Co-op ‘Til You Drop

Dear Carolyne,

Firstly, where did the summer and fall go? Especially here in the hinterland, people are kind of freaking out because the nice weather is rapidly deteriorating and no one has recovered from last winter.

I don’t even know what I did this summer, aside from visit Seatlle and eat my weight in Chickpea Salad (tomatoes omitted because ugh gross).

I feel like I have been cooking a lot, partially because I have acquired a few new cookbooks. I picked up the How Sweet It Is cookbook, since I’ve had pretty good success with the recipes from her blog. However, the cookbook is called Seriously Delish, and that makes me gag so much that I had to buy it for my Kindle so no one would know my shame. In honesty, I used to not care much for this blogger’s writing style (and it is all a hair too cutesy for me still), but I tweeted about making one of her recipes once and she tweeted my back and was really sweet so now I just feel bad that I hate everything all the time.

Self portrait, courtesy of the internet.
Self portrait, courtesy of the internet.

I also picked up The Beeroness’s new cookbook (titled simply The Craft Beer Cook Book).  She is another blogger whose writing style doesn’t do a lot for me, but her recipes are legit and I used a bunch of them when I hosted Thanksgiving last year. I had a misstep recently when I tried to make her Porter Chorizo Black Bean Soup. I tried to make it vegetarian by using Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo, with which I am obsessed. I also made the mistake of trying to make this on a weeknight. I feel like the chorizo got a little charred, and even though I kept adding liquid, the beans never got cooked all the way. Drew loved it, though, so perhaps I am judging myself too harshly. I just find that when a meal bombs, I say to myself, “I can do better. I AM BETTER THAN THIS.”

Drew thinks I am nuts.

Lastly, I have been really enjoying the Thug Kitchen cook book, which surprises me because it is a low salt, vegan cookbook. They totally got me, actually, because I was too busy enjoying all the swearing to notice that was the case. I’ve made a few recipes out of the book now, and they have all been gems. However, as is often the case, I find that I’m happier if I at least double what they recommend for spices. I made their Pumpkin Chilli this weekend in the crock pot, and I definitely added double the chilli powder and probably quadruple the cumin.

I’m glad that you are getting to know your new city and that you have found a place with good pulled pork. I’m also glad that you’ve gotten so much use out of Going Solo in the Kitchen. That book taught me to poach chicken breasts, something for which I am eternally grateful.

Not much else is new here. I have been playing with Drew’s bread machine and using up old mixes that predate me by several years. I also joined the co-op where Dave and Linnea work. This has been fun, because I often see one or both of them when I grocery shop, and they have a great bulk section that contains things like beeswax and french green clay in addition to your usual flours and spices. Would that I could make such a place magically appear closer to you, so as to spare you further disappointing Kroger visits.

My personal Hell is Sam’s Club. Being in charge of the grocery shopping means that I have to stop there once a week and pick up a few things that Drew can’t seem to live without (mostly lunch meat). I did score 300 coffee filters for under $6 one day, though, so it is not always a total bust.

Love and chickpeas,



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