Mom's Kitchen Handbook

My Week in Food

Butternut Squash Risotto /

It’s been cold by San Francisco standards, so we stayed toasty this week with wholesome, hearty meals starting with this butternut squash risotto. The turkey stock I made after Thanksgiving worked like a dream, along with Meyer lemon zest, and grated Manchego cheese. I didn’t use a recipe, but this one looks pretty darn close.

This was another wintery warmer called Mashawa, a Slow Cooker Beef and Bean Stew topped with dill yogurt. It’s a recipe I adapted back when I was writing about Afghan food and it lives on, along with dozens of other delicious dishes, at Afghan Culture Unveiled.

My fabulous neighborhood market is hosting me on Saturday at 3 p.m. for a book signing. I’ll have lots of goodies from Best Lunch Box Ever to taste, so pop in to say hi.  2815 Diamond Street, San Francisco.

Broke out Marie Simmon’s latest cookbook, A Taste of Honey, to make these Honey and Date-Nut Squares (excellent).  Didn’t know all the magic that could happen with a simple pot of honey, but this book inspires new ideas.

My One-Pan, Post-Workout Breakfast of the week — kale + egg + tortilla — finished with a little hot sauce and a drizzle of Mexican crema. Slam dunk.

Favorite annual holiday craft.

I was pleased as punch that my cookbook sold out in six weeks, but check out this popular new read by Winnie Abramson, which flew out of the Amazon warehouse within FIVE DAYS of publication. It’s back in stock soon, so I plan to nab a few copies for Christmas gifts. The book spells out 50 simple ideas to improve your health (and life). The idea is to make just one small change a week, which seems just the sort of thing you want on your bedside table as we roll into a new year.

I’m sometimes skeptical when I spy a new reduced-fat product on the market,  thinking 1) It will fall short on taste 2) Or be pumped up with less-than-stellar ingredients. But I figured good things from Kerrygold, famous for their Irish butter, and I was right. No funky ingredients … and the taste? You’d never know they shaved off 25 percent of the fat and half the salt. Plus, it’s super spreadable, which is especially good for small cooks.

Pesto Pita Pizzas were a hit for school lunch this week and so easy: Whole grain pita + pesto + sliced Mozzarella balls + veggies .

Speaking of pizza, I checked out La Nebbia, the more casual offshoot of La Ciccia, my neighborhood’s popular Sardinian eatery. The new spot will feature La Ciccia’s tasty, thin crust pies along with other Italian edibles. Door open tonight at 5:30. Go.

Don’t forget to enter my GRATITUDE GIVEAWAY! These shiny beauties could be on your ears by Christmas.

Stay tuned…So Easy Lemon Mousse coming your way next week.