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I keep on moving on

June 10, 2011

For you folks following along via RSS, well, I’m glad you’re still here. I’ve been pretty quiet lately, and with all my talk about how maybe I won’t be writing here anymore, well…I can’t seem to quite walk away from my little home on the web here at The Kitchen Illiterate.

So I decided to renovate instead. This site has been move to a new domain, So if you still want to play along, please update your RSS feed. I hope to have more to say soon, as I think I’m finally starting to get more settled into my new little life here in Oakland. Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll check out the new site.


Split Pea Puree

May 23, 2011

Spiced Split Pea Puree

Comfort food takes a new turn with split pea puree. Read all about it on my new blog, The Lone Gastronome.

Tarte Flambee

May 20, 2011

Tarte Flambee

Several months ago, as I probably too often do, I bookmarked a recipe. Most of the time these bookmarked recipes slip quickly from my thoughts, only to reappear when I occasionally actually look at my recipe page in Delicious. But this recipe stayed with me: It was (surprise!) a recipe from Smitten Kitchen, for a bacon, onion, and cream pizza. Shortly after taking note of Deb’s recipe, I had dinner at Brasserie Four in Walla Walla, where I noticed a very similar dish on the menu, called a Tarte Flambee. I ate it, it was spectacular, and I became a little obsessed.
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Mushroom, Chicken, and Spring Pea Penne

May 16, 2011

Penne with mushrooms, chicken, and spring peas

Sometimes, when I’m walking home from work in the evening, or sitting on BART heading into San Francisco, or wandering through the Rockridge Market Hall drooling over fresh pasta, I’m overcome by joy that I get to live here, that this is, really and truly, my new home. Two weekends ago Mr. X and I took a trip into the city to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, and I couldn’t stop grinning, despite the crowds and noise and madness. I felt like I was in my own personal version of heaven, surrounded by piles of glorious spring onions and purple carrots and flawless mushrooms of all kinds. I could spend hours wandering through that place, but luckily for Mr. X, I was content to cut the shopping short and sit down to enjoy a glass of cava once I found my new culinary magical ingredient: Umami paste.
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First Meal

May 13, 2011


I don’t have any proper pictures of this meal, but I want to share it anyway. There was nothing special in the cooking. There is no recipe here. But there is something awfully special in the meal itself: This was our first meal in our new home.

We moved in two weekends ago, after I spent a month living with my aunt and uncle and Mr. X spent a month back in Boston, packing and cleaning and saying good bye to the city where he lived for 13 years. It was a pretty joyous weekend, even with all the unpacking and cleaning, not to mention moving around those heavy boxes of books (oh, so many books). We were both fairly giddy, to be here, to be in our apartment, to be together.

But we were awfully tired after all the unpacking. So we went to Trader Joe’s and bought some marinated steak and some tortillas, an avocado and some salad greens. We had intended to fire up our new grill before we discovered that it’s out of propane, but this gave us an excuse to try out the convection feature of our oven (yes, I have a convection oven! Oh the joy!). We heated a cast iron skillet in the oven, and cooked the thinly sliced steak quickly, searing it and flipping it with just a few minutes on each side. We heated tortillas in the microwave, too hungry to warm them individually on the gas burner (yes, I have a gas stove again! Oh the joy!). We sliced cucumbers and avocado, and made a simple vinaigrette, and dinner was served.

There isn’t anything special about this meal in and of itself, and with no recipe to share, I wondered if I should write anything at all. But it was a wonderful meal, and testament to the fact that when you’re happy, even the most pre-prepared, labor-free food can be something memorable.


March 9, 2011

I’ve been blogging somewhere else. Yes, it’s true. I’ve mentioned a few times that I was feeling like I might be ready to move on from The Kitchen Illiterate and start a new food writing adventure, and I think I’m finally ready for the big reveal. Or, really, the small, shaky reveal, because it’s not completely 100% finished yet. But if you’re interested in seeing where I’ve been lately, The Lone Gastronome is ready for visitors.

This new blog is focused on cooking and eating well for one (or two). I try to take a Food Matters-style approach to cooking, and intend to offer plenty of advice for shopping, storing food, and meal planning when you’re cooking small meals only intended to feed one or two people.

It’s definitely a work in progress, but I’m hoping it will grow into its breeches soon enough. And truth be told, I’ll probably still post here from time to time, when I’m working on a recipe that doesn’t really fit over there or cooking something new and unusual. But posts here will probably continue to be fewer and further between.

I hope you enjoy the new blog, though! Please feel free to send me any feedback, too.

Persian Chicken Stew

March 2, 2011

Persian Chicken Stew

It is no secret that I’ve been at a real standstill in the kitchen lately. It isn’t just culinary inspiration that’s been lacking, but the writerly inspiration, too. Even when I do cook something fantastic, I can’t seem to find anything interesting to say about it. For example, this stew. It’s great. It’s full of unique flavors, and I got to use some new ingredients, and I found all kinds of delicious things to do with the leftovers. And I’ve been trying now for weeks to sit down and say something that would make you all want to rush into your kitchens to get cooking. How am I doing?
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Orzo and Bean Salad with Sweet Potatoes

February 19, 2011

Orzo and Bean Salad

One thing that is really hard for me about life in Walla Walla is the lack of a Trader Joe’s within a 200 mile radius. Whenever I travel to Portland, or even California, I stock up and drag all my TJ’s loot back home with me. I even shipped a box of kitchen goodies home from San Diego this winter, and have been happily enjoying my Candy Cane Jo Jo’s since then. One thing I always pick up is a can or two of their Marinated Salad Beans. These beans are awesome for a quick weeknight dinner, and this salad is one of my new favorites. In fact, I love it so much that now that I’m out of Trader Joe’s Marinated Salad Beans, I’ve been working on making the same vinaigrette to marinate my own salad beans. I’ve also found a few other brands that are more widely carried, and they make a decent substitute, although I don’t think they’re quite as good.
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Creamy Mushroom and Chicken Pasta

December 7, 2010


I think for a minute there I started to go into hibernation. The grey and the cold and the snow, well, let’s just say it makes me feel awfully unmotivated. The lure of True Blood and Cougar Town, and of simple dinners consisting of nothing but rice and roasted vegetables, has sadly left this space bereft of anything new. And with holiday travel, and holiday planning, I guess writing has been pushed to the back of my mind. I’m sorry. I hope I didn’t leave you too hungry.

The thing is, too, that I’m starting to feel I’ve outgrown this space. More than a few people have mentioned to me that I’m not exactly a kitchen illiterate anymore. It’s been hard to find a way to write about what I’m doing in the kitchen these days in a way that fits in here. So I’ve been hard at work (ok, when I manage to get off the couch) creating a new site for my new food blogging project. I’ll definitely share it all when it’s ready, but never fear, I’ll still be sharing recipes one the internets, even if it’s not right here.

In the meantime, I wanted to share this delicious pasta dish I’ve been kind of obsessing over lately. I kept my distance from the rich, creamy pastas for most of the last year, but when it started to get really cold again, I was craving heavy cream something serious. And when I came up with this sauce, it was all over. This is really something special.
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Radio Silence

November 17, 2010

Sorry for the radio silence, folks. I’ve been feeling particularly uninspired in the kitchen lately, and the onset of fall and short days has lead me into a strong desire for hibernation. I’ve been eating lots of big bowls of beans and roasted vegetables and pasta these days. But I have some good meals planned this week, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll find the energy to write about them. When the sun sets at 4:15, it’s awfully hard to want to do anything but curl up in the couch and go to sleep by 8. Dang winter.