In My Kitchen – January 2020

In My Kitchen – January 2020

Happy New Year everyone, wishing you all a peaceful and joyous year. We had a lovely Christmas, Casey and Quinn were especially pleased with their gifts.

Aussies with their new 'babies'

Casey and Quinn with their Christmas gifts

They do love their stuffed toys and carry them around in their mouths to greet us.

The flags on the front of our home spell out Happy New Year in international flag language. It’s the picture at the top of this post as well as this one.

Happy New Year with Casey and Quinn

The flags spell Happy New Year in international flag language

This January posting of In My Kitchen (also known as IMK) is part of a monthly gathering of posts from kitchens around the world. It’s fascinating to read what is new and notable from the Southern Hemisphere as well as the U.S. and Europe. Please do click on the link to Sherrys Pickings to read them all.

So what’s new in my kitchen? These nifty silicone egg cups are designed for using in the Instant Pot to make a copy of the Starbucks sous vide egg bites. I have made a version sous vide, which turned out ok. Butt there are a lot of recipes online and I am looking forward to trying them all. The egg cups came with a lid and a carrying tray to make it easy to remove them from the electric pressure cooker.

Silicone Egg Cups

Silicone Egg Cups

Silicone Egg Cups

Silicone Egg Cups

I will post the recipe if it turns out to be edible.

In my kitchen I have one last pear from the boxes my brother and sister-in-law sent for Christmas. They came from Harry and David in Oregon and are the best pears in the world, absolutely delicious.

Pear from Harry and David

Pear from Harry and David

It’s a tradition that we send each other pears before the holiday. This year I put one in the fridge and it delayed the ripening enough that we enjoyed each and every one. They are delicious with some cheese and walnuts for dessert.

In my kitchen I have some black rice.

Italian Black Rice

Italian Black Rice

Have any of you tried it? Do you have any recipes? The rice came from a small Italian deli and shop that just opened in town. The rice looks a bit like wild rice and they told me it cooks up nutty and a little firmer than regular rice. I’ll let you know how it turns out. They have lots of very interesting imported items. I also bought a jar of sun dried cherry tomatoes in olive oil and some lovely anchovies.

Sun Dried Tomatoes and Anchovies

Sun Dried Tomatoes and Anchovies

I find most sun dried tomatoes, even the ones in olive oil, rubbery and unpleasant with hard bits. I have made them myself and prefer them just before they are completely dried. I look forward to sampling these.

I was intrigued by these new products I found at the grocery store…

RightRice

RightRice, made from vegetables

RightRice is a blend of lentils, chickpeas, and rice. There were several varieties but these looked the most interesting to me. They claim to be more nutritious and higher in protein than regular rice.

The farm stand down the road was open today and I purchased these lovely carrots and a bunch of dino kale.

 

Another product to try is this organic sprouted blend of brown rice, millet and quinoa. One of my resolutions for 2020 is to add more whole grains to our diet.

Earthly Choice

Sprouted Brown Rice, Millet, Quinoa

And what would the holidays be without at least one new cookbook? This one about exploring the South of Italy. We listen to podcasts on our way back and forth from Fort Bragg to our apartment in Oakland. Katie Parla was featured on one and had fascinating stories about the food of Southern Italy as well as the history. It’s a cookbook to read as well as cook from.

Food of the Italian South

Food of the Italian South

And lastly I will leave you with some wonderful pictures from a Christmas walk. In the hills above Oakland there is a marvelous system of parks and trails. Each year at this time the ladybugs migrate and congregate in one area. It’s always magical to come across them. If the sun is warm and shines on them, they will fly into the air as a swarm and you can hear the clicking of their wings.

 

Again, Happy New Year to you all, and prayers to my blogging friends in Australia for their safety.

 

 

 

In My Kitchen – December 2019

In My Kitchen – December 2019

It will be 2020 in less than a month and I admit to being an anxious mess. I have had to take a news break and stop listening to the radio, TV, reading the paper or jumping at various flash news updates on all my electronic gadgets. The world does not feel like a friendly place at the moment. The Thanksgiving holiday was a welcome respite with its reminder of what is truly important. It was a chance to focus on friends and family (including all our furry four legged friends). I count my blessings for those people and animals in my life.

I recently read an article about morning rituals, one stuck in my head. The idea is to take 30 slow breaths first thing every morning, reminding yourself with each in breath of something or someone you are thankful for. It’s so simple and powerful, a gratitude meditation. But you can do it while dressing, or ordering your morning latte, or feeding the dogs. It doesn’t need to be a big deal. I haven’t been good about starting a meditation practice although I think it is important. My mornings are busy and noisy; the dogs usually get me up fairly early and their mood is one of joyous awakening. I can be thankful for their exuberance at meeting the new day. They are certainly a blessing.

Casey and Quinn

We are so thankful you are finally home

Anyway, on to what’s new in my kitchen.

In my kitchen I have lots of dressing, this year I made three batches because there wasn’t enough left over. The first was a vegetarian version of my regular sausage/cornbread/raisin dressing to satisfy all dietary requirements at Friendsgiving (made with parmesan broth instead of turkey broth). You can read the recipe here.  The second and third (yes three!) batches were with chicken sausage, the recipe is here. I did make some minor changes to both recipes in that I roughly tore the cornbread into pieces and toasted them in a 325 degree F until they were beginning to brown and crisp on the edges. I think that step improved the texture of the dressing.

Demolished

Batch number three…

Finished baked Dressing

It is the best leftover with multiple uses…as a bed for poached eggs, as a thickener for a turkey soup, or just reheated in the microwave as a snack. I only make it at two times each year, Thanksgiving and Christmas, my waistline can’t handle any more.

In my kitchen I have Cornish Game Hens cooked sous vide. You have to spatchcock them before vacuum packing and cooking under water for 1 1/2 hours at 161 degrees F. They were brushed with a mix of garlic, orange zest and paprika before cooking. I broiled them for a few minutes after they were done to give them some color.

Sous Vide Cornish Game Hens

Sous Vide Cornish Game Hens

We were very happy with the results.

With the cooler wet weather I have been craving more carb heavy meals, but at the same time I avoid eating a lot of wheat products. So I am interested to try this paleo grain free flour. Pancakes are in my future.

Paleo Baking Flour

Paleo Baking Flour

Have any of you tried it? If so, what do you think and what did you make?

To go along with those pancakes, some wonderful small batch maple syrup.

Maple Syrup

Runamok Maple Syrup

In my kitchen I have some Artisan crackers, these will be very welcome with cheese in the upcoming holidays.

Artisan Crackers

Artisan Crackers

And lastly in my kitchen I have some toasted tahini. I haven’t tried it but I will be making multiple batches of hummus and will let you know if there is a significant difference to my usual preferred brand.

Obour Toasted Tahini

Obour Toasted Tahini

From my kitchen I can see the lights of our Christmas tree. I’ve been collecting ornaments for many years and inherited them from my parents as well. There are many wonderful memories of past holidays and loved ones connected to the ornaments in the tree.

2019 Christmas Tree

2019 Christmas Tree

I’m connecting this post to a virtual blogging party at Sherrys Pickings. It’s the last “In My Kitchen” of 2019, oh my! Please follow the link to read what is going on in kitchens far and wide.

Happy holidays everyone!

In My Kitchen – November 2019

In My Kitchen – November 2019

Thank you for visiting my November version of In My Kitchen. Each month Sherry MacKay of Sherry’s Pickings hostesses a global gathering of food lovers. You get to peek into their kitchen lore and knowledge, recipes, new kitchen gadgets (I’ve made some amazing discoveries), new ingredients, kitchen tales and musings. Click on the link to connect with their blog postings.

Well, last month ended with five days of no power. It was quite an adventure. We fared better than many since we have a generator and were able to keep the lights on. But, most stores in town were closed. And, the one service station with gas had a line a quarter of a mile long. Surprisingly everyone was good natured about the whole thing and neighbors pulled together to help each other, sharing power to charge cell phones and other electrical communication devices. It did bring home how dependent we are on the electrical grid though, phone service was spotty since they use the towers to boost signals and the internet was down. It was a strange feeling to be so cut off here on the coast. I think these outages will encourage more folks to invest in solar and batteries.

The lemonade from the entire event was that everything was cancelled, I was left with four whole days of empty time on my hands. I finally got around to cleaning out the pantry, washing down kitchen shelves, and sorting through bookcases; all chores on my to-do list. I was waiting for a rainy day, which doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime in the next 10 days. We desperately need rain.

So, what’s new in my kitchen? October is my birthday month and favorite gifts are cookbooks (from others and also from me to myself).

nothing fancy by Alison Roman

Alison Roman is a frequent contributor to the NY Times, this is a cookbook about entertaining simply.

From The Oven To The Table by Diana Henry

I have a few cookbooks by Diana Henry and enjoy her writing. This one has a lot of what we call in the U.S. “Sheet Pan” dinner recipes. I always enjoy her take on food and her writing.

Sous Vide by Hugh Acheson

I love cooking sous vide and this one will definitely increase my range of recipes.

Cook Something from Canal House, hirsheimer & hamilton

This is the newest from Canal House in the U.K. It’s also my first one from them and I am in love. Canal House has been around for quite some time but they are new to me. I made some simple pan fried chicken thighs with preserved lemon. It was quite simple but delicious.

Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs with Preserved Lemons

So, I plan to post some interesting new recipes soon. I must admit to having been in a cooking rut.

In my kitchen I have a bowl of apples from the tree in a friend’s yard. These are Galas and are delicious eating apples.

Gala apples

Gala Apples

In my kitchen I have the last of the summer tomatoes. These are from Nye Ranch just down the street, they have a Saturday farm stand and are also at our local farmer’s market each week. They told me that they don’t expect to have any more until next season. We have been enjoying them with a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar, olive oil and fresh cheese.

Heirloom tomatoes

In my kitchen I have a new pepper grinder, this one easily adjusts to a fine or coarse grind and is very easy to grind. I find my hands sometimes ache and I appreciate how little pressure this one needs to grind a generous amount of pepper.

 

And lastly in my kitchen I have dogs, five dogs to be exact. We were watching my friend’s corgis for a few days. Remember the puppy who stayed with us back in May? See puppy Milo in the left front of the first picture (he was a little peanut). The second picture shows him as an 8 month old, right front of the second picture. It’s wonderful that they all get along so well. It’s fun to watch them try to herd each other (and us).

 

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.