A few years ago, while working as the Food Director of Real Simple magazine, I found myself in an office five days of the week for the first time in years. At the time, I had a newly minted two-year-old, a community garden plot where we grew our own greens and tomatoes, and a small studio apartment that my little family shared. Life had been sweet and simple up until that point, but I was itching to go all-chips-in on my career, so I dove in head first.

At home, I prided myself on feeding my family first class meals – healthful, nourishing, delicious, inventive. In fact, it’s why they hired me. I could do that in my sleep. Until, like for most working mothers, life got bananas.

In the four years I spent in the job, my colleagues and the readers of the magazine got my very best – my best ideas, best recipes, the most delicious version of my food brain. At home, my husband and daughter still got all the primo mama love, but our family meals took a nosedive. I just didn’t have the energy to do it all.

But every week, just as I was running out of steam, the weekend would arrive. We’d retreat to a little cottage where nothing was fancy, but where what we had was priceless – fresh air, a small garden, togetherness and time: true luxuries.

There, removed from the drive to make a great contribution to the public world, I fell back in love with making important contributions to my private world – starting with family meals.

Along the way, our second, very hungry baby boy arrived – and with him, new motivation to fill our home with every nourishing food. By now, I knew I needed to flex my Real Simple (or at least, simpler) muscle at home, making foods that did double duty, feeding us now, and later. So I leaned into Sunday sessions at the stove, making soups, pungent sauces and simple loaf cakes for the weekend, and the week ahead, often with my children by my side.

These meals – easy but supremely satisfying – nourished more than just our family, they inspired me to open up our doors and expand our table more and more, host a FEED Supper, build a community. And instead of it feeling like a chore, it felt effortless – like I was winning, not working.

That carefree vibe, the feeling of YES! I can do this! is the essence of my new book, Every Day is Saturday. It’s a book about joy and ease and intention and love. It’s a book about the very best food I know of in life, and how to make them, and I’m so very excited to share it all with you.

Here’s my wish: for every family to experience way more of that Saturday high in their home – and not just on the weekends. I’m excited, proud and honored to help you get there. Because it all goes zooming past and the very best way I know to slow things down is at the table, with the people you love.

I hope you’ll join us in celebrating the book at the FEED SHOP + CAFE in DUMBO on June 4, and if you can’t be with us, you can order EVERY DAY IS SATURDAY here for your family.

In the meantime, here's one of my favorite easy, no-stress dinners for summer from the book. Be the first to cook it (and eat it) before anyone else gets their hands on a copy of Everyday is Saturday next week. 

Enjoy. 

Reprinted from Every Day Is Saturday by Sarah Copeland with permission by Chronicle Books, 2019

WHITE RISOTTO WITH CORN, CARROTS, AND KALE

PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES

TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR

SERVES 4

When we lived in New York City, we had a farmers’ market half a block from our front steps. Every Wednesday, we’d stroll down the block with Greta and let her pick three vegetables for dinner that night. Her combinations were good challenges for my cooking muscle. When summer slipped into fall one cool morning, we brought home corn, kale, and young purple carrots, and this dish was born.

Risotto is the ultimate comfort food—warm and filling—and when it comes right down to it, easier than most of us believe. Make this with your favorite vegetables in any season, adding more if you’re a veggie-centric sort, or less if you want mostly soothing rice. The white risotto combo (onion, rice, white wine, Parm) is a classic and morphs readily to your whim.

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking vegetables

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cups (400 g) Arborio rice

2⁄3 cup (160 ml) dry white wine

5 to 5½ cups (1.2 to 1.3 L) chicken broth (page 126) or water, warm

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 Tbsp (½ stick/56 g) unsalted butter

1 bunch young heirloom carrots (about 6), trimmed and scrubbed, halved lengthwise

½ bunch (45 g) Tuscan kale, larger leaves torn or cut into pieces (about 3 cups)

2 ears corn, kernels cut from the cob

½ cup (15 g) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more coarsely grated for garnish

Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Stir in the wine and cook until the wine has evaporated, 1 minute more.

Stir in 2 cups (480 ml) of the warm broth and salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Add ½ cup (120 ml) of the broth and continue stirring, adding more broth ½ cup (120 ml) at a time, until the liquid has evaporated and the rice is al dente, 20 to 25 minutes. Most of the liquid should be absorbed and the rice just cooked, with about ½ cup (120 ml) broth remaining.

While the rice cooks, heat another 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the carrots and brown slightly. Add enough water to come about one-third of the way up the carrots and cook until just fork tender, but still deep in color. Add the kale and stir to wilt, 5 minutes more. Add the corn and cook until the kernels turn bright yellow but are still crisp, 1 minute more. Season the vegetables well and use a slotted spoon to remove them from the liquid.

Stir in another ½ cup (120 ml) broth to the risotto as needed; add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and the cheese and stir. Stir in the vegetables, or serve the risotto in bowls topped with the warm vegetables and coarsely grated Parmesan.

GET AHEAD

Though risotto should always be served fresh and hot from the stove, when it is creamy, you can stop risotto midway, before your rice is cooked through. Cook just until the rice is soft on the outside, but still firm in the middle, about 10 minutes. Remove it from the heat and transfer it to a plate to cool (or, if you’re in a hurry, set the pan down outside, covered, on a cool day to stop the cooking). Cover with plastic wrap and let it hang out at room temperature for up to 8 hours. When you’re ready to eat, jump back in where you left off, adding warm broth, until the rice is cooked through and creamy throughout. As always, prep and refrigerate your vegetables in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

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ABOUT SARAH COPELAND

Sarah Copeland is the award-winning author of the books Feast, The Newlywed Cookbook, and Every Day is Saturday (coming June 2019) which exemplify her standard for gorgeous photography, luscious recipes, and simple luxuries. The former Food Director at Real Simple magazine and a Food Network veteran, Sarah currently lives in the Hudson Valley with her young family, where she tries (and fails) at fruit farming and excels at hosting raucous, twinkly-light dinner parties for friends. Sarah is a long time friend of FEED and a frequent FEED Supper host. Learn more at Edibleliving.com.

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Every Day is Saturday (coming June 4 2019, available for Pre-Order here)