entire bowl. Something I surely didn't need to do.
I wrapped them up before I could eat them all and brought them to school for Izzy to distribute. He loves giving his teachers treats and they seemed genuinely pleased to receive them. On the other hand, Izzy only managed to eat half of one..go figure.

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Homemade Oreos Retro Desserts, Wayne Brachman
Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies

For the chocolate wafers:

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:

¼ cup (½ stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter

¼ cup vegetable shortening

2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375 degrees.

2. In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.

3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

4. To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2-3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

5. To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Izzy Ponders: Is There Such A Thing As Elephant Cheese?

This question came up when we were delighting in my latest obsession, Sprout Creek Farm's Doe Re Mi Goat Cheese. This cheese is a sell-out every week and I have been fortunate enough to snag the last container for the past two weeks. So as we were nibbling, we were distinguishing between the three types of cheeses that Izzy is now familiar with, sheep's milk, goat's milk and cow's milk. This particular goat cheese is neither gamey nor goaty. Instead it is tangy, smooth and addictive. Whereas the sheep's milk cheese we favor is exceptionally sheepy.

Back to the question though. Why don't we make elephant cheese? After all, elephants do produce milk.. I explained that elephant's milk was best for baby elephants since I surmise that it would be rather difficult to milk an elephant. Did I leave anything out?

Farmer Rich Doesn't Only Deliver Greens

Look what I found sitting on my garlic cress. At first I recoiled in horror but then was reminded of something Alice Waters once said when a patron discovered critters on greens at Chez Panisse. It was something along the lines of it being the best way to tell that the produce was fresh and organic. It is indeed a good sign to find living creatures on one's greens. So I gave the slug his leaf and set it free out in the yard. It was also nice for Izzy since that was his first slug encounter.

Meanwhile, I had to cook something with those greens. I decided to make Egg Noodles with Zucchini, Chopped Garlic Cress, Green Garlic and Goat Cheese. I only used a bit of the Garlic Cress since it seemed quite pungent. I thought that the goat cheese would mellow out the dish but I think it would have benefited from some caramelized onions. Izzy ate it, nonetheless and even asked for seconds. Though I did catch him picking out bit of the greens. He said that they were bitter.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My Very Hungry Caterpillar (Egg)!

Izzy made his debut today in his preschool performance of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. He was the egg. He surpised me by actually singing along with the others, as he is known to simply observe. He sang in Spanish and English. The performance lasted more than 20 minutes, cutting dangerously close to lunchtime. When it was over, an immediate snack was required so Izzy grabbed some carrots from Mr. Drew on our way out.

Grandma Laurie and Grandpa Joe, the only grandparents to attend the performance, had planned to take us to lunch. I thought we would go into the city but the star requested sushi (ugh, enough with the sushi) and so we went to Komegashi Too yet again. Izzy kept opining for "salmon sushi" and so I ordered a lunchtime sushi platter for him. When it arrived it had tuna, salmon, yellow tail, eel and fluke, along with a California Roll. He looked at the platter and announced, "Look at all the different colored salmon sushi". I kept smiling when Grandma Laurie, indulged this by saying, "Why yes, there is eel salmon and yellow tail salmon..etc. One highlight of the meal was that he sampled some tobiko which topped Grandma Laurie's sushi roll. He seemed to enjoy the crunchy texture.

He seemed quite pleased with his sushi yet despite his claim of being "very hungry" after having eaten about two pieces and one piece of shumai, Izzy announced he was done. He then requested a large bowl of ice cream. So I told him it was not ice cream time and that I would wrap up the sushi for him and he could have it later.

We left the restaurant to take the Path to NYC and on the subway platform he requested his sushi, which he sat eating in his stroller. As they say, kids won't starve themselves. However, if you ply them with salty snacks or desserts on demand, they will never get the opportunity to demonstrate!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Green(s), Eggs and No Ham

We prefer bacon instead. I had some collard greens left over from last week's farm delivery and a few bacon slices in the fridge. It was time for another variation on my egg, starch and vegetable dinner. Tonight we had collard greens sauteed with red onion and bacon, fried eggs and rice. Izzy savored his greens, licking his fingers after each bite (forks don't always figure into the equation when he is extra hungry and I am hoping that phase ends soon enough). It turned out to be a fine, simple repast. And as a bonus, my fridge was empty and ready for the day's new delivery from Catalpa Ridge.

The bounty of the week included:

Mixed Lettuce
Mixed Chard
Green Garlic
Herb of the Week: Cilantro

I see a Mexican meal in our future....and of course a big bowl of Swiss Chard for Izzy.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

At Our Table: A Dessert Rule To Dine By...

The concept of dessert did not exist at our dinner table until Izzy was about three. Before that, we would have "dessert before dinner" because we often had ice cream in the late afternoon. Since I did not usually eat dessert til after dinner it was never an issue. I also do not keep cookies or other dessert-type snacks available. We usually have cookies or cake when we bake them or when I buy them from a special place.

I am not quite sure when the idea began to emerge but at one point I started giving Izzy some chocolate morsels with chopped prunes after dinner. When he would finish his dinner he would say, "It's time for bebert." He knows that if he does not eat enough of his dinner, he can't have his dessert. If he requests dessert before he has eaten enough I will tell him he needs to eat more because if he has room for dessert than he certainly has room for the foods that help his body grow. Often he will eat his dessert and then finish more dinner at home. This doesn't work at restaurants though because the servers will take his plate away before they bring the dessert. So I must insist he eat just a bit more before we order dessert. I have found that this rule helps Izzy eat more of his dinner and also sample more foods.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Izzy's Megu Meal: All In The Details

This afternoon I told Izzy that Grandma Laurie and Grandpa Joe would be taking us out to dinner tonight. I wasn't that familiar with the restaurant that Grandma Laurie had chosen so I just I explained that we would be dining at a place which I described as, "an extra-special fancy sushi restaurant in NYC".

It turns out that Megu, in Tribeca, is far more than an haute sushi bar. It is a Japanese dining extravaganza. The menu consists of several books. I believe the server mentioned 12...How many diners relish the daunting prospect of examining those before ordering? It must be the restaurant's method of steering diners toward ordering "omakase"...which in this case seems to be "server's choice" rather than the chef's...They size you up and figure out what you can afford (although they claim they take into account table preferences). Then they just keep bringing out small portions for the table to share. This is an exciting way to eat because one never knows what to expect. Each course is a surprise.

We started out with what looked like thinly sliced yellow-tail sashimi in a soyish sauce topped with jalapeno peppers. It was smoothly delicious with a spicy bite. Izzy tried a piece but deemed it to be too spicy for him. This was followed by panko-coated, fried asparagus on skewers. So impressive to behold I felt sure Izzy would munch his up in a jiffy but instead he claimed it was too hard yet then managed to bite off the tip. Countless courses followed, including a grilled Kobe-beef tasting course. This consisted of skewers of meltingly tender beef cubes, each with a different topping, including wasabi and garlic. There were also Kobe-beef meatballs with an oozing foie gras interior (does it get any more decadent than that?) Miso-glazed cod which melted in the mouth, an enormous lobster, halved with the meat ready to pluck out and then finally some sushi (which Izzy had been eagerly awaiting, only taking hesitant bites of the other small dishes.

In between courses, Izzy occupied himself by pouring roses over the Buddha Ice Sculpture which adorned the middle of the dining area.
He was completely involved in this endeavor which was fortunate since we were dining out way past bedtime. He had also reached the point where although he hadn't eaten much, he wasn't very hungry so he only had small bites of things. He claimed to be saving himself for the sushi. This theory did prove correct for when the sushi course finally arrived, he dropped his rose petal activity and made a bee-line for the table. The rolls were ultra-fresh and the wasabi was prepared table-side, as the waiter scraped it onto the platter. For Izzy, the ginger was a revelation.
At most Japanese restaurants, the ginger is too bitter for him because it is not freshly prepared. Here it was perfect and he savored several bites of it. As for the sushi itself, the ingredients were not unusual so Izzy ate only two or three pieces before deciding it was time for dessert. I insisted he eat a few more if he wanted his dessert and when dessert arrived he was barely interested in the Ginger Ice Cream. Either he was too tired, no longer hungry or it somehow lacked appeal.

When asked today what he remembered about the meal last night, he said, "The ginger was very good." I suppose that little things make lasting impressions, in food or otherwise.


Friday, June 8, 2007

Izzy's First School Picnic: International Fare

The Hamilton Park Montessori School organized a year-end picnic in the park. A perfect way to gather students, parents and staff together to mark such a wonderful first year! All of the parents were asked to provide food or drink for the party. As the students are quite the international bunch, I looked forward to finding an assortment of homemade delectables.

Izzy and I prepared one of my specialties, Strawberry Cheesecake. I managed to get local strawberries which Izzy was happy to eat and use to adorn the cake. I had hoped to prepare something else but somehow life got in the way.

Izzy and I were in the park early so we watched as the teachers and staff set-up. The tables were quickly filled to capacity with all manner of interesting dishes. There was hardly room to accommodate them all so the desserts were temporarily relegated to the grass. Some of the stand-outs from the evening were Beancurd skins stuffed with rice and vegetables (who made this??), A chicken dish which seemed somewhat reminiscent of Adobo Chicken, and some assorted Indian(?) appetizers. There were many other items but I had no room on my plate to include them all. One mom made two trays of Macaroni and Cheese. Of course it was not surprising that I noted many of the kids enjoying it , Izzy included. I am not opposed to Macaroni and Cheese at all, especially homemade but I just have to wonder what the kids would have eaten if that had not been a choice? It reminded me of the article about kid menus from the other day.

Izzy tried some chicken and he also liked the Beancurd Skins but he ate more of the Macaroni and Cheese because it was there (and it was good). As for desserts, I was disppointed to see that there were only a few homemade choices, which included some lovely green frosted cupcakes, some chocolatey looking muffins and my cake (which disappeared quickly with barely a morsel for Izzy and me). Izzy managed to snag a green cupcake which he refused to share with me..must have been mighty tasty!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Bringing the Farm Home: Catalpa Ridge CSF Delivers to Hamilton Park

This is my second year hosting a CSF/CSA (Community supported farm/agriculture) at my house. Farmer Rich, of Catalpa Ridge Farm, delivers fresh produce, mainly vegetables, herbs and some fruits every Tuesday to my front yard. Once there, Rich and I, or a volunteer, sort the produce for our members who simply stop by and pick up their share.

I discovered the concept of the CSA two years ago when we participated in one that was based at a local church. Izzy and I would walk across town to the OLC church and pick up our share from Farmer Ted. He delivered an overabundance of Swiss Chard, along with some lovely tomatoes and a small variety of other vegetables. The quality of the produce was impeccable, however, there was a lack of variety and quantity. Overall, though, it was a positive experience, for both Izzy and me. I loved the idea of knowing exactly where my vegetables came from and that they were not only pristine but pesticide-free. We also enjoyed our weekly outing to see the farmer. To top it off, Izzy developed a (hopefully) life-long love for Swiss Chard.

It occurred to me that I might be able to enlist another farmer who might be able to use my home as a drop-off point. I had heard about Catalpa Ridge from my since moved neighbor, A., who regaled me with wonderful images of her past deliveries, which included bags overflowing with herbs, vegetables and fruits. As it turned out, Farmer Rich was amenable to the idea and thus the Catalpa Ridge at Hamilton Park CSF was born.

Izzy and I were both eagerly anticipating the first-drop off. The morning of, Izzy asked, "Will he bring Swiss Chard?".."Not today but maybe next week."

Today we received the season's first lettuces, Baby Red Iceberg Lettuce, Cimarron Red Lettuce, and Crisp Mint Green Lettuce. He also brought green garlic, collard greens, a tiny bunch of broccoli and fresh mint. I prepared a lovely mixed green salad to accompany our dinner of Pasta with Peas, Corn and garlic greens, which we shared with our neighbors, E.and E. I look forward to a season of plentiful produce.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Lamb Burgers: Perfectly Pink

I had one package of ground lamb left from my 3-Corner Field Farm shopping spree in March, before they left the market to tend the newborns. I used it tonight because I believe they will be back at Union Square this week or next. At least I hope they will.

I decided to make simple Lamb Burgers, just salt, pepper and a sprinkling of parsley. I accidentally slow-cooked them but they came out perfectly pink and juicy. They had only a mild lamb flavor and I think I could have unwittingly served them to lamb naysayers without incident. I might try to pull the wool over someone next time I grill.
I served the burgers on a round Italian loaf from Pecarrara's, with peas and sauteed potatoes on the side. Izzy surely enjoyed his, dripping with juice, as did I. Lamb, the new beef?

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Fair Fare: The French Know Best

Yesterday Izzy and I attended a school fair fundraiser for a local elementary charter school. I was anticipating the unhealthy eats we would find there and contemplating how I would deal with Izzy's requests for hot dogs, cotton candy and other khazeray.

The event basically consisted of some crafts, a raffle, music and ordinary fair fare like hot dogs and cotton candy. I did note some Caribbean food out of the corner of my eye but steered clear since we had eaten lunch not long before. I figured snack food of some kind would be in order but what would I allow the boy to eat? When I noticed the crepe stand, manned (womanned?) by two neighborhood French moms, I breathed a sigh of relief. Crepes would surely fit the bill as a decent snack treat.

When calls of "I'm hungry bungry" arose, we made a bee-line to the crepe stand where I ordered one filled with raspberry jam. It was such a hit that a little while later there was a request for another, this time with sugar. And then, we had a third one with apricot jam. Thanks to Alice, owner of Madame Claude Cafe, who claimed to have made batter for 1000 crepes, Izzy managed to ignore the unwholesome treats available.. Or so I thought. On our way home he asked when I would let him try some cotton candy...As I used to hear as a child, "We'll see."

Izzy's Papa Makes A Brief Appearance: English Breakfast For Brunch

Izzy and I had high hopes for welcome home eating festivities but they just didn't pan out. A. was scheduled to arrive by dinnertime last night but his flight was delayed so I put our celebratory dinner on hold. Instead, Izzy and I dined on takeout from Soul Flavors (stay tuned for that review). Later, when A. finally arrived, Izzy was already in bed so I just prepared a small salad for him as a light after landing dinner.

This morning, though, we all enjoyed an early morning breakfast of tea and biscuits, which Izzy helped bake. This was followed later by an English breakfast brunch, eaten out in the yard. A. and I have fond memories of English breakfasts together from way back during his stay in Bristol. In Britain they are usually a rather greasy affair, the eggs seemingly deep-fried, served along with both bacon, sausage, beans, toast, fried tomato and sometimes a fish.

When I prepare this at home it is somewhat healthier. We have eggs over easy, Heinz Vegetarian Beans, toast and bacon (Niman Ranch), sometimes a tomato if I have a good one. I am happy to report that Izzy has slowly come to enjoy this breakfast. In the beginning he would mostly eat the beans and have a tiny bite of this or that. Today he nearly cleaned his plate, though not of the beans. Fickle boy!

This English breakfast thing is an enigma to me. The Brits I encounter don't seem to really eat them. Are they a relic from another time that only remain in Bed and Breakfasts? They are still served at Tea and Sympathy here in NYC so some Brits must be eating them. I would love to hear some British memories of this meal.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Izzy Doesn't Always Eat

Everything that I would like him to. Sometimes I will make a dish and he will pick out certain bits that he prefers and leave the rest on his plate. How do I handle this?

Well it happened tonight. I just made a quick pasta with fresh tomatoes, shallots, garlic, oregano and goat cheese (15 minute dinner!).He proceeded to eat only a few of the chopped tomatoes and then ate up all of the pasta and asked for more.

Since I couldn't bear to see him leave all of those tomatoes on his plate, this is what I did. I told him he needed to eat a few more tomatoes and then I put on the drama. "The tomatoes are crying..boohoo, boohoo because they miss their pasta friends. You need to eat some so that they can go join them. Then you will get more pasta." And so he did.

I'll Keep On Dishing It Up, If You Keep On Dishing..

The internet is an amazing thing. I woke up this morning to find that ParentDish writer, Jenifer Scharpen, had featured Izzy Eats on her weekly report. Thanks to her link, I have noted a bunch of new readers this morning. I would love to hear from you. And as for my old ones, I had never even heard of ParentDish but I will definitely be checking it out now, you might like it too.