In My Kitchen ~ January 2014

There’s something about the first week of a new year that appeals to me. Maybe it’s the contrast between last month’s pace, this month’s peace, and the prospect of a fresh start? Or quite possibly, it may have to do with new kitchen toys and goodies…

Ramekins & Salt

In my kitchen are a pair of snowflake ramekins and a jar of Jurassic Salt. The ramekins were a gift from my Sis (xo!) and the salt was a gift to myself. Since Minnesota and the Himalayas are rather snowy places, I thought it would be befitting to photograph these on my favorite wool sweater. Oklahoma has been colder than usual, too.

Hazelnut Flour

In my kitchen is hazelnut flour. I purchased it with the sole intent of baking a cake, but between unexpected guests and cooking for the masses, the closest I got was throwing together some mini hazelnut tarts filled with chocolate ganache. (Sorry, no photo; they were gone in a flash.) I will have my cake and eat it, too — in March. Every year I’m on the lookout for “the” birthday cake and Hotly Spiced’s Gluten Free Chocolate Hazelnut Cake is “it.” (Thanks, Charlie!)

GF Flour

In my kitchen is a growing assortment of gluten free products. The verdict is still out whether or not gluten will be my lifelong nemesis, but the variety of options is a delight for someone who loves to experiment with ingredients. So far I’ve made popovers, pizza, and focaccia and they’ve fulfilled my bread-lovin’ heart… and stomach.

AirBake cookie sheets

In my kitchen is a set of AirBake cookie sheets. (Again, courtesy of my Sis, xo!) I’m in baking heaven and apparently the cookie sheets are, too — they look like they’re floating on air in this photo! I’m confident they’ll live up to their name.

What’s in your kitchen? If you’d like to join in, please contact Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who graciously hosts this world-wide round up every month. Or, take a look at the links in her sidebar — guaranteed to warm your heart.

Happy New Year!

Enjoying new kitchen toys and goodies,

~ Kim

63 thoughts on “In My Kitchen ~ January 2014

    • Johanna, I didn’t realize what a sheltered life I’d led until I perused the flour aisle at our local health food store. (Born and raised on wheat… what can I say?) I feel the same way as you about salt, too!

  1. Hi Kim, happy new year. I thought I had popped in to comment, but I haven’t it seems. All the best and thank you for the peek into your kitchen. So many good things. Thanks too for your note about the food verse page. Glad you like it xo

    • Liz, I understand how easy it is to miss a post! IMK has grown exponentially and not everybody comments on everybody’s each month. (I notice Celia does! She’s amazing…) I don’t worry about that (or feel slighted); “real life” has a way of detouring the best laid plans. ;) I’m just tickled you took the time to stop in now! Thanks for allowing me to share your food verse page, too — hope you see some activity from that. xo

  2. Happy New Year Kim! It’s so nice to have a caring sister who knows what you’d enjoy! :) I have the same baking sheet that we use to bake cookies. Looking forward to your posts this year. Your posts are wonderful – they show how sincere you are and I enjoy reading them. xo

    • Nami, thank you so much for your heartfelt comment. xo I fell in love with “AirBakes” last year when I took care of my Dad, courtesy of a niece who temporarily stored some stuff at my folks’. I’d never baked on them before and was entirely pleased with the results. Apparently, my Sis picked up on my enthusiasm! :)

  3. I got in trouble for not mentioning it was my sister that gave me one of my IMK inclusions this month! I’ve learnt for next time. Meanwhile, I hope it warms up over there, soon! I keep hearing how terribly cold it is!

    • Mary, I debate whether or not to include “who gave it to me” but when it comes to family (and my Sis’s knack for giving me fantastic kitchen gifts), I can’t help myself. :) Thank heavens, it’s finally starting to warm up, hoohah!

  4. Happy New Year Kim! May 2014 be wonderful year filled with excitement and blessings :)
    It’s always nice to take a peek of what passing through your kitchen, I love hazelnut flour and cakes with it are pure bliss!

    • That’s awesome, Fiona! I’m constantly amazed at the food, ingredients, and gadgets folks haul home (and get past customs) in their traveling IMK posts. :) Have fun planning your trip!

  5. I’ve tried the air bake but I can’t really remember that I totally loved them. They were my sisters and I think I decided I liked using parchment paper better because it was easier to clean up after and …I can’t remember. I’m looking forward to hearing how you like them.
    I’ve used rice, almond, gf mix, chick pea flour – they are all interesting- I haven’t used hazelnut flour yet- I have also used grapeskin flour- yuck- and spelt flour- I liked it. But I’m a confirmed gluten lover- I like a chewy yeasty crunchy wheat loaf. I’m willing to try the others, but I miss the mouthfeel of real bread!

    • Heidi, the benefit of AirBake cookie sheets is that they bake EVENLY. (The ovens in the homes we’ve rented have each had their own “personality.”) I’m blessed with the luxury of time for clean up (parchment paper or not — used it, love it!), but I’ll scrub when I have to. :)

      LOL! I just noticed one of AirBake’s “claims to fame” was NOT BURNING THINGS! I haven’t burnt a batch in ages (thanks to a keen nose and a kitchen timer from the hubby a few birthdays ago.) Will let you know how my future baking attempts turn out! FYI, I CRAVE the mouthfeel of “real” bread, too, but I figure my parameters are based on “what I grew up with.” Thanks to blog world, I’m tolerant of “other” textures and flavors and I think you’ll like my herbed focaccia. (Recipe forthcoming!)

  6. Thanks for the visit and comment! You have a great place here! LOVE your Kitchen Items for this month, too! I’m not a salty person but enjoying a bit of Pink Himalayan Sea Salt in small amounts! I like that it has minerals, etc in there, too!

    • Tania, best New Year’s wishes to you, too. Every “IMK” post is a source of delight, including yours! I’m still debating what to garnish Charlie’s cake with (she used strawberries… out of season here.) Any suggestions?

  7. Yes to new kitchen toys! I’ve never heard of Air Bake, and would be interested to know how it compares to ‘normal’ cookie sheets. And now I can’t wait for the March IMK so I can see your hazelnut cake! :-D

    • saucygander, the thin layer of “air” between the bottom of the cookie sheet and the top is an exceptional improvement over ‘normal’ cookie sheets, plus everything seemed to GLIDE off them. I can’t say enough good about them — non-sponsored post, by the way! The real workout” (and test of my baking prowess) happened last summer when I had to contend with my Mom’s “turbo stove.” (LOL!) It had a convection oven and the temps ran about 50 degrees hotter than “normal.” Everything turned out wonderfully — no burnt edges — no burnt anything! I despise trashing anything, least of all something I labored over! Stay tuned for that hazelnut cake… :)

  8. Don’t mind me, I’m just coveting those cookie sheets…!

    I must do more with hazelnut flour – I put almond flour (the lovely beige stuff which is made from whole almonds, not blanched) in everything, but don’t tend to move into the world of other nut-meals.

    • Catherine, thanks for letting me know about whole almond flour vs. blanched. I like how “substantial” the hazelnut flour is and I expect whole almond flour will be to my liking, too.

  9. OMG, that jar of Himalayan Salt caught my eye instantly! Guess what? I’m gonna talked about that in my next post! Hahaha!

    The next thing that attracted me is “Air Bake”! What’s that? I’m really curious. Can’t wait for your post to be out. Happy 2014, my love! Here’s wishing you good health & happiness!

    • Shirley, you have great taste in salt. :) Will watch for your post! Air Bake is a brand of baking sheet that has two “layers” of metal with air sandwiched in between. (For lack of a better explanation.) All I know is that they bake beautifully and evenly and I’ve been wanting a set for a long time. Hope you can locate some — you’d love ’em!

  10. Hi Kim, how cute are those ramekins, your Sis does great gifts. Look forward to seeing your birthday cake and thanks for highlighting the different flours, I’ve never used gluten free but I might have to give it a try just out of curiosity.

    • Jason, your observation about my Sis is spot on. Thanks! I’ve been doing a lot of reading on GF baking — there’s a “knack” to it and the flours run on the spendy side (specialty ingredient), so be sure to consult the experts first. (Of which I’m not one… lol.) Thanks again for stopping by!

  11. Thanks for the shout-out Kim and I’m so glad you’re going to make the GF hazelnut cake! It’s very much a favourite of mine too. I love your new ramekins and that salt looks very interesting. Love how versatile your sweater is! xx

    • Charlie, my pleasure — especially when I eat that first slice of cake! I won’t be able to get fresh strawberries that time of year here, but I suspect I won’t mind… something to look forward to in a repeat performance. ;) I’ve also been debating what to debut in the ramekins… tapendade? custard? Any suggestions? (Thanks in advance.)

      P.S. The temp is dipping into the teens (F) here this weekend (COLD for Oklahoma…) Hooray for versatile sweaters!

  12. Looks like you got all the cool stuff this year. I`ve never seen insulated baking sheets, I`ll have to keep it in the back of my mind for when my budget expands a bit. (College student`s kitchens are famous for sparseness, I suppose.) But I`ve never even seen hazelnut flower, and I think I spend most of my shopping time drooling over the Bob`s red mill section of the store. I will have to scout it out online or something, because I now have extreme flour envy!

    • Flour envy… LOVE it, The Great Zambini! (Not the fact that you’re envying… the idea.) When I was in college, my hot pot (similar to a coffee pot to make Ramen in, etc.) and the window sill were my best friends. (Think “refrigeration without a refrigerator”… I went to school in Minnesota, lol!) Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Your budget WILL improve, but in the meantime your ingenuity will serve you well.

    • Celia, Happy New Year! So far I’ve used the salt to finish dishes — a sprinkle or two here or there — hadn’t thought about grinding it. Thanks for your suggestion! That’s what I love about this forum (and blog world in general) — always a new idea to entertain. My kitchen is an even more tastier place, thanks to you and IMK! :)

  13. I bake GF quite a bit and haven’t yet tried hazelnut flour, I’ll have to put that one on my list. Hazelnut crust filled with chocolate sounds delish! Happy New Year to you and yours ~ best of luck in your cooking adventures. :)

    • Judy, please refer to my reply to Joanne above. :) I’m looking forward to exploring your latest IMK post and wherever the “clicks” lead me on your webpage. (I love poking around!) I’m a relatively “newbie” to GF cooking & baking and can use all the help and inspiration I can get. Happy New Year to you & yours, too!

    • Joanne, those lil’ hazelnut ganache tarts were a hit and I soooo abhor “teasing,” but that was the best I could do for this month’s IMK post. :) Best wishes for a Happy 2014 to you, too!

  14. I have those same baking sheets and love them! :) I bought some almond flour before Joshua arrived and almost forgot about it in all the craziness of motherhood – now I’m dying to figure out a mega awesome treat to make with it!

    • Veronica, almond flour is next on my list! (There are soooo many tasty alternative to “the food we grew up on.”) We’re only as limited as our imaginations… and newborn needs. ;) xo

  15. Lovely post as always :) I have been thinking a lot about gluten free as well. I was debating making the switch…still on the fence. I am not sure if it would help or just make me a little crazier ;)
    Luv ya <3

    • Isabelle, you’re about to enter the “crazy years” (take it from this post-menopausal woman…) If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve modified my diet years ago! There’s a direct correlation between what you eat and how you feel (or think, or act.) Maybe I need to sit down and drink one of your smoothies? :) Listen to yourself, your body, your stomach. And thank you!

  16. I like the idea of the Hazelnut flour. Do post your cake when you make it!

    The gluten free issue is something I’ve looked at over the past few years. I have 2 coeliac grandchildren and one who has tested negative but is definitely much healthier for being gluten free.

    It has made me much more inclined to reduce the gluten in our diet and also to look at ways to adapt recipes so they can be enjoyed by more people.

    Thank you for sharing a peep into your kitchen.

    • Pat, good things come to those who wait! (Stay tuned for my “birthday cake ala Charlie” in the March edition of IMK.) The VALUE of what you stated re: your grandchild (“definitely healthier for being gluten free”) has come home to roost in recent months. I don’t think I’m full-blown gluten intolerant, but I’ve sure noticed the difference when I consume it vs. not. I also agree with you about more people being able to enjoy what you bake/cook. In this household, that includes me!

  17. Kimmmeee! Happy New Year, my friend! I love everything new in your kitchen, and what a sis! She sure knows you well. The blog sharing of ‘what’s in the kitchen’ is really cool…I may just jump in and share…when I see your new posts in my email, it’s like ‘yoga’ for me…I know I’m going to escape just for a few minutes and indulge in something I love! xoxo

    • Ally, I’ve truly enjoyed the camaraderie of In My Kitchen and I know you’d be welcomed with open arms. (Jump in if you’ve a mind to — or a free minute!) Celia recently imposed a deadline of the 10th each month (for purposes of “real life” and manageability) — if not this month, the next! Thanks for the workout from your comment, too — my heart rate accelerates and I sit “a little taller in the saddle” every time I see a post and/or comment from you, too! We ought to be in great shape soon. :)

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