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.
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.
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.
A few weeks ago, Matt of MattBites.com shared a simple little recipe that completely blew my mind, for these lovely vegetable crumbles. Vegetable crumbles! The name is so plain, and his single paragraph describing them is so quiet and unassuming. Oh, just vegetable crumbles. You know, simple. What?! No, to me this idea was almost revolutionary. I love, love, love it when a new culinary idea quietly appears in the course of my normal, daily reading, and this one refused to be shaken easily. Yes, a savory crumble. I had to try it.
Some mornings, you just want scones. These cranberry buttermilk scones are light, buttery, and tender, and perfect for fall. Find out how to make them at Wine and Dine Walla Walla. They are so easy, I even made them before coffee last Saturday with no disasters!
I grew up in San Diego, where we didn’t really have much in the way of winter weather. January tends to be a bit rainy, and the fog can roll in so thick at night you can’t see the lines on the road ahead of you. But heavy down jackets, gloves, and hats were not something I had to endure as a child. Rainy, wet weather felt special. We got to pull umbrellas out of closets, and jump in puddles, and sometimes Dad would build a fire in the fireplace if it got cool enough at night. Wintery weather was so special that people still talk about that time it snowed on Valentine’s Day, and that was 22 years ago.
I still get a little tingle of excitement on rainy days, despite having lived in places where rain was an all too common occurrence. And I always remember one rainy day in particular. Mom met my brother and I after school, and we all walked home together in the rain. We hurried into our warm house and took off damp shoes and socks, and Mom said it was a perfect day for baking cookies. So we did, and afterwards, we cut out the new Ramona Quimby paper dolls I had won at school that day, and I played with paper dolls and munched on cookies, warm in our little house while outside, our desert city got the water it probably desperately needed.
This week I explore the world of the slow cooker on Wine and Dine Walla Walla, with Braised Chicken and Scarlet Runner Beans. This chicken makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
And I promise to post some Kitchen Illiterate content later this week: I made peanut butter chocolate chip cookies that I have to share!