As fall is rush­ing in and I’m dream­ing of spices and bak­ing and thick socks and warm drinks, I thought it was time to emerge from my sum­mer hiber­na­tion. This sum­mer has been tremen­dously pro­duc­tive AND relax­ing, which has been lovely, but I apol­o­gize for neglect­ing the blog.

I went on vaca­tion this sum­mer, which I’ve only done one other time in my life. You could say it was much needed. But I dis­cov­ered one of the ben­e­fits of never tak­ing a vaca­tion — not hav­ing to reac­cli­mate to real life again. Oy. I also moved into a new place, fin­ished writ­ing and edit­ing the Trader Joe’s cook­book, ate obscene amounts of sweet corn and just plain chilled.

It was pretty great.

I hope you all had a lovely sum­mer! What was hap­pen­ing in your neck of the woods?

Now back to life, back to real­ity and with the pub­li­ca­tion of the TJ’s book approach­ing and the heat back­ing off, I’m back in the kitchen and am eat­ing more than sal­ads and bowls of water­melon chunks.

We’re in that weird limbo phase of summer/fall tran­si­tion, when the air is get­ting crisp and we’re lay­er­ing blan­kets on our beds, but farmer’s mar­kets are still going strong and gar­dens keep on pro­duc­ing. Here is a recipe from the upcom­ing book for a lovely Roasted Car­rot Risotto, the per­fect com­fort food to help use up your lin­ger­ing car­rots. As writ­ten, the recipe is veg­e­tar­ian, but the vegan option is noted at the end. Because this recipe is from the book, it notes TJ’s ver­sions of the ingre­di­ents, but it’s basic enough that you could throw this together with stuff from any gro­cery store.

Roasted Car­rot Risotto (from The I Heart Trader Joe’s Veg­e­tar­ian Cook­book, out Novem­ber 2012)

Risotto is not a short­cut meal, requir­ing low tem­per­a­tures and much stir­ring… but it’s worth every minute. Roast­ing the car­rots enhances their earthy fla­vor and adds a com­plex­ity that is intoxicating.

1/2 lb. organic car­rots (whole car­rots, not the lit­tle guys)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 teas. bal­samic vine­gar
salt and pep­per, to taste
1 tbsp. but­ter
1 small yel­low or white onion, diced small
1 cup Trader Joe’s Arbo­rio Rice
4 cups of Trader Joe’s Organic Veg­gie Broth
1 1/2 cups Trader Joe’s Freshly Shaved Parme­san, Romano & Asi­ago Cheese

Pre­heat oven to 400. Line a bak­ing sheet with parch­ment. Wash the car­rots and cut down into 1 inch sticks. Toss car­rots with olive oil and bal­samic and sprin­kle with salt and pep­per. Spread on pre­pared sheet and roast until ten­der, about 20–25 min­utes. Remove from oven and puree in a food proces­sor or blender, until smooth, adding a lit­tle water (1 tbsp. at a time), if needed.

In a stock­pot, melt the but­ter on medium-low heat. Add the onion and saute until slightly translu­cent, about 3 min­utes. Add the rice and saute for about 3 more min­utes. Add 1 cup of the broth, lower heat to just a tinge about low and cook, stir­ring often, until absorbed. Repeat with the sec­ond and third cups of broth, one cup at a time. Add the car­rot puree with the fourth cup of broth. Once absorbed, remove from heat and stir in the cheese, stir­ring until melted and well combined.

Serve with a salad and some crusty bread.

Makes: 4–6 servings


Vegan option: Replace the but­ter with non-dairy mar­garine. In place of the cheese, while the car­rots are roast­ing, soak 1/2 cup of raw cashews in warm water. Let them soak until you are cook­ing the risotto. Drain the water and puree the cashews with 1/4 teas of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice (about 1/2 teas.). Add the cashew puree in place of the shaved cheese.

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4 Responses to the blog that time forgot…

  1. Lee Ann says:

    Glad to hear that every­thing is going well for you and the next book is almost ready. The risotto looks so good. Can’t wait to try it.

  2. Courtney says:

    The risotto really does look (and sound) fan­tas­tic, Kris! That pic­ture makes it look so creamy and delicious :-)


  3. Josiane says:

    It sounds like you had the most delight­ful and lovely sum­mer — nice!
    The risotto sounds equally delight­ful and lovely, and yes, the per­fect summer-to-fall tran­si­tion dish. :)

  4. celine says:

    So happy to see you update this blog again! I’ve been check­ing reg­u­larly and scold­ing you from the dis­tance for being so silent here. Did you hear me? Did you?