Good morning roast

Sometimes…on a Friday morning, for no good reason, I wake up and make a roast. 

Normal right?

A few years ago my husband got me a Dutch oven. It’s high romance around here. Since then, I’ve slow braised the hell out of chicken, beef and lamb. And oh the chili I’ve made! 

I don’t make any veggie things in it because I feel like there’s braised meat in the bones of this Dutch oven. The soul of it is now meat. That’s right. It’s got a meat soul.

It’s an easy recipe. Cover the roast in salt, pepper and garlic. Sear the meat on high to get crust. Let the meat rest while you cook down onions, carrots and celery. Then add beef stock and a few bay leafs. Put the beef back in. Cover and into a 350 degree oven for 2-3 hours depending on size of roast. Done! 

Now go about your day, smelling like meat and bay leafs. You’re welcome.


Chicken Marsala and other things

Happy January! Is the new year treating you well so far? Are you deflating slowly from the merriment like I am? Well, I’m trying to atleast. Work goes into hyper speed until…oh about June. Gulp. Here’s what we’ve been up to – a visual tour:

I call this, I spend a lot of time with chicken for a vegetarian.


We’ve been trying to cook more often and I went all old school this past weekend with a Chicken Marsala. The way to my husband’s heart is pretty simple – a meat, a gravy, and a noodle. This was an old Martha recipe. Remember when it was just Martha and all her superiority? Miss that.

I took some time off during the holidays from work and I think my husband and I may have seen a movie a day. One of the benefits of our kids getting bigger is that we are no longer tied to a sitter. If we want to go to a movie, we go. The kids manage to survive for a couple of hours. Here’s three of our favorites. Two of these movies aren’t for the faint of heart – and the other is not the love story you would expect.

My daughter, Kera, spent this long weekend at her high school’s senior retreat. Even though my husband and I both went to Catholic schools, neither one of us ever went to a retreat.  We blame Obama. Just kidding. Last night we went to pick her up in the “homecoming” ceremony. It was so raw and emotional. I fully expected the girls to be crying and happy when they walked in, because that’s how I would be. And isn’t it all about me? No? Ok. You’re right. What I didn’t understand was how many young men would walk in that room with tears in their eyes and talk about their emotions. And the mix of kids was also amazing. The sports guy, the cheerleader, the computer geek, the comedian – all together. The entire weekend is called Kairos, which is a Greek word that means “the right” or “the moment”. That’s about all I can tell  you because the cell phone/tv/computer free retreat, is also about how to protect the things that your peers have shared with you. Each group did get to share one thing with the parents – surprisingly it was all boys talking about their experience, except for one, brave, strong, beautiful girl. Guess which one? Yep. Here she is walking in from her “Kai High” as it’s called.

One last thing. For many years I’ve heard funny, crazy, happy, sad, and completely engrosing stories about my mother-in-law’s childhood on the Upper East Side of Manhattan called Old Yorkville. When we lost her too early, I started asking even more questions. Her two sisters and extended family have been filling me in. Initially I was just interested in my mother-in-law’s story, but now I’m obsessed with her mother, Irene. She was a stone cold beauty in every sense of that phrase. I met her just twice. By the time I came into the picture, she had lived a hard life. She didn’t play a huge part in my husband’s childhood, which was dominated by the other grandmother in his life – on his father’s side – Nana. That’s a cool story too. When I first met Joe I didn’t even know he had two grandmothers. I only heard about Nana. I didn’t meet Irene until amost 3 years into our relationship. She was so different than all the other women in his family that I’d met. A little withdrawen and quiet. I was so absorbed with my own little life back then that I really didn’t open up to her at all. Now I’m completely obsessed. Her marriages, her daughthers, her life – I want to know it all. I’ve been bugging everyone to share their stories, and they have. Generously. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it yet. I do hope to share some of what I learn here (if it’s ok with the family). Here’s a picture of Irene on her wedding day. Makes you want to know more about her doesn’t it?

Writing this blog makes me so happy, but it also requires that the people in my life are ok with what I choose to share. I usually don’t ask permission, but I am careful. It’s a tough line and that I’m constantly pushing. Why do I think you want to know about what I made for dinner or what movies I saw? Because if we were to ever meet, or had a cup of coffee together – that’s what I would ask you. Not because I think what I’m doing is so important – but because it’s a detail of life. And I love all the details that go into a person’s life. Do you agree?



Baking is my kryptonite

Not that I’m comparing myself to the caped wonder. I’m not super at all. And I would never wear blue tights.

My husband used to work in a bakery all throughout high school. He worked for a wonderful baker whose family has owned a German bakery in NYC for over a 100 years (it’s still there – everyone check out Glaser’s on the Upper East Side!). That lovely baker is my daughter’s godfather and one of our closest friends.

In college he let me work at the bakery to make some extra money. Early in our marriage we lived in an apartement right above that bakery, and I’ve never met anyone who likes cake more than me! So why for the love of all the sugar gods can’t I bake? And please, save me all your advice. Yes, I know baking is a science. I know I can’t “wing” ingredients. Oh, you bake all the time do you? It’s easier than cooking you say? Well in the words of Christian Bale when he had the meltdown on camera…”GOOD FOR YOU!”. Bake yourself a cookie and eat it why don’t you. Sorry. I’m just covered in sugar and failure. I’ll be nicer tomorrow.

Here’s my latest crumby attempt. Literally. No, this isn’t the crumb layer. This is the final product. Oh I’ll still eat it. I’m not nuts. But I am done with baking for good! Done I tell you! Done!




Rabbit Rabbit

It’s December 1st. Tradition says that if you say those words together today you’ll have some good luck or good vibes or good something.

Don’t we all need some good vibes?

How are you? You doin’ ok? Made it through Thanksgiving? Me too. It was so much fun.

I miss it already.

I’m back at work after a whole week off. Actually I was back at work yesterday but it didn’t feel real yet. I was still avoiding all the work by asking people about their turkeys. It was awkward. People would come into my office to talk about some upcoming event and I’d redirect, deflect and evade.

“Can we go over this event agenda…” they’d say trying to keep me ontrack.

“Agenda…hmmm….yeah. What was your agenda for dessert on Thanksgiving? Let’s talk about that first.” I’d fire back.

I was hopeless. By 1pm I was finally ready to give it up. No one seemed to be having the post tramatic turkey day withdrawal like me.

So what’s next baby? Christmas? Hanukkah? New Year’s?

I like the holidays, what can I say? I like seeing friends and family. I like baking cookies. I like buying gifts. I like the whole damn thing.

One day, when my kids don’t see me everyday and my husband has lost most of his sight,  I’ll be one of those people that not only decorates their home, but also themselves.

That’s right. I’m talking themed clothing people!

Christmas sweaters. Thanksgiving earrings. Halloween PJs. Oh it’ll be on.

Till then – here’s some random photos to enjoy. My kitchen as I prepped. My turkey (apparently claried butter is the way to go). A couple of people passed out on the couch after dinner – which I consider the ultimate compliment. Photos of the hike my sister orgnaized for a few of us. I think more people would have joined had they known we would be stopping at a Vineyard on the way home.  True story.


Because Butter

It’s officially Thanksgiving day but it’s technically still the night before.  I’m getting ready to call it a night. I’ve done what I can. Tomorrow will just have to happen.

I got a call today from a friend who is hosting her first ever Thanksgiving. She’s all freaked out and stressed out about the bird. The stuffing. The potatoes.

She wanted me to walk her through some of the recipes that I use. Since I was in the midst of prepping for the big day when she called I cut to the chase.

“Ok. So you know when you eat at a restaurant and you have their mashed potatoes or the chicken or steak and you think…how did they make it so well? Why can’t my food be this good. What makes this food better? You know what makes it better? Butter.”

That’s the truth. It’s not the organic ingredients or farm raised turkey. It’s not the Martha Stewart vs Ina method. It’s the butter. Obscene amounts of butter. In the potatoes, on the turkey. The stuffing? Oh it’s stuffed with butter.

When you think you’ve used enough – use more. Want to choose a healthier alternative? Have it. It won’t be as good.

Happy Thanksgiving people. Because butter.

Here’s a pic of my one of the turkeys (made with clarified butter and regular butter). Call 911.


I add the love

I make a lot of things for Thanksgiving from scratch. Scratch meaning once there was nothing and now there’s something. Just in case you needed clarification.
Know what I don’t make from scratch? Gravy.
There. Now you know.
And cornbread.
I feel better. Lighter.
A few years ago I found this…

It’s genius. This is what I do to it to make it seem homemade and take the edge off.

After the turkey cooks I take some of the drippings and add that too. This not making gravy while 15 hungry people watch you has added years to my life. Ok days. It’s added days to my life. I’ll never go back.
And the cornbread? I just add some…how do you say…corn to this jazzy old school staple.


It’s 59 cents people. And perfect. What are you a superhero trying to make this from scratch? Get over yourself.
Happy Thanksgiving Eve to you all!!

Oh No You Didn’t!

I was a bit distracted today. Last night, as I was falling into a deep deep sleep at 8:45pm, my husband dropped a bomb. A major announcement. Something he knew would send me reeling, so he waited until I was only half concious. He told me my Thanksgiving stuffing “needs work”. Excuse me? I’m sorry what? I felt like someone dumped cold water on me. It needs work? The stuffing I’ve been making for almost two decades? The one that we never have leftovers for?? Really? Then he kept talking. “It’s not clumpy enough.” “The sausage bits are too big.” “Maybe try a new recipe.”

I pretended to continue falling asleep, when in reality I was really seething for almost 10 minutes before actually falling asleep. How dare you sir!!! 

This morning I woke up and decided to ignore everything he said. This is the dude that has been licking his plate clean every Thanksgiving for the past 18 years. All of a sudden he’s on Chopped judging my technique?? Well I would not let him derail me. I mean, really, what am I supposed to do? Test run the stuffing? What am I a newlywed? But I was tortured. Obsessed. Fine! You win husband! I’ll do a trial run.

So I went through my work calls, work emails, work work – and then at 5pm…or maybe 4:59…I went out and bought all the stuff to make test stuffing. AKA dinner.

Here’s how it went down…buy this


Then grab the entire 8 oz of butter. Yes. All of it. Do it. I also add in some fresh sage.



Then add in the pre-chopped onions and celery or chop it all yourself if you’re a better person than me.


Take whatever bread you are using, cut it up into rough pieces while thinking of your husband smack talking your hard work when all he does to prep for major holidays is take a shower. Ahem. Then bake at 200 degrees for an hour to dry out.


Start another pan and cook the sausage. Here’s a before and after of what it should look like.



I forget to add an egg to the ingredient photo – but you need an egg. At this point you’ll mix about a 1/3 of the stock with the egg and set it aside. Then generously butter a dish because…well, you know. Because butter.



By now the onion, celery, sage mix is golden brown and swimming in butter.


Time to combine the bread, sausage, onion/celery/butter mix and add a generous dose of fresh parsley and sage.


You’ll note that I don’t add any salt because the butter I use is salted and, although I’ve never actually tasted it, I imagine the sausage to be salty. The only thing you have to add is the egg/turkey stock mixture and about a cup of just the stock.


Then, for shits and giggles, add more butter.


Bake for about an hour and done.


When your husband says,”Sorry I doubted you, you are the best stuffing maker on the planet.” Drop the oven mitt on the floor and walk out of the kitchen.

P.S. – Don’t forget that your family can’t have food until Sunday because of all the calories they’ve consumed on Friday night and you should give your husband a small aspirin because of all the butter intake.

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