Five things…
       

… that are much more exciting to me than they should be.

As you may or may not know, my husband and I moved to a new part of the state about a month ago. A better part. A part of the state with grocery stores that sell more than ground beef and potatoes and Kraft Mac n Cheese. Not that there’s anything wrong with those things… it’s just… sometimes a girl needs some fancier food in her life.

I’ve wanted to make pesto for a long time. Last summer, I had tons of basil that went wasted because I couldn’t make pesto. I wrote it off as a lost cause, because I couldn’t find pine nuts anywhere. Then, on my first trip to our new Kroger, lo and behold I find this as I’m perusing the Italian foods section.  Granted it was rather expensive for such a small quantity, but it didn’t matter. Look for a basil pesto recipe in the near future!

The next four items, I found today…

Shallots. I know, ridiculous. Who doesn’t have access to shallots? People living in central West Virginia, that’s who. They are so common in recipes these days that I think it’s assumed they are readily available everywhere. Until now I have just used garlic or onions as a substitute. But no longer! I can’t wait to use these!

Ahhh, I’m so glad that I didn’t order the creme fraiche online that I almost did. The creme fraiche at an online grocery store was itself reasonably priced , but came with an extra $11 of shipping. That would have been pretty insane to just want to try something new. Apparently sour cream is a good substitute for creme fraiche, but until now, I had no idea. I found it in our Kroger’s  deli section, along with a HUGE assortment of cheeses. I also walked away with a small block of Havarti to try.

Side note: will be using the creme fraiche in an upcoming chicken pot pie recipe!

This is not that exciting in itself. It’s just that at our old grocery store, we were lucky to find white, balsamic, and plain red/white wine vinegars. But now, I have access to a ridiculous assortment of infused oils and vinegars. There were many other herby infusions, but I love pomegranates and suspect this will make a nice salad vinaigrette. I need more pantry space!

And for the grand finale… Arugula!! I have searched for this stuff in our local grocery and produce sections for several years. I tried my hand at growing some last year, but didn’t get to enjoy it before bugs demolished it overnight. I did get to taste one of the seedlings before said destruction and was enamored with the nutty, peppery flavor. I was excited to try more, and incredibly disappointed when I couldn’t find it anywhere.

A few months ago, I read an article about how “ramps are the new arugula” or something like that. As in, arugula is “out” now. The fad is over and its time has passed. WHAT?!? Central West Virginia, speaking generally, has pretty much not even heard of arugula.

I feel really lucky to be where I am now. It’s not even a big city… in fact, the population density is probably lower than that of the Charleston area. Which is why I am often surprised that everything seems better up here. Maybe I was just ready for a change and am excited by the newness. Whatever it is, I hope this shiny lust for our new location never wears off. 🙂