Eating Local Holiday

Christmas is right around the corner! Time for extravagant meals, festive desserts, dressing up in your holiday best, and sharing with those you love. No matter if you’re staying close to home for the holiday or heading out of town, it’s nice to think local for your holiday purchases.

Every family has it’s own traditions for the centerpiece of their Christmas dinner. In my grandparents house, it was always a juicy pork roast. In my husband’s family, they always serve a honeyed ham. For others, a prime rib roast is the highlight. Any and all of these delicious meats are available from our local ranchers through Blue Valley Meats. Pre-order before the holiday if you have a specific favorite. We got our Thanksgiving turkey from them this year and it was the best bird I’ve had in years!1162 W. Pine Street,Walla Walla (509)876-4700

For a spectacular finish for that special meal, think beyond cookie trays and fruit cakes. Walla Walla Bread Company makes a stunning Buche de Noel, a classic French yule log. Complete with forest “mushrooms” and decedent frosting, this dessert will wow your guests, impress your host, and finish off that special meal with something memorable. Micheal Kline, owner of WWBC, will also be making some other amazing holiday desserts, including handmade candy canes. Stop by or give him a call. 225 E. Main, Walla Walla (509)522-8424

During this time of year, I’m always amazed at how quickly the day goes by and I never seem to have enough time to complete everything on my list. For those late nights of shopping, crafting, decorating the tree, or just because you don’t feel like cooking tonight, call in a hot sandwich order at Graze. They have an amazing meatball sandwich, with homemade marinara, hand-formed meatballs, and sauteed peppers and onion. The pulled pork torta is equally amazing, with chipotle mayonnaise, cilantro, avocado, and marinated peppers. Or for something lighter, they have beautiful salads and delicious daily soups. They are the perfect answer to “what’s for dinner?!” Open until 7pm every night, except Sunday. (509)522-9991

Still have a few folks left on your list to shop for? For those friends and family out of town consider a Made in Walla Walla Holiday Box. These days, most people want experience gifts or something consumable rather than something that will take up space on a shelf and gather dust. Spread some Walla Walla love with a holiday box full of handmade local goodies, such as Midnight Oil Soap, Octopus Garden honey, Detour Farm biscotti, spiced nuts by local chefs, handmade cards, soy candles, and a handcrafted wooden bottle stopper. Put together by the Daily Market Co-op and priced at $30 each, these boxes are available at Blue Valley Meats and the Whitman Bookstore. Skip the running around town to gather cute locally made gifts and pick one of these cuties. Proceeds go directly back into the community.

Do you have any aspiring chef or avid foodie on your list? Check out our local kitchen store, Providence Fine Living, for great gifts and stocking stuffers. They stock an wonderful assortment of high quality kitchen supplies and the owner is also a lot of fun to chat with. Stop by and check them out. I will be down there later this week to pick up something for my hard-to-please father-in-law. 16 East Main Street, Walla Walla

For those holiday parties and Christmas dinners you don’t have to cook for, it’s always nice to bring a gift for the host, to show your appreciation for all of their hard work. Bottles of wine are standard and a welcome useful gift, or go for something different and show up with a thankful growler of locally made beer from Laht Neppur. With an assortment of delicious brews, such as Neddy’s Nut Brown, Mike’s Golden Ale, Oatmeal Porter, Peach Hefeweizen, or seasonal Waitsburg Winter Warmer, you can’t go wrong. Located on the corner of Spokane and Alder Street in Walla Walla, they are open until 9pm to fill a growler of your favorite brew to go.

After the holiday rush is over and you have a little extra time on your hands consider taking a food adventure and explore a cuisine other than your own. Asia Oriental Store is a tiny corner shop between a nail salon and Chevron gas station on Issacs in Walla Walla. They carry many Asian food staples, more than you can find anywhere else in town. If you’re familiar with the different Asian cuisines, it makes for a fun place to browse and stock up on noodles, seaweed, miso, and condiments. If you’re new, it makes for an interesting foreign experience. Just this last weekend, on our way home with our freshly cut Christmas tree tied to our roof, we stopped in for some ingredients for Japanese udon soup. With this freezing weather, a nice hot bowl of nourishing noodle soup is just the answer. 1922 E. Issacs, Walla Walla

No matter where you go or what you plan this holiday season, remember shopping locally makes a difference and helps support our local business friends and neighbors.  For every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $68 stays in the local economy compared to only $43 if spent at a national chain. Modest changes in consumer spending habits can generate substantial local economic impact. I’d much rather spend an extra couple dollars, knowing my money goes directly to a fellow community member than going to nationally-owned chain store for a cheap price. The product seems to taste better and I feel the satisfaction knowing I contributed to the success of my neighbor doing something he/she loves. Merry Christmas from Eating Local! Wishing you and yours a festive delicious holiday!!

Recipe:

Udon Miso Noodle Soup

The vegetables are up to you – keep the vegetables thinly sliced so that they cook quickly. Sliced zucchini, small broccoli florets, cabbage and even frozen corn/peas are great. I’ve used fresh shitake, but regular white button mushrooms work nicely as well.

If you are using a different kind of miso other than shiro miso (white miso) lessen the amount by a couple teaspoons. Shiro miso is the least salty and intense of all miso.

Ingredients:

One 12-ounce package udon noodles
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/2 cup snow peas, sliced on the diagonal
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons white miso (shiro miso)
1/2 cup green onions

Directions:

1. Cook the udon noodles according to the package directions, drain and set aside.

2. In a large saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and add the carrots and cook until the carrots are crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the snow peas and cook until slightly tender but still bright green, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, cook for 30 seconds and remove from the heat.

3. Spoon the miso in a medium bowl and add a ladleful of hot broth. Whisk until the miso is completely dissolved, then pour the entire miso mixture into the pot with the soup. Do not boil the soup with the miso, as the miso will become gritty. Stir in the noodles and the green onions and enjoy!

Recipe from Cat Cora’s Classics with a Twist.

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Categories: around walla walla

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One Comment on “Eating Local Holiday”

  1. Deb Kumpula
    January 3, 2012 at 10:41 pm #

    Nice pictures and fun to read.

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