© Michelle Shih
It's the middle of winter and I don't feel like cooking—not even a warming soup or stew. My savior is the freezer. When I decided to make potpie last November with leftover Thanksgiving turkey, I doubled the recipe and prepared a second pie to store in the coffin freezer in my basement. Back in the fall, my husband also made half a dozen batches of pesto (just the basil, garlic and olive oil—no cheese or nuts, which we add when we're ready to use it) to freeze in little plastic containers like the ones pictured above. So this weekend, out came the pie for one dinner and a container of pesto—to toss with pasta, cubes of mozzarella and halved grape tomatoes—for another.
Here are some recipes that are made for freezing. And if you don't feel like making them just now, I don't blame you. Chicken Potpies
(You can make a big pie instead of individual ramekins and top with any pie crust recipe, like this one
.)Basil Pesto Chicken Chilaquiles
The New York Times’s blog, The Lede, has amazingly in-depth coverage of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti on Tuesday, including ways to help out. One method endorsed by the White House is texting “HAITI” to “90999” to donate $10 to the American Red Cross (the charge will appear on your cell-phone bill). To be able to donate even more, I invite you to throw a fundraising party with drinks like the Haitian Apricot (prepared with rum and apricot brandy) and Caribbean dishes like fried sweet plantains.
© Tina Rupp
I threw a holiday open house a few weeks ago and learned a few lessons for next year. Hot hors d'oeuvres were a big hit: I'll definitely serve fried wontons and Chorizo-Filled Dates Wrapped in Bacon
(above) again—both can be cooked ahead of time and warmed in the oven during the party. I'll only set out food that can be picked up with one hand: When we passed a platter of Smoked Bluefish Pâté
already spread on crackers, it disappeared; anything left in a bowl for people to serve themselves tended to linger.
As for non-food lessons, I finally found a solution to the snowy-boots-on-wood-floors problem: a four-foot-square "Waterhog" floor mat
from L.L. Bean. The look is utilitarian, but it's a big improvement over the piece of painter's paper my husband has taped down in the past, which made the entryway look like a construction site.
© Photo courtesy of Bon Appetit Management Co.
When I was heading to Chicago for a long weekend, I asked friends what was a must-see. Everyone mentioned the new Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago,
designed by star architect Renzo Piano, which opened in May. An added appeal for me: The museum recruited chef Tony Mantuano
fame to open the Italian-centric Terzo Piano
there. The name refers to its third-floor location, and it's worthwhile to walk up the sleek white bridge from Millennium Park for the fantastic view instead of entering by elevator inside the museum. The handmade pastas were lovely, especially the restaurant's version of spaghetti carbonara with Nueske's bacon, sheep's-milk cheese and a runny poached egg. Do save room for the cheese cart, with many of the dozen or so options from Midwest producers (my husband's favorite was an aged goat's-milk tomme from Indiana's Capriole
). The restaurant serves lunch every day and dinner Thursdays, when the museum is open late (and museum entrance is free from 5 to 8 p.m.).