In My Kitchen – November 2022

In My Kitchen – November 2022

Is it November already and time for In My Kitchen? This post is part of a compilation of records of kitchen events from the last month. Here’s the fun part, the kitchens are all over the world. Bloggers from both the northern and southern hemispheres take part. You can read the other posts at Sherry’s Pickings, the link is here. You will learn about new kitchen gadgets, recipes, unusual ingredients, wine, cheese, and chocolate…need I say more?

The holidays are approaching way too quickly. I am starting to think about my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a day that celebrates friendship and family, one that has more meaning to me than Christmas these days. After the last three years, I value and appreciate my close connections to other people (and furry friends) even more. Thanksgiving is less commercialized (unless you count the frenzy of Black Friday). For years I hosted Thanksgiving, but as my friend’s families have grown with grandchildren and in-laws, I surrendered the honor. Now our little family is a happy participant.

This year I am planning to make sous vide turkey roulade, plus a large casserole of vegetarian raisin stuffing. Vegetarian sausage products have improved so much over the past few years that there is no compromise using it rather than regular sausage. I will post the recipe for the roulade, there are several on this site for turkey but I haven’t tried this particular one before. Sous vide has turned out to be the all-around best technique for turning out tender, moist turkey.

And, I am writing this post on election night in the U.S. because I am filled with anxiety. It’s a case of avoidance. I cannot bear to watch the minute-by-minute news programs. I cannot change things. I try to cultivate a long-range view, things have been this bad before. But, here and now, I despair.

But, on to what is new In My Kitchen over the past month.

I purchased this padded mat for the kitchen. It’s easy to clean and comfortable when I am standing in front of the sink and prep area.

Padded Kitchen Mat

Padded Kitchen Mat

I’ve been trying a lot of recipes from a new cookbook. I’ve found the fall recipe section especially inspiring.

salad freak

Salad Freak by Jess Damuck

So far I have made (all slightly adjusted to what I had in the fridge and on hand):

Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprouts with Roasted Squash and Walnuts

Health Food Salad

And a roasted vegetable salad (recipe to be posted soon).

Roasted Vegetable Salad

Roasted Vegetable Salad

A cookbook rarely inspires me this way.

It’s the season for soups and this one was welcome on a cool evening.

Friends have a dog (no longer a puppy) only a couple of days older than our Shanna. We have been scheduling ‘puppy play dates’ over the past 12 months, ever since they were fully vaccinated. Of course, it’s only an excuse for wine and snacks (sometimes a full dinner) on our deck as we laugh at puppy craziness. For our last meeting, we decided on a Greek tapas theme. I made this roasted eggplant with tomatoes and a miso-tahini sauce dish. It was a hit.

Eggplant is usually not one of my favorites, but this time it was roasted to a wonderfully charred deliciousness. It changed my mind.

And that is most of the notable events in the kitchen over the past month. We took a 4 day trip up the coast for a long weekend with hikes over to the lost coast and through the redwoods. It’s on my schedule to write a post detailing our adventures and some of the pictures. Walking through the redwoods feels like entering a cathedral. If you haven’t had an opportunity to visit, I highly recommend the experience. The burls look like creatures out of Lord of the Rings. Here is one:

Looks like a ghoul to me, pulling itself out of the tree.

I wish all of you in the U.S. a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with friendship and love. And, I love comments. Please let me know what’s new in your kitchen over the past month.

In My Kitchen – July 2022

In My Kitchen – July 2022

It’s been several months since my last IMK post. In My Kitchen is part of a collection of posts from bloggers around the world, hosted by Sherry of Sherrys pickings. The posts detail what’s new in kitchens over the past month (or several months as the case may be). Click on the link to read them or join us. What’s new in your kitchen?

In My Kitchen, or rather on the back deck, is a new smoker/BBQ. It was a very generous gift from a house guest and we have just started using it. Last night we had the juiciest and most delicious pork chops I have had in my entire life. First smoked and then quickly seared. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures because we gobbled up every last scrap and chewed on the bones as well. I apologize to any vegetarians reading this post.

Traeger Grill

Traeger Grill

In my kitchen I have some new whole wheat grains from Community Grains.

They are a California company dedicated to restoring the full meaning of “whole grain” to commercially available products.

From a study on their website:

“This study investigates whether current systems of whole wheat production and labeling meet consumer expectations for “whole wheat”:  a reasonable belief that 100% or certainly most of the kernel (“whole”) is contained in the output of any whole wheat mill and therefore any product made from it.  Dr. David Killilea developed a procedure for accurately determining levels of whole wheat in products labeled “whole grain” or “whole wheat,” taking measurements of a biomarker protein (wheat germ agglutinin—WGA) present in the germ of the wheat kernel.”

The results were fairly shocking in that many products labeled whole wheat are actually not.

In my kitchen I have some imported pumpkin torchio pasta which was delicious with a sauce of roasted butternut squash and fried sage leaves.

In my kitchen I have flowers, early summer is when Northern California gardens are in their prime. I love having freshly cut flowers in the house.

Flowers from the garden

Flowers from the garden

In my kitchen I have a new cookbook by Ali Slagle, I Dream of Dinner. She is a contributor to the NY Times food section.

I haven’t had a chance to cook from it yet although I am enjoying reading it. Have any of you tried anything?

The summer brings fairly simple meals around here, grilled chicken and sliced seasonal tomatoes being a favorite.

Chicken thighs on the Traeger grill

Leftovers make great tacos.

Lime Garlic Chicken Tacos

Lime Garlic Chicken Tacos

The garden has also been able to provide us with fresh zucchini and greens.

Zucchini from the garden

Zucchini from the garden

Because of the current uptick in Covid cases, I have been limiting how often I go to the grocery store for supplies. So occasionally the larder is somewhat bare. But I have found even a simple meal of roast asparagus and french toast eggs can be delicious. This meal reminded me of ‘toads in a hole’ as the eggs were baked in a hole in the bread.

A chilled glass of wine can make any meal memorable, even a simple one.

 

In my kitchen I always have dogs underfoot. My friend’s dog Heather was visiting and hanging out.

Casey, Quinn, Heather and Shanna

Casey, Quinn, Heather and Shanna

And here is Casey looking somewhat like a stuffed dog in her ‘thunder shirt’ which is supposed to calm her from anxiety.

Casey

Casey

Sadly she has been having a doggie version of night terrors. We are hoping that medication will calm her, so far it is having only limited effectiveness.

And that’s my update. I’d love to hear from you if you leave a comment.

 

 

In My Kitchen – April 2022

In My Kitchen – April 2022

This post is part of a compendium of posts from kitchens around the world. It’s especially wonderful to drool over the tomatoes and other vegetables harvested by bloggers in the Southern Hemisphere this time of year, when we in the North are struggling to find a creative way to use yet another head of cabbage or bunch of kale. Use the link to Sherrys Pickings to find them and drool away.

My kitchen is not particularly creative these days as I would much rather be outside in the garden. Meals have been on the simple side.

A roast chicken serves us for several meals, it’s a favorite and there are several versions from simple to fancy on this blog. If you have time, do rub a couple of teaspoons of kosher salt over the skin and let the chicken rest, breast side up and uncovered, in the fridge for at least an hour (I’ve left it for 48 hours). Then bring it to room temperature before roasting, about an hour is plenty of time depending on the temperature of your home. Leave the salt on when roasting, the skin will be crackly crisp and the meat tender. That short dry brine makes a huge difference to the final juiciness.

This quick mid-week’s version was coated with a mixture of peach jam and Dijon mustard (1:1) before being popped in the oven. To speed the cooking time, use a smaller roasting dish and open the legs out. It’s usually the inner part of the thigh that takes longer to cook when a chicken is traditionally trussed.

Midweek Roast Chicken with Carrots and Parsnips

Midweek Roast Chicken with Carrots, Onions and Parsnips

There were a few noteworthy dishes though…

For a more robust take on my roast cabbage with cream and parmesan, I made Melissa Clark’s streamlined stuffed cabbage. Ms. Clark is one of my favorite food writers and I find her recipes are frequent winners.

Roast Cabbage Steaks with Cream and Parmesan

Roast Cabbage Steaks with Cream and Parmesan

Her recipe (published in the NY Times) had a paste of garlic, anchovies, parmesan rubbed between the leaves before roasting. A sprinkling of chopped walnuts for the last 10 minutes, and a garnish of more grated parmesan and chopped parsley completed the dish.

Roast Cabbage

Roast Cabbage with Provincial Flavors

It definitely had a ‘South of France’ vibe and was delicious.

In my kitchen I have some new containers to keep my fridge organized. These were a gift from a houseguest who swore by them. They do keep produce fresh much longer.

Fridge organizers

Fridge organizers

But just every bit as valuable, they allow me to see whats in the fridge rather than produce languishing in the back of the vegetable drawer.

In My Kitchen I prepared a Moroccan inspired dinner for friends who are finally departing on a much delayed vacation trip. On the menu was a salad of roasted cauliflower, carrots, couscous, garbanzo beans, currents, almonds and green olives.

Moroccan Salad

Moroccan Salad

As well as an eggplant and tomato spread, feta, stuffed grape leaves, and olives.

Eggplant spread

Eggplant spread

It was a beautiful spring day and we ate outside in the sunshine.

And lastly, our puppy Shanna has yet to meet a vegetable she doesn’t like. Here she is begging for a piece of broccoli stem. Which she promptly ate, and requested more.

In My Kitchen – August 2021

In My Kitchen – August 2021

The puppy has swallowed a large amount of my time this month and much of the remaining mouthful was eaten by the garden. But that doesn’t mean the kitchen has been completely neglected.

From the kitchen I can watch the dogs.

Quinn and her friend puppy Shanna

Quinn and her friend puppy Shanna

Both of them enjoy chewing on sticks, sometimes this results in a very funny expression.

A stick smile

A stick smile

 

Shanna @ 14 weeks

Shanna @ 14 weeks, usually confined when I am actually cooking

Casey is best for encouraging a nap.

Nap time, Casey and Shanna

Nap time, Casey and Shanna

So, what is new?

In my kitchen I have some new measuring cups. These three are specifically designed for liquids, 1 cup – 2 cup – and 4 cup. They are convenient because the measurements can be seen from the top. The handle of my old 1 cup broke and needed replacing so I was excited to get the two other sizes as well.

The 4-cup one is perfect for refilling the hummingbird feeder. The feeder holds almost a quart and needs refilling every few days. I’ve never used so much sugar. Those little birds are ravenous and entertain us with their acrobatics (and battles) outside the dining area window.

In my kitchen garden I have an abundance of zucchini which I have been grilling and making into delicious zucchini fritters. I found a recipe for making them in the air fryer with less than a tablespoon of oil. I am sure you could also do this in the oven.

I will get around to posting the recipe. I’ve made them at least once a week since I found the recipe.

zucchini fritters garnished with avocado

zucchini fritters garnished with avocado and chives

Simply grilled zucchini is also frequently on the menu.

Grilled Summer Squash

Grilled Summer Squash

In my kitchen I have bouquets of sweet peas. They were very late this year, it’s unusual for them to produce so many blooms into August. The scent reminds me of my grandparents garden in England.

Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas

In my kitchen I have sheet pan dinners. Chicken, cauliflower, red pepper sheet pan dinner

I discovered a neat trick for adding extra veggies, I added some lightly oiled kale to the pan for the last 15 minutes. It resulted in crispy kale with the rest of the meal.

kale

roasted kale

This sheet pan resulted in a warm chicken salad with walnuts and blue cheese.

Warm Chicken Salad with Walnuts and Blue Cheese

Warm Chicken Salad with Cauliflower, Walnuts and Blue Cheese

The weather has finally warmed and we are able to have some meals out on the deck. It’s been a foggy summer here on the coast.

Al fresco dining

Al fresco dining

And lastly in my kitchen I have this fun paper collage picture of Casey. I helped host a workshop at the gardens and this was my project.

paper collage

paper collage – Casey

I think it does look like Casey, a little. Anyway it was a lot of fun.

Casey

Casey – ever hopeful to get a treat

This In My Kitchen post is part of a monthly collection of blogs from around the world, focused on what is new in our kitchen (and lives) from the last month. It’s hosted by Sherry of Sherry’s Pickings out of Australia. Please do click on the link to find out what is new in all of our kitchens.

In My Kitchen – June 2021

In My Kitchen – June 2021

In My Kitchen is a monthly gathering of bloggers from around the world writing about what is new and eventful in their kitchens. It is hosted by Sherry of Sherrys Pickings. Click on the link to discover new ideas, gadgets, recipes, and kitchen stories from talented and entertaining cooks. And please consider making your own contribution.

It’s been a quiet few weeks in my kitchen. A visit to the dentist and the emergency extraction of an infected tooth has kept me on soft and simple foods. However, there are a few things of note.

A kind reader reminded me of a recipe I posted for teriyaki sauce made with dates, no sugar, from way back in February of 2015. I decided it was worth revisiting. You will find the original post here. I made another batch and plan to use it to make teriyaki chicken. It is a thick sauce which would also be suitable for garnishing a rice bowl. I need to go back and reread some of my older posts, there were some pretty good ideas if I do say so myself.

My talented brother made me this wonderful pepper mill.

Pepper Mill

Pepper Mill – from Bocote Wood

Bocote wood is a Mexican and Central/South American Hardwood. Aren’t the contrasting zebra-like dark brown and black stripes beautiful? The pepper mill is unusual because it rests upside down, you remove the top and turn it over to grind the pepper. That way the grinds don’t end up all over the table. Such a lovely gift! Thank you John.

Now that so many of my friends have been vaccinated, we are slowly starting to visit each other. After the isolation of the last 15 months It is pure joy to see them. On a recent leisurely shopping afternoon in Mendocino I found these wonderful carved tongs and chop sticks.

I love the uniqueness of the chopsticks.

In my kitchen I almost always have at least one dog waiting for a belly rub. This is Casey tempting me. Who could resist that furry belly?

Casey

Casey

As far as things of note I’ve cooked this month (or rather in the last 30 days). There is…

 

 

 

 

I haven’t posted this one yet and hope to get around to it. The meatballs were cooked in the air fryer (both gluten and dairy free) and they turned out beautifully. We grilled the eggplant on the BBQ and garnished everything with crisp fried garbanzo beans and pomegranate seeds plus mint and parsley. It made for a scrumptious platter of food for dinner guests.

Crispy Lamb Meatballs with Grilled Eggplant

Crispy Lamb Meatballs with Grilled Eggplant

And lastly this salad, a wonderful side for a BBQ.

And here is my June curveball…

New Aussie Pupp

New Aussie Puppy

She is 3 weeks old in the picture, we are looking forward to her joining our family sometime near the end of this month. We haven’t decided on a name yet and are open to ideas. Please do leave a comment if you have a suggestion.