Tag Archives: cooking with kids

Tomato-Cheddar Cornmeal Crust Tart & Hurricane Pie

27 Aug

Q: What happens when you visit the in-laws for vacation but the East Coast shuts down because of Irene*?

A: You come home with four kids and a hairy beast and a soggy husband and scrounge.  The shelves look like Soviet markets circa 1982 or my older brother’s fridge that first year out of college (hint: mustard is not a food group).  We let the kids entertain themselves on the long car trip back by reading, taking turns kicking each other’s seat and/or annoying each other by chewing gum loudly or humming, and making up new lyrics for songs.  Now, you might be thinking, “Gee, I wish my kids were creative enough to a) know b-sides of Beatles’ songs well enough to change the words.”  If so, you were NOT in the car with us and thus didn’t get to hear the 9 year old and 12 year old compete for who could be grosser-slash-less appropriate (Dear Poo-dence was only the first step). But all four of them got along well and laughed and the rain was thick and my husband’s hand was on my arm.

I thought about posting the lyrics, but decided I’d post the recipe for Hurricane Pie.  I made two – one to cover tonight’s shitstorm and one for tomorrow’s.

Tomato-Cheddar Cornmeal Crust Tart (aka Hurricane Pie)

Our CSA gave (read: unloaded) about seventeen pounds of tomatoes in the past couple of weeks. I’ve canned sauce and frozen sauce.  I’ve dried tiny tomatoes and soaked others in garlic and oil for the jar I keep in the fridge.  I happened to have yellow tomatoes and red, but feel free to use whatever you like.

1-2 lbs tomatoes, cored and sliced
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup greek yogurt
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup grated cheddar (sharp is best)
3/4 cup other (try Gruyere or Pecorino)
for the crust:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp coconut oil
6 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup very cold water
Oven to 375.  Salt the tomatoes and let drain while you make the crust. Mix flours and meal.  Add salt.  Cut the butter and coconut oil into the mixture.  Add the water bit by bit until dough starts to form.  Work into a ball and let rest in the fridge for about ten minutes.  Roll onto floured surface (this yields two crust bottoms or one full pie – up to you) and fit into tart pan.  Mix Greek yogurt, mustard, and lemon juice.  Using kitchen towel, pat tomatoes as dry as you can.  Fill the tart crust(s)with tomatoes and slather with yogurt mixture. Top with both cheeses.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes until crust is browning and cheese is bubbling.  Serve with garlic green beans or simple mache salad.
*Yes, I am am aware that hurricanes Emily and Franklin both graced us this year.

Labneh (Middle Eastern Yogurt Dip) & Loving Summer

14 Aug

Fall was always my favorite season.  Maybe it will be again but when I became a parent I realized the freedom of summer.  Do my kids miss homework?  They do not but I believe I miss it even less than they do.   I fit my work in where I can all year-round but in these warm days I want only pick berries with my kids, see them tear around the yard, come home form the beach with sand in their hair (sand that seems to stay no matter how many washings), and diners that start late and linger on the porch.

Last summer I had an intense book tour with a group of authors.  We formed a little pack of creative misfits and wandered a new town each day, shuttled from one plane to another, events and bookstores and little to no sleep, always in search of good food.  We found great stuff, including wonderful labneh in Kansas.

My kids love the creamy texture and the salty spread as a dip for carrots or cucumbers slices.  I’ve written about labneh before but I do so again to encourage you to try it.  If you don’t feel like letting the Greek yogurt drain overnight, don’t do it – it’s still thick.  See if you kids can make the whole things start to finish while you memorize the feel of bare feet on the porch or the pleasure of summer’s last few days.

Labneh (thick yogurt dip)

1 cup Greek yogurt

1/4-1/3 cup oil oil

sea salt

Drain the yogurt in cheese cloth overnight (or don’t).  Stir in olive oil and add salt, stirring to dissolve.  Chill in fridge and serve on bagels or toasted pita points or with vegetables.  Try labneh with your veggie burgers or in your fish tacos.




Stone Fruit Crumble with Shortbread Topping & The Perfect Chair

2 Jul

 For my father’s birthday, he asked for a fruit dessert.  This is partly because he has always loved tarte tatin and other sugared fruits but also because he knows I like to cook with what’s available.  Right now, we have cherries, small green sour plums that shine bright as limes when rubbed on your shirt hem, apricots, peaches too tender to touch, and a few lonely nectarines.  I collect them daily and put them in my late stepmother’s stone dishes where they sit until I’m ready to bake them.  Will, the youngest, helps pit the fruit, sitting on his knees on this, the perfect chair.  Chipped, faded turquoise-green paint, some unknown person’s graffiti forever etched into the wooden back, years of meals, sighs, butts, children kneeling, the base worn from so many shoe scuffs.  Old and new, elegant and aged.  I’ll be selling items like this in the autumn…but for now, we eat shortbread made with ’00’ flour so it is light and very crisp, and test it while sitting on the perfect chair.

Stone fruit, washed, halved, stone removed to fill in one layer a buttered 9×13 baking dish.  Sprinkle with sugar and the juice of one lemon.  If using cherries, line whole bottom with them and place other fruit on top.  Dust with ’00’ flour, cinnamon, and freshly grated nutmeg.  Mix equal parts 00 flour (about a cup) and sugar, then cube 1 stick of butter and run through your fingers until coarse meal.  Shake over fruit.  Bake for one hour or a bit more at 350.

Chopped Salad & Modern Children

26 May

Spring lasts for about three days in New England.  Today is one of those days.  The kids are in shorts but carrying a sweatshirt, the grass isn’t a giant muddy pit, and I’m busy assembling salad.  “I’m actually warm!” says Will the 4-year-old.  This is a small miracle because he’s notoriously cold all the time.  This winter, despite the temps outside, he refused (as good toddlers do) to wear his hat and mittens.  In the car he cried, “But I’m freezin’.”  I told him that next time he’d wear his hat and mittens and zip his coat and he’d be warmer.  “Well,” he said and paused, trying to find a solution, “Couldn’t I just crawl back in your uterus to keep warm?”


Shhh and have some chopped salad.

Chopped Rainbow Salad (meal in a bowl #3)

3 peppers of different colors, chopped and deseeded

1 English cucumber, sliced in half, deseeded, and chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

1/2 purple cabbage, shredded

2 large carrots, shredded

2 cups any greens (ripped butter lettuce, baby spinach, romaine) or mixed

1 bunch scallions, sliced

1/2 cup of diced Jarlsburg cheese

1/2 cup diced Compte cheese
6-10 oz Tuna in oil, broken up


1/4 cup olive oil

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp balsamic vinegar or champagne vinegar

Toss all vegetable, cheese, and tuna in a large salad bowl.  Mix dressing ingredients and pour over salad.  Toss well.  Eat.

Butter Bean Hummus & Helping Hands

21 May

  This is my 4-year-old doing all of the cooking by himself.  If his hands look rather large it is because a) I’m not a very good photographer and b) he is a giant child.  People constantly ask what grade he is in.  Soon they’ll want to know what hedge fund he manages [I will respond “the one with the pretty flowers”].

“I am a dipper.”

Will, 4, would be in DA (dipper’s anonymous) if such a group met (and met before 7pm).

He dips green beans in yogurt, cucumbers in ketchup, and his fingers into soy butter.

Hummus is just so jejune, isn’t it (um, no)?  We like to make our own, but use butter beans for their lovely creamy texture.

Will loves to press buttons [real, not figurative] and loves to cook.  He gets to make this entire dish “except the sharp part.”

He also gets to dip [I provide the butter lettuce, apple slices, celery, carrots, and wooden spoon].

Butter Bean Hummus

1 can butter beans, rinsed and drained (or about 12 oz dried beans, soaked overnight and boiled until soft)

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp tahini

1/3 cup olive oil (I use one from my dad’s farm)

good pinch sea salt (try Maldon’s)

various items for dipping (vegetables, crackers, fingers)

Combine ingredients in order in food processor (a mini one works well).  Scrap down sides and blend until smooth, adding more of any per your taste.

Cereal Muffins Part 2

19 Apr

Due to the interest, and despite the fact that Passover just started (and during Passover religious Jews don’t eat any leavened bread or bread products), I have received a lot of emails asking for LEFTOVER CEREAL MUFFINS.  This is the recipe for a large crowd (aka my family) – they also freeze very well.  Feel free to cut the recipe in half.  Note that there’s no oil in this, no butter, nothing but good-f0r-you fiber…and yet they actually taste good.  Chuck in a handful of chocolate chips or dried cranberries or coconut flakes or anything you have left at the bottom of bags or tins.

Leftover Cereal Muffins

4 cups leftover cereal (hooray for Kashi’s Autumn Wheat, which aside from being tasty, always has tons of twigs left)

2 cups milk (any %)

1/2 cup sugar

2/3 cup applesauce

4 eggs

3 cups whole wheat flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

Spray for tins

a few chocolate chips if desired

Oven to 375.  Pour the milk over the cereal and let it sit for a bit until the cereal is mushy. Spray muffin tins.  Add rest of wet ingredients and mix (wooden spoon is fine – no need for mixer), being sure to combine well.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until just combined.  Fill muffin tins.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Let cool in the tins for 10 minutes before you let them finish cooling on rack.

Try serving with EMMA’S PANTRY Strawberry-Vanilla Jam or Rhubarb sauce.

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