Archive: February 2009

Michaela's drawingI have this adorable kindergartner at school named Michaela, and she has super curly hair like mine. We have bonded over this, and she’s forever running up to give me hugs and tell me how much she likes my hair. Yesterday she gave me this drawing that she made of me (that’s me in the middle). She told me it says, “Mrs. Reeves love her hair.” (A lot of the kids put an “S” at the end of my last name, and I mostly just let it go).

Read more on That’s So Trashy…

The March ’09 issue of Gourmet has a fantastic article by Barry Estabrook called “Politics of the Plate: The Price of Tomatoes.” The article addresses the working conditions of tomato pickers in southern Florida, who live in “virtual slavery” and work for huge tomato producers who stock restaurants and grocery stores during the winter months. This small area in Florida apparently produces 90% of all the tomatoes grown in the USA, year-round. So when no local tomatoes are available, chances are they’re coming from here if they’re domestic.

Read more on Eating Ethically…

martha cookiesOur Martha, who art in Connecticut, hallowed be thy name….

I’ve been making the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe pretty much my entire life, and recently I started wondering if it really is the best. After I made them in bar form back around the holidays, I decided I was bored and the next time I made them I’d shake things up. So this will hopefully become a series of attempts to find the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. The criteria: must be moist, buttery, not too much chocolate, and still tasty on days 2 and 3.

This first attempt to go outside my cookie comfort zone is a Martha Stewart recipe. I do love Martha, and after a friend from grad school posted on Facebook that this was the best cookie recipe she’d ever made, period, I decided to start with these.

And they’re good. Really good. So good that even though they weren’t as soft and chewy as I’d like, I’m still eating them 3 days later. Fr some reason, the cookies just would not bake in my oven. The recipe says bake for 8-10 minutes, and mine took a good 12+ to bake through. I’m sure this changed the desired texture and consistency, and I honestly don’t know why. Maybe my butter was too soft, or the oven rack wasn’t quite right. At any rate, they are delicious regardless of changes to texture. I was apparently so excited about making them and consuming them that every picture I took is blurry. So forgive the artful shots. But these are much nicer than the Toll House cookies, and the biggest difference I see is less granulated sugar and more brown sugar. Adam thought these were the greatest thing since sliced bread, so they’ll be a hard act to beat.

Martha’s Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Read more on Chocolate Chip Cookies Pt. 1…


Way back before Thanksgiving I had my 5th graders working on book reviews. They had to pick a book they’d read cover to cover this year or last year, and they had to write a review that included a one-sentence summary, why they liked or disliked the book, and whether or not they would recommend it to a friend. They did pretty well with this, but if I do it again next year I will definitely try to collaborate with the teachers or start from the beginning with selecting the books and reading them.

Read more on 5th Grade Book Reviews…

pea and bacon risottoI love making risotto. I know a lot of people think it’s an intimidating dish to make, but I find it positively meditative. I had a long day yesterday, and I came home completely exhausted. I woke up from a post-work nap and decided to make risotto for dinner. Perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind as an easy dinner after a long day, but it was just what I needed.

The trick is that you have to pay attention. You can’t multitask when you make risotto. There’s no time to check email, look at bills, work on lesson plans, or make phone calls. You have to stir and wait. And you can see your progress. It’s tangible, the risotto gets thicker and creamier the more you stir and add broth. And when it’s done, you’ve accomplished something kind of magnificent and slightly magical. And all you had to do was unplug from the world for a little while and just concentrate on one thing. And how often do we get to do that? Like I said…meditation.

So here’s the recipe I used, a triumph from the January 2009 issue of Gourmet.

Pea and Bacon Risotto

Read more on Pea and Bacon Risotto…

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