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Squash and Tomato Crumble

October 25, 2010

Vegetable Crumble

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.
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Cranberry Buttermilk Scones

October 21, 2010

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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!

Baked’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

October 18, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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.
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Wine and Dine Walla Walla: Braised Chicken with Scarlet Runner Beans

October 13, 2010

Braised Chicken with Scarlet Runner Beans

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!

Pasta with Sausage and Lentils

October 8, 2010

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Today it is rainy and grey and cold in Walla Walla, and I think I have to accept that it is well and truly fall. That’s not so bad, though, because I still have a huge bowl of tomatoes on my kitchen counter, and also, I really love fall. It is my favorite season. The air is crisp, and usually smells a little like wood smoke. The clothes are fantastic, all sweaters and wool and light scarves. And the food, well. I love summer produce, but I really love fall food. Bring on the slow cooked meats and roasted squash and hearty, warm comfort food.
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Wine and Dine Walla Walla: Making Polenta

October 7, 2010

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Have you always wanted to learn how to make polenta? It’s actually quite easy, and this week, I shared my technique on Wine and Dine Walla Walla. It was really especially excellent with last week’s bolognese.

Wine and Dine: Bolognese

September 29, 2010

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I’ve always loved the idea of spending a Sunday afternoon with a bubbling pot of tomatoey ragu sitting on the stove, and last weekend, I finally did it. You can read about my Sunday Supper Bolognese at the Union Bulletin’s Wine and Dine Blog, where I’m now writing a weekly (roughly) column about my cooking adventures.

Barley with Pesto and Summer Squash

September 23, 2010

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Summer is unquestionably winding to a close. Of course, its official end came earlier this week, but the farmers markets are still full of tomatoes, I’m still getting fat bags of basil from my CSA, and the days, at least in Walla Walla, are still warm and sunny. However, the decided chill in my house in the mornings makes it clear I don’t have much longer to enjoy summer’s bounty. I’ve been on a canning and freezing binge this week, putting up the last of the produce to enjoy when the days are much shorter, but in the midst of that frenzy, I made this simple summery dinner of barley, crookneck and patty pan squash, and an improvised basil tomato pesto.
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What to do with summer tomatoes? Make ketchup!

September 22, 2010

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Last week I made ketchup. It was fun, and not nearly as daunting as it sounds. And I ended up with something far more interesting than Heinz. You can read all about my ketchup making adventure on the Walla Walla Union Bulletin’s Wine and Dine Blog, where I’ve started writing a column. Whoot whoot fun times! After you’ve learned all about making ketchup, go ahead and read about some local Walla Walla chefs, a few local wine events, and find more excellent recipes.

Grandpa’s Favorite Spice Cake

September 16, 2010

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My Grandparents both passed away this last April. Their deaths were unexpected: Both were pretty healthy for being 80 years old, and had just returned from spending the winter with my parents in San Diego, which they’ve been doing every year for the last 15 years. My Grandma had a stroke one spring afternoon while out tending her garden, and a week later, my Grandpa passed away of a heart attack. It’s a blessing that neither of them suffered, that they didn’t have to endure years of failing health and illness, that they lived together in their home until the end, and that they were surrounded by family in the days and weeks before they passed. But these blessings come with the sadnesses of unanticipated loss: There are so many things I never got to ask them, never got to learn, never got to understand about their histories, and their lives together.

Like most people, a lot of my family memories revolve around shared meals and food: beer cheese soup and summer sausage sandwiches every Christmas Eve; baking pies with Grandma in the summer and anticipating the scraps of dough, baked with cinnamon and sugar, as a treat; watching Grandpa grind potatoes with his old hand-cranked grinder for his famous potato pancakes; dusting Grandma’s funnel cakes, fresh out of the fryer, with powdered sugar; spreading peanut butter and honey over fried bread dough and calling it dinner. And even though I have countless kitchen memories shared with them, when I came across my Grandma’s ring of faded and smudged recipe cards in her kitchen last spring, I realized how many more family stories there were to share that I am never going to know about. Grandma’s recipes were the only thing I really wanted when my aunts and uncles started cleaning out their house.
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