In My Kitchen – September 2019

In My Kitchen – September 2019

It’s been several months since my last “In My Kitchen” post. Why has it taken so long? I honestly don’t know since there has been a lot of cooking going on. But the type of cooking that happens in the summer months is quite different from that in the fall and winter. We eat a lot of salads, and grilled vegetables. I don’t do a lot of shopping because we have been eating out of the garden (my own, farmer’s markets and friends) whenever possible. Our ‘meat’ is often a sous-vide chicken breast or sausage tossed on the grill to brown at the last minute. Simple food, and light, which is appropriate for the season. During the summer months I would much rather spend my time in the garden than the kitchen. That will change once the weather cools and our rainy season starts.

Local Tomatoes

So, In My Kitchen I have salads.

And in my kitchen I have grilled vegetables from my own and other local gardens.

I learned a trick this year when grilling vegetables. Wait to toss them with oil until they come off the grill. Once warm and cooked they absorb whatever dressing you would like to add quickly. If you coat them with olive oil before grilling, the oil can turn rancid in the high heat and have an “off” flavor.

I cooked the carrots sous vide before tossing them on the grill to char. The artichokes were par boiled first.

In my kitchen I had half a flat of fresh figs from our warmer inland area. I did try to grow a fig tree here on the coast and it was a colossal failure. I don’t think it is hot enough here. I had one in a container on my deck in Oakland, it did really well but I had to fight the critters for the figs. These are Black Mission Figs, I made fig jam and we have been enjoying them fresh in salads (as well as in hand).

Black Mission Figs and Fig Jam

In My Kitchen I have homemade taco seasoning, this recipe came from Mollie and her blog, Frugal Hausfrau.

I used it to coat a chicken  chicken breast before cooking it sous-vide. We then quickly browned it on the grill. It was delicious.

Once you cook a chicken breast sous vide, you will never go back to another method. This one cooked away to perfection in the water bath while we attended a neighborhood meeting. It only took a few minutes to toss it on the grill once we returned home.

In my kitchen I have fresh herb sauces to use on vegetables or grilled meat.

This Salsa Verde contained cilantro, mint, fresh thyme, scallions, jalapeno, and garlic with olive oil, cumin, lime juice, and harissa. It was delicious on simply grilled vegetables.

Trader Joe’s has had some interesting new products. These artichoke hearts were preserved in a simple brine, wonderful tossed into a mixed vegetable salad.

They also have grilled ones in olive oil and sun dried cherry tomatoes in olive oil. The grilled ones were a little stringy. There is not a Trader Joe’s up here on the coast but I stock up when I am at the Oakland apartment.

At our holiday craft’s fair I picked up this European butter keeper. It was made by a friend’s brother who is a potter. I’ve never used one before but it is supposed to keep butter fresh at room temperature. You fill the top part with butter, then turn it upside down on the bottom which is filled with water.

I really like the tree on the top. Do any of you readers preserve butter this way?

This post is part of a monthly gathering of bloggers. Click on the link to Sherry’s Pickings for a look at what is happening around the world.

In My Kitchen
Sherry’s Pickings

That’s all for now, I will see you all again in October. Thank you for visiting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In My Kitchen – June 2019

In My Kitchen – June 2019

I can’t believe that over two months have passed since my last contribution. It isn’t that there hasn’t been a lot going on in the kitchen, there has. But there has been a lot going on everywhere,..

2 Aussies, 3 Corgis – Are you going to give us a treat or just point that box at us?

These five spent a lot of time in the kitchen with me last month. We were dog sitting my friends corgis, including the little Milo who was 12 weeks old. It was a busy time. Isn’t he a darling? He has a lot of growing to do before he fits into his ears.

There was a lot of cuddling going on outside the kitchen.

I could have used some extra laps

In my kitchen I now have spring flowers, including my favorite sweet peas.

Sweet Peas

And a generous variety of other spring blooms.

Spring bouquet from the garden

It’s a treat to have kitchen bouquets.

In my kitchen I have been experimenting with a variety of chopped salads using riced cauliflower and broccoli.

Riced cauliflower, charred corn, avocado, cherry tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, red onion, and cilantro with lime and chili

I couldn’t find yellow corn at the store, so had to use white. I think a better dish, at least as far as presentation, would have contained yellow corn.

I have found these salads are delicious but also keep well.

In my kitchen I have lettuce from the garden, we have been enjoying lots of fresh salads with a variety of greens.

Lettuce from the garden

In my garden I have a new onion keeper. We like thinly sliced red onions in our salads but rarely use a whole one. I hate using a plastic bag to store leftovers as I am trying to eliminate disposable plastic as much as possible. This one works well, goes in the dishwasher, and saves the remainder of an onion until I am ready to use it.

Onion Keeper

In my kitchen i have perfectly roasted chicken, so much better than those grocery store rotisserie chickens (although they are convenient). I’ve been playing around to get the perfect recipe.

Perfect Roast Chicken

I want one with crisp skin and moist, flavorful meat…one where the dark meat is cooked but the white meat is still juicy. I think I have come up with the perfect recipe and will be posting it.

This post is part of a monthly series, In My Kitchen, hosted bySherry of Sherry’s Pickings. It’s a fascinating glimpse into all kinds of kitchens around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

In My Kitchen – April 2019

In My Kitchen – April 2019

Well, as one blogger wrote last month, this should be titled Not In My Kitchen. Why, because I haven’t been very inspired to spend quality time there. Do you ever get that way? The grey days are getting to me and I hunger for fresh tomatoes, basil, grilled food, and a glass of rose sipped on a deck warmed by the sun. Alas, it is not to be for several more months.

Meanwhile the garden provides wonderful lettuce, and kale…lots of kale.

Arugula, radishes, and lettuce

To maximize the deliciousness of that lettuce I purchased a new salad spinner. The old one threatened to jump off the counter whenever I used it and inspired the dogs into fits of barking.

Austrian Technology

The new one is by Mueller from Austria and it is very well made, in fact they mention European craftsmanship in their brochure. While placing my order on Amazon they suggested that other folks who have made this purchase also bought a container for storing the lettuce (those Amazon folks are clever and devious). Anyway, I fell for the sales job and purchased it as well, and I am very happy I did. It does seem to keep the lettuce fresher for longer. I feel a little less guilty because I’m not buying those plastic clam shells of lettuce from the store. I’m on a kick to reduce the amount of plastic that flows through the house, which is very difficult.

Anyway, here it is:

Lettuce keeper

It has a tray in the bottom where you can put a few drops of water. It stores a generous two dinners worth of salad, and we eat a large portion each meal.

 

Lettuce

Lettuce Keeper

All in all I think it is quite clever.

We are eating a lot of wonderful main meal salads.

Typical salad

Also new in our kitchen is this electric kettle. We drink buckets of tea and I find the electric kettles heat water faster than one on the stove, and it lessons the disaster of a kettle boiling dry. A common happening if you (or I) get distracted. Unfortunately they don’t seem to be terribly well made and we have already gone through 2 in the last 12 months. Maybe we just use it very frequently. Hopefully, this one will be different as it was more expensive. We shall see.

Electric Kettle

Meanwhile, soups and chili seem to be on the menu frequently.

Deconstructed Wanton Soup

Best Ever Chili Without Beans

In My Kitchen is this lovely tea towel, made by my friend Wendy to commemorate our Alaska trip last summer.

Alaska tea towel

And that is about it for this month.

In My Kitchen is part of a monthly review of kitchens around the world. Each month is a fascinating glimpse into what is new, I have learned so much about new ingredients and utensils from reading the posts each month. Do stop in, it’s hosted by Sherry of Sherrys Pickings. And please chat with us about what is new in your kitchen and in your part of the world.

In My Kitchen – January 2019

In My Kitchen – January 2019

Happy New Year everyone! I hope your holidays lived up to your expectations. In My Kitchen is part of a collection of blog posts listed on Sherry’s Pickings. The posts come from around the world, describing kitchens and what is cooking from both hemispheres. Want to know the latest food trend in Australia and how they manage Christmas in mid-summer? Take a peak, it makes for fascinating reading if you are a foodie.

December was a busy month for me, making gifts and party food to share with friends and family. My responsibility at the feast included trays of roasted vegetables. Most of them were eaten on the day, but I did bring home some leftovers which I used to make this lovely stuffed sandwich.

Our annual New Year’s Day hike and chili party was up on the coast, a new location this year for the tradition. We hiked to the waterfall in Russian Gulch (now generously flowing after winter rains) and returned to a late lunch of chili, wine, salad and camaraderie.

Waterfall at Russian Gulch

Unfortunately the ground beef chili with beans was gone before I could take a picture. Both the chili and vegetarian tortilla soup were big successes. I will remake and post the traditional beef one as experienced tasters declared it the best they have ever had. No-leftovers attested to the truth of that statement.

So, what is new in my kitchen this month (or rather, mostly last month)?

Winter is citrus season, so I spent time preserving a glut of Meyer lemons (from our own tree), and a surprising gold mine of kumquats from the local grocery.

The lemon recipes can be found here, and the one for the candied preserved kumquats here.

I made a hot and sweet mustard, perfect gift giving and adding a punch to any kind of beef. Try it with roast beef or pot roast instead of horseradish.

I also made some sous vide lemon ginger curd. I’ve been making lemon curd for years but this is the first time I have used the sous vide method. The addition of some grated ginger added a little kick to the sweetness. There are a lot of recipes out there for making sous vide (in the water bath) lemon curd and I had a couple of colossal failures until I stumbled upon one that actually worked, the others resulted in a soupy mess and the loss of almost a dozen eggs. Look for a future post with pictures.

The holidays always bring me new cook books, my husband is well aware of my weakness for them.

In my kitchen I have…

You can read more about them on the following links:

Season

Salt Fat Acid Heat

Everyday Dorie

I’m looking forward to cooking and posting from them. Let me know if you have any of the books and can steer me to your favorite recipes.

In my kitchen I have sous vide turkey thigh confit. Organic and free range turkey thighs went on special after the holidays and I could not resist. Cooked for 24 hours sous vide they are absolutely delectable and rival duck confit in my opinion. They can also be shredded and as a lower fat replacement for pork carnitas. They freeze well once cooked (for that matter you can season them, vacuum pack them, then cook them while still frozen as well).

Turkey Thigh, Seasoned and Ready to Cook Sous Vide or for the freezer

Now comes January, it’s time to step on the scale and take a reckoning. What has been the cost of the fun in 2018? Believe me it was all worth it. It was an eventful year. We enjoyed a cruise to Alaska and two weeks in Italy. There were  also a few more celebratory events such as the sale of our home in Oakland, a visit with a friend in Florida, and a week at the Ashland Oregon Shakespeare Festival (spent sampling wonderful restaurants and attending equally wonderful plays). The holidays (starting with my birthday in October) only added icing to the cake, so to speak. Time to clean up my act so I can enjoy our trip to Paris on the 31st of this month. I have almost 4 weeks to lose those extra pounds and I know how to do it.

Last January a few friends and I finished 28 days of the Fast Metabolic Diet. Collectively we lost over 50 pounds, plus reduced our cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It works. Don’t go to her website, I feel she has sold out to big business. The book and suggestions however, work. They come from the early days of her nutrition consulting business when she cared more about her clients than making money.

I am doing this with the same two friends as last January, please join us. I will post the best recipes but you can find additional posts if you look in my category “fast metabolism” on the right of the blog. The diet works and you will feel fantastic. One of my friends has continued to improve her health (and reduce her weight) through all of 2018 by following a very modified version of the diet for the whole year (even including a generous Manhattan on Friday nights).

And myself, I am still below my weight of a year ago but in need of a tune up. Those half dozen pounds don’t feel good in my clothes, and my sugar and alcohol consumption levels have crept up over the year. It is time for a re-set.

You can read my post from January of last year, describing the program here. It’s easy to focus on what you are not supposed to eat (dairy, wheat, refined carbs, soy, alcohol, sugar and caffeine) but what you do eat is whole grains, lots of vegetables, lean meat, beans, and fruit. In 28 days you will find your tastebuds have been “reprogramed”, you will taste the natural sugar in food. I promise you, it happened to all of us.

Thank you for visiting. Again, I wish you a happy new year full of health and happiness. It won’t hurt to add prayers for peace, sanity and compassion in the world of politics as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_8e33

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?