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
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,
Sometimes the memory of a flavor is all it takes to rekindle a foodie’s enthusiasm.
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!
Lately I’ve been living life in “small bites” — one tentative taste at a time — until I’m ready to jump in again.
And that’s okay. Autumn is progressing nicely at the lake. Me, too.
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.
(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
- Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan or deep fat fryer to 375 F.
- Meanwhile combine rice, Parmesan, and 1 egg. Use your hands to mix.
- Form the Arancini by squeezing 1/4 portion of the rice mixture around each Mozzarella cube.
- Whisk remaining egg in a bowl, dip the Arancini into it, then roll in Italian breadcrumbs. Shake off excess and set aside.
- When oil reaches 375 F, fry two Arancini at a time, turning frequently until golden brown.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining Arancini.
- Serve with warmed marinara sauce. (Or, a glass of Prosecco… heavenly!)
Loving appetizer adventures — authentic or not,
Thanks to the International Dateline, it’s October in Australia when it’s still September in Oklahoma. Since October is my favorite month I thought, “Why not revel in it ahead of schedule?” I love having an extra day to play.
In My Kitchen… chocolate covered espresso beans from Nuts.com keep me happy — and peppy. (Limit 2-3 per day.) I often joke that my blood type is “C” for chocolate and caffeine.
In My Kitchen… heartwarming side dishes such as German Potato Salad have begun to grace our table now that the weather has finally turned cooler. The oval baking dish once belonged to my Grandma. Never mind that it’s still in the upper 80’s yet — in Oklahoma, that is cooler weather.
In My Kitchen… this Orange Marmalade from France (discovered at a local grocer’s of all places!) is not too tart, not too sweet. “Juuust right” as Goldilocks once declared. I love it on toast or straight out of the jar — especially with a good cup of coffee.
In My Kitchen… is another Grandma treasure. I brought her antique coffee grinder home with me over two years ago, but it’s been languishing in a cupboard ever since for lack of a sturdy place to mount it. (Such are the joys of living in a house with paper-thin walls…)
The other night while I was at choir rehearsal, The Man Of Few Words decided to surprise me by fashioning an “adapter” for it: a rustic-looking chunk of wood from one of his many projects. Imagine my gratitude — and huge wave of sentimentality — for his thoughtfulness.
Coffee has never tasted so sublime.
In My Kitchen… October is officially here and I’m ready to celebrate every moment… ahead of time.
In My Kitchen is a monthly gathering hostessed by Sherry Mackay of Sherry’s Pickings, who happens to live in Australia and who cordially invites kitchen-lovers around the world to share their food, frolics, and finds. Click on her website above to access the link-up whether you wish to participate or just take a look-see!
Enjoying slightly cooler weather,
Writing is chocolate for the soul.
I penned those words nearly ten years ago and I still abide by them.
(Hope you can zoom in on the instructions on my Emergency stash — now an empty box — but hey, some things are worth keeping, including decade old words.)
Now that I’m officially a Lakegirl (woohoo!) I’ve had time to reflect on life and how I’m living it.
Make every day count. Do what makes you happy!
But, serve others with JOY — even if it’s via a random post — or chocolate. ;)
Enjoying LIFE at the lake,
Greetings from Oklahoma, at long last. It’s been awhile since I’ve played in this forum and I’m tickled to be here. I’m also looking forward to catching up with you!
In My Kitchen… I’m celebrating the continuity of daily life. Simple things like setting up the coffeemaker for The Man of Few Words’ 4:15 a.m. wake-up call or planning meals for his return at the end of the day bring me profound JOY. Some may consider that mundane, but I’m reveling in the “routine-ness” of it all after being at the mercy of my phone for the past five years and/or living out of a suitcase for months on end. I’m finally home.
In My Kitchen… a few essentials found their way into my repertoire, such as this stainless steel canister set — another thrift store bargain — brand new in the box! Previously I would’ve filled them with flour and sugar, etc., but these are destined to store rice: arborio, basmati, brown, and jasmine. (I keep my coveted wild rice stash in the freezer to preserve its “nuttiness.” You can take the girl out of Minnesota, lol…)
I also invested in a lethal-looking vegetable cleaver in hopes of bringing my knife skills up to “chef speed” someday, but right now preserving my piano playin’ fingers is a higher priority. I love looking at it though. Gorgeous! (Michael Symon, please help?)
In My Kitchen… healthy food is also a priority. I came home packing extra pounds (argh) and I’m determined to shed them a.s.a.p! Thank goodness for the generous gardeners willing to share their produce. Next year I hope to be among the givers instead of receivers, but I’m grateful for the thoughtful folks who do. (Thanks, Rosie!) In the meantime, I enjoyed every bite of this Tuna Salad Stuffed Tomato.
Earlier on FB (during an infrequent attempt to let y’all know I was still alive & kickin’) I mentioned my “Crunchy Chicken Salad.” I promise to post that recipe soon! This was just your basic tuna, mayo, celery, and onion concoction — but oh, soooo good in a homegrown red ripe tomato.
In My Kitchen… is this beautiful butterfly butter dish — a surprise gift from my son. Tom drove me home from Minnesota and stayed for a few weeks, during which time we attended a grand opening of a friend’s store. (Sparkle & Rust in Stigler, Oklahoma — YAY, Cyanne!) What a delightful venue. I’ll be back…
Speaking of being back, I’m thrilled to be In My Kitchen again, in more ways than one. Many thanks to Sherry’s Pickings for hostessing this world-wide roundup. Always a pleasure to join you, my dear! If you’d like to see more or post your own adventures, please click on the link above.
Enjoying being home and being “me”,