Simple Pleasures.

Simple Pleasures.
Irish soda bread on its way up North with Noah.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cheers! The 2010 Cookbook is Ready!

Another New Year. Crazy, huh?

I’m sitting here in front of the fire, putting the last touches on this year’s cookbook, and I feel like I can taste the future. Paul is sitting across from me glaring at his laptop. Ringo is sleeping nearby. And save for the clicking of computer keys and Ringo’s snoring, the house is dead silent. The boys and my mother-in-law, you see, are spending this Christmas break in California with Paul’s brother and his family. Paul and I are, for the first time ever, spending a week alone, without working, in our house.

I won’t go telling you how lonely we are without the guys here. We are, in fact, having a pretty excellent time. The only moment when I start feeling a little weird is when I step into my kitchen. Absent are the telltale pretzel trails left by hungry boys. Absent are the muffins or cookies I’ve baked and placed under the cake dome for them. Absent is that familiar voice in my head telling me to start preparing dinner. Absent are the aromas, the din, the taste of family.

I remember my mother-in-law telling me how she stopped cooking big meals when her kids left the nest. And how she stopped cooking all together when her husband Bernie passed away. I nodded my head as if I understood, confident in my belief that I’d never retire my apron. This week, however, gives me pause. I’m astonished by how quickly I abandoned my kitchen once the boys no longer depended on my being there.

I certainly hope I won’t lose my obsessive love for making all things edible. The kitchen still is the first place I head when I finish work or find a spare hour in my life. It’s the one spot where I can be creative, loving, industrious, nostalgic, somewhat girlie, and blissfully distracted, all at the same time. It will be pretty hard coming up with another endeavor that can give that scorecard a run for the money.

For now, though, I’ll go ahead and take the rest of the week off. There are so many things Paul and I want to do. And so much to think and talk about at the end of yet another year. Ben is a high school freshman and now owns his own razor. Noah is in his first year of middle school and is surgically attached to his cell phone. Yes, we tangle with them over everyday teenager stuff, but a short step back always reminds me how lucky we are to have such smart, affectionate, and hilarious young men in our lives. The grandparents are all well, my brother and his family are in Belize at this very moment, and my sister and her family are off living in Greece for the year. Good stuff for the most part, though I must admit I miss my sis.

I hope this year has been good to you. If it hasn’t, I hope the coming year brings better things. Thanks for following or occasionally reading the blog. If you ever have ideas or suggestions you'd like to share, I'm all ears. If you would like me to email you a copy of this year's cookbook, shoot me an email at and I'll send it your way. Cheers.

P.S. The additions to this year’s cookbook are:

Canal House Scallion Meatballs (turkey)

Easy Cheezy Cheese Straws

Rosemary Currant Pecan Crisps

Thai-Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

Sexy Summer Fig, Mozzarella, and Prosciutto Salad

Pat’s Smoked Salmon and Potato Salad

Velvet Asparagus Pesto

Savior Ass Chicken

Asbury Park Lamb Burgers

Ina’s Panko-Crusted Salmon

Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chippers

Ina’s Insane Pecan Squares

Pretty Darned Good Apricot Passover Kugel

Flash Back Cheese Blintzes

Holy Grail Coffee Crumb Cake


  1. YAY!!! Cant wait to try some of these out! Thanks for posting! (lots of exclamation points - I'm really happy about this!)

  2. Thanks, beautiful baking pictures (Rose gets strawberry shortcake and Eve gets a New York Cheesecake). Happy New Year. XXXXXOOOO

  3. I treasured the few hours we spent making blintzes together, not only because of the nostalgia trip and the fact that the kitchen was filled with the aroma of Grandma's cooking, but because we had some very special "one-on-one" time together. Thanks, Peg. Love ya...Mom

  4. Thanks for your cookbook generosity You are the best!