How High Is The Water, Mama? (Rhapsody in Blue VII)

Old Boy contemplates a cloud

Old Boy (my Great Blue Heron friend) usually sits in the “driftwood tree” farther out in the lake. Remember? 

These days he’s roosting elsewhere and I can’t blame him.

The tips of the branches you see in the photo below are the top of that tree after two weeks’ worth of rain… with another weeks’ worth of thunderstorms in the forecast.

High water

That’s a lot of water!

(Or, as they say around here: a “Lotawatah.”)

There’s a road by that name not far from here — for good reason.

High water 1

This photo is more “brown” than “blue” but you get the idea…

A neighbor called to check on the flooding by his cabin. (This is the photo I sent in reply.) Somehow it reminded me of Johnny Cash’s song, “Five Feet High and Rising.”

How high is the water, Mama? Two feet high and risin’… three feet high and risin’… four feet high and risin’ — and on it goes. Whether or not you’re a Johnny Cash fan, The Man In Black wrote real-life lyrics (even though his song pertained to flooding in next-door Arkansas at the time.) Yup… that’s our “real life” at present.

According to the Army Corp of Engineers — the efficient folks letting out the deluge day by day at the dam 15 miles east of here (yes, our lake is THAT big!) — Lake Eufaula is hovering around 598 feet… 13 feet above “normal.”

Disappearing driftwood tree

Generally there’s a 15 foot “drop” between the lake and our “lakeshore”

It’s comforting to know that the ol’ Lightning Tree has witnessed this before — and oh, how I love looking at things from a tree’s perspective! There’s less chaos and more calm about the rising water level when witnessed by a stalwart soul — merely a phenomenon to note (despite the waves crashing ashore on windy days) — ho hum, been there, done that. Que Sera Sera.

Thankfully we live farther up “the hill” and are safe and well, other than the occasional water moccasin (aka poisonous “cotton mouth” snake) in search of a place to sun themselves. Can’t blame them either! Their habitat is in more danger than ours.

Please pray for our friends and neighbors (vertebrates and invertebrates alike) living in the low-lying areas. We may be treading carefully these days, but at least we aren’t treading water!

Enjoying “life on the lake” in spite of things,

~ Kim

Behind The Scenes: Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport For Adventurous Palates cookbook

Blog Tour - May-1-28-2015

I’ve been holding a secret treasure in my hands for over a year — filled with wonder, adventure, and tales from around the globe shared by a precious gem of a friend — right there in my writing nook.

When Ally Phillips asked if I’d edit her cookbook-in-the-making in April 2014, of course I jumped at the opportunity — and onto her “magic carpet!” What a ride it’s been since.

Besides working on editorial stuff (spelling, grammar, formatting recipes, arranging page flow, and making sure Ally’s “voice” came through, etc.), I played in my kitchen — and around the house. Ally encourages that. :)

Did I mention fabulous food? (I didn’t spend all my time on the computer!)

Being privy to some of the most imaginative recipes I’ve ever read prompted me to “taste test” frequently, too.

So far I’ve savored Makai Paka, Pan Seared Flounder with Fresh Herb Tomatoes, French-Inspired Beef Roast, Croatian Potato Salad, Bourbon Drizzle, Shakshouka, and more.

Now that Ally’s “treasure” is shared with the world (available in bookstores May 12th) you can discover other folks’ reactions to it (and recipes they’ve tried) on the Blog Tour.

No surprise that the reviews are as diverse as the author ~ ‘expressing your unique self’ is a theme throughout her cookbook.

“It’s my sincere hope that ‘Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport For Adventurous Palates’ will be the spark, the catalyst that allows you to discover your own special sense of style ~ not just in the kitchen, but in life and living.” ~~ ally

singaporean grilled glazed salmon

Singaporean Grilled Glazed Salmon

(from Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport For Adventurous Palates)

Salmon~

1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger (I used 1 tsp. ground ginger)

1 tsp. lemon pepper (I used 1/2 tsp. each fresh lemon zest & coarsely ground pepper)

1/2 tsp. sea salt

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 (1 lb.) salmon filet, approximately 1-inch thick, cut into two pieces

Cooking spray

marinade in the making

In a small bowl, combine the ginger, lemon pepper, salt, and sesame oil and blend well. Score the top of the salmon about 1/4-inch deep, then drizzle with the marinade and rub it into the salmon. Cover and refrigerate about an hour before cooking.

Glaze~

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup cranberry juice

1 Tbsp. concentrated tomato paste

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce (I used Tamari)

1 tsp. freshly grated ginger (I used about 1/2 tsp. ground ginger)

juice of 1/2 lime

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. mustard

1 tsp. red curry powder

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. Chinese 5-Spice

sauce

Combine the brown sugar, cranberry juice, tomato paste, soy sauce, ginger, lime juice, garlic, mustard, red curry powder, turmeric, and Chinese 5-Spice in a heavy medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring and cooking about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook another 8-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.

Coat outdoor grill grates with cooking spray and heat to 300-350 degrees. Place the salmon on the grill and cook 1-1/2 to 2 minutes on each side (or to your desired doneness), closing the lid in between turning. Turn off the grill and use a pastry brush to coat the top of the salmon with the glaze. Close the lid again for about 3 minutes, then remove the salmon to a plate for serving.

(I “boho’d” mine by plating it over gluten-free black bean “spaghetti.”)

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For more about Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport For Adventurous Palates please visit:

Ally’s Kitchen

Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble

Book signings/events

Cookbook trailer (3 minute video featuring Ally)

Blog Tour (May 1-28, 2015)

Enjoying sharing “treasure” with you,

~ Kim

Disclaimer:  Cedar Fort Media & Publishing provided me with a complimentary copy of this cookbook and I’m employed by Ally’s Kitchen LLC, but the opinions expressed in this review are uncompensated and entirely mine.

In My Kitchen ~ May 2015

SHB enameled copper keepsake

In My Kitchen is the most intriguing yard sale “find” I’ve ever run across… a small enameled copper trinket box with the initials “SHB” on the lid. (Displayed here on a beautiful handmade doily — one of many sent to me by the lovely Australian blogger, Maree from Around The Mulberry Tree — thank you, xo!)

When I got home, I Googled “SHB” and the only thing that came up was Sydney Harbor Bridge. Could it actually be from Australia? (And wouldn’t THAT be a cool coincidence?!) Plus it was only 25 cents… a steal for such fine craftsmanship.

If anybody has a clue as to its origins, I’d love to hear about it.

Italian Wedding Soup ala Kimby

In My Kitchen is (was) a bowl of Italian Wedding Soup — with a solitary substantial noodle meandering through it. :)

Actually, this was a “combo” creation… I used Chef Dennis Littley’s recipe, a lil’ o’ my homemade vegetable stock, and some tomato & cracked black pepper Pappardelle pasta sent to me by Ally Phillips. (She sent the background tea towel, too.) I just LOVE going to my mailbox!

If you’re interested in seeing these two FUN foodie personalities interact (along with Dennis’ cordial co-host, Susan Serra), please tune into the next G+ episode of Around The Kitchen Table on May 6th. (Good times — and good food!)

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In My Kitchen is an absolutely gorgeous bouquet from The Man Of Few Words — hand picked and presented with a boyish smile. xo

That’s what life is all about. (In My Kitchen or otherwise!)

For more kitchen goodies from around the world, treat yourself to a visit to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Monthly posts are listed in Celia’s sidebar and I guarantee you’ll love ’em!

Enjoying “normal” life at last,

~ Kim

The Big Reveal

Bourbon Drizzle
Bourbon Drizzle from “Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport For Adventurous Palates”

For months I’ve been hinting about a project I’ve been working on, and here ’tis at last.

Every once in awhile you run across somebody who inspires you to look at life differently. Someone who makes you giddy considering the possibilities in front of you. An instigator… an energizing spirit… an innovative foodie… a kindred soul!

Ladies and gents, if you haven’t already had the pleasure of meeting Ally Phillips, I’m tickled to introduce her to ya…

Ally

Ally entered blog world a few years ago, and since then she’s been off and runnin’ — cooking, creating, capturing mouthwatering photos, competing in contests (and winning!) — not to mention writing a one-of-a-kind cookbook.

When this cohort in cooking-dom asked if I’d be willing to edit it last year, I didn’t have to think twice before saying YES. The prospect of combining my love of the King’s English with her unparalleled savvy in the kitchen, sensational stories spanning the globe, and innate sense of adventure was meant to be! Plus I’ve always wanted to work at home in my jammies. ;)

Bonus points for getting a first-peek at Ally’s scrumptious recipes, too! Here’s the Croatian Potato Salad I made for dinner the other night. OH MY!!!

To see what other folks are saying about Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport for Adventurous Palates, check out the “Blog Tour” (May 1-28) here. 

And, for a brief (3 minute) FUN video about the cookbook click here.

Life’s been good ~ blessed ~ and “boholicious” every day! (Thanks, Ally, xo.)

Enjoying multi-talented friends ~ and words,

~ Kim

French Scrambled Eggs with Homemade Gravlax

Scrambled Eggs with Dill and Gravlax

I have too much time on my hands.

(Either that, or I’m finally making time and following my culinary instincts — and taste buds — or treating myself right.)

Take homemade gravlax, for instance. It requires a 72 hour process of curing and flipping the salmon and seasonings every 12 hours. Totally worth the effort… especially when it comes to making breakfast.

Homemade Gravlax 2

Generally, I’m not a breakfast eater (I know, I know…), but I woke up hungry and in the mood for scrambled eggs — not just any scrambled eggs — Julia Child’s scrambled eggs.

(That’s what I get for reading The Art of French Cooking for fun last winter.)

There’s something about the simplicity of French-inspired scrambled eggs, gently beaten and coaxed into creamy curds with a lil’ butter and some patient attention, combined with long-awaited peace and quiet — and the first crop of irises gracing our dining room table.

Breakfast of Champions

Today my soul wanted… needed… breakfast. Simple. Sublime. Sexy.

My dill plant provided the perfect touch of color and flavor to accentuate the undertones of the gravlax and the creaminess of the eggs (nirvana) — plus a lil’ French press coffee and freshly-squeezed orange juice never hurt.

Yup, definitely worth the effort!

Homemade Gravlax

For a gravlax how-to please refer to this recipe by love & olive oil — which they subsequently credited to Saveur — and whose directions and comments were very helpful, FYI. Good stuff either way! Just be sure to rinse the gravlax thoroughly to remove the salt. (I omitted the usual salt — and pepper — from my eggs to be sure, and they were divine “bite by bite.”)

For a scrambled egg tutorial dang near close to Julia’s, click here. Do your research, people, then please your tastebuds, xo!

Have you made a special breakfast or meal for you lately?

Enjoying nurturing moi (and hopefully you…), 

~ Kim

P.S. You deserve it!

Cardinal Rule


Cardinal Rule

Cardinal Rule: “Of foremost importance; paramount.” (The Free Dictionary) “Central or essential.” (Vocabulary.com) “A substantial rule that is in place for a situation or organization… and it must not be broken at any time.” (Urban Dictionary)   “A fundamental rule upon which others hinge.” (Wiktionary)

Do you have a cardinal rule? (Do tell.)

Mine is: “Look for beauty, then share it.” (Even if it’s found in the ruins of your front yard — never mind that it resembles an archaeological dig at this point.) I’ve been known to “grid” a plot or two in search of hidden treasure…

Archaeological Dig I

Despite recent torrential rains, thunderstorms, fog, drizzle, and mist, I try to make a lil’ progress every day in my quest for undiscovered beauty, because “seeing” requires conscious effort and clean-up doesn’t have to be “work.” (Plus it’s more fun that way!)

My cardinal rule (re-stated) is: Share the wonder! Everything meaningful hinges on that.

Take a look-see…

Once rigid dishes and glassware were tempered and transformed into softer versions of themselves — like Moi. Life. People.

Be appreciative of all of them — especially YOU — you’re an artwork in the making! Gentleness is often shaped by the harshest of circumstances, and beauty is often staring you in the face… so LOOK! (Especially at your yourself.) You might be surprised by what you discover!

Be kinder and gentler. Loving. Soft…

A Softer Perspective

Enjoying unexpected art in the aftermath,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ April 2015

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In My Kitchen there’s actually a kitchen — at long last!

The Stove is nestled into its permanent place, ingredients and utensils are within reach (although I’m still rearranging those, lol!) and daily life is beginning to feel more like “me.”

Thank you… xo.

The Fridge

The Fridge

In My Kitchen The Fridge stands guard looking rather like Darth Vader — but I love it!

I’ve never had so much fridge/freezer storage in my entire life and I’m mindful of using it to its best advantage… preferably sharing food with others. Again, I can’t thank you enough!

(FYI, I plan to paint the kitchen walls an elegant light gray — right now they look kind of “busy” with the flooring, but — one ‘to do’ at a time.)

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In My Kitchen is a Back To The Basics set of dishes with no frills attached, except for various pattern derivations that caught my eye beyond the original set. (Thrift store bargains… you know me! ;)

Sometimes starting with a clean slate — or plate — is the best way to go until you decide otherwise. Simplicity, anyone?

Speaking of which, here’s our makeshift “deck” for now — a 2 x 4 ‘landing’ constructed by TMOFW — but we’re grateful to be in the same spot. (Disregard the charred front yard debris… workin’ on it!)

Our Temporary Deck -- same lake, different view!

Our Temporary Deck — same lake, different view!

In My Kitchen are about a hundred other blessings so I’m just going to post a “collage” to keep this short. We still have LOTS of work to do outside and in!

Necessarily so, I’ll be keeping my online activities at a minimum until the end of April (thanks for bearing with me), but please know that I LOVE reading your IMK posts, and thank you profusely for reading and commenting on mine. xo

Here’s a peek at what’s been transpiring…

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In My Kitchen it’s been cozy, crazy, and busy, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. No matter how “life” presents itself make it your own… it’s the only one you’ve got!

This month’s IMK post is dedicated to Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who hostesses IMK graciously from “Down Under” — as well as each and every one of you who have unquestionably demonstrated what Welcome Home truly means.

Enjoying life every day and every day life,

~ Kim

P.S. Please stop by Celia’s blog to poke around kitchens the world over (great fun!) and also to wish her a Happy Half Century. ;)