11.21.2017

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It’s already (late!) November and I feel like we’re just beginning to find our fall rhythm. The first month back to school was fairly easy and cheerful (the amazing September weather and long afternoon light is mostly to thank) but now it’s hit me – fall, for better or worse, is here. I just walked downstairs from attempting to store all the boys’ summer shorts away but realized pretty quickly that Dylan is going to have a problem with that. He still prefers to wear shorts, even when the high is in the low 50s or upper 40s. Thanksgiving is my deadline – no shorts after turkey day.

The food we’re cooking and eating reflects this seasonal, albeit slow, shift as well. Last week I made a truly successful Sunday dinner – the kind of meal that is easy but satisfying, special but familiar enough to please everyone. The menu was Barilla® Collezione Orecchiette with Red Onions, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Balsamic Vinegar & Basil, a big salad, and Whole-Wheat Almond-Butter Sandwich Cookies for dessert. If you’re really hungry, a platter of grilled steak, loaf of garlic bread, or pan of roasted winter squash would be a nice accompaniment. As a matter of fact, I am planning on making this Sunday dinner again soon, with a few of these additions because when I find a new-to-us meal that works I always come back to it.

This post is In Partnership with Martha Stewart Living, Barilla® Collezione and Reynolds Kitchens™

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Barilla® Collezione Orecchiette with Red Onions, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Balsamic Vinegar & Basil

Serves 6

I really love the surprising addition of balsamic vinegar here and although the simplicity of red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil is perfect, many other things like roasted winter squash, mushrooms, wilted spinach, ground sausage or pancetta would be delicious tossed into the pasta as well. I chose the orecchiette pasta shape because its smooth inside and grooved outside perfectly grips the vegetable heavy sauce. We all loved the texture of the pasta too.

1 12-ounce box Barilla® Collezione Orecchiette

1 red onion, peeled and sliced thin

Olive oil

8 ½-ounces sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 handfuls of basil, torn

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  1. Bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt to taste. Add pasta to boiling water. Boil for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  1. While the pasta boils, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and slowly fry the onion in a couple of glugs of olive oil for 5 minutes, until soft and tender. Stir in the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and vinegar.
  1. When the pasta is tender, drain and add the orecchiette to the skillet. Season skillet with salt and black pepper and toss in the torn basil.
  1. Serve Barilla® Collezione Orecchiette with Red Onions, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Balsamic Vinegar & Basil warm with Parmesan cheese, if you’d like.

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Whole-Wheat Almond-Butter Sandwich Cookies

From A New Way to Bake: Classic Recipes Updated with Better-for-You Ingredients from the Modern Pantry

Makes 30 Sandwiches

Made with almond butter and toasted almonds, these cookies, which rely completely on whole-wheat pastry flour, are a scrumptious riff on the beloved peanut-butter sandwich cookie. The delightfully crisp almond cookies are also tasty all on their own.

1 ¼ cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon coarse salt

1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup smooth natural unsalted almond butter, well stirred

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted and finely chopped

¼ cup honey

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Reynolds Kitchens™ Parchment Paper with SmartGrid®

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  1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high, 1 minute. Add almond butter, and beat until smooth. Beat in brown sugar, then egg, until well mixed. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture until just combined. Stir in almonds.
  1. Form dough into a log roughly 11 inches long and 1 ¾ inches in diameter. Wrap in parchment, and freeze until firm, about 1 hour (or up to 3 months).
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Using a chef’s knife, slice log into scant ¼-inch-thick rounds, using one quick motion for each slice. (For easier slicing, keep log frozen between batches of cookies.) Arrange rounds 1 ½ inches apart on baking sheets lined with Reynolds Kitchens™ Parchment Paper with SmartGrid®, pressing back into shape as needed. Reynolds Kitchens™ Parchment Paper with SmartGrid® really comes in handy here because its SmartGrid guidelines make it easier to space cookie slices. The non-stick surface made removing the baked Whole-Wheat Almond Butter Sandwich Cookies a piece of cake.
  1. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are light golden on edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer sheets to wire racks and let cookies cool completely.

5. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, honey, and vanilla on medium until combined. Spread 1 tablespoon each on the bottoms of half the cookies, then sandwich with remaining          cookies, pressing gently to spread filling. (Filled cookies are best the same day.)

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11.17.2017

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I hit the library cookbook shelf pretty hard this week. After flipping through a dozen cookbooks, old and new, I brought two home – Christopher Kimball’s new book Milk Street: The New Home Cooking and Taste of Persia: A Cook’s Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan. I picked Milk Street because, without cable TV at home, Nick and I end up watching public television’s cooking shows often and both feel like we know Christopher Kimball personally. Taste of Persia is our cookbook club’s new book and I was psyched to see an entire chapter dedicated to flatbreads.

I made two recipes from Milk Street this week – this kale salad and a lentil salad. I have the ingredients for a cauliflower-tahini dish from the book in our fridge that I hope to try today. This kale salad is really good – here is what Christopher Kimball has to say about it:

Kale can make a flavorful and seasonal winter salad, but to be eaten raw it needs to be treated right. Otherwise, the greens can be unpleasantly tough. We started with lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur or Tuscan kale. Its long blue-green leaves are sweeter and more tender than curly kale. Slicing the greens thinly was the first step to making them more salad-friendly. Then, to soften them further, we borrowed a Japanese technique used on raw cabbage – massaging the leaves. In this case, we do it with ground smoked almonds, which help tenderize the kale and add crunch and flavor to the finished salad. An acidic shallot-sherry vinaigrette also helped soften and brighten the kale (look for a sherry vinegar aged at least 3 years). Intensely flavorful paprika breadcrumbs, inspired by the Catalan sauce cicada, tied everything together. 

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Kale Salad with Smoked Almonds and Picada Crumbs

Start to finish: 15 minutes / Servings: 6. From Milk Street: The New Home Cooking

2 shallots, thinly sliced

5 tablespoons sherry vinegar

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons honey

8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Ground black pepper

1 cup smoked almonds *I used regular roasted and salted almonds, not smoked

4 ounces chewy white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

2 bunches lacinato kale, stemmed, washed, spun dry and thinly sliced crosswise (10 cups)

1 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, chopped *I left out the mint

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1. In a small bowl, whisk together the shallots, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let sit for 10 minutes. Whisk in the honey, 5 tablespoons of the oil and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; set aside.

2. In a food processor, process the almonds until coarsely chopped, about 8 pulses; transfer to a large bowl. Add the bread to the processor and process to rough crumbs, about 20 seconds. Add the thyme, the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, the paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Process until incorporated, about 10 seconds.

3. Transfer the crumb mixture to a large skillet over medium and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp and browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

4. Add the kale and mint to the bowl with the almonds and massage the greens until the kale softens and darkens, 10 to 20 seconds. Add the dressing and crumbs and toss to combine. Taste, then season with salt and pepper.

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11.10.2017

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If you follow me on instagram it’s not news to you that I’m obsessed with our PlanetBox lunch boxes. These lunch boxes are eco-friendly, stainless steel, easy to pack, easy to clean, durable, and the boys LOVE them. Dylan and Gray actually begged me all summer to pull the trigger and buy two but they are not cheap so it took us a while to save up. We have had such success with these lunch boxes I’m giving one away and I hope YOU win it!

To enter, head to my instagram account. I will draw a winner on Sunday. Woot woot!

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11.02.2017

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I know I’m like 4 years behind here but I’ve finally discovered podcasts – or, I’ve finally made time to listen to them. In any case, I’m hooked and have basically binge listened to series after series jumping from Serial and S-Town to One Part Podcast and Burnt Toast. What hit me most recently when listening to a One Part Podcast episode with Julia Turshen, was the shared excitement from cookbook authors when someone buys your book, cooks from it, then SHOWS YOU what they made. For me, this is both thrilling and completely scary but you guys have showed Feeding a Family a lot of home kitchen love. The outpouring of success stories has made me so so happy and proud of this book.

Below is a little visual collection of the recipe snaps you’ve shared. There are more but these are the ones I had handy. Thank you for using the book and telling me about it. To that point, the holidays are fast approaching and while I’m trying not to sound like a cars salesman here – you should really buy a copy of Feeding a Family for someone. Maybe it’s a food lover, teacher, friend, hostess, new parent, or just a busy person who would love a fresh pep in their dinner step. I know I’m a little biased but, a new cookbook really does make the perfect gift.

As a friendly reminder, here is where you can purchase Feeding a Family online:

AMAZON / BARNES AND NOBLE / POWELL’S / INDIE BOUND / ROOST BOOKS

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And here is what people have said about it: 

“Sarah’s recipes are my favorite kind of recipes-wholesome, simple, and most important, strategic.Feeding young kids often requires a bonafide battle plan, and this book outlines that plan deliciously.” – Jenny Rosenstrach, author of Dinner: A Love Story and Dinner: The Playbook

“I consider myself pretty adept at cooking wholesome meals, but since I’ve had kids, I have found it more difficult to make something for dinner that everyone will eat. Sarah’s book is filled with ideas that help put a colorful and virtuous meal on the table without complicating things or taking a ton of time. I am sure I’ll be using this book as a weekly reference.” -Sara Forte, author of Sprouted Kitchen and Sprouted Kitchen: Bowl + Spoon

“Sarah Waldman’s Feeding a Family manages to somehow be beautifully modern and dreamily old-fashioned in equal measure. It reminds us that taking the time to cook from scratch is one of the most full-hearted ways to care for family and provides the tools and season-by-season recipes to make it happen. The deliciously homespun desserts alone are worth the price of the book.” -Katie Sullivan Morford, author of Rise & Shine

“Sarah Waldman’s Feeding a Family is filled with recipes for simple, wholesome, and seasonal meals. Maybe more importantly, it offers a recipe for cultivating a family mealtime tradition where stress and fuss melt away and togetherness takes center stage. Written in a style that’s relatable, upbeat, and encouraging, Feeding a Family gives parents of young children pragmatic tips for reclaiming dinnertime, one meal at a time.” – Erin Boyle, author of Simple Matters and creator of the blog Reading My Tea Leaves

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10.05.2017

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My latest recipe for Spicy Cauliflower-Red Lentil Burgers is up on Food52. Here is a little sneak peek…

The Veggie Burger That Turns into 3 Different Meals

Making weeknight dinners on a tight schedule is my thing (see: my book), and I never stop searching for simple, adaptable, satisfying zingers that lift me up at the end of the day. My favorite recipes are both familiar and surprising, highly adaptable, and have pieces that can be made ahead of time, leaving us with slightly re-jiggered leftovers for tomorrow’s lunchboxes and dinner.

These vegetable burgers fulfill all of my weeknight dinner criteria. To prove it to you, I’ve outlined ways you can adapt this recipe to satisfy your tastes (or what you have in the cabinet), ways to prepare pieces of it beforehand (nothing better than getting a head start), and ideas of how to transform leftover burgers into a second (and equally exciting) meal.

Click here for the full story and recipe. All photographs by Elizabeth Cecil.

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