Thursday, September 11, 2008


It's probably part of my "making Chicago home" phase, that I've had the urge to nest: finding places for the remaining random things, doing dishes religiously (for nesting purposes, but also because the kitchen is right off the bedroom and a.) it's depressing to see the dirty dishes piling up, and b.) it can quickly smell if left for a few days), and also cooking/baking/creating in the kitchen. In addition to homemade pesto and a starter (or "chef") for pain au levain,

I got a hankering for frozen graham crackers with buttercream frosting, a childhood favorite. While I don't mind store-bought frosting, there really is nothing like homemade buttercream, bursting with vanilla flavors. Since vanilla beans can be expensive, I long-ago discovered the Trader Joe's alternative of Vanilla Paste, which I almost always use in place of regular vanilla. This stuff is so good I 'accidentally' let some drip on my finger so I can lick it off. I strongly urge you to pick some up (and see if you can resist the temptation to drip & lick).
And thanks to my local library, I was able to get my hands on a copy of a long-lost brownie recipe from the Joy of Cooking (1997 edition), that I often made in Denmark. I love expanding my recipe collection FOR FREE!

When in the mood to 'nest', what do you typically find yourself doing?


Molly W. said...

I miss your cooking/baking. And thanks for the reminder that we don't have a Trader Joe's here! :) Well, as you know my new home isn't exactly my style and I'm not even going to attempt to make it so for 9 months BUT that doesn't mean I don't want to nest. I've been buying basics such as a microwave, dust buster, shoe racks, etc. all to make life easier and more like home. :) Not my typical form of nesting but for now, it'll do.

Liz said...

How have I never heard of this Vanilla Paste before? I feel like you might have just filled a void in my life that I didn't even know was there. I will have to search it out next time I stop at TJ's.
Oh, and when can I come over for frozen graham crackers!?!!?

DeniseMarie said...

I, too, tend to bake or cook when I'm feeling nesty. We generally set the table nicely and use serving dishes every night for dinner anyway, but I'll do something a little extra like cut flowers for the table. Also, I light candles around the house. I can't feel nesty, though, if my house isn't already tidy and pretty clean. Which may explain why I haven't felt nesty at all lately.....

Like Liz, I also felt the scales fall from my eyes at your mention of this mysterious vanilla paste. Must get some next time.

BTW, Molly, that apartment is totally my style. If I was living there I'd be nesting like a madwoman--only Euro-style. Which is basically American nesting but you have to wear black while doing it.

b said...

I love it Kell!
By the way--did I tell you that I started a liquid levain earlier this Summer? It was doing really well for a few days and then petered out; the instructions I was following were really good and helped me pinpoint what was going wrong (so here's a thing to learn from my failure): my kitchen was too cool. For the first few days it was warm enough, but as the weather became hotter, I either had the air-con on or windows constantly open, which kept my kitchen very cool (how I like it.) So I've decided to wait until Fall when I'm better with a warm house.

Good luck with yours!