Sunday, November 16, 2008


Before leaving Portland, I bought myself a present: The Paley's Place Cookbook by Vitaly and Kimberly Paley. Paley's Place is a well-known restaurant in Portland's chic Northwest 23rd Avenue neighborhood. We've never eaten there but everyone I know that has just raves about it. I read the book on the plane back to Michigan while Caroline slept on my lap. With recipes like Chicken Roulade and Huckleberry Kuchen with Cassis-Huckleberry Sauce and Creme Fraiche, I doubt I'll be able to find the time to make most of the dishes in this book. But I didn't buy it for the recipes. I bought it for the stories. I laughed out loud when I read about Vitaly Paley's weekend with Fergus Henderson cooking pig trotteres and partridges. Reading the stories about the food and food producers of the Northwest reminded me of why I love to cook. Even though I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, much of it is spent preparing easy to prepare meals that I know Caroline will enjoy. The Paley's Place Cookbook inspired me to cook one of my favorite dishes tonight: chicken provencal. It is a recipe I found in an old Cook's Illustrated magazine from years ago and for some reason, I assumed that the flavors would overwhelm Caroline and she wouldn't like it. Instead of following my own advice (I can hear the annoying message now: Some foods may need to be introduced to children up to 20 times before they are willing to try it) I just avoided this dish altogether. I served the chicken with oyster mushrooms (Tantre Farms) sauteed with garlic and Israeli couscous. To my surprise, Caroline loved her meal. Thank goodness!

1 comment:

Cassandra Nelson said...

You are such an inspiration to me. I really need to be better about offering Ruby what I'm eating at dinner instead of rotating through the same 20 foods over and over. She generally gets a version of what I'm eating (rice, tofu, and sweet potatoes if I'm having a thai curry with tofu and sweet potatoes), but I never offer her the sauced/spiced versions because she's turned her nose up at them in the past. I know she'll never broaden her horizons if I don't offer, but I also just want her to eat. Motherhood is such a conundrum.

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