ENTREES

DIARY

Still There

I've had many summers that felt like little jewelboxes of time, sweet and slow - the one we spent living in temporary housing while we waited for our daughter to be born comes to mind - but there was one that was wonderful in a completely different way than all the others.

It was the summer after Kendrick and I moved from our tiny Hell's Kitchen place to our slightly-less-tiny Upper East Side apartment. The summer that I quit my office job, and started writing for a living (well, that was the plan, in any case). The summer that we were working out how to be married and wondering how in the world we were going to pay our rent and trying to figure out what we wanted to be when we grew up...but it was so exciting. The sheer possibility of it all. We were children standing on the edge of adulthood, thinking about jumping.

We had a little crew that summer. Stephen and Dave, of course - we had rooftop cocktails with them most nights, Lucy whizzing in circles around us while we watched the setting sun light up all that silver paint. Francesca was living in the city then, just a few blocks away, and a few of Kendrick's other friends from college lived at various points along the 6 line. We'd all go out to terrible bars and drink terrible drinks and stay up far too late, because we were still so young, and it still felt like bad choices were a life imperative.

Eat

11 Pasta Recipes For National Pasta Day

Me. Rooftop. Ten million years ago.

Once upon a time, there was a girl. She wore blazers and red lipstick, and lived in a fourth-floor walkup apartment with a hole in its floor and a stove that routinely tried to kill her. One day, she decided that she wanted to quit her terrible, horrible job in HR (a job that mostly involved her crying at - and sometimes under - her desk), and write a blog.

...What would this blog be about?

Eat

This Beef Stew Is Made With An Unexpected Ingredient…And You Have To Try It

Noritake China dishes

I love happy accidents. Like, say, when you're all set on making beef stew, and have purchased all the ingredients and even begun the cooking process. And then discover that you've forgotten one of the key ingredients...but then the ingredient you end up swapping in makes it miles and miles better.

I'm talking about beef stew made with - yes - chicken stock. I know what you're thinking: That will taste like chicken soup. If I wanted chicken soup, I would make chicken soup.

ENTREES

Sherry’s Most Perfectest Lasagna Ever (With A Secret Ingredient)

I've never been a huge fan of lasagna. I think that this dates back to a mild trauma when I was thirteen and announced that henceforth I would be a vegetarian, or at least until I changed my mind and wanted a hamburger one day (which did actually end up happening). My mother's reaction to this news was to completely ignore me and continue sneaking meat into meals anyway. She made her "special lasagna" frequently during this period, and it was a solid two years before she admitted that the "mushrooms" had, in fact, been...well, not mushrooms. (I was apparently not the most observant teenager.)

But apart from my mother's egregious conduct, I feel like lasagna should be more amazing than it usually is. I mean, it's layered pasta, cheese, and sauce. How could that not be absolutely perfect, every time? Except far too often I find lasagna has too much of one thing, and not enough of another. I want my lasagna to be red sauce-y, and cheesy, and otherwise uncomplicated by unnecessary additions like, say, peppers (BLECH).

For our girls' weekend in Tahoe, each of us was assigned a meal to prepare. This was Alisa's mom's friend Sherry's dish, and it was the best lasagna I have ever, ever, ever tasted (sorry, mom). The secret ingredient? A touch of cheddar cheese. I'm aware that that doesn't sound like a good idea, but this lasagna was transcendent. So you're going to have to trust me.


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