Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Italian Sausage & Sea Scallops

I love to send email photo updates to my friends while their children are playing at our house.  Friday night we were lucky to have one of our nearest and dearest here for a sleep over.  What follows is the exact email (names removed to protect the innocent) I sent to her mother.  Oh, and the recipe for the Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Italian Sausage & Sea Scallops is, of course, available upon request.
To my good friend (and your husband to the extent that he is interested),
Please do not hate me for the blue eye shadow on your seven year old daughter.  It’s not like the girls are going anywhere and our only son is at a friend’s house.  Actually they got into my Bobbie Brown while I was making dinner.  Which is fine as I haven’t worn make up since child number three arrived on the scene.
Your daughter loved the pasta.  And the sausage.  The sea scallops not so much.  I tried my best to hide the blanched broccoli rabe because as we all know greens, especially those of the hand picked, organic variety are hardly appreciated by the under 40 crowd. Her gracious manners reflected those of her mother’s.  But truth be told, she could have spit every last bite out and I would have loved her all the same.  She took her Benadryl ***  and had dessert — a little chablis, I mean popsicle and a fake Oreo aka Newman O’s.
As I write this the girls are painting with non-toxic, semi-washable paints.  Hopefully not on my walls (Benjamin-Moore 0C-7).  There has been plenty of discourse as to whether or not Because of Winn-Dixie is an acceptable movie.  And by acceptable I mean likable.  If they do not agree that a movie is a perfectly reasonable Friday night entertainment option, I will let them wash the dishes and do 12 loads of laundry as an alternative.  Then I will be able to plop my advanced-maternal-aged ass down on the sofa and watch it for them.   For the record, I do not believe ironing is appropriate until children are at least 10 years old.  So rest assured all activities at our home are age appropriate.
Finally, I leave you with a photo of the man of our house.  Clearly he isn’t afforded the opportunity to eat very often so when a humble plate of pasta is placed before him he greets it with the enthusiasm of a child.  Well, not the enthusiasm of the children in this home as I’ve already expressed that the pasta was greeted with only  mediocre disdain.
In closing, I promise there have been shrills, laughter, and only a few tears.  No worries as there was nothing truly insurance worthy.  Each of the four girls has shed a tear, I would be remiss not to admit this.  My own #3 was the first to cry.  Hearing a shrill that was Oscar worthy I dropped everything to race to her side only to find a spiral binder from the art room shelf had fallen upon her big toe.  Very soon after my #2 cried with a bellow that summoned a neighbor (two streets over who was also in search of wine) and alerted us to the fact that a marker top had busted her upper lip in two.  Gallons of blood and several transfusions later, she finished the butterfly and flower masterpiece she started.  Just as I thought the drama was limited to the daughters of The Schell Family, a tiny, barely audible, but clearly panicked cried came forth from the art room.  Your darling daughter suffered a scratch that only 5 choices of band-aids could cure.  Please believe me when I promise there is absolutely no chance of a staphylococcus (type) infection. ***
Alas, it is time to move on from my synopsis.  The girls have settled on a Disney movie and are happy as clams.  Littlest, however, has a poopy diaper that none of the older girls have volunteered to change.  I guess I have to draw the line somewhere on age appropriateness chores.  After all we are not the Duggars.
I hope you are having fun with the fifth grade boys at your house and I wonder how our experiences compare.  I wish you patience and fortitude of the red wine varietal.
Good night dearest of friends and thank you for trusting your littlest blessing with me.
*** Regarding the Benadryl — it has been approximately 2 hours since your daughter ingested the tiny grape pill and she is showing absolutely no signs of side-affects (sleepiness).  In regard to the scratch that required a choice of five band-aids, I cannot be responsible for any airborne or Oreo-type cookie induced infection that may or may-not occur.

French Lentil Soup


You seriously cannot imagine how many bunches of fresh spring greens arrive each week in my bushel of goods from Tecolote Farm.  I made this recipe last week using collard greens and it was such a hit that I’m making the hearty, healthy soup again at this very moment.  How is that for real-time blogging?  I wish I knew how to make and import a video (don’t they call that a v-blog?), but then you’d see that I can’t get dressed and cook all before 9 am.

Please try this lentil soup.  I used French green lentils which are the most delicate of all lentils and the most flavorful too. Last week I served the soup with crunchy French bread, but tonight I’m going to make tiny ham crostinis.

French Lentil Soup

1 TBS bacon fat (you can use butter or olive oil, but the bacon fat is better!)

1 onion, diced

2-3 medium carrots, sliced

2 cloves garlic, diced

1 cup French green lentils, rinsed and drained

1 bay leaf

1 14-oz can diced tomatoes with liquid

1 bunch of greens, collard or spinach

1/3 cup rice (I used white)

6 -8 cups chicken broth

warm water as needed

In a large pot, saute the carrots, onion and garlic in the bacon fat until soft and translucent.  Add the greens and saute until they are wilted down (about 2 or 3 minutes).  Add the lentils, bay leaf, tomatoes, and broth.  Toss in a little salt and pepper.  Simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add the rice and cook for about 25 more minutes until the rice and lentils are cooked.  Taste for seasoning and add salt & pepper as needed.  This should be a thick soup, but you can add warm water to adjust the consistency to your preference.

This soup is so simple. With the nutritious lentils and greens it is a true one pot wonder!

The Bounty of Spring


I’m loving our weekly baskets from Tecolote Farms! Less than 10 minutes ago this bounty showed up.  The baskets are getting heavier and full of dense bright greens and vegetables.  Have you ever seen the interesting root in the middle? It’s a Kohlrabi and Katie at the farm says to use it like broccoli stems.  I’m assuming by that she doesn’t mean toss it??!  So, perhaps a slaw? Or as a garnish to salads?  Please share your Kohlrabi ideas.

The leeks and beets are my favorite treasures this week.  I haven’t had time to wash or plan yet, but I’m thinking roasted beets with toasted walnuts and goat cheese on a fresh bed of spinach sounds divine.

But, first my morning chores include my very own Easter egg hunt.  The Littles were so thoughtful to leave hundreds of plastic eggs scattered throughout the cafe for me. I’m finding eggs and treasures hidden in the most peculiar places. And it is my personal goal to have all the Robin’s Eggs eaten tossed by sun down.