The Reluctant Blogger

Chicken noodle soup, two ways
April 17, 2012, 2:45 pm
Filed under: Soup

My February dinner recap alluded to two different chicken noodle soups, both of which start very similarly – a whole chicken in a big pot of water – but aside from their beginnings and the fact that both soups have noodles, the two couldn’t be more different. Continue reading

Week 9: Freezer Minestrone
January 29, 2012, 9:05 am
Filed under: Bread, Dark Days, Freezer, Soup

Another week in which the freezer came to the rescue, this time with a batch of minestrone (and a truly awful photo – sorry about that – just keeping it real) I made a month or so ago, and exactly the quick dinner I needed on an under-the-weather week. Not much to say about this one, though I will mention that the bread I’ve been making (with a starter I’ve had going for about two months now) is getting better every week. The starter makes such a difference in the flavor, and it’s been good practice to have to make bread every week so I can feed the starter. I’ve been making bread most Saturdays, and often end up just slicing the loaf and putting it in the freezer, which is exactly where this bread came from. In fact, the only part of this dinner that didn’t come from the freezer was the cheese on the bread. Some weeks this is our reality…

Sources for this week’s dinner:
Celery root, kale, carrots, and celery from Full Circle Farm, Carnation, WA
Onions from Andersen Organics, Othello, WA, by way of Full Circle box
Potatoes from our garden
Tomatoes grown at Tonnemaker Hill Farm, Royal City, WA, and canned
Green beans from my in-laws’ garden up the street (by way of the freezer)
Garlic from Filaree Garlic Farm, Okanogan, WA
Slow roasted tomatoes from our garden, by way of the freezer
Sage from our garden
Vegetable stock made primarily from Full Circle vegetable trimmings
Flour from Fairhaven Mill, Bellingham, WA
Cheese from Beechers, Seattle, WA
Exceptions: Rancho Gordo borlotti beans, olive oil, salt, pepper, parmesan rind and prosciutto end; yeast and salt in bread

Dark Days Week 2: Tomato elk stew
December 10, 2011, 12:41 pm
Filed under: Dairy-free, Dark Days, Soup

Nothing like leading with a somewhat unappetizing picture...

I’m off to a soupy start to this year’s Dark Days Challenge, this time with an elk and vegetable stew with a tomato broth. We eat a lot of soup in the winter, some of them more successful than others. Count this one in the very successful category: meltingly tender elk, a thick, tomatoey broth, and plenty of vegetables. The vegetable stock didn’t hurt, either. In the past year I’ve taken to throwing many of my vegetable scraps in a bag in the freezer and then turning those scraps into stock when the bag is full. I’ve made chicken stock for quite a while, but we don’t eat enough chickens to keep us in chicken stock, so it’s nice to have vegetable stock to fall back on.

Continue reading

Dark Days ’11-12 Week 1: Borscht (or: Why I Am Thankful for My Freezer)
December 3, 2011, 1:10 pm
Filed under: Dairy-free, Dark Days, Soup, Vegetarian, Wheat-free

Beets, ready for roasting, when it was late summer and the light was still good.

The start of Dark Days snuck up on me this year, and it was looking like I was going to be starting the challenge with a snack (the quince “paste” that never quite set right and Yarmuth Farm “Dylan” cheese below – quince from an orchard on Guemes Island, I think, but now I can’t find the name of the place for the life of me) instead of a full dinner, but once again my freezer came to the rescue. Continue reading

Dark Days Week 20: Final Week
April 18, 2011, 6:56 pm
Filed under: Dairy-free, Dark Days, Soup, Vegetarian, Wheat-free

When I signed up to participate in Dark Days last fall, I wasn’t sure how it would go. Now that we’ve reached the end, I’m really happy I decided to participate. I haven’t always posted on time, but I’ve managed to make at least one local meal each week and eventually write about it. Twenty weeks of paying closer attention to where our food comes from have resulted in some permanent changes. Continue reading

Dark Days Week 13: Delicata and Cannellini Soup
March 13, 2011, 2:19 pm
Filed under: Dark Days, Soup, Vegetarian, Wheat-free

Forgot to take a picture before we sat down to eat, and the crappy iPhone photo I took while eating really doesn’t help, though there’s probably pretty much no way to make this one look appetizing. You’ll have to trust that it was much tastier than it looks. The last few delicata squash in the basement were threatening to get soft and I knew I was in a use-it-or-lose-it position. The best way to use five small squash all at once? Squash soup, heavy emphasis on the squash. Continue reading

Dark Days Week 9: Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese
February 5, 2011, 3:34 pm
Filed under: Dark Days, Soup, Vegetarian

I think I’ve finally landed on my perfect tomato soup recipe. I’ve tried a lot of different tomato soups, and while most have been fine (I can think of two that have been downright awful), very few have been truly delicious. After a recent batch fell into the truly awful category, I knew I needed to put some effort into finding a reliably delicious tomato soup recipe. Preferably one I could make with ingredients I always have on hand. Somehow I lucked into it on my first attempt, just by trusting myself and going what what seemed too simple to possibly be right. But it turned out just exactly right, and although the super-local provenance of the ingredients may have had something to do with that, it would probably still be good with more widely available ingredients.

Continue reading

Dark Days Week 5.2*: Two Stews Plus Bread and Butter
January 5, 2011, 8:28 pm
Filed under: Bread, Dark Days, Soup

*Somewhere I added an extra week (must have done two posts in one week) – not sure where that happened and rather than go back and renumber, I’ll just get it right from here out.

One of the great things about the holidays is extra time at home, which generally translates to extra time in the kitchen.  In preparation for returning to reality, I wanted to get some dinners in the fridge and freezer to ease back into working and commuting and having less time in the kitchen.  In addition to a few casserole-like things that freeze well, I made two local-ingredient stews: borscht and elk & root vegetable stew (what I’d normally call “beef stew”). Continue reading

Portuguese Kale and Potato Soup, Gourmet, November 2009
October 31, 2010, 7:55 pm
Filed under: Dairy-free, Gourmet, Unbound, Soup, Wheat-free

It’s nearly November and due to unexpected changes at work, I’ve spent far more time working than I could have imagined when the year started. While I’m still making dinner when I’m actually home, dinner is driven by speed at which it can be prepared and what is in my CSA box for the week.  We’ve been eating a lot of salads, squash, and pasta with roasted vegetables, weekly racing against the clock to get through another box of vegetables.  My cookbook project is way off track (the last time I “saved” a cookbook was July 4th.  JULY 4th!) and I know there is no way I’m going to finish before the end of the year.  I’ve managed to get a post up once a month for the Gourmet, Unbound project, but I think the group aspect of the project has ended.  Without some kind of deadline, self-imposed or otherwise, I know I’d probably just stop blogging since I’m barely hanging in there anyway, so I’m going to keep doing a Gourmet recipe a month if for no other reason than it forces me to take my camera into the kitchen once in a while.

Continue reading


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