In My Kitchen – March 2021

It’s the In My Kitchen time of the month. Known as IMK, this is a collection of posts from bloggers around the world detailing what is new in their kitchen. You will read about new ingredients, techniques, appliances, kitchen upgrades and gadgets. I’ve been part of the party for several years and have learned a lot. So come on over to Sherry’s Pickings (she hosts it) and read all about our kitchen adventures.

So, what’s new in my kitchen?

The kitchen in Oakland got some nifty new mats. These are waterproof, vinyl and padded for comfort.

Kitchen mats

Kitchen mats

I love the patterns and they make cleaning up spills a cinch. I purchased them through the Food 52 website, they have lots of designs available. Note: I do not receive renumeration from any product recommendation.

Also from Food 52 I purchased a small cast iron spice grinder.


I find that purchased ground spices lose their aroma and flavor very quickly. And when I grind them in my mortar and pestle they tend to fly out and land all over the place, including the floor and even in my hair. This small grinder allows me to grind just the amount I need for a recipe, and keeps everything where I want it…not the floor and certainly not on me.

In My Kitchen I have a couple of new cookbooks. These are vegetarian and vegan, which I am not. However, the recipes are wonderful and creative. Many of us are pursuing a more plant based diet and I recommend both of them.

First Mess is vegan, but you certainly wouldn’t feel deprived eating anything you created from this book. The pictures made my mouth water.

Description from Amazon: “Home cooks head to The First Mess for Laura Wright’s simple-to-prepare seasonal vegan recipes but stay for her beautiful photographs and enchanting storytelling. In her debut cookbook, Wright presents a visually stunning collection of heirloom-quality recipes highlighting the beauty of the seasons. Her 125 produce-forward recipes showcase the best each season has to offer and, as a whole, demonstrate that plant-based wellness is both accessible and delicious.”

Start Simple is vegetarian and also very creative.

Description from Amazon: “From veteran food writer, recipe developer, and creator of the James Beard Award-winning Jarry magazine comes an innovative approach to vegetarian cooking.

What have I got to eat? It’s a question we ask every time we open up the refrigerator or pantry door. It might be eggs, some cheese, and half a loaf of bread, or a box of wilting greens, garlic, and some sweet potatoes. Though these ingredients may not seem like much to make a delicious meal, recipe developer and author Lukas Volger knows it’s all you need. In Start Simple he offers a radically new, uncomplicated, and creative approach to cooking that allows you to use what you already have on hand to make great meals you didn’t think were possible.”

I am looking forward to cooking from them both and sharing my favorites with you.

I’ve been playing around with the air fryer that I received for Christmas. Vegetables cooked in it have been a big hit. There isn’t any vegetable that I don’t enjoy roasted, now I don’t have to turn on the oven for a small batch. So far the biggest successes have been with Brussels sprouts, delicata squash, and mushrooms.

You will find the recipe for the mushrooms here. Both the squash and the Brussels sprouts were cooked at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes with a shake in the middle. Cutting the delicata into slightly thicker slices seemed to work the best. The middle was meltingly soft but the outside was delightfully charred. When in season, delicata squash is my favorite of the winter squashes because the peal is edible. I love tossing them in a salad along with crunchy nuts, sharp red onion, arugula and a mustardy dressing…cubes of sharp cheddar cheese optional.

In the air fryer, I have also cooked a pork tenderloin and chicken cutlets. I’ll post the chicken cutlet in the next few days. The pork tenderloin was very successful. Bone in chicken thighs were less successful, but a bone in chicken breast turned out juicy and delicious.

The chicken cutlets I used boneless and skinless breasts, cut in half horizontally, then breaded and cooked in the air fryer with only a few drops of oil. Stay tuned for the recipe, it still needs a little fine tuning.

Air fryer chicken cutlets

Air fryer chicken cutlets

I’ve been having fun with it, I only wish it didn’t take up so much space on the counter.

In My Kitchen I have a batch of moonlight cherry tomatoes. This year I have found the cherry tomatoes in the grocery store lacking in flavor. I don’t remember this being the case last year but it certainly seems to be this year. Have any of you readers found the same thing? Anyway, I decided to try an idea from the barefoot contessa to concentrate the flavors by roasting them overnight. It’s an easy recipe…preheat your oven to 450 degrees F, cut the cherry tomatoes in half, lay them cut side up on a parchment or foil covered sheet pan, sprinkle with a little salt and olive oil (my mother used to add a tiny drop of brandy). Put the sheet in the oven, turn off the heat, and leave them overnight. That’s why they are called moonlight tomatoes. It did help concentrate and sweeten the tomatoes, they were excellent stirred into scrambled eggs the next morning.

Moonlight cherry tomatoes

Moonlight cherry tomatoes

And finally, in my kitchen I always have my trusty sidekicks. Although their attention is completely self serving, they hope I will be clumsy and drop a tidbit.


Casey – are you going to share a slice of that pork with me?


Quinn – play fair, you can’t give my sister something and not share with me!

What’s happening in your kitchen this month?










23 thoughts on “In My Kitchen – March 2021

  1. I shop at Food 52 a lot and I’m still debating on whether to get that spice grinder! I don’t remember the mats but they are pretty and functional. Still haven’t bought an air fryer – the food looks delicious. Your pups are cute as always…

  2. Cherry tomatoes cooked slowly overnight looks like a great way to use them. I’ve been getting pretty good ones of the Campari variety.

    be well… mae at

    • I find I can get the Campari ones in Oakland but not up here in Fort Bragg.

  3. casey and quinn are so very cute. mm just wondering – did you mean 150F for the tomatoes? 450 is rather hot for an overnight thing, i would have thought. I love that spice grinder! great idea. i always end up with spices all over the floor. tho you’ve just reminded me i do have a jamie oliver spice thingy. i must hunt it out and give it another try. thanks for joining in again this month.
    take care

    • Thank you for hosting each month Sherry, it’s my favorite group of posts.

  4. Love the fur babies! I’m so glad you provided the source for those kitchen rugs. I have a similar one but it’s not quite padded enough. Love the tomato idea. I haven’t noticed a change in the cherry tomatoes here. They are my winter tomatoes for the simple fact that the are more flavorful.

    • I don’t even try the regular ones anymore, even the hot house ones are lacking in real flavor. There are lots of different patterns for those rugs, one for every decor.

  5. Liz, it’s ice to have a lil’ cushion under your feet “IMK” — bonus points for being so pretty. I would’ve never guessed they were vinyl, but yay for easy clean up! Thanks for the link to Food 52’s website and also for Ina’s “moonlight tomatoes” idea. Yours look amazing! Yes, there seems to be more and more “clunkers” in the produce aisle — picked too early, underripe, etc. — but I hate to waste them. Glad to learn there’s a way to rescue them and create another meal. I’m certain your breakfast was ultra tasty! Cute pooches, too — I love their inquisitive faces. Be safe and well, xo.

  6. Oh your dogs are so gorgeous! And your tomatoes, what a wonderful harvest! Something happened to my tomato plants a few weeks ago, they all came down with some illness and died 🙁 glad to see yours were so pretty!

    • I am so sorry about your tomatoes, home grown garden tomatoes are the ultimate best but can be quite tricky. I hope you can get good ones at the farmer’s market or your local store.

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