<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\0757793856\46blogName\75Orangette\46publishMode\75PUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\46navbarType\75BLACK\46layoutType\75CLASSIC\46searchRoot\75//orangette.blogspot.com/search\46blogLocale\75en\46v\0752\46homepageUrl\75http://orangette.blogspot.com/\46vt\0757514811248055359532', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>


June 28

Friday!  Yessssssss.

It’s just after noon, and I’m sitting in Essex, my “office” by day, with an imposing to-do list. But before I put on my blinders and get down to it, I wanted to stop by and share a few things that I enjoyed this week. It’s going to be hot (84 degrees! Sunny! HOTTTTT!) in Seattle this weekend, and weekends aren’t really our weekends, living as we do in Restaurant Land, but I have plans nonetheless to get new tires and a rack for my bike, so I can start riding to the office next week. (My last real bike ride was at 19 weeks pregnant and a very bad idea.) In any case, I hope you’ve got a great weekend ahead.

I’ve mentioned Kate Christensen’s writing before, but in case you’re not yet reading her work, please allow me to direct you to this post, which feels so... so... right. I can’t wait for her new book.

A short and funny but useful flower tutorial on the World’s End Farm blog.  I will never be known for flower arranging - ha ha ha please - but I would kill to see things, just for a second, the way Sarah does.

This post of Ganda’s took my breath away.

I want to drink this immediately.

This photo of Katie’s pointed my way to this spectacular-looking cake, and now that strawberry season has arrived in the Pacific Northwest, it’s finally time to try it.

An important piece about women, ambition, and power.  I think it’ll be on my mind for a while.

And last but not least, we’re teaming up with Book Larder to host a dinner in celebration of the new cookbook from the geniuses behind Franny’s!  July 29!  Tickets are available now!  I can’t wait.



Told you so

Every so often, I encounter a recipe that makes me want to forgo the usual niceties of a post - the introduction, the story, the conclusion, the delicate foreplay - because that would only slow you down, when what you should really do is grab your shoes and make a list and run to the grocery store and throw some money at the cashier and run back home and make this immediately and I mean it, goright now, DO IT.

One such recipe is Conchiglie with Yogurt, Peas, and Chile, from the stunning book Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. Even June is all over it.

The only problem is that I made it for a late dinner a few nights ago, when the sun was already well into setting - which is really and truly very late, here in my northern city - and it was too dark to take a picture. Today I tried to take a picture of the photograph in the cookbook, but that didn’t pan out either.

(Yeah, yeah, my child owns a pair of elastic-waist jeggings.  In my defense, they were hand-me-downs.)

In any case, you can picture it yourself. First, you zizz some Greek yogurt, olive oil, peas, and garlic in a food processor until the mixture is an even shade of pale green. Then you heat a pot of water and boil some pasta in it, and while that’s going, you warm some pine nuts and chile flakes in a skillet filmed with olive oil until the nuts are golden and the oil is red, and you also heat some more peas in a little bowl of water scooped from the pasta pot.  When the pasta is ready, you drain it and fold it together with the yogurt sauce, the now-warm peas, some torn basil leaves, and some crumbled feta.  The hot pasta heats and loosens the sauce, and the overall effect is creamy but not heavy in the least, bright where you hit a basil leaf or a pea, salty where you hit a lump of feta. You scoop it into a bowl, spoon over some pine nuts and the chile oil, which brings that kind of low, creeping heat that makes your lips tingle, and as I scraped my bowl and went back to the kitchen for seconds, I decided it was the best thing I’ve made in a long, long time. (The best savory thing, I should clarify. Nothing compares to cake. Who do you think I am?)

Yesterday afternoon, June and I went to our friend Lecia’s house for a visit and an early dinner, and while we were sitting around on the floor, talking and catching up and watching June torment the family cats, Lecia mentioned that, the previous night, she’d made what she thought might be the best pasta she’d ever had.

“It has yogurt, and peas. I think you’d like it,” she said. “Have you heard of the book Jerusalem?” (!!!)

I told you so.

Pasta with Yogurt, Peas, and Chile
Adapted slightly from Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

The original version of this recipe calls for conchiglie, or shell-shaped pasta, but you could use any small pasta shape you like: orecchiette, penne, farfalle, and so on.

If you have some exotic type of dried chile, like Urfa chile, Aleppo chile, or Kirmizi biber, you lucky lucky dog, this is a great place to use it. If not, you can use regular red pepper flakes. I happened to have some Aleppo chile, and though it was ground, not in flakes, and probably a few years old, it worked beautifully. Oh, and if you’re worried about the amount of heat, consider starting with a little less of the chile than what is called for - or just don’t put much chile oil on your pasta.

2 ½ cups (500 g) whole-milk Greek yogurt
2/3 cup (150 ml) olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, crushed or pressed
1 pound (500 g) fresh or thawed frozen peas
Kosher salt
1 pound (500 g) pasta shapes of your liking
Scant ½ cup (60 g) pine nuts
2 teaspoons Turkish or Syrian chile flakes, or red pepper flakes
1 2/3 cups (40 g) basil leaves, coarsely torn
8 ounces (240 g) feta cheese, coarsely crumbled

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the yogurt, 6 tablespoons (90 ml) of the olive oil, the garlic, and 2/3 cup (100 g) of the peas. Process to a uniform pale green sauce, and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt it until tastes like pleasantly salty seawater. Add the pasta, and cook until it is al dente. While the pasta cooks, warm the remaining olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and chile flakes, and cook for 4 minutes, or until the pine nuts are golden and the oil is deep red. Also, warm the remaining peas in some boiling water (you could scoop out a bit of the pasta water for this); then drain.

Drain the cooked pasta into a colander, and shake it well to get rid of excess water that may have settled into the pasta’s crevices. Add the pasta gradually to the yogurt sauce; adding it all at once may cause the yogurt to separate. Add the warm peas, the basil, feta, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss gently. Serve immediately, with pine nuts and chile oil spooned over each serving.

Yield: about 6 servings


June 4

Last night, it occurred to me that I had inadvertently neglected to write down something important: that June’s head smells like strawberry jam. I’ve thought about it for a long time, trying to make sure that was it, and now I’m certain: not strawberries, but strawberry jam.  She smells like something I would like to eat on buttered toast.  Now there’s a menu idea for Delancey.

Brandon bought himself a record player as an early Father’s Day present, and he’s been buying old records left and right. The other day he came home with Cat Stevens’s Tea for the Tillerman. The next morning, before he woke up, June and I were hanging out, like we do every morning, and I turned on the record player. June sat on my lap and played with the zipper on my sweatshirt while I drank my coffee, and we listened to Cat Stevens. And as my friend Andrea so eloquently put it, I had this feeling that these mornings of ours, and these days, they’re the good old days. I was telling my friend Ben about it later that evening, when he asked how my day had been, and he said that it sounded “death defyingly sweet.” I couldn’t have said it better.

A few of you have asked what June is eating these days, and the answer is: mostly breast milk. She will be nine months old on Sunday, old enough to be eating solids, but she’s only vaguely interested. I’m kind of glad, actually. I’m happy to take it slow. We’ve been giving her tastes of whatever we’re eating, so long as it seems manageable for her tiny mouth, and letting her take the lead. (In these photos, she was playing with a hunk of Matt Dillon’s wonderful sourdough bread.) I’ve read many different takes on the subject of feeding young children, and so far, what seems to work best for our family is to not worry too much about it. I hope we can sustain that feeling. We’ll try to make food that is reasonably good for us, and to create moments to sit down and eat that food as a family, and I trust that June’s body will know what it needs and when it needs it.  Maybe I’m naive.  I mean, of course I’m naive.  But mostly, I hope that June will grow up thinking of food as something fun, and not as a battleground.  Because as everyone knows, in any battle, the loser’s head gets eaten on buttered toast.  (Maybe I’ve been watching too much Game of Thrones?)

A few nights ago, June went down at seven, like she usually does. I poured myself a glass of wine and started going through some boxes of hand-me-downs that we’d picked up from friends that afternoon. A little before eight, she woke up crying. I let her go for a bit, hoping she’d settle back to sleep, but when she didn’t, I went into her room. I reached down in the dark and picked her up, and she burrowed her face into my shoulder and rubbed her eyes and grunted. I sat down in the rocker and held her while she continued to do her best impression of a mole in sunlight, and after a few minutes, I set her back down in the crib. She rolled onto her side and popped her thumb into her mouth, and I leaned over the railing and gave her a “back tickle,” the way my mother and my aunt Tina and my grandmother used to do for me, and as I looked at her in the faint light that trickled in under the blinds, I felt almost unbearably glad, like I might split right open.

Of course, there are less glad moments, like that sunny afternoon when I was feeling all lovey and we were about to take a walk, and I popped open the stroller and then turned to get June out of the car, only to find that, when June and I turned back to face said stroller, it was gone, having rolled down the driveway, careened around the corner, and overturned into the drainage ditch alongside the road. PARENT OF THE DECADE! You can rest assured that I will never, ever, ever again forget to set the brake on a stroller - or a car, or a toy car, or anything that moves.  Also, feeling lovey is dangerous.

June Pettit: Living Dangerously since September of 2012!

I’m trying to get back into the swing of cooking more than just eggs and roasted vegetables and banana bread, and hopefully I’ll soon have something to report about that.  But in the meantime, I’ll be Austin this weekend, speaking on a panel about storytelling at the BlogHer Food Conference.  I can’t wait! See you out there.