Monday, August 3, 2009

Don't Mess with Mama (Or How Roasted Tomatoes Make Everything Better)

So, this was the kind of day I had yesterday:

There was only one plastic case that holds all the princess toys. This was a problem because Edie wanted one and Lucy wanted one. So, I got creative. I explained to them calmly that we only had one princess case, but that I could find another for Edie that was just as good. This was just fine with Lucy who was happy to have full ownership of the princess case.

That is until I procured a plastic bag from a fancy pet store with a big paw print on the side. Well, that was great for Edie who set about loading all her princess supplies into the very cool paw bag. But Lucy cried and demanded I find her a paw bag. But of course I only had one.

So, I got creative again. I went to the gift wrapping bin that I hide under the bed and found a gift bag with a garden of flowers all over it. Lucy likes flowers. I knew I was in.

Tears dried immediately. Lucy was elated. But, oh yeah, this sucked for Edie who was left with the crappy plastic paw bag. And the water works began. And not just water. There was wailing, high-pitched, crazy-ass, someone-call-social-services-a-child-is-being-misused wailing.

That is until I found, in the bin, a bag with a cat on it and knowing Edie loved cats - like, lurves the cats - I proudly raised it up so Edie could see it. And she beamed from ear to ear. Beamed, I tell you.

I was the Goddess of all Mothers. Healer of the world. Mender of disputes. I was Mother Theresa, only fatter, less wrinkly and more fertile. And liking sex a whole lot more.

And Lucy saw the cat bag and all its awesomeness and then, looked down on her own dilapidated, sorry excuse for a garden, flower bag, that I had the audacity to give her, and fell into a crumpled heap on the floor pointing to the great and awesome cat bag and mouthing the words between gulps of air.


And this is why mothers often feel compelled to drink vodka at 10 am.

So, I picked them both up - and they were both wailing by this time and had thrown their bags to the floor in disgust and horror - and I carried them to the sofa in the living room and looked into their sad, pathetic, bagless eyes and said in the most compassionate voice I could muster: "I love you. You are good girls. But you're driving me bat shit crazy. If you don't pick a bag and like it, we'll stop everything and I will...WASH. YOUR. HAIR.

They were panicked. Wide-eyed. They stopped crying. The room turned cold and silent. God, how they fear the clean. I freaked 'em out.

"That's right. I'll wash your hair." I say to them. I am bolstered. Empowered. The control has changed hands. They are wondering why their mother had turned on them. Years from now, they will discuss this moment in therapy.

"And I'll use conditioner. We may have to rinse TWICE."

"Um, we don't want to play with bags anymore." Lucy says definitively and Edie nods in agreement. They both slide off the couch, happy to get away from me.

And I, my friends, do "The Naked Dance of Glory" around the living room and celebrate that the balance of power has been restored. And I still have the magic. The mojo. The bling. I can do anything.

Bring it on, toddlers of the world. You are no match for me. Hear me roar! HAAAAA!


Okay, this is exactly the dish you need after securing enough paw bags to keep every one of your kids freakin' blissed out.

This is actually two separate recipes I adapted from the August Gourmet. Separately, they are nice. Together, they are insane. This was devoured at Edie's birthday party by crazy toddlers and adults alike. It also has the distinction of being vegan, if you have a vegan guest coming to your next gathering, this will satisfy them. But really, after a crazy day with the kids, you'll want to just eat the whole bowl of these things by yourself. With a box of wine.

The first is a recipe is for Garlic-Oregano Pita Bread, which is basically just a grilled pita drizzled with warmed olive oil that has been infused with garlic and oregano. And the second is slow roasted tomatoes that have been drizzled with olive oil and flecks of garlic and roasted in the oven on very low heat for 8 hours.

Cut the pita into triangles and serve on a platter next to a bowl of the roasted tomatoes and let people scoop it up themselves. Or make little pizzas. Whatever, but both take little active kitchen time and yield bold results.

Here they are:

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Yield: Serves 4 to 6
Active time: 15 mins
Total time: 6 to 8 hr


* 4 pounds tomatoes, in fat wedges
* 6 garlic cloves, minced
* 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 200°F.

Put tomatoes, cut sides up, in 2 large shallow baking pans. Combine garlic and oil and spoon over tomatoes. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper and roast in oven 6 to 8 hours (tomatoes will be reduced in size but will retain their shape). They will also get loose and light aromatic sauce will pool around the soft tomatoes. It will be just the right consistency to lop up all the goodness with a thick pita round.

Cooks' notes 1: Roasted tomatoes keep in an airtight container, chilled, 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using. They are better on day 2.

Cooks notes 2: I started roasting these the night before for 4 hours. Then, I covered them and put them in the fridge and popped them in the oven 4 hours before I needed them. Came out perfectly and all the sitting around over night, really set in the flavor.

Garlic-Oregano Grilled Pita Bread

Yield: Makes 6 servings
Active time: 20 min
Total time: 30 min


* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 garlic cloves, smashed
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped oregano
* 6 (6-to 8-inch) pocketless pita bread rounds
* Kosher salt to taste


Heat oil in a small heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook garlic, turning once, until pale golden, about 1 minute. Discard garlic and remove skillet from heat, then stir in oregano.

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal. I used a cast iron fry pan on a medium-high flame indoors.

Grill pitas, 2 or 3 at a time, covered only if using a gas grill, turning once, until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes total per batch. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into wedges. Put pitas on a platter and drizzle garlic-oregano oil over them. Be generous. It's just fine if it's a little sloppy in the bottom of the dish, people will be soaking it up with pitas before you know it. They are scrumptious. Sprinkle with salt.



krysta said...

it never stops... i repeat it never f*cking stops... it's 7:22 in the morning and mine are argueing over hair, yes, hair. let's get a drink together.

Cheryl Arkison said...

It always helps to have the power card in the back pocket. We had apeshit crazy this weekend when I dropped the blender with the ice cream base. I just put her in bed and let her scream, I couldn't be bothered to try to rationalize that I would make more with hre being so damn ridiculous. Ah, three.

SaintTigerlily said...

Haaaaa. I can picture every moment, each bag presented, the moments of peace, the following chaos. Amazing looking recipe. Now that I have all my tomatoes I may have to try this on Saturday...

Amy said...

Oh, the whining. Yes. I would rather poke a fork in my eye.

Rita said...

Too funny Kim!!! Your girls are like "Mommy's gone over the edge, we'd better shape up". I used to threaten my grandsons when they were toddlers & driving me nuts too. I'd tell them that I was going to have a tantrum & how would they like to see me throw myself on the floor kicking & screaming at (for example McDonalds)?? It worked judging from their wild eyed, Nana has gone insane expressions. By the way Happy belated birthday to Edie. I loved the pictures as usual. xxRita

auntjone said...

SO GLAD mine are 14 years apart. And male. The age gap presents its own set of problems but I don't anticipate any fighting over toys, who got the bigger piece of pie/cake/other foodstuffs or elbowing each other for more room on the couch.

Skattebol said...

Oh my god. I was laughing my ass off. Thanks for the honest sharing of your life. It's obvious through your essays that you are an awesome mom!

Smashley said...

Ohhhh hilarious. See, if you bought two of whatever it is, they'd have no interest in it whatsoever.

Or, kids tend to want things that make so sense at all, and once you buy them, it's either the greatest thing on earth or it suddenly does not meet their expectations.

Or they want stuff that drives you batshit loco. I don't have kids, but I do have a dog (surprisingly similar habits, I have a brother 8 yers my junior so I see some of the similarities haha). My dog loves hickory rawhides that SMELL SO BAD I WANT TO VOMIT. But I love her and I keep buying them for her. I tried vanilla rawhides and she only chews on them if she's really bored. Urg.

/end rant

Can you tell I've been irritated with myself for giving into her stanky rawhide addiction?