March 21st, 2011
I’m not sure where to start this post. The last week has been completely overwhelming, both in good and bad ways. I’m overwhelmed — and deeply saddened — by what’s going on in the world. I’m overwhelmed — and filled with gratitude — for the many good things in my life, including my health and safety which I’ve been reminded not to take for granted.
It’s hard to publicly reflect on my good fortune in the wake of a tragedy like the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan last week without seeming trite. I guess that’s why I haven’t mentioned it until now. It’s also why I’ve been so busy.
Last Saturday, after finally bringing myself to look at video and photo footage of the devastation in Japan, I decided that I had to do something. I reached out to a blogger I’d never met before, but whose work I admire, Rachael of La Fuji Mama, and asked if she wanted to collaborate on a charity cookbook. She said yes and brought in another amazing chef, food writer and photographer, Marc of No Recipes. The three of us instantly came together as a team and, in just one week, have pulled together a rockstar group of food writers and bloggers, a kick ass designer and much more. Our cookbook Peko Peko: A Charity Cookbook for Japan will be available soon, with 100% of the profit going to the Save the Children efforts in Japan.
I’m overwhelmed by the instant love and energy between the team, by the (overwhelmingly!) positive response and by people’s willingness to help.
I’m also a little overwhelmed by the amount of work!
Okay, it’s actually not that bad. I’m on a high, driven to make this something that all of the participants can be proud of and, more importantly, something that makes a ton of money for our charity. But throw in having to make dinner for my family and, yea, I’m back to being overwhelmed.
There’s been a lot more take out than usual — it happens! — and I’m relying on the easiest dinners possible. Like this new version of sausage and peppers (can be shared with kids 6+ mos*):
* Warm up this made-ahead Sausage Bolognese.
* Throw peppers and onions (tossed with olive oil and salt) in a 425 oven for 20 minutes or until caramelized.
* Make a pot of soft polenta. Follow the package instructions, using broth for water; add grated parmesan, salt and pepper to taste and thin out with milk if it’s too thick. You want this to be soft and creamy.
* Spoon polenta onto a plate. Spoon sauce over the top. Pile on peppers and onions. Throw parsley on top.
Dinner in 20 minutes.
This week will be filled with more super easy dinners like this one. I’ll post as many of them as I can. And, more importantly, look out for an announcement about our cookbook. It should be up within the next day or so, with a link to a site with all the details, eventually including how and where to buy your own copy.
*Note: There is nothing in this that cannot be safely shared with kids as young as 6+ mos. If your child isn’t yet eating meat, you can either spoon a little sauce, sans meat, into their polenta, or just add butter and cheese. Be sure to puree or cut any chunks of meat or veg into age-appropraite bite sizes.