In My Kitchen – December 2018

In My Kitchen – December 2018

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
Sherry’s Pickings

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.

Fresh Kumquats

Preserved Kumquats

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.


Meyer Lemons

In my kitchen I have Meyer lemon confit (a big hit), sugared Meyer lemon slices, and an Indian Meyer 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.

Sous vide

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.

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?



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

January 2018 – In My Kitchen

January 2018 – In My Kitchen

At the moment I have three kitchens, which is at least one too many. The kitchen of our Oakland house is mostly empty, the floors are being replaced and stained. It goes on the market on January 28, my Mom’s birthday. I hope it is an auspicious day.

Oakland Kitchen

Oakland Kitchen

I will be sad to leave the back splash of hand painted tiles. Chris painted them for us when I discovered that similar painted ones at the tile store were $50 each. There is no way to remove them without ruining the wall.

Our second kitchen is in Swan’s Marketplace co-housing. We were lucky to find a fully furnished apartment that we could rent for a few months. Even better, it is across the courtyard from a friend’s apartment. I have always wanted to experience co-housing and it is lovely!

Swan’s Co-housing kitchen

Swan’s Co-housing kitchen

And kitchen number three is at our Fort Bragg home, my refuge with the dogs. I was fortunate to have a friend and her dogs visit over the Christmas holiday, so we had a “pack” and a delightfully furry time.

Quinn, Heather, Casey and Oreo

Casey and Oreo – any snacks for us? We like messy cooks.

They like to hang out with me in the kitchen.

What else is in my kitchen this month? This red typewriter case is a family heirloom, rediscovered in the back of the garage when we were clearing it. For many years it was the family picnic case, always at the ready for an impromptu meal on the road. I think at one time it actually held my mother’s manual typewriter, the ones she typed for her cooking classes. But mostly I remember it as containing “the essentials” if we were renting an ill-equipped cabin or needed to stop for lunch on a long drive or road trip.

The Typewriter Case

Inside the typewriter case

In my temporary kitchen I have a soda stream. This is an amazing gadget that turns ordinary tap water into soda water. This is very environmentally wise if you consider all the plastic or glass bottles used for fizzy water.


In my kitchen I have a new book by Nigel Slater “The Christmas Chronicles”. This is for next Christmas, because of the move we didn’t have time for much of one this year. I have plans and high hopes for Christmas 2018.

Nigel Slater “The Christmas Chronicles”

I think all the new foods at the market are fascinating, fancy chickpea crumbs to replace panko.

Chickpea crumbs

Here is another gem, freeze-dried blueberries. I will use them to flavor my overnight sous vide oatmeal. They also have freeze-dried strawberries and pineapple.

Freeze dried blueberries

In my kitchen I have harvested Meyer lemons from the backyard tree in Oakland.

Meyer Lemons

And avocados and fruit from the store.

Avocados, tangerines, pears

And lastly, new in my kitchen is this lovely bowl from Heath Ceramics. It matches the salad bowl I received for my birthday and was a very considerate Christmas gift.

Heath Ceramic Bowl

You can go to Sherry’s Pickings for the monthly glimpse into kitchens around the world. Happy New Year everyone!


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.



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?