I cannot imagine a more perfect place to make an announcement. I am officially retired, starting today February 1st! This is the very first day and here I am, posting after several months away. I am so excited! It has been a crazy 5 months at work, I was thrown directly into the fray when we returned from our Ireland hiking trip in September. It has absolutely consumed me. But, I don’t even want to think about work right now. Right now I want to talk about what is new in my kitchen and read what is new in your own.
If you’d like to write an In My Kitchen post, send your link to Liz of Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things by the 10th of the month. And please stop by Liz’s blog to see and read the list of posts from kitchens around the world.
So, let’s get started!
To begin with, I have discovered sous vide. What is that? It is cooking under very carefully controlled temperatures in a water bath. Your food is encased in a food safe plastic bag and immersed in the warm water. You set the temperature of the water to the exact doneness you want the food, it cannot overcook. Sous vide translates as “under vacuum”.
You can then quickly sear the outside of your food in a very hot pan to brown and crisp it before serving.
I have wanted one for several years but they were terribly expensive, plus they were huge bulky appliances which took up too much space. This one is quite portable, clips on the side of any pot, and is easily stored. Even better the price has finally come down into the $200 range. I found them on sale before Christmas at $149, very reasonable. This small one is made by Joule, a company known for very high quality laboratory water baths. I have been experimenting with recipes, it is such a different approach. Don’t you think it is great fun to try a new technique? So far I have made a confit of chicken and duck with very little fat (and in only a few hours), chicken breasts which were marvelous (tender without a hint of dryness), lamb chops to die for, salmon steaks (no worry about overcooking), perfect carrots, and a few others. I will be posting recipes, so stay tuned. In the spirit of honesty I will admit to one failure, and the timing was unfortunate. I had volunteered to bring steaks to a holiday dinner party, the plan was to quickly finish them on the grill. They were not good at all although everyone was very polite. I know I shouldn’t try a new recipe when cooking for company, but I am entirely guilty of frequently disobeying the rule. I get so excited about a new recipe or method and want to immediately share it. Most of the time it turns out fine, not so much this time.
I think it was a problem with the steaks themselves. Expensive grass fed steaks do not always translate to delicious meat.
A second go was much more successful.
At our cabin in Fort Bragg, there is a new mini oven. Our old one gave up the ghost just before Christmas. It is very handy to have a second oven when entertaining. And, I find it is much more versatile than filling up the kitchen counter with a toaster and other appliances. It makes great toast.
In my kitchen I have tulips. It has been a wonderfully wet winter here and they are a sign of spring. I cannot grow tulips in the garden. They need more winter chill than we have, and the deer think they are a particular treat. These were a splurge when I saw them in the store. Aren’t they a lovely color?
In my kitchen, or rather on the kitchen table, we have plans and the beginning of lots of lists.
These are plans for a new bedroom and bath at our Fort Bragg house. The remodel was stage one, this is stage two with construction scheduled to start sometime in February. We will need a break in the rain before they can begin.
In my kitchen I have a new cookbook, this one by Diana Henry. I know she has been popular for some time and I cannot believe I just discovered her. This one was a James Beard award winner.
In my kitchen I have pu-erh tea. These little compacted teaspoons of fermented tea from China are individually wrapped. I love a dark tea but cannot drink English Breakfast without milk because it upsets my stomach. This tea is very dark and full flavored, but at the same time smooth and not tannic. One little cake will make an entire pot with refills.
And lastly in my kitchen I have seed catalogs. The beginnings of a small spring garden now that I will have some time to nurture it.
What is new in your kitchen this past month?
Welcome to retirement, Liz! Going into my 8th year of retirement, the novelty still has not worn off. I know you’re going to enjoy the freedom from full-time work life. – Adena
Thank you Adena. You are right, the freedom will be wonderful.
You can’t underrate freedom. I love Diane Henry’s books. She’s been popular in the UK for quite some time. It is wonderful that she’s now made it to the US (and Australia). You now have time to really enjoy cooking from her books plus all that gardening, blogging and so many other things.
What a wonderful post!! And congrats on retirement. I have a feeling you’ll be using it very wisely. Enjoy!!
Oh Liz, that IS wonderful news and, as Adena said, welcome to retirement, darling. You won’t know yourself at this very special time of life. I retired in 2013 and it’s still filling my days with joy. Lots of lovely things in your kitchen, the tulips particularly. And I love Diana Henry’s books. Thanks for the very kind shout out xx
PS, give yourself time to settle in to it and, depending on how hard you pushed yourself in your working life, don’t be surprised if you crash and burn in the first six months. It’s not uncommon for illnesses to set in. Rest, relax and enjoy your days, do all those things you have wanted to do, but remember to exercise regularly too. xxx
Thank you for the words of wisdom. Exercise is near the top of activities I want to resume now. It went to the wayside the last few months, as has my waistline. And gardening. Here it is February and i have not had time to prune my roses. The yard is a mess.
Congratulations on your retirement – although it sounds like you have plenty planned to fill your days. I love pu’er tea too it’s smooth but can be super strong too. Tulips are my favourite flower 🙂
Thank you. Tulips come in such lovely colors and varieties.
My Breville counter-top oven does everything well EXCEPT toast! It takes a long time and dries out the bread. I wonder how yours is different.
Enjoy retirement — though adding onto a house is a job in itself!
best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com
I agree, it does take a long time to do toast. This one doesn’t burn it though, and we can set it to brown frozen bread or multiple slices.
Hello! Lovely to see you, and huge congratulations on your retirement! Looks like you’ve got lots of great things happening in your world right now, enjoy it xx
Congratulations on retirement Liz! How exciting for you. Good luck with the remodelling. I just love the tulips, they’re gorgeous & have to be one of my favourite flowers 🙂 xx
Gosh, those lamb chops look amazing. I would love to have tried one of those.
Hi Shari, I will post the recipe. Sous vide has opened up a whole new way of cooking for me.
Welcome to the world of retirement Liz. In a very short time you’ll be wondering how you ever had time to go to work! There are some great sous vide bloggers on WP. Stefan Gourmet is prolific https://stefangourmet.com/sous-vide/ I love Diana Henry’s books too
Thank you, I will check out the link. I have been doing lots of searches on Pinterest.
Plans are very exciting! We are knee deep in ours as well. I’ve been trawling through pinterest for lots of ideas
Pinterest is very helpful isn’t it? I also find it a good visual aide when talking to the contractor about what we like.
Enjoy your retirement Liz and am sure your will have no problem filling your days. Love the idea of cooking using a sous vide… you never know you might inspire me to get one 🙂
Thank you Moya. They have come down a great deal in price, there will probably be even more sales at various times this year. It has been fun to experiment, new postings coming soon. Restaurants have been using them for years, I’ve started to recognize the foods where they used it. Generally they were the ones where I wondered “how did they do this?”.
Lovely post Liz and congrats on your retirement – I can imagine how much extra time you will have for cooking 😄
Thank you Laura. I am looking forward to having more time to post, and cook “post-able” meals.
So nice to see you back, especially retired, bursting with plans and spring in the air (there at least, not here, lol!). Congrats!! That tea sounds very interesting – I had to give up tea for the same reason…
Thank you Mollie. Try the tea, it doesn’t give me the same upset stomach. I think it is even considered medicinal.
I plan on it!
Congratulations! I pulled the plug from work in October and I have no idea how I fitted it in. Great to see the plans taking shape and I love that little red oven! I’m quite partial now to little ovens! 🙂
Thank you. You have been cooking in one and turning out amazing bread and meals for some time. I love seeing how your home and kitchen have developed.
I love Diana Henry’s recipes and have that book, too.
Re your tulips – I know that a lot of people put the bulbs in the fridge for a few weeks before planting to bring on flowering.
Hello, I was so happy to discover her! Do you have a favorite? I have chilled them in the past, but am too lazy to dig them up when they have finished blooming. I put a half dozen bulbs in a half wine barrel with a butterfly bush and they come up every year, only to be eaten by the deer once the flowers start to emerge.
Congrats on your retirement, though it seems you still have lots to do! I just got a Diana Henry cookbook from the library and will start cooking from it soon for the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club. Your seed catalogs look familiar. We just finished going through all of our’s and I ordered 50 items from Territorial Seed. Hopefully I’ll have room to fit it all in and take care of it.
What is the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club? That sounds interesting. Good for you, 50 items! I call that very ambitious.
If you’re on Instagram Deb Balint (@rainydaybites) has a monthly cookbook club. Every month she picks a cookbook and cooks/bakes from it and posts photos. Anyone can cook along and use the #rainydaybitescokbookclub. I’ve discovered great cookbooks and recipes this way!
Woo Hoo, welcome to retirement… “and now let the wild rumpus start!”
Congratulations on your retirement, Liz! Enjoy every moment of experimentation and trying new techniques. Trial and error can be fun — I’ve brought “guinea pig” (first time tried) dishes to many an event, too — mostly successful, but thank heavens for “polite folks.” 🙂 Loved your beautiful tulip bouquet and your mini oven, too — gorgeous colors.
firstly huge congrats on being retired.! it is coming up to 4 years for me and i have loved it all. so much time to do the things you love. i love the look of that mini oven; i think i might get one for our small kitchen downstairs as it only has a microwave at the moment. such lovely exquisite tulips and the colour! people keep mentioning diana henry too – i had better check her out soon.. have fun in your new life.:)
Thank you Sherry!
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