The Reluctant Blogger

Dark Days Week 6: Tortellini
January 3, 2012, 7:21 am
Filed under: Dark Days, Pasta, Vegetarian

I’m not sure any Italian would recognize these as tortellini (maybe tortellini made by a child?) but nonetheless that’s what I’m calling them. I’m on a mission to clean out my freezers this month, so when I found a bag of nettles I’d harvested from the backyard last spring stashed away in the bottom of the freezer, I pulled it out to start defrosting while I turned a quart of jersey milk from Dungeness Valley Creamery into ricotta. Mixed with a little salt and a couple of cloves of finely minced garlic, I had the perfect filling for pasta. After a less-than-successful attempt at ravioli that left me with a split open, gloopy (albeit delicious) mess the last time I attempted filled pasta, I decided to try my hand at something that seemed a bit sturdier. Continue reading


Dark Days Week 11: Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce
February 26, 2011, 1:43 pm
Filed under: Dark Days, Pasta, Vegetarian

My basil plant, which has been going strong in my windowsill since late summer, is beginning to go. It’s dropping leaves on a fairly regular basis and nothing seems to make it rebound. I’m a bit sad about this, since it means I won’t have any basil for months, but I guess I should just be happy that it has done as well as it has for so long. Continue reading

Dark Days Week 10: Ricotta
February 13, 2011, 4:15 pm
Filed under: Breakfast, Dark Days, Pasta, Vegetarian

Two Dark Days meals this weekend, both involving homemade ricotta. I have made ricotta in the past, but added it to my list of things to do before I turn 30 because there were a few recipes in particular that I really wanted to make with homemade ricotta. It really couldn’t be much simpler – some whole milk, sea salt, and lemon juice. Continue reading

Week 6: Spaghetti and Meatballs
January 13, 2011, 8:36 pm
Filed under: Bread, Dark Days, Pasta

I have not gone grocery shopping since before Christmas.  At first this started out unintentionally, but now I’m pushing it to see just how far I can take it (likely not past this weekend – we’re nearing the end of our milk supply and my husband’s coffee habit is such that we don’t go a day without milk in the house).  We’re still getting our weekly box of veggies from Full Circle, so it’s not like we’re not getting anything in (and I did pick up chocolate milk and kale on walk around Pike Place recently), but it’s still nice to have gone so long without intentional shopping.  I wasn’t planning to eat down the cupboards/freezer, but it certainly doesn’t hurt (see: I am the owner of TWO chest freezers).  And it has been nice to realize how well we can eat without adding to the larder.

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Dark Days Week 5: Pasta with Braised Lamb
December 30, 2010, 6:32 pm
Filed under: Dark Days, Gourmet, Unbound, Pasta

The last couple of Dark Days meals have been relatively quick and easy meals – exactly what I needed during a few particularly busy weeks.  However, when I have more time, I love to spend good chunks of the day in the kitchen tinkering.  I took some extra time off of work between Christmas and New Years, and after a short trip to Portland for some quality time with my husband (and Powell’s…) I was very ready to get back into the kitchen and cook.  This didn’t take a lot of active time, but it was so nice to do some chopping and stirring after not cooking Christmas dinner and then being gone for a few days.

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Fettuccine with Morels, Asparagus, and Goat Cheese, Gourmet, May 1992
April 30, 2010, 7:25 pm
Filed under: Gourmet, Unbound, Pasta, Vegetarian

Spring has been a bit of tease in the Seattle area this year.  February brought a spate of warm days, but before long it had cooled off and the rain came back.  Sure, we’ve had some incredible days since then, but on the whole I’d characterize this as a cooler, wetter spring.  And last night, it hailed like no one’s business – and it was cold enough that the hail WAS STILL ON THE GROUND THIS MORNING.  It looked like it had snowed.  I decided not to take any pictures, so that I could pretend it hadn’t happened, but the damage is done.  My basil – which was just starting to sprout – is completely flattened, and it doesn’t look like recovery is likely.  Fortunately most of my other seedlings were larger and look like they’ll make a recovery, but it was still disheartening.

Thankfully, spring brings a lot of good along with the not-so-good.  Morels and asparagus are right near the top of the list of good things that grow in Washington in the early spring (rhubarb is another one).  Although I’m pulling this out right at the last minute  (yet again) I’d decided on this recipe early in the month.  I just had to wait for morels to come to the market.  Yesterday, on a lunchtime walk through Pike Place Market, I spotted morels – picked yesterday near Chehalis – and asparagus from Yakima.  Good thing, since the month is nearly over! Continue reading