back from the void…

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You’ve probably been wondering where I’ve been…actually, I haven’t gone anywhere, but this website sort of drifted off into the void thanks to a Dreamhost web server swap gone pear-shaped. Thankfully I was able to keep in touch with some of you over on the Facebook page and Twitter (thank goodness for social media) and let folks know what was going on. Now we seem to be back! Things are still working a bit slow but I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to pick up where we left off.

Speaking of which, what’s everyone been eating lately?

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so long, 2009

Happy New Year!

Best wishes to you all for a joyous New Year’s Eve and a wonderful 2010.

Tomorrow we’re off for a three day duck extravaganza in the San Juan Islands with cook, teacher, and cassoulet/confit expert Kate Hill. Wish us luck!

giving back

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One issue that food bloggers generally don’t have to deal with is not having enough food. There may be days that I have no idea what to make with the weird ingredients in my pantry, but starving is not usually much of a problem. Being well aware that this isn’t the case for everyone, I’d like to use today’s post to make a small plug for a bit of charitable giving.

For most of us, this is a hard time to scrape up anything to give, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to take much. Food banks and cold weather shelters are always in need of more supplies, if you have spare canned food or blankets lying around. You can volunteer your time at a food bank or soup kitchen. Or you can, if you have it, give cash, which gives the charity the option of getting what they need most.

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Many food bloggers are taking part in Menu for Hope, the brainchild of blogger Pim Techamuanvivit of Chez Pim. Featuring prizes donated by food bloggers all over the world, the event raises money through raffle tickets and donates it to the UN World Food Programme. I think it’s a fantastic event, and encourage anyone who’s interested to participate.

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For myself, I prefer to look for needs closer to home. Jon and I donate to the Skagit Food Share Alliance, a program run by the Skagit Community Action Agency. By purchasing locally grown produce for food banks and hot meal programs, they work against hunger and support local farmers at the same time. It’s a win-win situation, in my opinion. If you live in the Skagit Valley or support the preservation of Skagit farmland, please consider donating.

NaBloPoMo

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For those who have a novel inside them waiting for its chance to come out, there’s NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. For those of us who blog, there’s National Blog Posting Month: NaBloPoMo! The idea is that, for the month of November, participants will blog every single day. I decided to take part this year. Am I crazy? Probably.

The good news (for me, not necessarily for you) is that it doesn’t matter how much I post, or what I post. The important thing is that I do post something each day of the month. We’ll soon see if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

If there’s anything you’d like to see me post on this month, I’m open to suggestions. Photography stuff? Cookbook reviews? An essay on My Favorite Spatula? Tell me what you’d like to see on the blog!

tired, but with serious swag

Being recently returned from the first International Food Blogger Conference in Seattle, I am, let me tell you, pooped. And I have to go to work today, too. But the conference was amazing, with great food and people and information, as well as the best conference swag anyone has ever seen. Here’s what my haul looked like, once I got it all unpacked:

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Most of this stuff was donated to the conference by Sur La Table, an amazingly generous thing for them to do. I’m looking forward to settling it all into my kitchen and trying it out. I’m particularly excited about the Shun knife, the wine glasses, Ruth Reichl’s new book and a spiffy little Scanpan.

My brain is not so easily unpacked.

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trying to be good

Oh dear, it’s May already.

The reason that I’m distressed by that is because I had hoped to lose a few pounds by the end of this month – to be precise, by Memorial Day. We’re going to a wedding and I need to either buy a new dress (not so easy to find, when you’re as short as me) or fit into one of the dresses I already own. Unfortunately I haven’t been making a lot of progress in that direction (If you’ve been reading this blog regularly you may not be surprised by this – hello, bacon pizza?)

Therefore, bear with me as I try to be seriously good for the next couple of weeks. For me, that means as little alcohol as possible, no starch or sugar, and getting out running a few extra times. Sigh…I do love starch. And wine.

So wish me luck! Hopefully I’ll still have some good eating to report – we’re wracking our brains for good nonstarchy vegetable dishes. And if this doesn’t work out…any short women out there have a recommendation for where to buy nice dresses this season in, say, a size 4 petite?

the allergic gourmet

I was very annoyed earlier this week when I went to the allergist and learned that, in fact, I don’t just have an oral allergy to stonefruit and apples (it varies from annoying to scary, depending on the fruit). I am now also allergic to hazelnuts and, possibly, almonds. I had a feeling about the hazelnuts ever since last summer, but it’s different having your allergist look alarmed at your scratch test results and prescribe you an epi-pen.

Why am I so upset? What it really is, is that I don’t want to be That Person in a restaurant, who makes the waiter’s life difficult, who holds up ordering for everyone else, and can never eat anything the way the chef wants it to be served. I want to be the sort of eater who can go into a restaurant and say, “bring me whatever the chef wants to cook.” I want to be able to eat anything that’s put in front of me with interest and enjoyment. I do not want to be afraid of my food. And every time I find out that I can’t eat something, I feel less like myself.

Right. Whine over.

But if you’re reading this, eat some peaches and hazelnuts for me. I miss them.

coming soon…

Sorry for the lack of a post, but we’ve been out of town for the long weekend. Coming up soon: a few highlights from our trip, followed by a blow-by-blow description of one of the best dinners we’ve had in some time.  Mmmm, anchovies and potato chips…(nope, I’m not kidding – stay tuned!)