Almost In My Kitchen ~ February 2015

Potential Dinner

I had hoped to write this post from the vantage point of a “permanent” kitchen, but we’re still in our temporary digs for a few more weeks, and most of the “kitchen stuff” I’ve acquired is packed in boxes in the spare bedroom. (No sense unpacking twice!) So, rather than show you what I cook with, I decided to share a lil’ story about how I cook.

Many thanks to Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hostessing In My Kitchen each month — a delightful global gathering — and for her (and your) heartfelt responses to our post-fire plight. We’re truly blessed by your friendship and caring.

If you haven’t yet enjoyed the many kitchen treasures and perspectives from around the world (or added your own), please visit Celia’s blog linked above.

.   .   .   .   .

Most days I start out with a plan. An agenda.  A “to-do” list… cooking-wise, that is. Dinner is usually in progress (or already made) by the time my hubby has the faintest notion of what he’s about to eat.

Today, however, I waited until The Man Of Few Words (TMOFW) got home and asked what he wanted for supper. (I’m like that sometimes.)

“Stew” was his one-word answer — a re-heat of last night’s repast. I’m soooo thankful he’s easy to please.

After delivering his steaming bowl of stew hot out of the microwave (lol), I began to ponder which flavors and textures I wanted. (FYI, we don’t always eat the same meal on any given night, and “cooking for two” In My Kitchen literally means cooking for two — as in two separate meals.) TMOFW’s non-fussiness and my sense of ‘flavor adventure’ were a culinary match made in heaven.

A quick check of the fridge prompted subsequent questions for moi. What needed to be used up first? What could I make out of it? What was I hungry for — subject to whim, of course. (Such is how my mind, budget, appetite, and fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants menu ‘planning’ work.) But don’t be fooled by that thought. I keep a ‘running list’ of potential meals that can be made with the contents therein, and I add ideas to it daily — generally after reading everybody else’s posts. ;) So many recipes to try!

A kettle of chicken stock bursting with veggies (potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic) and a chicken carcass ‘marinating’ overnight caught my eye. Hmmm… something with chicken? There was certainly enough meat left on the bones, and more than enough veggies to produce a one (or two) person meal — never mind that TMOFW had already made up his mind. (I love “cooking ahead,” too.) But, somehow I didn’t feel like soup. So into the freezer went six pints of glorious stock. I love when that happens.

The rest of the chicken and veggies were remanded into individual-size serving containers for yours truly’s lunch the next day or three. Waste not, want not.

By the way, the original chicken was roasted in the oven with peas. (The peas  turn out squiggly-looking that way, but they’re sooooo tasty!) I finished it by carving select pieces, sautéeing them ‘skin-side-down’ in butter until crispy, and topped ’em with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a few grinds of black pepper. (Yum.) Dinner is often a two-step process here — and a one night stand. We seldom eat the same meal twice, separately or not. Reduce. re-use, recycle. ;)

In front of the open fridge, I pondered a few other options. Alfredo maybe? Or how about “hot dish?” (Pardon my Minnesotan…) Quesadillas? Stir fry? You’re only as limited as your food’s shelf-life or international cravings.

Then I looked in the crisper drawer and side shelves. Haricot verts. Check. Red potatoes. Check. Dijon mustard. Check. Capers. Check. By the looks of things, dinner was going be a Niçoise Salad. But… I wanted something even simpler. Caesar Salad, perhaps?

Classic Caesar Salad

(Quick aside: EVOO is perennially in stock In My Kitchen, along with sea salt and peppercorns waiting to be coarsely ground, as are balsamic vinegar and an assortment of herbs to make vinaigrette at will.) Plus, I’d made this Classic Caesar Salad  by my friend, Queen Jeanne, earlier in the week. Thanks, Jeanne, it was was fabulous!

I decided to blanch a few potatoes and haricot verts instead, plunge them into ice water, and wait until my stomach made up my mind. ;) After a quick toss with vinaigrette and capers, I called it a day!

Sometimes ya just gotta punt.

(And eat!)

Simple Salad 1

Are you a planner or a punter?

(Or a player?!)

Happy Superbowl Weekend.

Enjoying inspiration from all of you,

~ Kim

57 thoughts on “Almost In My Kitchen ~ February 2015

  1. I’m definitely a punter and, as you know, my food life with my beloved is very much … parallel play at the table. P.S. Now I know what I’m going to do with that hard boiled egg sitting in the fridge. Slad Nicoise. Yes.

    • Sue Ann, your phrase “parallel play at the table” continues to tickle me… maybe you’ll be inspired to write an ongoing series of posts about that? In any event, I hope you enjoyed your Nicoise Salad! xo

  2. I think I’m a punter, unless it is a giant party – then a planner :P
    Nice choices with the salads by the way, you take a punt the right way!
    Hope you get out of your temporary kitchen and into a permanent one soon!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • Uru, I’m so used to cooking “small” I hadn’t even thought about big events… you’re right. They definitely take some planning. Extra points for you!!! :) (And, the permanent kitchen is slowly taking shape… stay tuned… ;)

  3. I’m a planner for sure Kim… I bet you are looking forward to the day when you can get back into your very own kitchen. Love the salads, so crisp and fresh. I need to do more of those, but it’s so cold here. Thoughts are with you lovely one.

    • Liz, it’s been colder than usual here so mashed potatoes are on my plate as often as salad. ;) xo The thought of having my own kitchen makes me warm all over, too — but it’s definitely required some planning. (Sorry to be so wishy washy, lol.) Three cheers for the planners of the world! I admire them (and you) very much.

    • Charlie, one of the side effects of previous events (including living in a temporary dwelling for nearly 3 months) has been the pervasive feeling of “disconnectedness” from daily life, friends, and ‘home.’ (Including here in blog world!) Yes, it’s been unsettling, if not surreal. I’m hoping to get back into a ‘regular’ routine (and kitchen) soon, and thank you so much for your ongoing support! xo

  4. Hi Kim: Thanks for the shout out on the Caesar Salad. Your salad with the potatoes and beans looked exactly like something I would make. I too love making chicken stock and seeing it in the freezer for later. I need to do that soon. Can’t wait until you are in your new kitchen. I am both a planner and a punter. I keep a well stocked fridge and pantry so I get a kick out of being creative. Hope to see you cooking in your new kitchen soon. Keep spreading the love. Jeanne

    • Jeanne, your culinary creativity has graced our table more times than I’ve shouted out. :) (Happy to acknowledge it though!) That Caesar Salad was soooooo good, I couldn’t resist breaking out my camera… and fork!) Your recipes and writing are truly a ‘grace note’ in my life, and I tip my hat to the dual punters and planners of the world… the best of both. xo

      • I am happy to hear I have inspired your culinary adventures. I want to say that I love your writing and look forward to reading your posts and seeing your pictures. So glad we were brought together by our sweet friend.

        • Isn’t it amazing, Jeanne, how small — or multi-connected (!)– our distant worlds are? I’m soooo glad Denise mentioned you and your blog… but you can keep the snow and sub-zero temps, lol! Your recent kitchen re-do has been an inspiration to me as I’m fervently working on mine. (With your fantastic food for sustenance in between.) xo

  5. You have Noooooo idea how happy I am to see your posts in my inbox! As for a planner or punter, I’m definitely a planner! Love all that you have here, especially that salad! Can’t wait for you to get in that new kitchen and unpacking all the goodies! LU gal! xox

    • Ally, my love, every day is a Boho adventure… as you’ve illustrated, taught, and mentored me… joyfully! Good food doesn’t have to wait until better circumstances. Let the unpacking ensue! xo

  6. I can go either way. In general I’m a planner, but life gets in the way sometimes and you have to roll with the punches. I try to have the pantry and freezer well stocked for last minute meal decisions. I hope you are in your permanent kitchen soon!

    • Sometimes those last minute “decisions” are the result of punting… or planning. (Having a well stocked pantry and/or freezer is a plus). Wise advice, and thank you for sharing that!

    • Jennifer, I believe in “treating myself right” after all these years… it’s never too late and/or dire circumstances to savor each moment and meal. :) Thank you! I!! I’m hoping to be In My “own” Kitchen before the next IMK post. xo

  7. I’m a planner. A hardcore one :)
    Loved the all-smile pastel table mat underneath your salad bowl. Never mind the inconvenience of a temporary kitchen. A clean, mindful, delightful cook like yourself could turn a hellhole into a heavenly kitchen, for sure :)

    • Nusrat, I have nothing but extreme admiration for hardcore planners — an efficient and inspiring bunch. Thanks for noticing the pastel underpinnings of my repast (a huge compliment, considering YOUR gorgoeus photography!) It was actually a quilt slung over the top of our “temporary couch” rather than a placemat — but the light was good. Hope you “hovered” over the photo for the full effect… and remind me to change my blog theme sometime soon, ha! (It was also a rather precarious photo shoot, balancing the bowl on the edge of the couch and all… LOL!) Oh the risks we “punters” take with dinner… ;)

      Thank you for calling me a poetess in previous comments. I love that, and YOU! xo

    • I wanna eat dinner at your house, Chef Mimi! :) Reconstructed leftovers have their merits, but a meticulously planned meal… swoon. That takes grace… finesse… and exponential culinary savvy.

  8. Dear Kim,

    I feel so much in common with you after reading this post.

    I sometimes cook “two meals” on a given night as well because Mysaucepan might have a craving different to mine. Using up ingredients and avoiding waste feels so good, let alone making more space in the fridge. And being a curry lover, “cooking ahead” is also one of my favourite things to do. Sometimes, late at night when the TV is on and wonderful aromas from a fragrant curry simmering away. I think I am all three – planner, punter and player … sometimes :)

    • ChopinandMySaucepan, I just knew we had more in common than music. (And tasty food!) “Cooking ahead” and catering to another’s cravings are among two of my favorite to-do’s in life! Planner, punter, or player matters not… it’s about enjoying creativity and every single moment. (Preferably with good music in the background! :) Soooo tickled to connect with you (half-way around the world) on that point. xo

  9. Gosh, I’m amazed at how similar your eating and your complimentary tastes are to ours! We often eat different things, different versions of leftovers, whatever. But also several nights a week I do cook a meal and my husband is always complimentary and appreciative. (Actually I think he is recalling the first couple of years of our marriage when I was still getting used to cooking in Australia and the meals I was turning out were a bit odd, and so grateful things have smoothed out over the last 30 years!) All the very best to you getting into your new kitchen and recovering from the fire.

  10. Happy to see you are posting again and hopefully you will get all sorted with a little more time. Olive oil, sea salt and peppercorns are a constant staple in my kitchen too. I am mostly a planner but there are times when it is what is left in the fridge. :)

    • Moya, my writing (and posts) have been “frazzled” a bit lately. (Thank you for your patience and understanding!) Every day is a new adventure — and yay for the staples that keep us “real” — olive oil, sea salt, and peppercorns. As I mentioned in my previous comments, I truly admire “planners.” (I vacillate between ‘punter’ and ‘planner’ every day). Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom! Posting regularly (or at least coherently, lol!) is on my “planned” to-do list. xo

    • Serendipity seems to be the catch-phrase (and current phase) of my life, ladyredspecs! Mixing it up with purposeful (dare I say ‘planned’ cooking — tempered by frivolity?) — is where it’s at right now. I’m so glad my thoughts were an inspiration… thank you. xo

  11. I’m a wannabe planner punter. I wish I meal planned each payday fortnight, but mostly will let hubby do the shopping and then I look in the fridge and crisper and make it up on the spot. Most mornings I know what I’m going to cook that night, and I’m a Queen with leftovers!

    What a bummer you’re still in limbo, though 😞Fingers crossed you’re settled soon in your own kitchen xx

    • Hooray for the “planner punters” in blog-dom! (Another unique “combo” of all of the above!) I hear ya on planning meals around payday, too… we eat better (and/or much more diversely) on such occasions. :) Thank you, Fran!

  12. You’re producing such tempting food in your temporary kitchen and even more amazingly is your great, positive attitude – inspiring!

  13. I’m definitely a planner but plans can be changed!! Thankfully we all eat the same meal, I do love cooking but I think I’d tire of making different meals…having said that, my husband is easily pleased and would eat the same meal every night of the week without a complaint, not that that ever happens! Great to see you are making the most of your temporary kitchen, gods speed on your new dwellings.
    Warm regards, Jan x

    • Jan, I loved your thought that plans can change… so true. Sometimes I think I resist planning because I think it’s set in stone… but what you’ve described is ‘playful planning!’ Thanks for the shift in perspective. (The housing shift is still a few weeks out… but that plan could change! ;)

  14. I’m a definitely a planner for the first half of the week (to get all my cooking done for the blog), then I into a punter from about Thursday! It is a great way to live! Glad to see everything is coming along well. I can’t wait to see you knew kitchen! Liz xx

    • Liz, what a great way to incorporate the best of both! One of the things I’m looking forward to is getting back to some sort of routine… I’ll give your approach some serious thought! Thanks, xo.

  15. I’m a planner in the morning, which sort of makes me a punter, but just one who decides a bit earlier in the day, if that makes sense. :) I love your method of using up whatever you have – I try to do the same, but I’m grateful to have the chickens to help clean up any surpluses! xxx

    • Celia, no matter how efficient anyone is with food, there’s always the odd scrap or morsel you can’t ‘recycle’ or put in the trash… yay, for chickens! We feed our ‘un-useables’ to the critters, too. Food chain at its finest! ;) xoxo

  16. I really wish I were a planner, but I’m not. Every Saturday my husband says “have you got the list ready?” (he does the grocery shopping). And every Saturday I act like shopping day will never roll around thus I never have any idea of what to put on the list. Sure, sometimes I’ll keep a running list of things that I run out of & maybe add based on any blog posts I’ve read but there’s more times than not when I just say “oh, pick whatever looks good”. Guess I can’t complain when I get the same old same old … and of course no vegetables since my husband’s idea of vegetables for the week is a head of lettuce.
    Hope you get into that new kitchen soon & you’re right, no sense packing & unpacking needlessly.

    • I would never ever send my husband to do the grocery shopping. Once I sent him to the store for apple cider. I repeated many times apple cider and if they don’t have apple cider get unfiltered apple juice. These were the last words out of my mouth when he left for a five minute ride to the market. Gone a ridiculously long time, he returned with a gallon jug of apple cider vinegar, I said I can’t use that for this recipe! He said isn’t that what you asked for? Needless to say, he had to return to the store.

      • Jeanne, I laughed so hard over that ridiculously long wait! (I know what that ‘feels’ like.) On the rare occasion Russ goes to pick something up for me, I make sure he has his cell phone along. We’ve had many a ‘clarification’ conversation while he wanders the grocery store aisles! ;)

      • Well he almost had it…at least vinegar’s good for cleaning out the coffee pot. My husband’s gotten pretty good at shopping but I’ve learned to be very detailed on my list & he now knows to text me with any questions.

    • Diane, your hubby sounds like a gem. I can’t even imagine what TMOFW might bring home — except for that head of lettuce, ha! (His fave veggie, too.) Slowly but surely we’re making our way into the ‘next’ kitchen. Thanks for your thoughts… made me smile!

      • Well Kim, there are times when I should do the grocery list with little pictures – it might help when he brings home a zucchini instead of a cucumber…yes he did that. I’m sure you’ll be loving that new kitchen in no time.

  17. Still smiling at the husband grocery shopping stories – mine is currently banned from accompanying me let alone venturing on his own. It’s a long story. I like to think I’m a planner, but do a LOT of punting when we catch seafood or find a small grocery with fresh anything as we travel.

    Hoping you have a new, permanent kitchen soon!

    • Dee, someday I’d like to hear your long story about grocery shopping with your hubby. ;) I agree with you… dinner is subject to the ingredients available, especially “fresh” (or freshly caught!) Thank you… I’m counting the days (weeks?) (which is far better than months!) until my permanent kitchen.

  18. I think I am a planner – small or big parties… even just a small get together during weekends. I love listing what should be on the table, grocery items, etc. :D Your salad looks absolutely delicious, Kim. My prayers are always with you. <3

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