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.