December – Preserved Kumquats

December – Preserved Kumquats

Just in time for the holidays, a gift which is not only delicious but also easy to make and beautiful. The jewel tones of the kumquats are perfect for the holidays.

Kumquats

Kumquats are a variety of citrus, the rind is the sweet part and the bitter the middle. The reverse of other citrus fruits. The kumquats are small, only about an inch or less in length. My mother would preserve them each year (she lived in Florida where they were common) but I haven’t seen them in the markets very often. So I jumped at the chance to recreate her recipe. They were delicious served beside smoked chicken or turkey, a sweet counter to the smokiness. But I think they would be equally delicious served for dessert with a square of chocolate.

I couldn’t find her recipe in my files but know it was very simple. A search on the web came up with on published in the New York Times some time ago…Evelyn Patout’s Preserved Kumquats. It sounded exactly like my memory of my mother’s recipe, plus it was simple and quick. It only requires about 20 minutes of your time, plus 4 days sitting in the simple syrup.

Preserved Kumquats

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart of kumquats
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of light corn syrup

Method:

  1. Wash and scrub the kumquats thoroughly. Prick each one several times with a large needle or poultry pin (I used a crab picker). Put them in a large saucepan, add water to cover, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Drain.
  2. Combine the sugar with 3 cups of water in the saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Add the kumquots and bring back to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover the saucepan, and set aside till the next day.
  3. The next morning add 1/2 cup of corn syrup to the saucepan, bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat, cover, and let stand overnight again.
  4. Repeat the process in number 3 twice more.
  5. On the fourth day, after the kumquats have  brought to the boil, spoon them into hot, sterilized, Mason-type jars. Pour the hot syrup to within 1/4 inch of the top and seal. Refrigerate until ready to give, or you can seal in a canner (I would boil 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your jars).
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

September – Musings

September – Musings

I found this in my draft folder, meant to send it out last month. So, here it is a little late.

Food posts are coming, not to worry, I haven’t changed the format of this blog. Rather I thought you might enjoy a change. We’ve had a few days of warm weather, in the 80’s F, unusual for this late in September. But this heat does not feel like summer heat. Cool is there as an undertone, very subtle, almost at the edge of consciousness.

I wrote this several years ago after walking my dog through a long alleyway between the houses in our Oakland neighborhood. Plot B is an unofficial off-leash dog path, a bower of trees about 4 blocks long. Dogs love it because there are squirrels to chase, fallen trees to jump over, and usually another dog to greet at some point along the trail. Unless you live in the neighborhood, plot B is a secret. To find it you must walk a narrow path between houses. Originally called plot B, for the past few years it has been called Oak Park. I still call it plot B, and that is how my dog knows it.

Plot B

Summer

Late afternoon

Sunlight slanting through dusty air

 

Tall trees on either side

Oak, bay, redwood, plum and fig

Climbing roses

Their branches meet above the trail

A green tunnel

And secret path

 

Birds call

Announcing riches

Of ripe blackberries in sunlit patches

Fallen plums

Wealth of weeds

Forgotten place

 

I miss your hand in mine

Together quiet observers

In this hidden wild place

Watching summer end

And fall begin

 

When I wrote it I was thinking about walking our old dog with my child, now grown. It was one of our favorite places to go in the late afternoon.

Please be kind, a poet I am not.

Happy change of seasons, no matter what your hemisphere.

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Through the gate at the back of the property

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My current equivalent to Plot B

 

 

February – Fast Metabolism Week 4, phase 3

February – Fast Metabolism Week 4, phase 3

Here we are, in the last few days of the four week cycle. I admit that I veered off the program last night. We sold our house in Oakland this week and friends wanted to celebrate with us, I had some wonderful champagne (and then, with resolve weakened, some chocolate). Under the circumstances I don’t think it was a horrible mistake, I am almost at my goal weight. My thought is to go another week to make up for the cheats, probably not exactly at the end but after a week’s break.

I will continue to post recipes that are appropriate to different phases of the diet, and link them to the appropriate phase. My hope is to make it easier for anyone who follows to find food that is easy, delicious and appropriate. Search through my categories for Fast Metabolism to find the full listing of the various weeks, menus, and recipes. Then follow the links to find the recipes and menu ideas.

Phase 3 is a treat after the restricted high protein days of phase 2.

Breakfast – sprouted wheat toast with avocado, red onion, smoked salmon and cucumber.

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Breakfast – phase 3

Snack – 1/4 cup walnuts

Lunch – thinly sliced turkey breast with a smear of hummus, then wrapped around a cucumber spear. Blueberries.

Snack – 1/4 cup almonds

Dinner – roast chicken with brown rice and roasted vegetablesIMG_7115 2

Monday night we will de-brief and see how everyone did. Look for that post with my summary and comments.

Meanwhile, we consider this diet a great success. We all lost weight. But even better, we all have a new appreciation and approach to food. Although it seems complicated, the diet was easy to follow. And, we didn’t die of boredom.

January – Phase 3, Fast Metabolism

January – Phase 3, Fast Metabolism

This is the last day of week 3, only one more week to go. I missed posting about phase 2 this week. I find phase 2 the most challenging, and frankly boring. Eating just lean protein and greens is “ho hum”. Phase 3 food seems positively decadent after phase 2, allowing moderate amounts of  “healthy” fats such as avocado, nut butter, hummus,  and coconut milk.

In phase 2, I frankly don’t care much about food. I eat because I have to, not because I am interested in what is on my plate. In fact, one day last week I forgot to eat entirely. Not good actually according to the diet. But I was super busy and occupied, I forgot to take food with me, and eating never occurred to me. That is until it got to be dinner time and I was at a friend’s house. By then I was hungry, really hungry. I did ‘cheat’ and have some phase 3 salmon and raw almonds because that was what was there. Really, I had to eat something!

My new scale is supposed to arrive today. Because my old one was rusted and corroded, it was a victim of our downsizing. After my friend (who has lost over 9 pounds in three weeks and feels amazing) raved about her new digital scale, I broke down and ordered one from Amazon.

I am not going to be able to tell you how much weight I have lost because I didn’t weigh myself at the beginning. I will tell you that my clothes are loose and my stomach is flatter. For me the weight loss was secondary to the overall reset. It’s a reset of habits, of taste buds, and overall approach to food. After three weeks I can tell you that I consider that part of the diet a success, the next week will only cement it. My friends who joined me on this adventure say the same thing.

So, what does my last day in phase 3 for this week look like?

Breakfast – fresh raspberries, sprouted wheat toast with almond butter

Snack – raw almonds

Lunch – Buffalo Chicken Chowder from Dishing Up the Dirt, (modified by using coconut oil instead of ghee and a sweet potato instead of russet); with celery sticks on the side and a tangerine. You can follow the link to the recipe, I found it had good flavor but the sweet potato didn’t thicken the chowder the way a russet would have. IMG_7093

Much to my surprise, on doing some research on the wild wide web, I came across another recipe which is very close to how I modified it. They used rice flour to thicken it a little, a good idea. I may like this one better from the blog Easy and Delish, Buffalo Chicken Chowder. I will try it this week and let you know. Changing the chicken breast to thighs would add more flavor (unless cooked sous vide I find chicken breasts too dry). The Frank’s Hot Sauce in the Dishing Up the Dirt recipe was good, keep that if you like spicy things.

My husband wanted something a little more substantial and added a can of pinto beans and some baby spinach. That is also a good option but it is coming closer to something else (chili?) and further away from Buffalo Chicken. IMG_7095

Look for a post, later in the week. Sometime when I am closer to phase 3 again, I will combine the two into something I a bit more to my own taste.

Snack – raw walnuts

DinnerSpicy Lamb Soup-Stew with Garbanzos 

Follow the link if you would like the recipe.

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