Baby’s Birth Day Vignette from Ashley, Meta Street Cafe
Charlotte was born five years ago by emergency c-section. She was a preemie, just under five pounds, and stayed in the hospital room with me and three family members who made sure someone was with us day and night. The first days at the hospital following surgery, my dad fed me hospital meals with a spoon. I don’t remember what that food was, only that I had been through a couple of weeks of illness with very little calorie intake and was intensely hungry. I begged for additional peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made from the stash by the nurse’s station. A juice cup with a straw sat on the tray by my bed.
Four days later, I was sitting up for Valentine’s Day and my husband brought steaks and mashed potatoes from a favorite restaurant. We had doctor’s orders for red meat to correct my anemia. It was decorated with a holiday balloon and an anticipated release for the following day. Once we were home from the hospital, my dad and stepmom moved in to help with the baby and cook meals; scrambled eggs with spinach and avocado, batches of oatmeal. Charlotte was so small, she was fed with a tiny saringe for seven weeks. This year, we celebrate the fifth anniversary of that event, those meals. Charlotte is a strong, witty, kind little girl wih a mother who celebrates her daughters birth, and her own life, at this time each year.
When a friend had her baby last week, delivering a meal seemed like the most meaningful gift I could give. Then, come Valentine’s Day next week, our family will have steak aside flowers, and topped wih a balloon.
1 (15-ounce/425-g) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickle
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
3 tablespoons store-bought or homemade vegan mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard
2 teaspoons minced fresh dill (optional)
1 1/2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas with a potato masher until flaked in texture.
Stir in the celery, green onions, pickles, bell peppers, mayonnaise, and garlic until combined.
Stir in the mustard and dill and season with the lemon juice, salt, and pepper, adjusting the quantities to taste.
Serve with toasted bread, on crackers, wraps, or on top of a basic leafy green salad.
Recipe from Oh She Glows Cookbook
Leek & Potato Soup
1 lb. leeks (about 3 medium)
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 lb. baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream if serving hot or 1/2 cup cream if serving cold
Trim the leeks, leaving about 1 inch of the tender green portions, then rinse them. Cut crosswise into slices 1/2 inch thick.
In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. When foaming, add the leeks and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they have wilted a little, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots, then add water just to cover the vegetables. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 30 minutes.
Use an immersion blender or…..Fit a food mill with the medium disk and set the mill over a large bowl. Using a ladle or a large spoon and working in batches, transfer the cooked vegetables and their liquid to the food mill and turn the handle to puree.
If serving the soup hot, return the pureed vegetables to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Set the saucepan over medium-low heat, stir in the 1/4 cup cream and heat to just under a boil. Add a little water if the puree is too thick. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Ladle into warmed bowls and float a lemon slice on top of each serving. Using scissors, cut the chives into pieces 1/4 inch long and sprinkle the chives on the lemon slices. Serve immediately.
If serving the soup cold, do not return the puree to the saucepan. Instead, cover the bowl and refrigerate the puree until well chilled. When ready to serve, season with salt and pepper and stir in the 1/2 cup cream, mixing well. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
From William Sonoma
Pumpkin Honey Orange Bread
1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
10 Tbs. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. finely chopped orange zest
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup pumpkin puree
For the glaze:
Juice of one orange
Zest of 1 orange
1 cup honey
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a pumpkin loaf pan.
To make the bread, over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cinnamon. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and orange zest on medium speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and pumpkin puree and beat until incorporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture in two additions just until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool.
To make glaze: Heat honey in a saucepan and add orange juice and zest. Use a toothpick to poke holes all over the top of the loaf. Pour honey glaze over the bread to let it soak down the holes and run down the sides of the loaf.
Adapted from William Sonoma
Cabbage Cashew Date Salad
Once a week, my daughter spends an evening with her grandparents, my dad & stepmom, in the Painters’ Cottage out back. This week I brought them this Cabbage Cashew Date Salad. In exchange, they send me photos of Charlotte playing in their home. It’s a great deal all around.
Cabbage Cashew Date Salad Recipe
Shred in a food processor or chop: cabbage, carrots, apples, celery, kale, leeks, cilantro. Add raisens, dates, & cashews.
1/2 cup rice vinegar, 1/2 cup sesame oil, juice of one lemon, pinch salt, splash cholula.