In My Kitchen – December 2018

In My Kitchen – December 2018

It’s December, oh my! Last year we decided to be grinches and completely ignore the holiday. No tree or ornaments, minimal gifts, no Christmas puddings or special desserts, no turkey (although I did make roast beef), no stuffing (to my families great regret), no decorating at all. We were in the middle of getting the Oakland house ready to sell and downsizing. So, to keep our stress level at a bearable level, we decided to skip Christmas. It was empowering. I recommend an occasional miss to the craziness of the holiday. I give you permission.

This year it feels totally new and fun. After a year’s respite, we are deciding what traditions to keep, what is important to us. We have a tree, although it is somewhat smaller than the ones we used to have at the Oakland house. There is only room for the most beloved of ornaments. And I have decorated the house, but more on a minimal scale.

This year I am busy making gifts in the kitchen to share with friends and family. So, what is new in my kitchen? This post is part of a regular theme, bloggers from around the world share what is new in their kitchens each month. It’s a fascinating glimpse and I am so happy that Sherry has taken on the responsibility of hosting us each month. You can read those other posts by following the links on Sherrys Pickings.

In My Kitchen
Sherry’s Pickings

In my kitchen I have kumquats. I so rarely see them in the market that I had to snatch up a quart of them. My mother use to make wonderful preserved kumquats that she served with smoked chicken or turkey.

Fresh Kumquats

Preserved Kumquats

It’s a four-day process but very easy. I will be posting the recipe.

In my kitchen, I have Meyer lemons. I decided to harvest most of the lemons from the tree in a half wine barrel on the deck. There were dozens of small ones and I hope to encourage larger ones by the selective pruning.

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Meyer Lemons

In my kitchen I have Meyer lemon confit (a big hit), sugared Meyer lemon slices, and an Indian Meyer lemon pickle.

Follow the link to see the recipes if you find yourself in a similar position. Of course you could use regular lemons as well. Since you are using the skins, organic is better without that wax coating.

Lemon tree with blossoms and tiny new lemons

The tree already has many blossoms and tiny green lemons.

In my kitchen I have turkey stock, simmering from the turkey carcass that was in the freezer after Thanksgiving. It will be the base for wonderful soups this winter.

Simmering Turkey Stock

In my kitchen I also have turkey confit made from thighs. These I cooked for 24 hours sous vide at 149 degrees F. They come out meltingly tender and delicious. That’s some of the lemon confit and lemon olive oil in the bag flavoring them.

Turkey Thigh Confit

If you are cooking sous vide for many hours, I recommend purchasing a protective sleeve (made from wet suit material) and a cover. It will save electricity and keep condensation away, as well as saving plastic wrap.

Sous vide

You can purchase the hinged covers on Amazon, you will want to find the one that is specific for your sous vide machine.

In my kitchen I have homemade red wine vinegar. This crock has been going for several years now and the vinegar is wonderful. I pour in all the leftover dregs of red wine.

I am using the vinegar to make mustard as gifts. This is one of my mother’s favorite recipes for holiday giving. You need to be partial to the heat, it is hot. Again, another post in the making.

Beginnings of homemade mustard

Lastly in my kitchen is Fennel Spice. This is a recipe from Michael Chiarello. I use it to flavor roast chicken and lentil soups. If you have never had it, I highly recommend his recipe. It is positively addictive and is a favorite of mine for holiday giving.

Toasted Fennel spice before grinding

Lastly in my kitchen I have these wonderful tulips, definitely a splurge but they are so beautiful. I try to avoid purchasing commercial flowers (that industry is not at all environmentally sound) but couldn’t resist.

Tulips

I can enjoy them just on the other side of my kitchen sink. They are a splash of color on a grey cloudy day.

What are you up to in your kitchen this month?

 

 

In My Kitchen – November 2018

In My Kitchen – November 2018

November In My Kitchen is really about the October events. And truthfully, there isn’t much to tell. The next post in November (which will be posted in early December) will be an entirely different story. October was very quiet in the kitchen because most of the work and fun has been going on in the garden. To get an update you can click on this link, In My Garden – November 2018.

In My Kitchen is a collected series of posts (sometimes called IMK for short) hosted by Sherry of Sherry’s Pickings. Click on this link and you will be able to read other posts about fascinating things and wonderful ingredients in kitchens all around the world. It is especially fun to read about kitchens in your opposite hemisphere. For me in Northern California that would be the Southern Hemisphere, where spring is just starting.

But there are a few new things in my kitchen.

I purchased a large bag of porcini mushrooms while we were in Italy in September.

Dried Porcini Mushrooms

I was looking forward to making something with them, they are terribly expensive here in the states. November is the beginning of the fresh mushroom season (it’s a big deal up here on the coast). Fresh mushrooms of infinite varieties are stocked in the local grocery stores and even at roadside stands.

Deborah Madison in her new book, In My Kitchen, had a recipe for dried porcini, fresh mushrooms, and tomatoes that looked delicious. It was a perfect opportunity to sample the dried mushrooms.

In My Kitchen by Deborah Madison

It would be a wonderful vegetarian main dish served over polenta. We served it as a low carb (we did just get back from Italy after all) side with a few slices of steak. I will post the recipe in few days.

Porcini and Stewed Tomatoes

New In my kitchen is this antique Bakelite tomato knife. It was a gift from my friend Dianne, who is an avid thrift store and antique store shopper. Bakelite was the first plastic made from synthetic components by an American chemist in Yonkers NY in 1907. This one has a wonderful retro look.

The first cranberries are appearing in the markets and I made this apple-cranberry sauce to take to dinner at a friend’s house. He was making pork roast and asked us to bring the apple sauce. I couldn’t resist making something more seasonal.

Apple Cranberry Sauce

Lastly, new in my kitchen is the makings of Michael Chiarello’s fennel spice rub. It’s a favorite in our household; a mixture of toasted fennel, cardamon, white peppercorns and salt. I usually add some cumin seeds because I love them so much. I often give it in small jars as a present during the holidays.

Fennel Spice Rub

Happy Holidays everyone!

In My Kitchen
Sherry’s Pickings

In My Kitchen – October 2018

In My Kitchen – October 2018

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.

Heirloom Tomatoes from Ashland and my garden

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.

Dahlias

Dinner Plate Dahlia

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?

Chili anyone?

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.

Mandolin

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.

In My Kitchen by Deborah Madison

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In My Kitchen – June 2018

In My Kitchen – June 2018

This month is about gratitude. I am filled with gratitude. Gratitude for wonderful and loving friends and family who joined us to celebrate our new home, two significant birthdays, our 30 year anniversary, and survival. Survival through my second brush with cancer last year. i have a lot to be grateful for.

Gratitude

My kitchen and home in Fort Bragg was filled with those friends. Here is a small glimpse of those who came to celebrate. I wish there were more pictures. We had such a lovely time that we were too busy to take them. Even the playlist (that I spent hours pouring over) never got played. It would have interrupted the conversation.

My tartine sous chefs – Diane, Pat and Jane

I had lots of eager help. These lovely ladies came from Florida and Texas, they were my sous chefs for the three tartines served as a first course. Such a joy to have them in my kitchen.

In my kitchen is pickled asparagus, wonderful minced and mixed with sour cream (and/or mayonnaise) as a sauce for roasted asparagus.

Pickled Asparagus

Roast Asparagus with Pickled Asparagus Sauce

In my kitchen I had another sous chef who helped with the lentil salad and many more tasks in the week prior to the party.

Lentils with roasted cauliflower, almonds, dates and sliced onions – Marylinn

The lentil salad was a big hit. Thank you to my book club friend who recommended the recipe and my San Diego friend who helped assemble it.

Roast cauliflower and lentil salad with dates and almonds

In my kitchen I had grilled salmon. My husband was able to purchase an entire 18 pound salmon in Oakland’s Chinatown a few days before the party. The recipe came from A Boat, A Whale & A Walrus by Renee Ericklson in Seattle. It was amazing. Only a little was left over to be smoked by another friend. Look for that in next month’s post.

Grilled Salmon with Cherry Tomato and Cucumber Salad

In my kitchen I had sous vide chicken breasts with magic green sauce.

Sous vide chicken breasts with magic green sauce

Sous vide chicken breasts, coconut brown rice

And in my kitchen I always have an eager clean up crew.

We are ready anytime you need us!!!

Thank you everyone or coming and spending time in my home and kitchen; whether in person, in spirit, on on line. I truly feel blessed.

This post is part of a monthly peek into kitchens around the world, and I do mean the world. Australia, US, sometimes New Zealand, the UK and others that come and go. Sherry @ Sherry’s Pickings is the host. There is always something new, click on the link to take a look and please, join in with us.

In My Kitchen – April 2018

In My Kitchen – April 2018

It’s that time of the month again, time for an update from kitchens around the globe. In My Kitchen (sometimes simply termed IMK) is hosted by Sherry of Sherry’s Pickings. You can read this month’s posts here. You will find a fascinating private tour around an amazing variety of kitchens.

To get on to my own, I am now down to a manageable two kitchens as our Oakland house has sold and we have moved out of temporary digs into a lovely apartment in Oakland. We now have our rural kitchen on the Northern California coast (Fort Bragg, CA); and the urban one in downtown Oakland. The absolute best of two worlds.

This will be your first peak into the new apartment kitchen. The layout is sometimes termed a galley kitchen. Everything is very compact and economical, on two sides opposite each other.

From the kitchen I have a view right into the living/dining area plus greenery from the tree outside the living area window. It works very well indeed.

Much to my joy we were able to bring our antique pine armoire with us to the apartment. It was our coat closet at the house in Oakland. Now my very clever husband was able to repurpose it as a pantry, as well as fitting spice and condiment  shelves on the kitchen closet door.

So, I have tons of storage in a comparatively small space.

The corner window seen from the kitchen is the perfect place for a large houseplant, but so far I haven’t had time to do a proper search. It’s been years since my “hippy” days when houseplants were all over my apartment, now I generally concentrate on my outdoor garden. However, the corner is the perfect spot with tons of indirect light. I discovered (thank you for contacting me Gary), this very helpful article on the best houseplants. Houseplants are actually recommended by NASA because of their positive impact on our home environment. You can read more about the top 35 houseplants by clinking on the link. I found it very helpful in narrowing my search. And will keep you posted on the final results.

Good light even on a rainy day

Best news is that the apartment is near the “Urban Wine Trail”, plus walking distance to the ferry to San Francisco, Bart, and the Oakland waterfront.

Rosenblum Cellars

No, the best part Mom is that we get to be in the apartment with you. Dogs not only allowed but welcomed.

On to what is new in my kitchen.

In my kitchen is this strange fruit. I do volunteer work in the botanical garden in Mendocino and was gifted with it. The tree was growing right through the greenhouse roof. Do you know it? It is called a Tamarillo and also sometimes a tree tomato. The other gardeners were not crazy about the taste but didn’t think they had let it ripen enough. Have any of you tried it? I thought it was beautiful, a lovely color. How do you know when it is ripe?

Tamarillo

In My Kitchen I have this lovely tea towel a friend brought back from her trip to Brittany. It is almost the same color as the tamarillo.

Tea towel from Brittany

In My Kitchen I have preserved lemons. These are Meyer lemons, harvested from the backyard tree in Oakland before the house sale was finalized. Elaine at the Foodbod gave me the idea of using different flavors when preserving them in salt. I drooled over her idea of Christmas flavors. I salted the lemons and let them sit for a week, then added additional lemon juice to cover plus a cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamon pods, and cloves. To the other jar I added turmeric, ginger, peppercorns and chili flakes. They will need to sit for several months before using them. I will let you know how they turn out. You can read more about the process on her link. The ones you preserve yourself are way better than any you can buy at the store.

Lastly, as a result of reading a blog post for bacon fried rice written by Chef Mimi, I ordered this fish sauce on Amazon. It wasn’t available at any of the local stores and was highly recommended by her and several others. I look forward to trying it.

Fish Sauce

Although there are several other new things, I will wait for next month. What is new in your kitchen?