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
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.
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.
In my kitchen I have Meyer lemon confit (a big hit), sugared Meyer lemon slices, and an Indian Meyer lemon pickle.
Meyer Lemons in Olive Oil
Confit Meyer Lemons in Olive Oil
Candied Meyer Lemons
Candied Meyer Lemon Slices
Indian Spiced 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.
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.
Red Wine Vinegar
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.
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?