In My Kitchen ~ January 2019

This month our In My Kitchen hostess — Sherry Mackay of Sherry’s Pickings — deemed January as IMK Lite, so I’m cutting to the chase…

In My Kitchen… these five-bladed scissors (above) are a delight for snipping herbs. Downsizing dill has never been so speedy!

In My Kitchen… is a long-waited dishwasher. The one that came with our house was twenty years old. It quit in October. A repairman was called and the earliest he could come was November. Parts were ordered, but one was out of stock and Thanksgiving came and went. By early December I was frustrated, although I didn’t mind washing dishes by hand and the old dishwasher served nicely as “the world’s largest dish draining rack.” The week before Christmas I cancelled the service order, bought this one, and The Man Of Few Words installed it in less than two hours — including replacing the floor under it. (Apparently the old girl had been leaking for awhile.) Long story short: I’m blessed by my hubby’s ability to fix anything and the new dishwasher works great.

In My Kitchen… are two ceramic-coated skillets to match a lil’ one I got last year. Scrambled eggs slid right out of it and my other non-stick pans needed replacing. There you have it!

For more global gadgets and ingredients, click on the link to Sherry’s blog (top o’ the page) and discover a world of FUN and flavor.

Enjoying brevity,

~ Kim

Christmas Day 2018

All is calm, but not so bright at the lake on December 25, 2018. Impending thunderstorms and overcast skies were the only thing this holiday morn had to offer photographically, however I still found JOY in the stillness and the quiet, muted colors. Hope you do, too! Things don’t always have to be “tinsel and glitter” to enjoy moments of peace.

After I fixed breakfast for The Man Of Few Words (bacon and eggs for him; a Mimosa and a stellar cup of freshly ground coffee for me:) we went for a walkabout ’round the ‘hood to check on our lake neighbors’ homes. All was well, except for evidence of a renegade armadillo who decided to take up residence under one of their houses and who continues to dig up our yards. (Such are the joys of living in rural Oklahoma.)

Ghosts of Christmas Past (and present) also caught my eye…

The Driftwood Trees have been a constant presence in our view ever since we moved here — remnants of former mountains and homes submerged after the huge dam fifteen miles east of us was completed in the 1960’s when Oklahoma’s largest lake was formed. I’ve always wondered what it was like to learn your home was about to be under water (sort of like the scene in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”)

Thankfully, we’ve remained high and dry — even at flood stage.

Still, the mountains in the distance (and valleys far below) give me pause for thought and tons gratitude for living on “The Hill.” Like peoples’ lives, you never know what may lurk underneath. Listen to their stories and they’ll honor yours. Everybody has a story to tell.

Surprisingly, this was the only “color” I discovered today — on Christmas Day. (That, and a delightful bouquet from TMOFW; guess he noticed I’ve been watching every Charlie Brown Special on TV since the holidays began. :)

May your holidays be merry and bright, even on grey days. XO!

Loving LIFE at the lake,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ December 2018


In My Kitchen… I’ve been conducting an experiment. I discovered a bottle stopper online that claimed to keep champagne and/or Proscecco “bubbly” for up to three days. With New Year’s Eve coming up ‘n’ all, I was curious… and it works. Plenty of fizz left on Day 3! Thanks, Pampered Chef.

In My Kitchen… these wine charms are a nostalgic reminder of my late sister. I gave them to her years ago and they were “gifted” back to me. Can’t help but smile every time I use them. Pick a color, any color. She was as colorful and charming as they are, plus you keep your glasses straight. :) 

In My Kitchen… is a beautiful hand-painted English plate that I discovered at our church thrift store. I never know what I’m going to find there and this one was a keeper, especially since I’m a tad shy on “decorative” serving pieces yet. What to  serve on it? Stuffed mushrooms? Scotch eggs? (Post coming soon.) Any or all holiday appetizers? We don’t get much company at the lake, but some of The Man of Few Word’s family members will be arriving to celebrate New Year’s Eve with us and I’m excited about their upcoming visit. Time to break out the “good” dishes. Why wait?

Bonus points for this one-of-a-kind bowl (also found at the thrift store) now In My Kitchen. Made in the German Democratic Republic and signed in gold on the bottom, I couldn’t resist such exquisite craftsmanship.

In My Kitchen… is this Romertopf clay baker. I’ve always wanted one — as opposed to needing one — but a friend cleaned out her kitchen cupboards and let me have first pick and I’m feeling blessed.

Over the years I’ve been SO privileged to participate In My Kitchen. In recent years in some months that’s all I’ve managed to post! First begun by Celia and later continued by MaureenLiz, and now Sherry of Sherry’s Pickings (click on Sherry’s link for the latest), these lovely ladies have put a LOT of effort into forming and promoting  worldwide friendships through our mutual love of cooking. Thank you all and Happy Holidays, xo! 

Enjoying life In My Kitchen and YOU,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ November 2018

In My Kitchen… this Hungarian paprika trio was an unexpected gift from a friend who toted them from Budapest to Oklahoma. (Thanks, Louise!) My family hails from the “Old Country” and I’m thinking goulash.
In My Kitchen… these antique “butter knife rests” (think Downton Abbey‘s table) were an unexpected find at the church store. Another friend pointed them out to me and all I could say was “sold!” — and thank you. The Man Of Few Words and I are celebrating our anniversary this weekend and it’ll be fun to surprise him with an elegant dinner. Speaking of which…

In My Kitchen… he surprised me with two bouquets!

This post is part of Sherry MacKay’s monthly In My Kitchen series, where there’s always something unexpected. Go take a look for yourself! Enjoying roots and wings, ~ Kim

Peaceful Places

Autumn brings out the playful side of me. Although I could easily become a hermit sequestered on our scenic slice o’ the planet (understandably so), Lake Eufaula has many scenic wonders to behold.

One peaceful place on my bucket “must-see” list is Carlton Landing — Oklahoma’s newest town. Not only does the drive offer a lovely meander through the woods with amusing Burma Shave-style signs along the way, their view from Ridgeline Park is spectacular. So is their ongoing expansion. (Click the link above for more details.)

Several phrases that come to mind are: “family-friendly”, artists’ and architects’ dream, and nice folks.

Did I mention pizza?

Carlton Landing is also home to Mama Tig’s Wood Fired Pizza. Oh my! Their gluten-free crusts are totally worth the drive, not to mention their extensive variety of gourmet and traditional toppings. And whenever I’m feeling “hermit-like”, their food truck (with a pizza kiln) is conveniently parked in downtown Eufaula on Friday night five minutes away. Pinch me…

Or, pull up a chair and enjoy!

Enjoying nearby peaceful places,

~ Kim

Life In Small Bites

Sometimes the memory of a flavor is all it takes to rekindle a foodie’s enthusiasm.

Mushroom bouquet

One fine Autumn day as I wandered around our yard, I happened upon an unexpected “mushroom bouquet” and my first thought was food.

They immediately evoked memories of mushrooms past. Slowly simmered in a velvety red wine sauce laced with garlic. Stuffed mushrooms. Mushroom pate’. Manchego mushrooms.

So many possibilities!

Autumn treasures

Lately I’ve been living life in “small bites” — one tentative taste at a time — until I’m ready to jump in again.

Rediscovering flavor.

And that’s okay. Autumn is progressing nicely at the lake. Me, too. 

Loving life,

~ Kim

Arancini Adventures

Arancini (pronounced arrrr-un-cheeni — roll that “r” like a pirate!) are cheese-stuffed rice croquettes from Italy. A friend from In My Kitchen recently chronicled her escapades in the Mediterranean — thanks, Debi — including a photo of Arancini and I couldn’t resist their allure any longer. Game on!

Speaking of games, I love to play Scrabble. It was time to combine that old favorite with a potential new one, and after researching a few recipes I set out on my Arancini Adventures.

The first challenge was a lack of Mozzarella in our fridge, but I had a bag of Italian five-cheese blend left from an ‘Italian’ dish I’d made for The Man Of Few Words the other night. Out of necessity (and/or desperation) I squeezed that shredded cheese into stuffable-size “balls.” Not quite as authentic as Mozzarella cubes, but I’ve been known to do things the hard way.

The next obstacle was Italian bread crumbs. All I had in the pantry were plain, and gluten-free to boot. I wondered if they’d yield the golden, deep-fried results I hoped to achieve? FYI, folks in the South aren’t squeamish about dunking food in hot oil and there’s a first time for everything — plus, I’m blessed with low cholesterol. A sprinkle of garlic powder and a tablespoon of Italian seasoning transformed them into “Italian” bread crumbs in no time at all.

As for leftover rice, I keep it on hand in the fridge at all times. I could very happily live on beans and rice for the rest of my life! But, today’s stash was destined to become Arancini. However, there’s no need to go to as much trouble as I did; see the recipe below. 

Arancini

(recipe adapted from Just A Taste — grazie!)

1 cup cooked sticky white rice (Uncle Ben’s was specified; I used “plain white”)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 large eggs

4 cubes fresh Mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup Italian-style bread crumbs

Oil for frying

Marinara sauce for dipping

  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan or deep fat fryer to 375 F.
  2. Meanwhile combine rice, Parmesan, and 1 egg. Use your hands to mix.
  3. Form the Arancini by squeezing 1/4 portion of the rice mixture around each Mozzarella cube.
  4. Whisk remaining egg in a bowl, dip the Arancini into it, then roll in Italian breadcrumbs. Shake off excess and set aside.
  5. When oil reaches 375 F, fry two Arancini at a time, turning frequently until golden brown.
  6. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining Arancini.
  7. Serve with warmed marinara sauce. (Or, a glass of Prosecco… heavenly!)

Loving appetizer adventures — authentic or not,

~ Kim