In My Kitchen – July 2017

Can you believe we are on the downward slope of the year? It’s July, oh my goodness. And it’s one of my favorite times of the month, time for another “In My Kitchen” post. This one will be linked with the rest of the IMK bloggers through Sherry at Sherry’s Pickings. Click on the link to read the stories of kitchen adventures around the world.

There are lots of new things in my kitchen, starting with this lovely tea towel a friend brought back to me from her trip to Iceland.

Iceland tea towel

Also new is the hedgehog scrubber I saw at the store, I couldn’t resist. It is very flexible so gets into the corners of a pan and is safe for non-stick surfaces.

Hedgehog scrubber

Are you familiar with Yotam Ottolenghi? He is the inspiration behind the London restaurants Ottolenghi and NOPI, and has written several vegetarian cook books. They include Plenty, Plenty More and Jerusalem. His recipes have a wonderful mix of new spices, exotic ingredients, and methods (at least to me), many of them coming from the middle east. He now has a column in the New York Times Wednesday food section. In one last month he discussed Tahini, giving a review and recommendation of brands. I must admit to being a tahini ignoramus. Although I use it often, I had no idea that I was buying an inferior brand. Usually there is only one brand available at the store. Al Arz was one of the brands he uses in his restaurants, I found it on Amazon and immediately purchased a couple of jars. Oh my!!! What a difference! My eyes have been opened.

Tahini Sauce

His cookbooks use a number of items that are not familiar to me. When I saw these dried Black Lemon Omani, I immediately purchased a bag. So far I have dropped one into a braised chicken dish where they added a gentle citrus flavor. I will be doing more experimenting.

Dried Lemons

Baked Chicken with Thai flavors and Dried Lemons

Also in my kitchen the month is this strange fruit which looks like something out of a horror movie. It was at Trader Joe’s and I had to try it. The guy next to me just opened a package and took one out to eat, but I was too well brought up to do the same and purchased a whole package containing about 10. They are called ranbutan. Once you peel off the hairy shell (it is soft), a silver colored fruit that looks like a lychee is revealed. It has a pit and tastes a bit like a lychee. Have any of you tried it? I am not sure I am a fan, ok but not great.


New in my kitchen is this charming tea cup with a strainer inside. I have been drinking more loose herb teas and this cup makes it very convenient to brew just one cup.

Tea Cup and Infuser

I fell for the green grass on the outside. It reminds me of the meadow at our cabin on the coast.

Not new at all are these glasses that belonged to my grandparents.

Antique Glasses

They are absolutely lovely, very fine crystal. But we are trying to downsize and my heart is broken. I am not sure I can bear to part with them but the glass size is very small compared to more modern wine glasses. This set also contains glasses for sherry and port, which we do not often drink. Storage space is going to be at a premium.

In my kitchen are the first figs from one of my two container trees on the deck. I hope to plant these trees in Fort Bragg once I find the perfect spot. These are perfectly ripe and I only just managed to collect them before the squirrels. Figs don’t ripen once you harvest them so having a backyard tree is a luxury. It is only a little tree but there are dozens of fruit ripening.


In my kitchen is the first strawberry jam of the year. In past years I would have already been preserving like crazy but this year has been busy.

In lastly but certainly not least, in my kitchen are my constant companions, always ready in case of an accidental spill or dropped treat.

Casey and Quinn

What’s new in your kitchen?

16 thoughts on “In My Kitchen – July 2017

  1. OTTOLENGHI is one of my current favorites too and I keep meaning to go back and try more recipes from Jerusalem. So sad that you have to give up heirloom glassware. Your kitchen looks good…
    Mae at

  2. Beautiful furbabies you have there. such sweet dogs. I will have to try to get hold of that Al Arz tahini. the stuff i buy is always claggy:( I must try some of Ottolenghi’s recipes. everyone raves about him and i really enjoyed his tv shows. Oh dear, hard to get rid of things sometimes. i know i would find it very difficult to get rid of a lot of my precious things. but it would be good in a way – liberating! Iceland seems to be in my ken a lot lately. i hope i am destined to get there soon.. thanks for joining IMK this month… cheers Sherry

  3. I so need to find a hedgehog scrubber! I make my own tahini and there is such a difference to store bought. And you are right, some store bought ones are better than others. I must get my tea mug like yours out of the upstairs study and into my kitchen where I have started making loose leaf teas again after a long while. I hope you find a way to keep the glasses 🙂

  4. I love rambutans, both the look and the flavour. They do need to be very ripe though. There’s no way I could part with sentimental stuff Liz, no matter how impractical it is. I hope you can find a space in your home for the glasses

    • I’ve left them on the kitchen counter and will try tasting every few days. I am not sure how to tell when they are ripe. I know, the glasses, sigh. I have so many sentimental things that I have inherited, china and silver in addition to the glasses. We have such a casual lifestyle that it is difficult to work them in.

  5. I can’t say that I’ve never tried rambutan? Those pups are just beautiful and I am so jealous that you have access to figs like that! I have some of my grandmothers dishes and just cherish them even though I never use them!

  6. I must try that Tahini paste based on your recommendation Liz. I think I have seen it in one of our big Middle Eastern stores. I also like Ottolenghi books and have three of them, although I think he often adds too much stuff to some recipes. I adore rambutans and pig out on them when I’m in Indonesia, where they are much cheaper than the Australian grown ones. Your scrubber looks good- want one too. xx

  7. I finally put my grandparent’s china in the attic because I wasn’t using it. I still think about parting with it completely but haven’t done it yet. The hedgehog pot cleaner is adorable! It has been a bit of a slow preserving season for me as well. I did several strawberry preserves back in April and May. Due to late freezes our local peach and blueberry crops are down about 80% though. I didn’t get any blueberries at all. Yesterday I just made 2 peach preserves as well as a peach crisp.

    • Those glasses are still sitting on my dining room table, I don’t think I am ready to part with them quite yet…maybe the sherry glasses first. Wow , that is a big drop in production. I love peach preserves, our own peaches are at the peak right now. Because of all the winter rain the flavor was a little water logged early in the season.

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