Playing House, or, That Time We Got a Costco Card

This is why I love my neighborhood. Last Wednesday, I went to the gym (see sneakers), and walked through the Santa Monica Farmers' Market on my way home, where I was given an apricot to sample for "firmness". Perfect post workout snack, all fuzzy and sweet and crisp and tart. Shout out to the dude at See Canyon Peaches. (Do you guys have any idea how much I like fruit?)

There are a million reasons my parents are freakin’ awesome.  I’ll list a few, because I totally kiss their butts.  They deserve it though, for serious.

My mom does really nice stuff for me, like, things that your best friend would do for you, if your best friend had worked full-time for decades and loved you like a mother loves her own child.  Anyway, she goes above and beyond the call of mommy-duty; for example, in spoiling me with my very own KitchenAid Stand Mixer, or managing to find gifts for my boyfriend on sale at Anthropologie, or sending me pound after pound of Fresh Market Breakfast Blend coffee so I don’t spend $400 a month at the Coffee Bean four steps away from my apartment.  She’s a winner.  She should be on Oprah or something.  Somebody should give this woman a Hyundai and a basket of top-quality bath salts.

There was a time in my life when I was convinced that owning an enormous stuffed giraffe would make me less awkward and/or more popular.

My dad is a cool dude.  He wears a lot of suits and wakes up really early.   Also, he is pretty resistant to hugs, but if you try hard enough, you can really get a good one out of him.  He also really wants me to be happy.  For example, when I was in elementary school, my BFFAEAETDDUP, Amanda, was obsessed with pigs.  I liked pigs too.  Probably not as much as Amanda did, but Amanda was really pretty and I wanted to have a favorite animal too, and I liked pigs, I swear.  I remember, we went to the grand opening of the swanky new AMC 24 at Sunset Place with my VIP parents (oh snap!) and we got our very own private screening of the instant classic, award-winnings, Babe: Pig in the City.  Quality film, folks.  Quality film.  By the way, it was a private screening because nobody else wanted to see it.  But I digress.  The point is, I eventually realized that I was tired of liking pigs and needed to choose as my favorite an even more outlandish animal, so I opted for the giraffe.  Now, at this very same mall, there was a big FAO Schwarz, which is now an LA Fitness.  Typical.  Anyway, at this toy store, there was a life-size stuffed giraffe I just needed.  It was a gazillion dollars and nobody would buy it for me, even though I persisted for years and really thought I had made a good argument for how it would improve my quality of life.  Well, a few months ago, I was walking through Nordstrom with Dad and we walked through the children’s department… and there was a stuffed giraffe!  And I swear, swear, swear my dad turned around and looked at the price and offered to buy it for me.  To be more specific, my otherwise-totally-reasonable father offered to have the stuffed giraffe shipped to my apartment in Los Angeles, as if the plush toy conversation piece were a pair of running shoes on sale or something.  I declined, because I knew that the giraffe would probably just hang out in the backseat of my car for a few months waiting to be exchanged for my favorite thing in the whole world: store credit.

Oh, after a billion useless sentences, the point of the story was that once, my parents came to L.A. and took us to Costco and got us a bunch of food.  And it was a good thing.  But eventually we ran out of food.  I’m sorry.  I am not a good story teller.  Yeah, so Ryan and I went to Costco the other day and got ourselves a membership card.  And a lot of poultry.  And toilet paper.  And two boogie boards.  And a pound of goat cheese.

And then we came home and thought about dinner, out loud, as per usual.  I wanted to break from my usual food routine, because clearly, if I were super-satisfied with my meals, I wouldn’t be hovered over my kitchen sink, hacking at a rotten peach at two-thirty in the morning.  I wanted a dinner that made me feel good about myself.  Luckily for me, I don’t get off on a “dinner” of rabbit food wrapped in a rubbery tortilla mysteriously devoid of carbohydrates.  (I am not a jerk; I do recognize that some people have absolutely solid health reasons for choosing certain “diet” foods.  But I have no such reason.)  I wanted something good and real.  So Ryan grilled up some of our new Aidells Chicken and Apple Sausages (they are normally, like, eight bucks for 4 sausages, and we got 16 of them for twelve dollars or something sweet like that) and I sautéed some vegetables in olive oil and chicken broth and in less than half an hour, we had dinner on the table.  ‘Twas:

Lighter Fettuccine Primavera with Chicken Sausage

Serves 4, and is marvelously adaptable to any and all sorts of vegetables—asparagus, snow peas, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, whatever!  For a substantial vegetarian variation, use vegetable broth or reserved pasta water, and add to the cooked vegetables warmed cannellini or garbanzo beans, making sure they simmer with the garlic and spices for flavor and depth.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large bell pepper, cut into very thin strips
  • 1 carrot, peeled into ribbons and then cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1 zucchini, peeled into ribbons and then cut into 2″ pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup frozen sweet green peas
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth, low-sodium
  • dried parsley, crushed red pepper, sea salt, black pepper, lemon pepper
  • 3/4 lb. fettuccine, cooked until barely tender
  • 1/2 cup pasta water, reserved
  • 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • a few fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 4 cooked chicken sausages, sliced

Method

I used a vegetable peeler to get really thin ribbons of carrot and squash.

  • Boil pasta until barely tender, as it will continue to cook just a little bit when tossed.  When draining, remember to reserve a bit of the starchy water for the sauce.
  • Prepare the sausages (we like them grilled) and cut them into bite-sized pieces.
  • In a large pan at least a few inches deep, heat a few teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and peppers, stirring to coat with the oil.  Add a dash of salt and allow the vegetables to soften, stirring often, for about five minutes.  Add a drop of chicken broth to prevent sticking, when necessary.  Throw in a few dashes of your favorite spices.
  • Add carrot ribbons, cook for a few minutes.  Add the zucchini ribbons.
  • Stir in the garlic, taking care not to burn and adding broth as necessary, then add the fresh basil or other herbs.  When the garlic becomes fragrant, reduce the heat and continue to stir, adding the frozen peas.
  • Add the sliced sausages to the pan and combine.  Add the pasta and toss to coat, adding reserved pasta water if the sauce seems too dry or thin.  Drizzle a little bit of olive oil all over the pasta and then add the cheese and a little bit of lemon pepper or lemon zest for brightness.  Allow the pasta and sauce to cook together for about two minutes in the pot, stirring but allowing the pasta to sizzle a bit.
  • Salt to taste, and serve immediately.

Then, we went and saw Eclipse.  Now, I’m not into this whole Twilight thing, but would I lose readers if I said I totally think Bella should choose Jacob?  I mean, let’s be realistic here, we all know what happens in Tuck Everlasting.

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Comments
17 Responses to “Playing House, or, That Time We Got a Costco Card”
  1. traynharder23 says:

    cute story! my dad did that with me= he bought a penguin stuffed animal JUST for me! =D

  2. Costco is the shiznit!!

    ~Alyssa

  3. jenna says:

    i too have a 1 ,2, 3… maybe 4 or 5

    1. what the heck is wrong with you? you need the giraffe. but your so right, store credit suites you more

    2. jorge and i get the same apple chicken sausage all the time. the 4 pack is like 5 bucks at publix… i need to use my bj membership.

    3. ummm, what was it? oh yea, i enjoyed my diet rabbit food, until i was somewhat properly introduced to the culinary world

    4. your parents are absolutely incredible. im still waiting for your mom to contact me about our lunch and closet cleaning date.

    lastly,

    5. i miss you, like whoa, come visit.

    oh wait,

    6. your blog really is that great.

  4. sweetlife says:

    how sweet of them, they sound super cool

    sweetlife

  5. Tamar says:

    About 5 years ago, my mother in law in Alaska (I’m in California) asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I said “A costco membership”. She doesn’t have to pay for shipping to California and I can save money on stuff! : )

  6. Monet says:

    Yes yes…you have some wonderful parents, which is no surprise considering how gorgeous and talented their daughter is! I love it that your parents took you grocery shopping at Costco…when I got my first apartment, my mom spent so much money at Super Target…she stocked me up. But alas, we eventually have to go without mom and dad ( or their credit cards)…your pasta looks great!

  7. Jessie says:

    It’s now raining here, and I’m eating my banana muffincake with peanut butter for breakfast and reading this and alas, you never fail to disappoint me with your posts. I love Costco… and I’ve definitely tried to sneak in before without a card. Bad idea. You can get a pack of 48 Venus razors. That will last me years, or weeks or something. I’m so jealous you can walk to the gym AND the farmer’s market. That would bring my life happiness up about a million. And finally, that pasta dish looks so fresh and tasty and lovely. Wow, I just wrote a blog post via comment. Enjoy Malibu!

  8. lavienouveau says:

    ooo, this looks delish!

  9. Most of our parents are awesome and not to forget… very patient with their slightly insane offsprings! Thank god for parents.

  10. That’s a beautiful pasta dish and yes, I love giraffes, too. Hurray for awesome parents! 🙂

  11. baking barrister's mom says:

    Your father reminds me of myself a bit. That’s why the baking barrister owns a 6 foot Swatch watch of a giraffe that will hang in her apt once she finally moves out! And we can’t forget about the Baccarat giraffe. We do like to indulge you girls sometimes.

  12. I still love giraffes…I kind of can’t wait to have kids so I have someone to decorate a giraffe car for 🙂 Also, I love Costco. Seriously, there are so many amazing impulse buy temptations!

  13. Mom says:

    Dad and I loved the post. You can flatter us anytime! I had a burger at Fox’s tonight and wished it was your pasta. Maybe we will do a costco run in September. Tell Oprah I want a new handbag.

  14. Mmm… love this dish, it looks so yummy and comforting!

    CostCo. runs with parents are the BEST. My husband is just a few short years away from 30, and still, whenever his parents visit from NJ, they treat us to a hundred cardboard boxes full of everything we don’t need in bulk.

    You and Ryan have a great weekend! XOX

  15. The dish looks good…And you are a great story teller:) Fun post!

  16. I find your blog very entertaining 🙂

  17. 1. As a collector of giraffes for going on 18 years, I am appalled that you denied yourself the pleasure of a BIG STUFFED GIRAFFE. Plus I know exactly which one you’re talking about because it always catches my eye when I walk through Nordstroms at Westside Pavilion.

    2. Costco and I are best friends. Love Costco. Love those sausages–and the fact that they’re chicken makes me all happy!

    3. Healthy food doesn’t have to be gross, so I don’t get it either.

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