Thursday, November 27, 2014

Sweet Thanksgiving

So much to be grateful for this year. The family that has enveloped me in love for 42 years. My friends who have helped shape me into the person I am. My health. My good fortune. All my memories, dreams and opportunities from throughout the years. And my new family: my husband and this sweet little lamb.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. May your days be filled with love, wonder, copious amounts of food and whatever makes you happy and at peace. xo

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Life on the inside

Parker is now six weeks old. It's funny how the days and weeks are simultaneously long and short. So much happens (like, her brain growing five centimeters so far and little fat rolls slowly forming on her jambes), and yet we do nothing but eat, read and take walks.

This is what a typical day at home looks like.
And evening.
And every moment in between.
It's nothing. And everything.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The comfort of pie & a great French giveaway

When I first met Ann Mah in Paris, there was an immediate kinship. She had previously lived in New York and was a wonderful writer of mostly food and travel pieces—a girl after my own heart. Plus, she was understatedly cool, modest, and a great conversationalist. Over the past few years, that admiration of Ann evolved into a friendship with many parallels in our lives: we both returned to New York, published books, and are now mothers.

Ann had a beautiful baby girl, Lucy, a little over a year ago. As I approached my due date, she was full of helpful suggestions and down to earth advice (which, if you’re a mom, you know is not as common as you might think or hope). And when she actually offered to cook a chicken pot pie with parsley biscuits for us the week after Parker was born, I was all too happy and grateful to accept.

So, you think that shows Ann’s thoughtful, generous nature? Now take into consideration that she made the offer—and the beautiful pot pie—in the midst of her paperback release of her New York Times-acclaimed book, Mastering the Art of French Eating.

I thought it only appropriate to spread the generosity, and yumminess, in two ways: by sharing Ann's recipe and offering a copy of her fantastic book.

First, the recipe...

Chicken pot pie with parsley biscuits

Serves four

For the chicken stew:
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup cream sherry (optional)
5 cups chicken broth
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 lb white button mushrooms, diced
1 lb asparagus, ends snapped off, and cut into 1-inch segments
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups roast chicken, diced
Salt and pepper

Parsley yogurt biscuits:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 oz cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk, or yogurt (NOT Greek-style, or strained)

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

In a large pot, heat the butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the flour and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the sherry (if using) and allow the alcohol to evaporate. Add the chicken broth and simmer, stirring often, until the sauce is thick.

Meanwhile, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the onion and sauté until fragrant. Add the mushrooms, asparagus, peas, and dried thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir the vegetables into the sauce, along with the chicken. Taste and adjust seasonings. 

Place the stew in a 9″ x 13″ ceramic baking dish.

Make the biscuits. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and parsley. Blend in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the yogurt and stir with a fork until the dough comes together—it will be sticky, with bits of flour on the side of the bowl. I like to knead the dough a couple of times in the bowl to bring everything together.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using gentle, floured fingertips, pat the dough into an 8-inch x 10-inch rectangle, about 1-inch thick. Cut the dough into 2 to 3-inch squares (or use the rim of a 2-inch juice glass). 

Arrange the biscuits on top of the stew. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the biscuits are golden and the stew is bubbly around the sides.

Now, that you're appropriately hungry, get ready for a delicious giveaway...

What's your favorite memory associated with French food? 

Answer in the comment box below by November 20 for a chance to receive a copy of Ann's wonderful Mastering the Art of French Eating!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Lucky number 42

I’ve always known I’m lucky. And I knew 42 was going to be a good year. The first hours of my birthday confirmed both.

I woke up to the sweet embrace of my husband and the 4-week-old grunts of my sweet daughter. Then I got to hop in the shower before mothering duties beckoned.

When I came out to the living room, it was like Christmas morning. Andrew had gotten pretzel croissants (and chocolate chip cookies for later!) from City Bakery and warmed them up in the oven. That alone made my day.

But then there were gifts. Cards (yep, Parker got me a birthday card, too). More love and weepy moments.

It’s been my middle-aged, modern version of this:

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Kindred spirits

It’s been interesting watching Milo watch Parker these past few weeks. He’s curious yet aloof; aware and needy, but giving us and her a wide berth. I’m not sure if he’s displeased to be bounced from his throne, or is looking out for the new family member.

One thing for sure: their body language and daily routines are strikingly similar.