Maddie Quote of the Day

“I fell on my tushie!”

Maddie is learning to walk, which means she falls a lot.  At first she was falling straight backward.  Working with her physical therapist we worked to teach her to fall on her behind so she wouldn’t crack her head open.  Now she falls like a champ and usually exclaims, quick comically, “I fell on my tushie!”

What’s Been Cooking At Our House

I haven’t had a chance to blog, but I have been cooking.  Here are some of the awesome dishes we’ve been eating the last couple of weeks …

Ginger chicken with peaches and onions served over rice: Really delicious and easy.  It’s made with frozen peaches — you don’t even have to defrost them — so I will keep the ingredients for this on hand.

Curried Rice with Shrimp: This was okay. I made it with frozen cooked shrimp that I got at BJs.  Next time I’m going to use uncooked shrimp — I think it would be better.

Lentil soup: Simple and delish. I have a couple different lentil soup recipes that I like and this one gets added to the rotation.

Tomato and olive penne: Really delicious and EZ.  Spicy, which I like.

Cold sesame noodles: I liked this, but more of a summer dish.  I’d add a bit of tofu to it for some extra protein.

Steak with shallot sauce: This was great.  (Unfortunately I can’t find a link for it. Argh.) Preston and I have a hard time with steak.  I LOVE it and I like it rare (like, slap it on the butt and send it out).  Preston wants it cooked and he’s not a huge fan of it in any event.  Since he doesn’t love the taste of meat he wants some kind of sauce.  I generally find sauces distracting and don’t love the extra effort.  THIS recipe was therefore perfect.  The sauce is super easy, super yummy and complements the meat without competing.  I’ll definitely make this again.

Shrimp, tomato and basil pasta: FreshDirect had cleaned shrimp on sale so I decided to try this new recipe.  I have about half a dozen good, easy shrimp recipes now.  This one is more of a summer dish, but since good-quality grape tomatoes are available year-round now you can really make it anytime.  I subbed penne for the linguine.  Maddie can do spaghetti (she was hysterical with the sesame noodles), but penne or rotini is easier for her and involves less clean up for us.

Beef stew: I wanted to make chili for the Super Bowl, but Preston had a hankering for beef stew.  I’m not going to say no to him cooking.  He wanted something easier than the version in Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  This was really good.  He seemed slightly unsatisfied, but I thought it was yummy.

Madeline, for her part, yummed down all of this.  Every dish.

Maddie Says the Darnedest Things

Maddie’s verbal skills have advanced by leaps and bounds.  Here’s a sampling of recent conversations.

Daddy: C’mon Maddie, let’s brush your teeth.

Maddie: And comb my ears! [This is from the book Olivia]


Mommy (at 7 a.m., opening the door to her room): Good morning Maddie.

Maddie: I’m sleeping.

Mommy: Want to get up?

Maddie (flopping her head down rather theatrically): No.


Maddie (holding up a garbanzo bean): What’s this?

Mommy: A garbanzo bean.  Can you say garbanzo bean?

Maddie: ‘Banzo bean!


Maddie, while playing with her baby doll: Want to change her diaper. [I report this one not so much for its cuteness, though it is cute, but for its complexity.  A five-word grammatically correct sentence is pretty advanced for a 26-month-old. I’m her mother, so I’m biased. But objectively speaking she’s clearly brilliant.]


Maddie, after having a bedtime story read to her by Daddy: Nice story. Want to go to bed now. [Another complex sentence. And clearly my girl likes her sleep.]

More to come …

What’s Cooking: Meal Plan for the Week of January 22

I’m totally on a Martha kick, which is funny since I don’t always love her recipes.  But the Everyday Food recipes are working out pretty good.  I just signed up for the magazine again.

Friday: Mustard-glazed cod / vegetable saute

Saturday: Filet (from Trader Joe’s — it’s frozen) / steamed spinach / red bliss potatoes (probably roasted)

Sunday: Ginger chicken with peaches and onions / rice / broccoli

Monday: Curried Rice with Shrimp with steamed green beans

Tuesday: Lentil soup

Wednesday: Potluck night (meaning leftovers from earlier in the week or something out of the freezer)

Thursday: Tomato and olive penne

Here’s the round up of last week’s plan …

Friday: Mustard-glazed flounder, sauteed arugula, steamed cauliflower. (This was awesome.  So good I’m making it again this week.)

Saturday: Pasta with meat sauce (frozen), salad and bread.

Sunday: Roast chicken, potatoes, green beans

Monday: Broccoli with tortellini (This one is a reliable standby.  I could make it with my eyes closed and it’s always delicious.)

I flipped Tuesday and Wednesday around, but made both dishes …

Tuesday: Moroccan chicken stew with couscous (Yum, yum, yum.  And beyond easy.  This definitely goes into the regular rotation. I will tweak it a bit — a little less onion and less stock to make it less soupy.)

Wednesday: Ginger chicken soup with vegetables (Very good.  I’d make it again, but it is a bit of work — mostly chopping.  I would also do slightly less ginger.)

Thursday: Leftovers or something from the freezer

What’s Cooking: The Plan for Week of January 15

Feel free to cook along at home …

Friday: Mustard-glazed flounder, sauteed arugula, steamed cauliflower.

Saturday: Pasta with meat sauce (frozen), salad and bread.

Sunday: Roast chicken, potatoes, green beans

Monday: Broccoli with tortellini

Tuesday: Moroccan chicken stew with couscous

Wednesday: Ginger chicken soup with vegetables

Thursday: Leftovers or something from the freezer

Meanwhile, here’s a rundown of how last week’s plan panned out:

Friday: Black Bean Soup (I ended up doing a mash-up between this recipe and Joy.  It was okay.)

Saturday: Halibut with Lentils in Mustard Sauce (Very yummy.  A family fave.)

Sunday: Homemade chicken fingers and broccoli (and probably leftover lentils from Saturday) (I had to move this because I had to use the shrimp sooner than I anticipated.  I could have frozen it but that kind of defeats the point of paying extra for fresh.  Since Preston won’t eat curry — don’t ask — I had to go with this yummy recipe instead.  Big hit and it’s hysterical hearing Maddie ask for couscous.)

Monday: Curried Rice with Shrimp with steamed green beans (As mentioned, Preston won’t do curry, so I have to save this one for a night he’s not home.  So I moved up the black-eyed peas with spinach.)

Tuesday: Black-eyed peas with spinach over rice (From Moosewood Cooks at Home) (Moved to Monday, homemade chicken fingers went here instead.)

Then, basically these two flipped, with the lentils being the leftover for Wednesday:

Wednesday: Crabcakes (frozen from Trader Joe’s) with broccoli

Thursday: Leftovers or something from the freezer (currently have lots of pasta sauce, soups, etc.)

So here’s the brilliance of my plan: it is flexible enough to move around when needed.

Meanwhile, the “waste less food” mantra seems to be working.  It has just changed how I approach everything.  Today I made homemade chicken stock with some random frozen chicken parts — not enough to make a meal — and leftover celery to keep from having to throw it out.  Will be yummy to use on Wednesday night’s soup.

Jonathan Galassi on the Value of Publishing Houses

Last Sunday Jonathan Galassi, president of book publisher Farrah, Straus & Giroux, wrote an editorial for the New York Times about the value that book publishers provide. It’s predictably defensive about publisher’s right to profit from the work of writers and to retain new rights like those for e-books.  Mr. Galassi cites the expenses incurred in bringing a book to market: editing, design, marketing, publicity, sales and so forth.  And he takes it even a step further, writing:

A publisher — and I write as one — does far more than print and sell a book. It selects, nurtures, positions and promotes the writer’s work.

Putting aside for the moment that many writers do not feel very nurtured by the modern publishing industry, I think Mr. Galassi is really missing the point.  I’ve worked as an editor, a marketer and a publicist, so I totally agree with Mr. Galassi that such work has value.  But the days when publishers acted as the cultural gatekeepers is coming to an end and quickly.

As I wrote before, I think the future of publishing puts writer’s in the driver’s seat.  I think it will work a bit like the movie business.  The writer, probably working with and agent, will get financing for a project and will assemble a team of people to bring that book into the world.  Publishers might play a role in marketing and distribution — the way studios do for movies — but possibly not.  I think they will have to think much more radically about their role — and the way books are funded and who gets what piece of the profits — if they are going to survive.

Unfortunately, Mr. Galassi seems to have supreme confidence that writers and consumers need publishers.  He ends his essay thusly:

Even if someday, God forbid, books are no longer printed, they will still need the thought and care and dedication that [Random House] put into producing William Styron’s work for nearly 60 years. Some things never change.

Jonathan Galassi is a smart guy and he’s been at the top of the publishing industry for a very long time.  But the changes that are coming to book publishing are much bigger than this essay suggests.  Publishers need to adapt or die.