Monday, July 29, 2013

Cooking in Malden: Summer Time

Summer is all about fresh, local vegetables in my house. Here in Malden there are two ways to get local vegetables. There is the weekly farmers' market, on Tuesdays at City Hall from 3:00 to 6:30. The market features fresh vegetables and fruits from local farms, as well as fresh baked bread. Malden is also home to two pick up points for Farmer Dave's CSA program. CSA is short for Community Supported Agriculture. Members pay in the spring when the farmers need the cash to plant crops, and then they get a share of those vegetables during the summer and early fall. Each week, I go to First Parish Church on Pleasant Street and pick up a box full of vegetables picked that day, or at most the day before. What could be fresher?

Right now we are at one of my favorite points in the season. We are getting the last of the spring vegetables like kale and chard, and the first of the hot weather vegetables like tomatoes, corn, zucchine, and cucumbers. A dinner for two at this point in the season looks like this.


Sausage and Kale over Rice

  • Four sweet sausages (tonight we had sweet Italian sausages from Dom's on Commercial Street)
  • One bunch kale, tear the leaves off of the tough stems and wash
  • Two cloves garlic, chopped
  • Oive oil
  • Enough rice for two

Heat a little olive oil in a large sauce pan or dutch oven. Brown the sausages. Remove them and set aside. Saute the garlic. Add the kale, still wet. Add a little salt. Lay the sausages on top of the kale and cover the pan. Turn the heat down to simmer. If it seems dry, add a little water. Usually the water left on the kale from washing it is enough. Simmer until the sausages are cooked through.

We had the sausages and kale with a salad of cucumbers and tomatoes from our CSA share and lettuce from my garden. It was a perfect summer dinner.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Grilled Rice Bowl Dinner for Four

In her book An Everlasting Meal, Tamar Adler suggests rice bowl meals. Each diner gets a bowl of hot white rice, and then the table is filled with little bowls of this and that, like in Indian thali meals and other variations served all over Asia. Througout the meal you add bits of different dishes to your bowl, the meal changing as you eat and the rice absorbing all the different flavors. Last night we had friends over for dinner, and I made a grilled rice bowl meal. Here is the gist of it.

  • 4 grilled chorizo sausages, sliced
  • 4 small zucchine, sliced and grilled
  • 2 ripe plantains, sliced open and grilled, then cut into chunks
  • Fresh salsa made with tomatoes, cilantro, grilled corn, scallions, salt, and vinegar
  • 2 chopped avocados
  • Pickled cabbage made with shredded cabbage, vinegar, salt, oregano, and sliced jalapenos
  • Big bowls of hot white rice (we normally eat brown rice, but white rice is better here)
  • A bottle of wine

It made for a wonderful meal to enjoy with friends. Rather than pass the plates once at the beginning of the meal, they got repeatedly passed back and forth. We ate and drank wine, fed three sweet little baby girls, and chatted until everyone was tired and ready for the evening to end.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Conversations with my children


Olivia (1-year-old): Mama! Mama!

Me: Hi, Olivia. I'm back.

Olivia: I wan milk!

Me: Olivia, do you want milk?

Olivia: Yea, yea, yea (while bouncing up and down and smiling)



Me: Alessia, throw out Olivia's diaper for me.

Alessia (2.5-year-old): (determined silence)

Me: Alessia, are you going to throw out Olivia's diaper? Are you going to be my big helper today?

Alessia: (determined, deliberate silence)

Me: Alright, I'm going to do it.

Alessia: I'M GOING TO DO IT. (Runs to snatch diaper from my hand.)