If you are like me, photos inspire you more than this section you can browse images of all the past posts.




chocolate caramel tart

brown rice + lentils with dried figs and cherries

edamame guacamole

penne alla vodka


split pea soup with ham

meringue mushrooms

ham+egg salad

homemade mayonnaise

lentil soup, a variation

moist lemon almond cake

christmas dinner

aunt persis's cookies

christmas cookies

homemade marshmallows

hot chocolate

thanksgiving salad

scalloped potatoes (sometimes with ham)

spiced nuts

chocolate chip mini scones

beef stroganoff

green soup

pasta carbonara

first birthday carrot cake

skull cupcakes

iris cafe

warm mushroom salad

oatmeal with carmelized apples

spiderweb cupcakes

grilled pork tenderloin

flat chicken

roasted chicken and vegetables

rainbow risotto

green salad with fresh figs

sectioning citrus

smoked trout salad

pasta with potatoes, green beans, and pesto

blueberry focaccia

baby back ribs

herb marinated goat cheese

grilled clams with garlic butter

mountain paella with bernat

banana bread with mascapone and honey

basil lemon soda & watermelon basil cooler

garden herb greek salad

ode to basil

grilled pitas with fresh herbs

yogurt marinated grilled chicken

quick pickles

swiss chard pie


beets and beet greens

fresh eggs

corn chowder

shaved zucchini salad

plum upside down cake

granola, take 2


roasted cod provencal

crisp topping

zucchini bread

veggie burgers

pancakes, pancakes!

shrimp with garlic and cilantro

homemade chicken stock

strawberry freezer jam

strawberry shortcake

rhubarb chutney and beef tenderloin


iced coffee treat

asparagus risotto

crisp spring salad

oatmeal with fresh berries

pasta with salmon and peas

kale salad

barbie cake


chicken salad with cashews

tortilla espanola

rustic strawberry rhubarb pie

rigatoni with turkey and creamy tomato sauce

honey custards

spaghetti with sardines and breadcrumbs

ham, not just for holidays

french toast

pizza party

snack drawer

lentil soup

lemon tart

couscous with mushrooms and cranberries

grapefruit and avocado salad

lemony roasted salmon

crispy flounder

thai coconut curry

tortilla soup

lamb stew

lentil salad



christine vasan

jordana martin: knit necklaces

jenny belin

jordana martin

emily's farm

tassel pillowcases 

page marchese norman

block print linens



making valentines



cardboard playhouse

paper snowflakes


decorating with glass and porcelain markers

leaf rubbings

apple picking

sheep and wool festival

making puzzles

inspired by our teachers: newspaper tube sculptures

indigo dyeing


making beads



beach treasure

playing under the trees

brooklyn boulders

print making


cardboard castle


muji notebooks



machine knit cowls

hand knit socks

happy accident: oilcloth storage containers

happy halloween!

halloween costume: ladybug

halloween costume: bat

halloween costume: chicken

halloween costume: native american

halloween costume: owl

halloween costume: bunny

halloween costume: robot

halloween costume: spider

owl appligue

theo's pillow

mr. tiny, revisited

roof top gardening

hair doll

photography class

baby quilt



inspired by our teachers: paper mache globes

duck tape canoe

map totes by sammy

charity: donors choose

randall bachner: webs waves & horizons

mango flowers

the magic of reading

construction kids


father daughter painting

decorating with kids art

birthday painting

painted guitars

agnes et agnes kids furniture




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chocolate caramel tart with sea salt


I developed a recipe for a tart very similar to this one when I was a food editor at Martha Stewart Living. It appeared in the February 2002 issue as part of a story on chocolate desserts. I remembered it one day when my friend Jodi admitted what a chocolate lover she is...I wanted to make if for her for her birthday but we ended up going out to a restaurant to celebrate so I made it for our New Year's Eve party instead. It would be a fantatic Valentine's Day dessert too. I could not find the recipe online so I made it up as I went along...this new version is a little different than the original but it was a huge hit. 


I used hazelnuts in the tart because I love their flavor. That said, removing the papery skins adds a step that can be a little tedious. You can sometimes find them with the papery part mostly removed so that is what I try to buy. You can also just replace the hazelnuts with whatever your personal favorite nut is...I have made it with pecans and I think peanuts would also be delicious.




8 ounces hazelnuts (about 2 cups)

1 1/2 boxes famous chocolate wafers

12 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon fine salt, plus additional 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1/4 cup water

2 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

12 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped


Spread hazelnuts on a cutting board and press with the side of a chef's knife to break into pieces. Transfer to a baking sheet and toast in a 350° oven until fragrant, 8-10 minutes. Set aside.


Place chocolate wafers in the bowl of a food processor and grind into a coarse powder. Melt 10 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Combine cookie crumbs and melted butter in a bowl and use a fork to combine until the mixture is moist and crumbly. Pour half of the crumb mixture into into an 8 1/2 inch springform pan and press into an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Add remaining crumb mixture and press into the corners and up sides of the pan. Place crust in refrigerator while preparing the caramel.


Place sugar, fine salt, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, brushing sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water, without stirring. Once the sugar has dissolved and begins to brown swirl pan gently until caramel is a deep amber color. Add 1/2 cup cream, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and vanilla and stir to combine. Pour caramel into prepared crust and top with 1 1/2 cups toasted hazelnuts. Sprinkle with sea salt and return to refrigerator while preparing the ganache.


Place dark chocolate in a metal bowl. Bring remaining 1 1/2 cups of cream to a boil and pour over chocolate. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, until chocolate is melted. Whisk mixture together and pour over caramel and hazelnuts in the tart shell. Return to refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Before serving unmold the tart and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup hazelnuts around the perimeter. Running a sharp knife under hot water for a few minutes to warm it up will make slicing easier (dry it off before using it).


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tagged  chocolate dessert,  no bake dessert in  FOOD,  STYLE

making valentines


At school there is always this rule: If you bring in something for one kid you must bring in something for everyone. This is especially important on Valentine's Day. In past years I have felt badly when the kids came home with a bag full of Valentine's from their classmates and I realized we had skipped the whole thing -- as a result, this year we decided to start early and make some simple cards of our own. A stack of colorful index cards, some tape, and some hole punches and rubber stamps made mass production quite easy. I have a few Martha Stewart punches that I bought at Michael's that are especially fun and "fancy" as well as a glue stamp pad that makes glitter extra special too. We are not finished yet, but at least we are off to a good start!


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tagged  kids craft,  making valentines in  ACTIVITIES

brown rice and lentils with dried figs and cherries

 Brown rice and lentils make a lovely pairing especially if you want a vegetarian protein. I made this dish as a side with meat when I had vegetarian friends in the mix. I also like the leftovers straight from the fridge for lunch. Dried cherries and figs, plumped with vinegar and sauteed onions add a tanginess which compliments the earthy flavors of lentils and rice, while orange segments brighten it.


This dish can be served warm or cold. 



1 cup brown rice

1 cup lentils

1 bayleaf

1 vidalia onion, thinly sliced lengthwise

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 cup dried cherries

3/4 cup dried figs, chopped

1/4 up balsamic vinegar

3 oranges, peeled, sectioned, and diced

1/2 cup freshly shopped parsley

salt and pepper


!. Cook brown rice according to package directions, adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the water if not specified in the directions.


2. Place lentils in a small pot with enough water to cover by 2-3 inches. Add bayleaf and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the lentils after they have been cooking for about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.


3. Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet and add onions. Cook over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add dried cherries and dried figs, vinegar, and 1/2 cup water. Stir to combine. Place a lid on the skillet and reduce to a simmer, cooking for about 1o minutes, or until most but not all of the liquid has been absorbed. 


4. Combine cooked lentils, cooked rice, onion mixture, oranges and parsly and stir to combine. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.


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edamame guacamole


This recipe for Edamame Guacamole is so delicious, I wish I had thought of it myself! Lauren found it while she was planning Noah's first birthday, and everyone at the party loved it. It also makes a perfect after school snack...I have made it at least 3 times since. Unlike a traditional guacamole, it keeps well in the refrigerator so you can enjoy it two days in a row, or send it to school in the kids lunch.

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penne alla vodka


Penne alla vodka does not sound like food for children but they sure do love it...and the alcohol in the vodka cooks off before it is served. I like to make it with bacon...preferably good quality thickly sliced bacon or pancetta. I have also started making my pasta recipes with a pound and a half of pasta since the kids love to take any leftovers in their school lunch.


3/4 pound of bacon, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 26 ounce containers of pureed or chopped tomatoes (I like to use the Pomi boxed tomatoes, 1 chopped and 1 pureed)

1/4 cup vodka

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup chopped parsley

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 pounds penne (I like to use whole wheat)


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In the meantime saute the bacon in a large skillet. When the bacon is cooked (but not crisp) pour off most of the bacon fat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until translucent. Add the tomatoes, vodka, and cream and simmer. Add salt and pasta to boiling water and cook while the sauce simmers. When the pasta is al dente drain in a colander. Add parsely to sauce and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. Combine pasta and sauce and serve topped with parmesan cheese.

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in  FOOD



We went out for dinner at Mesa Cayoacan in Williamsburg recently and had delicious churros for dessert. You can order them with chocolate and caramel dipping sauces, or with mexican hot chocolate. For the adults the hot chocolate was the best part.



The whole experience reminded me that our friend Bernat had brought his churro maker to Quogue last summer and we made our own. Bernat is way too health conscious to make fried dough for himself but he knew the kids would love it, and their enthusiasm was contagious. The churro maker is kind of like a cookie fill it up with dough (recipes are included with the gadget) and pipe it into hot oil. While the churros are still warm coat them with sugar. Delicious!

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tagged  churros,  cooking with kids in  FOOD

split pea soup


Although I have already posted 2 versions of lentil soup with ham, I cannot resist adding this to the list as well. It really is just another variation of the same soup...I had leftover ham and another ham bone since we served it again on New Year's Eve which adds tons of flavor and seasoning, and split peas just replace the lentils. For this batch of soup the vegetables added were the leftover crudite from the party.


Split Pea Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

3-4 cloves garlic, papery skins removed and roughly chopped

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

1 1/2 pounds split peas

Leftover ham (diced) +/or a hambone

12 cups water

1 bay leaf


Place a large pot over medium high heat and add olive oil. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, carrots, and celery and stir to combine. cook another 10 minutes, reducing heat to medium to prevent browning. Add lentils, ham (+/or bone), water and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove bay leaf.

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tagged  hearty soups,  leftover ham in  FOOD



Over the summer when we did our indigo dyeing project I had some leftover bags and tees so we decided to give stenciling a try.


I had Lotta Jansdotter's stenciling book so I just needed to buy some paints and brushes at the art supply store.


It turns out stenciling is a little tricky for some kids. They all enjoyed it, but when an adult assistant was able to hold the fabric and stincil still so the kids could just focus on applying the paint the outcome was more successful.


Although our first try did not gvie us the most beautiful results we will certainly try it again! Maybe now that it is winter and we spend more time indoors we will have time to practice and improve our techniques!


In addition to the stencils we did have fun cutting up sponges and doing prints with them too. I found that the sponges that are sold flat are easy to cut, and once they are wet and plump make great stamps.


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tagged  crafts with kids in  ACTIVITIES

meringue mushrooms


I love meringues and thought the kids would think it would be fun to help me make meringue mushrooms. They are very easy to make but take a long time to cook so I did that part on my own and enlisted the kids when it was time to attach the stems to the caps with chocolate. They enjoyed the process, and did a good job  assembling them, messy finger prints and all. 


One note about the meringues: The cooking time varies enormously so they are not a good thing to make if you are on a deadline. In fact, I was planning on serving these at our New Year's Eve party but they were not done in time. We ended up assembling them as an activity on New Year's Day instead. We used is neither affiliated with the authors of this page nor responsible for its contents. This is a safe-cache copy of the original web site.