Monday, June 4, 2012


Sort of embarrassing, but I'm on batch number three of crème fraiche for the week. Please let me know if you've made any and if so, what you've learned, what questions you have, and what you've done with it.

I keep trying to get close to my computer but I have creatures keeping me away. I picked my son up early from school today with a case of the I-want-to-hang-out-with-mama-now virus (he is currently asleep under my desk wrapped around my feet), My dog won't stop barking (despite all of the anti-anxiety medication). And my magnificent daughter wanted to chill out with me all evening (oh my god it has been a long time) and chat and cook and play cards and talk about life. So that's what we did.

For the moment, everyone is asleep so here's recipe number one. We'll see how the rest of the crème fraiche week unfolds. Six more recipes to go.

Dashi. Bella. I need to know that you're not going to kill each other while I take a shower. I just need five minutes. Do you think you can handle that?

We promise, mama.

Yes, we promise.

I step into the shower, wash my hair, and think about nothing. I even condition my hair. Fucking heaven.

And then I hear a crash, a scream, a slamming door, another scream, some pounding on a door, and hysterical sobbing. And as much as I'd like to be that mom who says they'll work it out and no one is going to die and everything will be fine, I'm just not that kind of mom. It pisses me off. And my shower is ruined.

I'm a dripping wet insanely mad mama as I burst out of the bathroom and start are you freaking kidding me yelling.

Dash. Bella. Sit down and listen. Here's the deal.  I want to shave my legs. I want to use that pumice stone thingy on  my feet. And then I want to eat pasta with corn and mushrooms for dinner. With lots of creme fraiche. And I don't want ANY complaints.

But mama, I hate corn more than anything.

I know, Dash.

This sucks big time. I hate mushrooms.

I know, Bella. Hey. You just said sucks. I've never heard you say that before. Just don't use that word at school because you might get in trouble. I think you can start saying it in front of your teachers when you're thirteen. Does that sounds reasonable?

And then I laugh at how parenting can feel so random and like amateur hour. And my kids laugh because I'm naked and they can't take me seriously.

I get back in the shower and we try again.

And then we eat the tastiest pasta with gobs and gobs of creme fraiche and watch "The Empire Strikes Back" and talk about droids and light savers and the beauty of Han Solo and whether or not Luke is going to go over to the Dark Side and the kickassedness of Princess Leia. Because that's what I want.

printable recipe
If you're making creme fraiche, give yourself at least a day, preferably two.
serves 3-4

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt for pasta water
2 cloves garlic
1 anchovy (packed in salt or oil but for this dish I love the salty ones)
3 ears corn, shucked and cut off the cob
2 cups mushrooms (use any kind,  but I've been loving the combination of shiitake and hen of the woods ), wiped clean with a wet paper towel and sliced thinly
1 pound pasta
1/3 cup chopped parsley
parmesan cheese
1 cup creme fraiche
coarse salt

Crank a pan to high heat. Add butter and olive oil. Once it's smoking hot, toss in the shallots. Stir for a few minutes until they've softened and browned a bit. Add big pinch of salt and balsamic. Turn heat to low and leave for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. 

Boil a big pot of water for pasta. Add a handful of salt.

Bash garlic and anchovy with a mortar and pestle or chop finely. Once shallots are melt-in-your-mouth tasty crispy, add garlic/anchovy puree. Stir and integrate for a minute. Turn the heat back up and add the mushrooms. Toss for two minutes over high heat. They will start to release some water. Add corn. Turn to low.

Place pasta in boiling water. Once the pasta is al dente, reserve a mug of pasta water. Strain pasta and add it and a bit of pasta water to the mushroom and corn mixture. Toss. Reduce the sauce down a bit. Add chopped parsley and about 1/2 of the creme fraiche and stir. Taste. Add salt as needed.

Slide into a bowl. Top with paper-thin wisps of parmesan and more creme fraiche. Maybe add more parsley and some coarse salt. Eat right away.


  1. We did it! We've got a nice big jar of creme fraiche going on in the kitchen...It's been there about thirty hours (its cold here) and I think we're almost has thickened, it is tart and it smells a bit like sour I close? Can't wait to use it in your recipes!

    1. so glad you made some! sounds done to me. but it's really up to you. if you like the taste, i say put it in the fridge. it will firm up a bit when it's cold.

  2. Phyllis, why oh why did I read this before breakfast! Can I please have a bowl of that pasta?

    You know how I swear like a sailor, right? But I was extremely good around the kids until about 2 years ago - who knows how I did it. Once the flood gates opened, I felt it was my place to make sure that if Otis and Lilah were gonna swear, I'd teach them to swear well. They know the when, where, and how to really swear with gusto;)


  3. Yum, this is definitely a, after only two days in school I already have piles of homework, kind of recipe.

  4. I love your blog. After I read a post I feel ready to cook with my 2 year old, which is totally crazy and awesome. You are so gifted.

    1. thank you. a 2-year old. those days seem so far off. lots of experimentation back then. just keep handing your child food. it's ok to sacrifice a carrot or a piece of pie dough. let your child play. at least that's what i did. let me know what you cook. very moving to me. but i'm super sleepy and sappy and teary. thanks for writing.

  5. Oh Phyllis, lipstick sporting bad ass! I love a mama who swears and makes her own Creme rock. Hope you shaved your legs eventually. Xo Shawn

    1. oh girl, you just charmed my fucking ass off with your comment. thank you. and no, my legs are still very hairy.

  6. ok. i made this tonight. And it was actually THE BEST THING I'VE EVER EATEN. THE BEST THING I'VE EVER COOKED. I hope you don't mind I wrote I totally blissed out blog entry about it. Don't worry, no one reads my blog :)

  7. thank you for this. my son is named Dash too, and I call him Dashie. he sounds much like your Dash. I have three boys total. The second the bathroom door is shut, and I am in the shower, I can hear them calling me and fighting. Then, I hear the youngest is pulling a chair somewhere so he can get up to something, likely cookies, hopefully not knives. your whole blog is wonderful and makes me feel like i am not the only crazy one. thank you. i love you.