In My Kitchen – March 2017

In My Kitchen – March 2017

March is here and it’s time for the monthly In My Kitchen series. IMK posts give you glimpse into kitchens around the world. There are new cookbooks, new pots and pans, spices, flavorings, recipes, plus musings about cooking and the world. I think you will find the selection of posts fascinating. Stop by Liz’s blog to see the links. If you’d like to write an In My Kitchen post, send your link in a comment to Liz of Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things by the 10th of the month.

In my kitchen I have a new tagine clay pot. This one is made by Emile Henry in France, they make very high quality ceramic cookware. You can use them directly on the stove (with the exception of induction) and in the oven.

I was first introduced to the joys of cooking in clay by Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Custard who is a very big fan.

  • The special clay from Burgundy evenly and slowly diffuses cooking heat to the very center of the dish. Food is cooked evenly, bringing out the flavors and aromas.
  • All Emile Henry products can go directly from the freezer to the oven. You can use them under the broiler and in the microwave.
  • The surfaces are very easily cleanable, they do not hold burnt food. All their products can go in the dishwasher.
  • All Emile Henry products meet the strict standards of California Prop 65, they do not contain any lead or cadmium and are 100% food safe.
  • All products come with a 10 year warranty.

Emile Henry Tajine

The tagine has been used for centuries in Morocco. In fact the name of the pot and that of the dishes it produces are the same. A tagine consists of chicken, lamb, fish and/or vegetables cooked in a sauce which is rich in spices and often contains fruit. Stewing food in a tagine helps it to cook evenly without drying out. The conical lid allows steam to rise, and slowly fall as the food inside bakes.

I made the same stew in both a tagine and a traditional casserole dish, the lamb cooked in the tagine was definitely more succulent although both were delicious. Look for those posts in the next week.

Lamb Tagine with Apricots

In my kitchen I have a couple of new cookbooks.

Tagines and Couscous by Ghillie Basan

I adore the spices used in Moroccan cooking and am looking forward to trying more recipes in my new pot. I will post the recipe for the lamb tagine, it was amazing!

In my kitchen I have another new cookbook, Small Victories by Julia Turshen.

Small Victories by Julia Turshen

I consider this a very practical cookbook, the recipes are fairly basic but include spin-offs for creating many new meals from the original. Each recipe also includes a tip that might be very useful (the small victory in the title), mastering the first recipe gives you access to many variations.

The recipe for turkey ricotta meatballs came from this book.

Turkey and Ricotta Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Pasta

In my kitchen I have a new silicone spatula. i couldn’t resist it as we leave for Paris on the 23rd of this month, back in early April. Next months post may come from our vacation kitchen in France.

Silicone spatula

What is new in your kitchen this month?

August 2016 – In My Kitchen

August 2016 – In My Kitchen

“In My Kitchen” is a blogosphere party, first hosted by Celia (Fig Jam and Lime Cordial) and now hosted by Maureen (The Orgasmic Chef). Maureen is taking a short break over the summer to recover from surgery, please check back in September when the party returns. Meanwhile a few of us are continuing the tradition. My last “In My Kitchen” post was in June so this is really a two month catch-up.

I enjoy, virtually, reading about the new things that have happened in kitchens around the world during the past month.

Here is a quick tour of my own.

In my kitchen I have the first cucumbers of the season.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

To go along with the tomatoes.

The first garden tomatoes

The first garden tomatoes

The tomato plants were gifted to me by my friend, Linda Dutcher, in Fort Bragg. They are Siberian and cold adapted varieties and we enjoyed the first fruit a month ago, unheard of here in Northern California.

From a recent business trip to Seattle I brought back fresh Copper River Salmon.

Seattle, Pike's Place Market

Seattle, Pike’s Place Market

Flying Fish Market

Flying Fish Market

The Flying Fish is one of the best known fish stalls in the market, and amazingly one of the best (they often don’t coincide). And why do they call it Flying Fish you might ask? The fish mongers are known for throwing the fish over the heads of a crowd of watchers, to be safely caught and packaged for purchase.

Copper River Salmon

Copper River Salmon

The Copper River flows in the state of Alaska. Almost 300 miles in length, this wild rushing river empties into Prince William Sound at the town of Cordova. Salmon that originate in these pristine waters are challenged by its length and its strong, chill rapids. Consequently, Copper River salmon are strong, robust creatures with a healthy store of natural oils and body fat. These qualities make the salmon among the richest, tastiest fish in the world. Fortunately, fatty Copper River salmon is good for you, as it is loaded with Omega-3 oils. Unfortunately the season is very short, only a few weeks. It usually starts in mid-May and ends early in June. I picked up the salmon in early June at the end of a business trip. The market will package it in a cold pack for shipping on the airlines.

In my kitchen I have tuna pate. It’s a quick and wonderful recipe to know about since it uses only good quality tuna in olive oil, butter, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and a bit of cream. Spread it on crisp toast and serve it with good olives. Your guests will never guess it is tuna.

Tuna Pate

Tuna Pate

These are individual chard wrapped greek yogurt pies. The recipe came from the NY Times and I modified it by using goat milk yogurt. They were delicious warm beside a salad, spread on crisp toast. I will post the recipe soon.

Greek Pies wrapped in Chard

Greek Pies wrapped in Chard

In my kitchen I have a beautiful wood salad bowl found in a gallery in TN while visiting relatives.

Redwood Top to Cabinet and wooden salad bowl

Redwood Top to Cabinet and wooden salad bowl

In our second home, the Fort Bragg cabin, I have an entirely new kitchen. You can read more about it here.

After - Fridge and Range Wall

After – Fridge and Range Wall

And for those of you wondering “Where the heck is Fort Bragg anyway?” Here is a map. If you Google Fort Bragg you will probably come up with Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Is is much better known as it is the largest military base in the world and home to US Special Operations. Both places were named for the same person, Confederate general Braxton Bragg. However, he never actually set foot in Fort Bragg California. 1st Lt. Horatio G. Gibson established a military garrison prior to the civil war and named it for his former commanding officer Capt. Braxton Bragg, who later became a General in the Army of the Confederacy.[9] The official date of the establishment of the fort was June 11, 1857; and its purpose was to maintain order on the nearby Mendocino Indian Reservation near the Noyo River. It would be hard to imagine two more dramatically different cities. Fort Bragg California was a lumber town, the area has pristine redwood forests, now mostly second growth. But drive up the coast a bit to see truly dramatic first growth trees.

Fort Bragg, CA

Fort Bragg, CA

It’s a 3-4 mile drive from San Francisco with the opportunity to pass through the Anderson Valley wine growing region. Or, if you have longer, you can drive up the coast for breathtaking views of the Pacific ocean.

From my kitchen I can see “The Wall” that prevents interspecies war. They each have their own space and don’t dare look at each other.

The Wall

The Wall – Quinn and Lucy

And, I can watch the squirrel police on watch.

Quinn on squirrel duty

Quinn on squirrel duty

What is new in your kitchen this past month?

May 2016 – In My Kitchen

May 2016 – In My Kitchen

In my kitchen this month I have peas, snow peas that is.

Snow Peas

Snow Peas

The plants were incorrectly labeled snap peas in the garden store, they are really flat oriental pea pods. Either way they are delicious simply stir fried with a bit of sesame oil at the end. I’ve had a bumper crop this year.

Snow Peas

Snow Peas

In my kitchen I have a new tool. Bon Apetit recently had an article about tools which are essential to chefs. This was one I had never seen before, it is an extremely clever idea.

It’s made by Kuhn and is called a heart shaped spring whisk. See how the whisk part flips from one side to the other? It’s for reaching into the corners of a pot when whisking on top of the stove. You can find it on Amazon and also here.

In my kitchen I have lemons and lots of new spring herbs. Perfect for a simple baked chicken.

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Chicken with lemon and fresh herbs

Chicken with lemon and fresh herbs

In my kitchen I have Meyer lemons. Over the last few weeks I have made Meyer lemon marmalade, quick Meyer lemon pickle, spicy fermented Meyer lemon pickle, preserved Meyer lemons, and Meyer lemon aigre-doux. The fermented pickle will be finished early next week. I don’t have much experience with fermenting, but a lot of curiosity. It’s an area I would like to explore. There is a building body of scientific evidence that fermented foods are very beneficial to our health.

All of the recipes above required you cut off the end of the lemons. I hated throwing all those tasty Meyer rinds in the compost heap. Knowing how delicious they are roasted, I baked them at 425 until brown and crisp. They added a tart yet sweet note to a spring salad.

Lemon ends ready for roasting

Lemon ends ready for roasting

Roast lemons

Roast lemons

Spring salad with roast lemons, red onions and avocado

Spring salad with roast lemons, red onions, avocado and candied walnuts

In my kitchen I have the first of what will be multiple batches of strawberry preserves before the season is over.

Strawberry preserves

Strawberry preserves

We used our last jar from last year only a week ago. It was wonderful to see and purchase a flat of fresh strawberries at the farmer’s market. It is officially spring. These preserves contain only three ingredients…strawberries, organic sugar, and a touch of lemon juice.

Lastly, in my Fort Bragg kitchen I have dust. Lots of dust. The remodel is going well and we hope to be mostly finished (why is it that the last 5% takes so long?!) by the end of this month. Stay tuned as we will be up this weekend and I will post an update. The floors should be finished and appliances installed.

Kitchen Island

Kitchen Island

This post is part of a monthly gathering of foodies and gardeners from around the world who give an accounting of what is happening in their kitchen each month. It’s hosted by Maureen of the Orgasmic Chef. Please come join us, click on the links on the right side of her blog to read posts from other bloggers. They come from the west coast of the US to Australia and New Zealand and beyond.

 

November “In My Kitchen”

November “In My Kitchen”

It’s November, the start of the holiday season, oh my. Are you ready or does the thought give you a panicky feeling as it does me?

The beginning of each month is also time for the monthly series “In My Kitchen” hosted by Celia of the blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Of all the virtual blogging clubs on the internet, I think this collection of posts is one of the most fascinating. The bloggers come from around the world; and the posts reflect both the seasons and the individual style of the writer. As winter starts in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is starting in the Southern. I drool over photos of tomatoes posted by Australian bloggers in February and pin the recipes for use in six months. l’ve learned a lot from the dedicated bakers, cooks, and gardeners in this group. Come join us by clicking here, we’d love to hear what is happening in your kitchen.

Now on to my own kitchen. In my kitchen I have sunflowers. They are a colorful reminder that it is still fall, winter hasn’t started quite yet. Because of the drought here in California I don’t have a garden this year, but the farmer’s market is still full of flowers.

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

In my kitchen I have a new cookbook, Lucky Peach 101 Easy Asian Recipes. I was drawn to this book by a recipe I found online for “Odd Flavor Sauce” (although the combination of flavors didn’t seem odd to me at all).

Lucky Peach 101

I renamed it “Yum Sauce” and have used it with several dishes over the last week.

Yum Sauce

Yum Sauce

It added a big punch of umami to a simple rice bowl with roast vegetables, a comforting bowl of Jook or Congee, and some baby lobster tails I found at Costco. What a treat! I brushed them with Yum sauce, wrapped them aluminum foil, and baked them at 450 degrees F. for 22 minutes. Delicious!

In my kitchen I have Mandarin oranges.

Mandarins

Mandarins

I made a batch of Mandarin Orange Aigre-Doux with them. The oranges are canned with red wine, vinegar, sugar and black peppercorns. The result is a sweet and sour combination popular in France and Italy.

Mandarin Aigre-Doux

Mandarin Aigre-Doux

I will use them to make a sauce for the duck confit I purchased on my recent Costco trip. Isn’t that place amazing! For the sauce you drain the oranges and reduce the liquid until syrupy. Then blend the sauce and oranges together to make a wonderful red wine/orange sauce. It will be lovely with the duck.

Duck Confit

Duck Confit

In my kitchen I have Parmesan oil.

Parmesan Olive Oil

Parmesan Olive Oil

It was a post on IMK from several months back that gave me the idea. I couldn’t find the original post so please speak up if you read this, I’d like to give you credit. Covering your leftover rinds with olive oil for several months infuses the oil with the most heavenly flavor and aroma. I use it as a finishing oil or on a salad of spicy greens.

In my kitchen I have sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes. They are a member of the sunflower family and, if allowed to bloom, produce tall (some over 6 feet) branching plants with small sunflower like blooms. The chokes or tubers grow along the roots like potatoes. Sunchokes taste like a cross between an artichoke and a water chestnut. When cooked they have a firm skin and a meltingly fluffy inside like a russet potato. Unfortunately they can cause gastric distress in some people and are sometimes nicknamed “farti-chokes”. Enough said! They are tough plants and have survived in my garden with almost no water this summer. I’ve roasted them, pickled them (they lose their uncomfortable side effects), and made them into soup.

Sunchokes

Sunchokes

In my kitchen I have samples.

Kitchen, bath and flooring

Kitchen, bath and flooring

We are starting to gather ideas for a remodel of our cabin on the Northern California coast, our retirement escape. These are a few of the samples for the bathroom, kitchen cabinets, and flooring throughout.

What do you think of blue kitchen cabinets? My thought is to have the upper cabinets in a different color, maybe a light grey. I want butcher block for some surfaces (it’s not a very big kitchen) but have been advised against it around the sink (much to my disappointment). I’d love to hear your thoughts.

? kitchen cabinets ?

? kitchen cabinets ?

And lastly in my kitchen I have dogs, always underfoot hoping for a treat or something tasty dropped on the floor.

Do I smell bacon?

Do I smell bacon?

Will sit for bacon!

Will sit for bacon!

What? Am I late to the party? BACON!!!

What? Am I late to the party? BACON!!!

What’s new in your kitchen this month?

October “In My Kitchen”

October “In My Kitchen”

If I had to choose a favorite month of the year, it would be October. Not only because it is my birthday month (that has become less popular as the years roll on), but because it marks a major shift in the weather. And thus, the types of food I cook.

Spring sneaks up on me, there is no sudden change. It’s a slow transition. Somehow autumn is different. The first winter rains usually happen in late October, the trees start to change color,  and the mornings are crisp. It seems to happen overnight. I want to re-decorate my house in oranges, reds, and yellows. Early October is hot, sometimes the warmest of the year in an area with Indian summer. And then, it’s not. It’s sudden.

What’s new in my kitchen this month?IMG_3649

There are some new cookbooks, two of them (The River Cafe Cook Book and What Katie Ate) are for the on-line cookbook club, The Cookbook Guru. Please join us if you love and collect cookbooks as I do. It’s wonderful to be challenged to try new dishes and spices. Don’t you think that cooking can become boring very easily?

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In my kitchen I have chocolate.IMG_3647

And more chocolate! The shopping list said ketchup and chocolate, a request from my family, and permission to go wild!

On a healthy note I have started to use my Spiralizer, it replaced pasta on a recent evening with a simple marinara sauce.

Spiralized Zucchini

Spiralized Zucchini

In my kitchen I have a new spicy marinade and sauce.

Nothing unpronounceable in the ingredient list. So far I’ve used it as a marinade for salmon and a quick sauce in a stir fry. Both were good.IMG_3661

In my kitchen I have a bottle of Saba. Are you wondering what it is? I’ve found it similar to a good aged balsamic vinegar. Saba is a syrup made from freshly squeezed grape juice, also known as must. Grape must contains many of the sugars naturally present in the grape, and when it is slowly cooked into a syrup, it develops into a very rich, concentrated foodstuff that can be used in a wide assortment of ways. Saba is most closely associated with Abruzzese cuisine in Italy, although it is used in other regions of Italy as well, and it is a popular offering at Mediterranean-inspired restaurants overseas.

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And lastly, in my kitchen I have apples. These are golden delicious and they were very sweet. I picked them up from a road side stand in the middle of an apple orchard. The trees were old and gnarly but beautiful.

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What is new in your kitchen? This post is part of a regular monthly blogging event “In My Kitchen” hosted by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Click on the link to get a glimpse of what is happening in kitchens around the globe.