It is sooo… good to be back in my kitchen! My traveling (we had such wonderful adventures) is over for a few months. I will tell you about it in another post, but it has been a whirlwind of a summer. In June we were in Tennessee visiting family, July on a cruise to Alaska, September hiking in Italy, and then immediately off to the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. It’s why you haven’t heard from me in a while, and why I have been out of my kitchen. But now I am back, in both the kitchen and garden.
October is my absolute favorite month of the year. Fall is definitely here, the air is full of a cool crispness, time to break out the sweaters and boots. Thankfully the heritage tomatoes are still in the stores for my last-minute cravings of Greek and caprese salads. Or a simple meal of perfectly ripe tomatoes, thickly sliced, on crisp grilled country style bread…maybe a little flaked sea salt and a drizzle of good olive oil. Heaven!
So being said, the first thing in my kitchen is a variety of wonderful fresh tomatoes, a few from my own garden (although it is looking pretty sad right now, I will be posting some pictures). The rest from elsewhere.
Ashland is significantly warmer than Fort Bragg, definitely a tomato growing region. I couldn’t turn down gifts from my friend’s garden and the local store before driving back home this past Sunday.
Not looking sad at all are the dahlia plants in my garden. As soon as I arrived home I picked enough for a large bouquet on the kitchen counter. Having fresh flowers in the house brings me into my happy place. I have tried to plant in my garden so I will have some flowers and/or greenery year round. It keeps me and the pollinators happy. More about that in another post about the garden in October.
The blooms are huge, dahlias really thrive here on the coast.
In my kitchen I have 4 new pottery bowls from Tagliaferro Ceramics. They sell gorgeous rustic serving and other dinner ware items. These are seconds, they were handmade and came from a shop in Ashland. I love the mismatched natural shapes, light grey color and interesting glazing. I think they will add that certain something to photos and will be perfect for fall soups and stews.
See what I mean?
With the cooler weather I pulled out my electric pressure cooker, not an Instant Pot but very close. Now in my kitchen I have a big batch of vegetarian black bean chili…made without pre-soaking the beans. Yes you can do that with the electric pressure cooker. Delicious, perfectly cooked black beans in about an hour! I will post the recipe.
Also new in my kitchen is this lovely kitchen plank.
Do you see the face? It is made from antique California Chestnut Oak by Meadowlark Woods in Talent, Oregon (outside Ashland). Here is a link to their etsy page and their Facebook page. The plank is quite large and perfect for serving cheese, bread, and charcuterie. I fell in love with similar ones while we were in Italy. They were on all the buffets covered with delicious food.
Both of these items were found in a little store in Ashland called Nest. If you are ever up there I recommend paying them a visit.
In my kitchen I have a new mandolin. This is a plastic one made in Japan, very inexpensive. I had an expensive stainless steel one that never worked well (except to slice my finger), it was donated when we were cleaning out the house in Oakland. Then I realized that certain dishes really require thin and even slices. My knife skills are not quite up to snuff. I got this one on Amazon.
And lastly in my kitchen I have a new cookbook, appropriately titled In My Kitchen by Deborah Madison. I use her vegetarian cookbooks all the time (since I was first introduced to her cooking at the San Francisco restaurant Greens). It was one of the first all vegetarian restaurants in the Bay Area. I recommend going there if you get to San Francisco, it is right on the marina and a lovely place to walk.
This one is a collection of her new and favorite vegetarian recipes. None of them seem very complicated and they are all colorful and fresh, not overly carbohydrate heavy.
This post is part of a monthly round-up of kitchen stories from around the world. It is hosted by Sherry of Sherrys Pickings. I haven’t been around since June and am very happy to be back and part of the group. Take a peak and see what going on.
Your rustic bowls and wood plank are very beautiful. I have lots of semi-formal hand made plates and use them even though they don’t match (they don’t even stack very neatly). More fun that way!
best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Absolutely agree, I love the mixture of hand made plates with more formal ones.
Two words. Steel glove! A blogger told me to get one and now I love to use my mandoline! Beautiful flowers, which is what I will miss about summer, except for the tomatoes of course.
I am going to have to look into that glove. I can’t seem to use the mandoline without slicking a finger. But it is such a useful tool. Thank you for the tip.
Oh, those bowl are gorgeous !
Thank you, I love the uneven/mismatched look.
I thought so as well!
your tomatoes and flowers are so pretty. i do love fresh flowers in the house too. those ceramics are just lovely. neutral seems all the go these days. that cookbook is very appropriate isn’t it?:) love the wooden plank too. thanks so much for joining in. cheers sherry
Thank you Sherry, and thank you for hosting, this has been my favorite group since I started my blog.
It is good to be back. Thank you.
Your kitchen is filled with lots of nice things but what really appeals to me is the plank and bowls. Yes, the bowl is very photogenic with the chili.
Liz, evidently there are a LOT of happy places in your life. (Yay!) Your travel adventures sounded amazingly diverse — your kitchen finds, too — and oh, those beautiful tomatoes and dahlias! Enjoy every moment and welcome back, xo.
Hi Kim, it is what we wanted to do when we sold the big house in Oakland. We are so much happier surrounded by trees with the sound of the ocean. I think living so close to the lake must have a similar feel.
I love your new pottery, it has a fantastic rustic look. And, your plank looks very cool. I can see many uses for such a plank. Welcome back and I look forward to hearing of your journeys.
Thank you Ron, it is good to be home.
I meant thank you!!!!
Gorgeous goodies. I love my mandolin, definitely a kitchen essential – and yes, they don’t have to be expensive to be good!
So nice to have you back Liz! Glad you had a great summer full of travels! The pottery is so beautiful! I love it!
I have an inexpensive mandoline that works very well …and I know about slicing the finger too 🙂
We all have kitchen war wounds! Thank you Sandhya.
I think I need to start putting flowers into my kitchen! Those pottery bowls are so beautiful. Have a super October 🙂
Thank you Tandy. Flowers in the kitchen are a joy.
How appropriate to post In My Kitchen for IMK! That bouquet is lovely and my tomatoes are looking much sadder than yours at this point. I cannot believe it’s October. (Yes, I can see the face in your cheese board.) 🙂
I thought it was fun as well! I see a horse and my husband sees a wolf, all good!
Welcome back from your travels Liz! The flowers are gorgeous and I just love that wooden plank….looking forward to more!! 🙂
Thank you Linda
HA! There’s those bowls I commented on earlier, lol!!
I LOVE them!!
They do look good in pictures. I love the shape and color as well, thank you.
Welcome back Liz and sounds like you’ve had some great recent adventures. I too have a similar wooden plank but it’s such a lovely piece that I worry that serving food on it would ruin it – do have you any tips?
Hi Laura, in Italy they served cheese and sliced smoked meats on it, not anything that you needed to slice with a heavy hand. Often the cheese and salami/prosciutto was already sliced . My brother is a woodworker and has made some lovely bread boards. He recommends allocating one side for anything that might be marred by a knife. Preserve the other side for other uses.
Beautiful, natural things Liz, from those heritage tomatoes, to the organic rustic bowls and the wooden plank boards. Love it all.
Thank you Francesca!
Wow – I wish I had a pottery place nearby where I could buy seconds. I love pottery but as you know, it’s back in vogue and therefore, horribly expensive. Mandolins are the devil’s work – I have one but have to be really keen to get it out.
Pottery has become very expensive, especially the interesting kind. I get it about the Mandolin. One reader made a suggestion about a metal glove!