37 Months

37 Months

Ollie’s currently in the "Little Helper" phase. I haven’t seen that on the list of milestones, but it’s a big one. This morning he helped make coffee, carried all the breakfast plates (with their food) to the table, brought the forks, and gave Minna her drink. He would have cracked the eggs as well but I was rushing and didn’t let him. After breakfast he watered the garden and was very excited to see this rainbow in the spray. By this time next week I’m hoping he’ll be preparing all the meals, washing the dishes, and doing all the yard work so I can enjoy our Nantucket vacation.

Catching razor clams

I’ve dug/raked for my fair share of shellfish (oysters, steamers, littlenecks and mussels) but I’d never harvested razor clams. I’ve seen their shells all over the beaches, but until a few years ago never realized people ate them. Then I had them roasted with butter and garlic at St. John’s in London and fell in love! While reading my new Forgotten Skills of Cooking I learned a simple way to catch razor clams: pour salt in their hole and watch them wriggle out!

That’s crazy! I can’t wait to try it! Also if anyone knows a good source for buying razor clams in New York City, please let me know. I want to start eating them more regularly.

My copy of Forgotten Skills…

My copy of Forgotten Skills of Cooking: The Time-Honored Ways are the Best – Over 700 Recipes Show You Why by Darina Allen arrived today and I’m very excited to get started with it. Foraging for seaweeds and shellfish looks especially up my alley. And as I read the introduction I puffed up a bit with pride. The author complains of so many young people who don’t know basic things (like butter comes from cream!) about where food comes from or what it looks like in its natural state. I realized that in his short life, Ollie’s picked asparagus, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, black raspberries, rhubarb and (not ripe) blackberries. Not bad for a just 3 years old New York City native.

4 Stages of Seeing Pregnant Women

Walking around Manhattan the other day I realized there are four stages of "Woman Seeing Pregnant Women on the Streets."

Stage One: You don't see them at all. You're pre-kids and you don't even notice things like pregnant bellies, even though you're surrounded by them.

Stage Two: "Oh I wish that was me!" You pine.

Three: "Hey! You're pregnant! Me too! Her too! All of us! Gosh, she looks big! Do I look that big?" You're there! You're surrounded by your pregnant sisters everywhere you look!

Four: "O.M.G. I'm so so so so so so so so happy I'm not pregnant."

Needless to say, I am at stage four.

An easy baby shower

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I threw a baby shower for a close friend over the weekend and I’m so pleased with how the recipes turned out, I thought I’d share. It was a “Ladies Tea” theme, without the tea and without much more theme than simply that. But here’s what we had:

Cucumber Mint Tea Sandwiches
Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches (the taragon made these special)
Smoked Salmon and Endive Tea Sandwiches
Goat Cheese and Watercress Tea Sandwiches
Fruit Salad with Ginger Syrup

For drinks I made a sparkling pink lemonade (frozen concentrate and seltzer, voila!) and served a sparkling rose wine.

But the highlight was dessert: a Lavender Lemon Bundt Cake. This was actually suggested by my son Ollie (not the flavor, the bundt idea) because he pointed out we wouldn’t need to use the mixer for frosting (though we did need it for the cake, much to his disappointment…). He sure was prescient because Sunday morning as I was scrambling to get everything prepared, I sure wouldn’t have enjoyed making a layer cake and whipping buttercream. And I didn’t have the time.

For flowers I used baby food jars with the labels removed and tied with some twine around the top. I filled them with dusty pink roses from the deli around the corner. They looked fancy though! All in all it was a beautiful, delicious afternoon. And when I get a chance, I’ll try and share a photo.

Oh! And I almost forgot: I made half pints of strawberry jam for all the ladies to take home as presents.

Felled by the Pine Nut Mouth

I made Straw and Hay Fettuccine Tangle on Saturday night (btw Heidi's Super Natural Cooking is awesome, I love it!) for dinner. Monday for lunch I ate the leftovers, including a bunch of whole pine nuts that had fallen to the bottom of the dish. By Tuesday evening I had a weird taste in the back of my throat, so weird that when I when I woke up during the night, I couldn't get back to sleep. Was is the allergy pill I'd taken for the first time this year? The strong cheese and rind I ate for dinner? The strong wine that accompanied it?

By yesterday the strange taste hadn't abated, despite multiple teeth brushings and flossings, tongue scrapings, and mouthwash swirlings. I turned to Twitter for guidance. And almost immediately people replied asking if I'd eaten pine nuts recently. At first I ignored, but as more people mentioned, I was curious. Then someone said to Google "Chinese pine nuts" and lo a diagnosis: Pine Nut Mouth! (aka "Pine Mouth" or "Pine Nut Syndrome") Seems that there are a lot of pine nuts on the market these days imported from China and they're causing people to get a metallic taste in the back of the throat after ingesting, sometimes lasting up to two weeks!

I'm happy to report my case is resolving and I actually enjoyed my breakfast, but until today food's been so off-putting, I haven't wanted to eat. My pine nuts were from Whole Food's bulk bin, and I stored them in the fridge. They didn't taste rancid when I prepared them, so I'm not thinking it's rancidity-related. I'm going to go back and investigate where they're from to confirm China. And if I can bare to eat pine nuts again this summer, I'm splurging for Italian imports. Right now, that's a big if.