Last month was a quiet one in my kitchen. I am not sure where the time went, how can it be suddenly November with Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner? It’s time to start thinking about decorating, and holiday cooking and gift giving. Oh my! We’ve gone for what seems forever without those things and I’ve lost the habit of holiday momentum. That must be a worry of retailers as well as I started to see Christmas catalogs even before Halloween was over. It gets earlier each year. Don’t you just hate that? I am usually tired of the whole thing by the time the actual holiday roles around.
But, I am looking forward to gathering with family and friends with a new sense of thankfulness and appreciation for what is truly valuable in my life.
The cooler wet weather meant it was time to pull out the Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) for winter soups, stews and long braises. The flavors of this dish were amazing but I think it would have been better with a fattier cut of meat, maybe lamb shanks or a lamb shoulder instead of the leg. Next time.
I won’t post the recipe until I get it perfected.
In My Kitchen (at the Oakland condo) I have a new sous vide wand. I got tired of toting the one from the Fort Bragg house back and forth so have purchased a second. We will be spending Thanksgiving day with good friends in Oakland and it’s my assignment to cook the turkey since half the guests are vegetarians. I have found sous vide the very best way to cook turkey, most especially the white meat which can be (and usually is) dry and tasteless. But it’s quite delicious cooked slowly sous vide and not dry at all.
As a bonus the breast can be cooked ahead and gently reheated before serving.
I will cook a boneless turkey breast and several thighs separately from each other.
The pictures above are from pre-pandemic holidays.
A trip to the Bay Area is not complete without a visit to Trader Joe’s. We have a wonderful grocery store in Fort Bragg and a farm stand just down the street a bit, but no TJs. I haven’t been in to a department store in a couple of years now. Food stores are different, I enjoy browsing what’s new and usually find some interesting things.
I think these colorful felt trivets would make wonderful holiday gifts.
‘Cauliflower Slims’ are a good bread or tortilla substitute. They make larger ones but I have found they fall apart too easily. These toast up nicely in the toaster oven.
Although I can make my own, they also sell pre-riced cauliflower which is very convenient. I substituted it for the rice in this fried rice dish which was spiced with cumin and mixed with peas, scallions, roasted delicata squash, and baby spinach then garnished with pomegranate seeds (also from TJs).
Sheet pan dinners are a welcome time saver. I’ve been working my way through sheet pan chicken by Cathy Erway. This was coriander-crusted chicken with crispy chickpeas, fennel and pomegranate.
In the garden the last of the cauliflower had started to bolt, they weren’t nice firm solid heads anymore. But I actually loved that, when roasted, those looser heads resulted in more crispy bits. My favorite.
This was another sheet pan dinner with cauliflower, new potatoes and olives.
This orchid was a house warming gift last October, it has bloomed continuously for over a year. I can see it from my kitchen in the Oakland condo. Orchids are the perfect houseplant for as they thrive on neglect. The only time I’ve killed one is when I overwatered it. This one is beautiful.
We took the dogs (yes, all three) to the condo. It was Shanna’s first time in the city. Country girl turned city girl.
I could watch her from the kitchen. She was absolutely fascinated by the activity in the streets below and the birds flying at her eye height.
We thought she might find the trains (the AmTrack station is next door) frightening but she took everything in stride. She did want to make friends with everyone we saw on our walks, probably more people and dogs than she had seen in the total combined first 6 months of her life.
That’s it for me this month. This post is part of a monthly round up from kitchens around the world hosted by Sherry of Sherry’s Pickings. Please stop by and consider adding your own post to In My Kitchen.
Those wool table mats looked neat to me also, but I didn’t buy them. I did try one or two new things at TJs yesterday, though. They seem to have changed their soup selection recently, and I need to experiment with that. Your other TJ selections are intriguing. I totally see what you mean about holiday creep.
best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Let me know what you think of the new soups. I saw them but didn’t purchase any.
The puppy is just too cute! I loathe the fact that Christmas starts in October here. Your Sous Vide turkey breasts look amazing. I also prefer doing chicken breasts in the sous vide.
I just love my sous vide machine. I need to get more creative with it. But what I’ve already done with it is so impressive. And I have done turkey breast in it. I never thought to make it ahead. Smart!
I simply plop the turkey back in water at the original cooking temperature until it’s hot again. It is an amazing gadget.
I LOVE that felt trivet and all the food coming out of your kitchen (and garden). Must check into that sous vide wand. I think you nailed it regarding the upcoming holidays—i do feel like I’ve lost that festive momentum.
Maybe it’s time for a “redo” of holiday traditions, they seem stale after almost two years of lockdown.
Totally love the idea of sou vide turkey breast. Your dog photo is adorable.
so many good things here liz. love that photo of shanna. she looks happy and curious. love the cauliflower bread and the cauli rice. great idea which i have taken up too. and the felt trivets are pretty cute also. thanks for joining in!
Thank you so much for hosting Sherry!
Cauliflower thins – who would have thought that was a thing? It is intriguing! And I love your puppy 🙂
Thank you! She sends you a lick.
I love to use cauliflower rice and your recipe looks delicious. Beautiful colorful trivets and lots of good shares here- I use my Instant Pot all the time and love it. Your doggy is adorable.
She says thank you.
Where has the time gone… feels like no so long ago I popped into your blog but the time has flown and the puppy is no longer a puppy, and your Oakland condo and kitchen look fabulous. I hope your festive season is all you wish it to be.
Thank you, Happy New Year. Here’s hoping that 2022 will allow us more freedoms and celebrations.