November “In My Kitchen”

It’s November, the start of the holiday season, oh my. Are you ready or does the thought give you a panicky feeling as it does me?

The beginning of each month is also time for the monthly series “In My Kitchen” hosted by Celia of the blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Of all the virtual blogging clubs on the internet, I think this collection of posts is one of the most fascinating. The bloggers come from around the world; and the posts reflect both the seasons and the individual style of the writer. As winter starts in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is starting in the Southern. I drool over photos of tomatoes posted by Australian bloggers in February and pin the recipes for use in six months. l’ve learned a lot from the dedicated bakers, cooks, and gardeners in this group. Come join us by clicking here, we’d love to hear what is happening in your kitchen.

Now on to my own kitchen. In my kitchen I have sunflowers. They are a colorful reminder that it is still fall, winter hasn’t started quite yet. Because of the drought here in California I don’t have a garden this year, but the farmer’s market is still full of flowers.



In my kitchen I have a new cookbook, Lucky Peach 101 Easy Asian Recipes. I was drawn to this book by a recipe I found online for “Odd Flavor Sauce” (although the combination of flavors didn’t seem odd to me at all).

Lucky Peach 101

I renamed it “Yum Sauce” and have used it with several dishes over the last week.

Yum Sauce

Yum Sauce

It added a big punch of umami to a simple rice bowl with roast vegetables, a comforting bowl of Jook or Congee, and some baby lobster tails I found at Costco. What a treat! I brushed them with Yum sauce, wrapped them aluminum foil, and baked them at 450 degrees F. for 22 minutes. Delicious!

In my kitchen I have Mandarin oranges.



I made a batch of Mandarin Orange Aigre-Doux with them. The oranges are canned with red wine, vinegar, sugar and black peppercorns. The result is a sweet and sour combination popular in France and Italy.

Mandarin Aigre-Doux

Mandarin Aigre-Doux

I will use them to make a sauce for the duck confit I purchased on my recent Costco trip. Isn’t that place amazing! For the sauce you drain the oranges and reduce the liquid until syrupy. Then blend the sauce and oranges together to make a wonderful red wine/orange sauce. It will be lovely with the duck.

Duck Confit

Duck Confit

In my kitchen I have Parmesan oil.

Parmesan Olive Oil

Parmesan Olive Oil

It was a post on IMK from several months back that gave me the idea. I couldn’t find the original post so please speak up if you read this, I’d like to give you credit. Covering your leftover rinds with olive oil for several months infuses the oil with the most heavenly flavor and aroma. I use it as a finishing oil or on a salad of spicy greens.

In my kitchen I have sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes. They are a member of the sunflower family and, if allowed to bloom, produce tall (some over 6 feet) branching plants with small sunflower like blooms. The chokes or tubers grow along the roots like potatoes. Sunchokes taste like a cross between an artichoke and a water chestnut. When cooked they have a firm skin and a meltingly fluffy inside like a russet potato. Unfortunately they can cause gastric distress in some people and are sometimes nicknamed “farti-chokes”. Enough said! They are tough plants and have survived in my garden with almost no water this summer. I’ve roasted them, pickled them (they lose their uncomfortable side effects), and made them into soup.



In my kitchen I have samples.

Kitchen, bath and flooring

Kitchen, bath and flooring

We are starting to gather ideas for a remodel of our cabin on the Northern California coast, our retirement escape. These are a few of the samples for the bathroom, kitchen cabinets, and flooring throughout.

What do you think of blue kitchen cabinets? My thought is to have the upper cabinets in a different color, maybe a light grey. I want butcher block for some surfaces (it’s not a very big kitchen) but have been advised against it around the sink (much to my disappointment). I’d love to hear your thoughts.

? kitchen cabinets ?

? kitchen cabinets ?

And lastly in my kitchen I have dogs, always underfoot hoping for a treat or something tasty dropped on the floor.

Do I smell bacon?

Do I smell bacon?

Will sit for bacon!

Will sit for bacon!

What? Am I late to the party? BACON!!!

What? Am I late to the party? BACON!!!

What’s new in your kitchen this month?

49 thoughts on “November “In My Kitchen”

  1. I love this Liz! What a wonderful post and so exciting to see what is going on in your kitchen! Yes it is already November hard to believe? The book looks very nice and love the recipes! we are making a costco trip today so great things I will look for! Very nice post! Oh love the flowers from the farmer’s market!

  2. Your November kitchen sounds wonderful! I love the sound of the Mandarin Aigre-doux and the Parmesan oil! Oh the goodies that can be cooked with that!
    A new cookbook is always a treat, I love to sit and browse through new recipes and imagine the flavours! 🙂

    • I’m the same way, I can taste the recipes as I read them. Sometimes it’s “wow, yum!” and sometimes “no way!”. I was surprised to learn that the skill is not universal. The Parmesan oil is a treat.

      • Parmesan oil is on my to do list for sure! And any excuse to eat more parmesan cheese works for me! 🙂

      • Liz, I’m surprised to learn it’s not, either! Maybe it is something people of a certain age know – I know a lot of my old cookbooks have very few photos, some have none, so I grew up learning how to “taste” ingredients in my mind by reading them. Much like I can visualize scenes in a novel or recall smells by reading about it.

  3. Pingback: November “In My Kitchen” | Tbgwriter's Weblog

    • Good use for all those rinds stored in the freezer. Keep it in the fridge. You can still pull out a rind for use with a winter soup or pot of beans. So you are using your Parmesan 3 ways! No waste.

  4. I enjoy reading this IMK series, I remember first reading about it from our Dear Selma. I’ve often thought of joining in, but fear I may not have enough to display in my kitchen :). Love the idea of your parmesan oil, and congratulations on being selected for that post. 🙂

    • Yes, I enjoyed Selma’s posts as well. Please do join in! I think if you will find there is lots to mention…a new ingredient, something new purchased at an interesting store, new spices, something picked up on your travels, a new recipe you’v tried. It doesn’t have to be fancy.

      • Good idea Liz, I’ll have to give it a go, there are a lot of food parties starting up all over the place, this is something different. I’ll get in touch with you to guide me through it when I’m ready. Thanks 🙂

      • There are a lot of them aren’t there? Too much information! I tried some of them when I started blogging a year ago, then decided to settle on Fiesta Friday and In My Kitchen. I’m more interested in the community than making my blog a big commercial success. And both of those groups have a wonderful community.

      • True, like you Liz, I look for quality and not quantity. In fact I forget to look at my stats each time I post :). I’ve only tried FF, but have felt tempted to try out IMK.

  5. I love Jerusalem artichokes but have never heard them called fartichokes ; ) I too have a small bag of parmesan crusts in a zip lock bag in my freezer, ready to go into oil once I have some kitchen space again. I wasn’t even concerned up Christmas and holidays until you mentioned it.

  6. Great post Liz. The sunflowers are glorious. We have a birthday in the family next week, that always signals the downhill slide into December for me. A scary thought! I’ve been dressing tomatoes and basil in parmesan oil, a delicious combo

    • That sounds glorious! Our tomatoes are over for the season. The first rain last night has probably finished off even the last of them. We have two birthdays in our family at the end of this month, and Thanksgiving. I noticed a store on the street near our house has already put up Christmas decorations. It should be illegal!

  7. Liz wish I could say I was ready for Christmas but as usual I will be rushing at the end. Sunflowers are such happy flowers and always a pleasure to look at. Must try the parmesan oil as it sounds heavenly. Best of luck remodeling your holiday home. 🙂

    • Hi Moya, I’l probably be posting some posts about the remodel. I’ve always been sorry that the before and after was not recorded when we’ve done this in the past.

  8. Hi Liz, those dogs ate gorgeous, just waiting for a treat. I have heard about the Californian drought this year and fear that ours is on the way too, being an El Nino year. We are preparing our buckets to catch every drop.
    The blue cupboard doors will look good in a seaside setting. wooden stuff around the sink might attract mould and be more difficult to keep clean.

    • I think Australia is way ahead of the US in water conservation, we have a lot to learn from you. Our old water rights agreements are a mess here in California. And, it is difficult to put in grey water systems (which make so much sense for the garden).

      The butcher block situation is distressing, I think you are right about mildew. There is only one big island in the kitchen, which contains the sink. The counters next to the stove are very small.

      • Australia is quick to forget. In the non drought years, restrictions are dropped or lowered and people ‘unlearn’ the need to concerve water. During drought time, everyone showers with a bucket, the leftovers used on the garden, and water from clothes washing is diverted to a grey water holding tank for garden use. It is easy enough to do, and a little research on low sodiul wash powders shows how to avoid any chemical reaction in the soil.
        The future of water supplies, and water rights, is the most important issue facing us this century.

  9. Love, love this post Liz! I have the Yum sauce saved now in preparation for the party season – sounds like its going to be a winner with some spring rolls, dim sums and prawn toasts. And the photos of your dogs made me laugh because Poppy and Amber will do anything for bacon too x

    • Oh it would be wonderful with those things! I actually did lick the spoon when I was getting the last bit from the jar.

      Gotta love our dogs don’t we? They are such company and a source of laughter!

  10. My Rosie is always under my feet as well. What a lot of inspiring things you have in your kitchen. I’m going to copy that parmesan rinds idea. I have never heard of doing that with mandarins – I’d like to try that. And your confit duck dinner with the orange sauce sounds divine xx

    • I’m looking forward to making the sauce, it has been on my “to do” list for several years. The dogs rule our household. I tease my husband that our house looks like a preschool, there are so many dog toys scattered around.

    • Hi Vicki, I look forward to seeing more about your remodel. I intend to record the progress on this one. We’ve remodeled our “main” house twice and I am sorry I didn’t take more pictures to see the before, during, and after.

  11. Can I add my praise of the parmesan oil too? It sounds divine, and I will give it a go. Another good reason to eat parmesan cheese! I enjoyed reading about all the things in your kitchen, but your dogs stole the show! If only I could toss them a piece of bacon down the computer……

  12. This is the best IMK I have seen for a long time! I love your pooches, too! What darlings. I can see how they’d be a good fit for you, just from the way your personality shines through, Liz! I think you’ve inspired me to join in this month~

    I love the two toned cabinet look, but am not too fond of blue, but that’s just me. And yes, you’d have to be careful with wood/water, that is if you want to keep your butcher block natural and not seal it with something other than oil – like the varnish that they use for ships.

    To tell you the truth, i have ugly old countertops, but I often don’t use a cutting board because I’ve been meaning to change them out – I like the convenience of it all so much that after 17 years of meaning to change them out, I don’t want to go for a counter I’d have to “care” for!!

    • Wonderful! Please do join as I enjoy your posts and would love to get a snapshot. Things don’t have to be pristine for me so I might go for it anyway. They have character, right?

  13. I love your dogs the best. So gorgeous. I personally love a farty choke and I do like the way you have cured those mandarins

    • Thank you, they will be very pleased to hear that. As it is they are spoiled rotten beasts and will accept it as their due. I work at home a lot and they are fabulous company and always ready for a walk.

  14. I can’t believe how close the holidays are. We have a birthday coming up and will celebrate with the family Thanksgiving weekend, along with my Dad’s 70th also celebrated that weekend. I can’t even think about Christmas yet, though the boys are already requesting my homemade eggnog. The Parmesan olive oil sounds brilliant, I’ll have to remember that when my collection of rinds is bigger.

    • We have a birthday on Thanksgiving day this year. And I am personally thankful that I usually don’t host, sometimes I bring the turkey or another dish. Christmas is the holiday that I host. Are you going to post the egg nog recipe? The ones from the grocery store are too sweet for me.

      • The eggnog recipe is from Southern Living, sometime in the 80s I think! I’ll have to post it sometime I guess. We have had a Thanksgiving birthday in years lasts this year it is before the big day. Happy Holidays!

  15. What a wonderful post. I love your pups. I only have my cats underfoot when their is meat out.
    Never seen sunchokes before and Mandarin Aigre-Doux sounds so interesting.
    Have a beautiful day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  16. Hi Liz, Your Jerusalem artichokes are cool. If they grow in California, they would grow in Western Australia. What do you start with – seeds or root? Could I plant a root I buy in the supermarket? Oh sorry, too many questions.

    • Hi Glenda, I started mine with a plant. As long as they are not irradiated, I don’t see why a few tubers from the supermarket wouldn’t work. Do keep them contained though, they are invasive and even the smallest tuber left at the end of the season will product a plant. I have them coming up everywhere! They do help break up clay soil and have been used by gardeners trying to reclaim an area which has been abandoned or ignored.

  17. Liz, I agree with you that IMK is a fascinating forum. Every post is unique and full of things to learn — or just to enjoy each “personality” and writing and photos. So true! Your “Yum Sauce” sounds better than Odd Flavor Sauce, ha — good ‘re-name’ and wonderful examples using it. Your Mandarin orange concoction sounds so good, too — enjoy your duck!

  18. like everyone else i love the sound of parmesan oil. i must make some for xmas gifts. what cute dogs. how i miss having our dog sitting around waiting for any spills. because the last drought we had was so severe and long, we still treat water in the same way. we use our tank water for gardening etc. and i still can’t bear to let the water run when i am cleaning my teeth or doing the dishes. yes a big global issue.

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