After a month out of my kitchen, I seem to be making up for lost time. And I have missed all of you.
So, what’s been cooking in my kitchen? Here are a few highlights from the month.
This recipe for skirt steak and the cherry tomato salad came from a cookbook I received at Christmas from our daughter. She knows what I like and this one is filled with beautiful pictures and recipes for entertaining on the California coast. I will be posting this simple recipe, perfect for summer. It would be even more delicious with mixed color summer tomatoes. It was an appropriate dinner for our daughter’s visit this week, skirt steak is her favorite.
Because of the work on our decks, the BBQ grill has been rolled to the edge of the vegetable garden. But we still managed to set it up for our first grilled dinner of the season. Simply grilled fresh asparagus is my idea of spring. It only needs a slick of olive oil and salt, yum.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know of my passion for cookbooks. Our bookcases are stuffed to overflowing and you will find cookbooks piled on most surfaces. I read them like others would read memoirs. They are, after all, stories of a particular person’s relationship with food and eating. How do they approach textures, flavors, and scents? If there are pictures, what is their approach visually? How do they relate to their unique geographical place on the earth, to the environment, and sustainability? It’s all there between the lines. Sometimes it’s even right out there in front. The most fun is when there are personal elements. Some cookbooks, I’m thinking of M.F.K. Fisher, are essays with recipes. A more modern writer who does the same would be Ella Risbridger.
So, while I am on the subject of cookbooks…what are the new ones on my shelves (actually piled beside the bed)?
This one is from the folks at America’s Test Kitchen. We eat a LOT of chicken, I didn’t think there could be any new ways to fix it. I would be wrong about that. This is a true compendium of chicken recipes cooked in every way imaginable, including the slow cooker and air fryer. I do not have the best relationship with slow cookers, although I love the concept. For me, they are okay for soups, but not so much for other things. So, I tried one of the book’s slow cooker recipes which sounded very flavorful from the ingredients. I just have to say that I won’t be posting it and it did nothing to change my opinion of the slow cooker. However, I will be posting others that are more successful, so stay tuned…too many recipes and too little time.
I am an avid follower of Nancy Silverton and this is her newest. This is not a cookbook for novices. The recipes have many steps and are fairly complicated. I’m waiting for a day when I have nothing on the agenda (read no weeding), so it might have to be the first rainy day of fall. The book is also very meat-centric, certainly not one for vegetarians. You will have to make friends with your butcher.
Although the recipes in this book are simple, they are classics after all, the presentations are beautiful. I’m not one for drops of various sauces around the edge of the plate, I think that’s pretentious. But this is how my mother would present her food (she was cordon bleu trained and taught cooking classes for years). It’s also not one for beginners as there isn’t an excess of explanations, but they are not overly complicated either.
My friend, Sharon, recommended this one, knowing I would enjoy it. The line on the cover that included ‘stories’ got me into the bookstore to purchase it. The book follows Sally Kelsoe through six of her kitchens. Included are her mother’s, The Vintage Cafe in Yountville, The Chutney Kitchen in Yountville, The French Laundry also in Yountville, The Apple Farm in Philo, and finally The Elk Cottage in Elk where she retired.
New in my kitchen is this electric kettle. I think this is number 5 in the lineup. If you have not had experience with one, you are in for a wonderful surprise. They heat water very quickly. This kettle is number 5 because they are in constant use for tea or coffee in our household, therefore they poop out eventually. The manufacturer is a new one for us.
While we were in New Zealand I judged the comfort of our hotels by only a few criteria…clean, comfortable beds, electric towel warmer, and electric kettle. With one exception (no towel warmer), they all passed. The electric kettle allowed me to make a cup of tea while I was dressing and packing up for the day. The kettle is the first thing I reach for at home after I let the dogs out. It’s amazing to me that electric towel warmers haven’t caught on in the U.S. while they are fairly common in many parts of the world.
Several years ago, when I purchased an electric kettle number 4 and posted it on IMK, this brand was recommended in a comment. Your comments are remembered and important. So please pipe up and write in. I love comments, read them, and respond. I love being connected to my readers.
This month’s curve ball came off a coaster in a shop in New Zealand.
This post is part of the monthly blogging collection detailing what’s new in kitchens around the world. Come over to Sherry’s Pickings to read the blogs.
thanks for joining us for IMK this month. Just curious about the electric jug? How else do you do it? with a stovetop kettle maybe? I have one of each! Sometimes i can afford that extra bit of time on the stovetop 🙂 And it would be a very odd hotel/guesthouse/airbnb etc indeed that didn’t have a kettle in Aus and NZ. Love that cartoon on the bottom – so very true. I love cookbooks esp. with stories; Ella Risbridger is a fave of mine. I’ve just bought Heartbake which is a memoir with some recipes. So pleased you have the aussie Donna Hay in your collection. I guess they rewrite it with imperial measurements? For some reason, only some of your photos have popped up in this post for me… but that’s okay See you next month.
That’s strange, about the pictures. I wonder if that happened to anyone else?
Yes, in the US stovetop kettles are more common.
The recipes have both measurements (cups/grams/tablespoons/etc) and temperatures (F/C) so they would work anywhere.
It was lovely on our trip to have a cup of English Breakfast tea while I was getting dressed. Most places even had a small jug of milk. I felt truly pampered even if the place was otherwise fairly basic.
Yep a kettle and milk is always available here in hotels etc!
Thanks for the cookbook information and the coaster is perfect.
Thank you for visiting Bernadette.
It is so nice to finally meet another person that doesn’t have much love for a slow cooker. Why does food taste so different in them? I haven’t been able to figure it out but I’ve learned to live with it. lol
Love all of the cookbook recommendations. I read them like novels myself but I promised myself no new ones until I catch up. We’ll see how well I do.
I think most food tastes the same cooked in a slow cooker, bland. I haven’t quite figured out why. I love a slow braise in the oven and it seems like it should be the same. But it isn’t.
Funny story – I didn’t meet my dad until I was 18 (it’s complicated) but I met him for the first time in New York City and guess how we spent the day? Looking for an electric tea kettle because he told me he couldn’t get one where he was living in Baltimore! Granted, this was ages ago but I always found it strange how kettles are still such a relative novelty in the US. I think a hotel without a kettle in the UK would likely be condemned! Your kettle looks fabulous btw. You have to tell me more about the air fryer Korean chicken – it looks and sounds delicious!
It is strange isn’t it? I’m glad you got to know your Dad, even if it was later in life.
There should be a link under the picture to the post about the Korean BBQ chicken. Sherry said that not all the pictures came through on my post, let me know if you don’t find it as it was posted on my blog.
My daughter was the first in the family to buy that blue-light kettle. Now we all have them! So much fun that it turns on and off. Your cookbooks look fascinating. I just started reading a memoir with recipes, a slightly different emphasis but much like cookbooks with memories.
best, mae at maefood.blogspot.com
It’s a bit like a spaceship about to take off.
Your food looks very delicious and salmon is a big favorite of mine. I also do not own a slow cooker and have always been hesitant about getting one. Love cookbooks too and Donna Hay has some lovely recipes and a big fan of her photography and props. Love the coaster 🙂
Thank you. I wouldn’t bother with the slow cooker. An electric pressure cooker is much more valuable and versatile.