In My Kitchen ~ February 2017

gather

In My Kitchen is the bamboo cutting board featured in this post. (This is the Full Monty, tee hee.) It’s turned out to be quite indispensable, for everything from last-minute herb chopping to slicing & zesting citrus, and more. Functional and FUN — and easy clean-up. Thanks again, Ally, xo!

Truthfully, I thought my kitchen was “stocked”. Or, maybe that’s the mindset I adopted out of necessity these past several years? I’m open to surprises! You never know when one gadget might make your life easier or cooking more inspired.

Thanks, IMK friends and dear friends for SO many innovations and ideas, xo.

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In My Kitchen… is a Farberware funnel that matches my “accent” color.

Although I’m not entirely wild about plastic (I miss the beat-up metal funnel I had), the head space indicator has been convenient for measuring homemade stock… beef, pork, chicken, veggie, and shrimp… whatever’s simmering or freezer-bound for future meals. Plus, it’s dish-washer safe. Ditto on easy clean-up.

BTW, I love these “quilted” half-pint jars, too — an ongoing gift from my sister.

rolling-pin-art

In My Kitchen… is a marvelous marble rolling pin with an assortment of table linens (another gift from my aforementioned friend, Ally.) After trying to roll out holiday pie crusts with my wimpy wooden rolling pin, acquired in a hurry (“big box” store shall remain nameless), I informed The Man Of Few Words that I REALLY needed a more substantial one. Frankly, the other one couldn’t put a dent in a ping pong ball! His reply? “Get what you need.” (Gotta love that man.)

Hold out for what you NEED. Be patient, no need to rush things! (You’re clever enough to make do in the meantime.) The right tool will come along when it’s supposed to, and it’ll bless you — and others — if you don’t settle. (Go with your gut… you’ll know “when .”)

Lo and behold TMOFW’s sister & I visited an antique shop a few days afterwards. The first thing I spied when we walked in the door was this green and white marble beauty — with a “stand” no less — for a mere pittance, I might add. Some things are meant to be. YAY!

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In My Kitchen… are two pieces of pressed-glassware with 100+ years of history.

The one in the front held many a pickle, deviled egg, and/or piece of Divinity or Penuche; the one behind housed myriad side dishes. Grandma’s, then Mom’s, now mine.

The “snowflake” design is reminiscent of my home state of Minnesota, but honestly I enjoy serving from them much more In My Kitchen in sunny, WARM Oklahoma. ;)

In My Kitchen… are a few dishes I tried during my “neck problem” phase. (Almost over.)

Great news! Went to the neurosurgeon on Monday; no surgery or injections needed, just continued chiropractic care and EXERCISE…. here’s to a buff 2017. (Hallelujah!)

Working out carefully is worth the effort, especially when there’s a good meal at the end o’ the day — or another spectacular sunset. Worth the wait! (As are the right tools.)

sunset-silhouettes

The glimpses above into my world and kitchen are courtesy of Liz Posmik as she resumes hostessing In My Kitchen following a hiatus during the “busy” season.

Check out the worldwide posts on her sidebar for further inspiration — or add your own by the 10th. Good times!

Enjoying every blessing In My Kitchen and otherwise — YOURS especially,

~ Kim

Life vs. Art (or vice versa)

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Aristotle, Plato, Coleridge, and Freud (et al.) theorized that art imitates life. (Mimesis.) In contrast, Oscar Wilde asserted that life imitates art. (Anti-mimesis.) Whichever view you ascribe to, I’m tickled  when the two converge unexpectedly.

(Or, I may have way too much time to “think” in between, lol.)

Take lobster for breakfast and the ensuing sunset later that day.

 

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No matter in which order they appeared (truthfully lobster did first; it was on my proposed holiday menu), both were delights. Later as the subsequent color schemes became apparent, I was astounded for obvious reasons. I love when that happens!

Earlier I posted that I was enjoying New Year’s food ideas “after the fact” for necessary reasons. Hooray for recipes with no expiration date! Incredibly — not to mention tastily — I was blessed to make this repast a few days hence for breakfast, followed by a skyline that echoed my JOY at the end o’ the day. No coincidence, I “think”.

Many thanks to Buffalo Gals Antiques for the blue-speckled cornbread baker you blessed me with earlier this year; it’s been versatile beyond that and then some! And, to Ally (Boho gal pal) for the plethora of personal and kitchen playthings you bestowed upon moi, xo.

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God has been (IS) so good to me this New Year, on my stove and on my plate. Talk about Comfort Food. (Click on the link for more.) I’m blessed to make dinner — or breakfast — and look out our windows at His grandeur. Tickled to share it with YOU too,  xo.

Enjoying life, lobster at whim, art (food or otherwise), philosophy, and sunsets,

~ Kim

Smoked Salmon Roll Ups

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I pretty much slept through New Year’s Eve and most of New Year’s Day, which is why I’m still making and eating “party food” two days later. But, smoked salmon is just as tasty on January 2nd — especially when it’s wrapped around a creamy, tangy filling.

mix

There’s no recipe per se… simply mix together softened goat cheese (I used Montchevre) with lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice, capers, and fresh dill.

Spread the mixture on thinly sliced smoked salmon cut into appetizer-sized pieces.

Roll up!

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Garnish at will and enjoy a sublime start to any meal… or year.

Enjoying a late start in 2017,

~ Kim

The Desk

I never imagined I’d fall for such a modern-looking desk to house my “creative space” (especially in a room I’ve been trying to make look cozy for two years), but with its full-length keyboard drawer and room for treasures on top (my monitor and printer included), I was smitten.

Nothin’ like combining the new with old. If that’s the story o’ your life, too, do tell!

I’ve come to relish unexpected blessings and spontaneously altered floor plans.

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Above is my Garden Room (aka office) in flux. Still a tad crowded, but it’s getting there.

My plan, my dream (neglected ’til now) involved moving things around a bit, but it’s coming closer to the vision of what I “want” it to be… HOPE it will be… some day.

The the rest is trial & error. And Trust. God works all things for good! (Romans 8:28)

One thing that’s made my seemingly impossible dream possible — besides moving furniture, ongoing prayer, and a huge dose of grace — was this recent purchase of art supplies to pursue yet another “creative dream.” (See some day above.)

More on that soon!

There’s still FOOD — yay, food! — even though I haven’t pulled out the ol’ Nikon as often as I once did. I make it a point to treat myself to something tasty every single day. (Once in awhile I’m even compelled to share a glimpse.)

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Pan-seared Walleye & Caramelized Onions atop Spring mix salad lightly dressed with balsamic vinaigrette, Tuscan veggies, Quince preserves, & Moroccan olives

Enjoying moving forward ergonomically, artistically, musically, and TASTEFULLY!

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ September 2016

In My Kitchen… I’m not in my kitchen.

Three weeks ago I was catapulted into care-taker mode again, and it’s likely I’ll be here equally as long or longer. (Sorry I can’t give any details, but I can tell you about the food.) Unfortunately I left in such an all-fired hurry that I forgot my camera!

Oh well… you know me and words. ;)

Today I made Wolfgang Puck’s Chicken Pot Pie. Imagine the slow-simmered aroma of chicken and veggies with a hint of thyme, graced with a glug of velvety heavy cream, topped with a butter-laden, Cheddar-studded crust that baked up SO golden King Midas would covet it. Oh my!

Then there was homemade pizza night. Pizza 1: Canadian bacon with diced fresh pineapple under a thick blanket of melted Mozzarella atop artisan herb flatbread. Pizza 2: Italian sausage, sliced Soppressata and grape tomatoes, torn fresh basil, and grated Pecorino Romano with garlic-herb goat cheese on a gluten-free crust. (That’d be mine, swoon…) BTW, I used Muir Glen Organic Tomato Herb Sauce on both (win/win) for lack of time to make my own.

Other tasty contenders were homemade sweet & sour pork with fried rice and “potato pancake” egg foo yung; whiskey & black pepper pork tenderloin with smashed Yukon gold potatoes; Gouda grilled cheese sandwiches; Windsor pork chops with mashed potatoes and creamed peas; cheese boards with fresh fruit, crackers & charcuterie, and repeated requests for poached eggs on toast.

Cooking has been therapeutic for all concerned. ;)

I’m looking forward to perusing more IMK escapades with photos on our hostess Maureen’s website following the summer hiatus. Come visit or join us by the 10th to discover a planet-full of kitchen fun! Home is where the heart (or stove) is, xo.

Enjoying cooking in temporary surroundings… again,

~ Kim

Triangulated (A Tasty Trio)

I must live in the Bermuda Triangle.

Every day I chart my course, set sail, and end up somewhere else. The phone rings, a text demands urgent attention or an email requires immediate action, and whoosh there I go. So much for goals! (I suspect you’re in the same boat.)

Thankfully, I love triangles.

My fascination with three-sided shapes hearkens back to high school Calculus  — mostly because the words ‘Pythagorean Theorem’ intrigued me — and by some quirk of fate, I ended up in advanced math. (Insert chuckle and/or Bermuda Triangle here.) Despite my  verbal affinities (and/or innate proclivity for naivety, lol), I managed to pull an A. But, just because I fared well grade-wise doesn’t mean I knew what I was doing. (I still don’t.) Welcome to my life! :)

Some folks assert there’s an alternate reality, but I say: this is reality. Do the work, even if it’s not what you planned. (Surprise!)

There are greater forces than our “to-do lists,” but ya never know what God (or the Universe) has planned for you to “do” on any given day. The trick is to fit your dreams between interstellar cracks wherever and whenever  you can.

Which brings me to three unexpected flavors.. Good things come in 3’s, yes?

Tapenade on Toast Triangles 2

Bermuda Triangle Tapenade

(Adapted from 3 recipes: Wolfgang Puck’s Black & Green Olive Tapenade, Real Housemoms Three Olive Tapenade, and Olive Crostini by Simply Recipes.)

1 baguette sliced in 1/2-inch rounds, or triangles made from gluten-free bread, brushed with EVOO — or excess chive oil from this post. Waste not, want not.

1 c. Kalamata olives, pitted (if need be), halved

1 c. large green olives stuffed with pimentos (I used Mezzetta’s Martini olives marinated in Vermouth)

1 c. large black olives, pitted and halved (ditto on “if need be”)

3 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped

2-3 Tbsp. capers, drained (I tend to lean towards 3 Tbsp. :)

1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

1/2 Tbsp. dried basil (fresh is best, but still workin’ on my herb garden)

1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice

A dash or two (or three!) dried ground oregano and thyme

3-4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400º F. Place baguette rounds — or bread triangles — on an ungreased baking sheet lined with foil for easier clean-up. Bake 10 minutes or ’til lightly browned. Set aside on a wire rack to cool.

Pulverize all but the EVVO in a food processor until chunky. (Resist the temptation to over-process.) The same applies to life; we often over-process or overthink. No need!

Drizzle in EVOO until mixture reaches a spreadable consistency. You’ll know “when.” (If not, it’ll still taste good.) Slather tapenade on toasted bread or baguette slices. Enjoy!

Refrigerate leftovers for up to a week. Or, mix ’em with marinara and a bowlful of al dente pasta for a fab side dish or main meal before then. Salad & bread optional.

Crab Cakes and Marinated Asparagus Salad

The other 2/3’s of this Trio (even if they aren’t triangular!) are Chef Dennis Littley’s “My Famous Crabcakes and Kevin Lynch’s Grilled Asparagus with Marinated Roasted Red Peppers, Feta, and Kalamata Olives ala salad shown above — one of Kevin’s many alternatives. Thanks, gentlemen, xo! My taste buds were SO tickled — and yours will be, too, after you click on the links.

FYI, I scaled down all three recipes to meet TMOFW’s appetite (and mine lately) with our ongoing HOT streak. (100º+) Sorry for not including the conversions, but as I tell my kids when they’re facing life-altering decisions: “Do the math!”

Enjoying isosceles living,

~ Kim

Smoked Salmon Extravaganza

Biscuits and Smoked Salmon

Black Pepper Biscuits with Smoked Salmon

First of all, I want to reassure you that I don’t plan on posting quite so frequently as I have been lately (I admire those of you who do, but that’s not my cup o’ tea), however after a long, cold winter away from home ( 3-1/2 months to be exact), I was ready for some hedonistic pleasure and writing. For me, that equated to some unbridled cooking, smoked salmon, and the word “extravaganza.” (Gotta love it!)

Spring arrived around mid-March in the Northern hemisphere, but such was not the case in Minnesota. It was 40 degrees when I left Oklahoma and 40 below zero when I arrived in Minneapolis in January… plus, it snowed eight out of the first ten days in April. Such fun!

I haven’t written much (or at all) about that experience — mostly because it pertained to Mom’s medical issues, a stove that didn’t work, two blizzards, and 60-years’ worth of “downsizing” (plus my sanity), but suffice it to say that I’m ecstatic to be back at the lake. (And Mom is settled in her new home at last.)

In the month that’s ensued, I’ve been treating myself to these simple, yet extraordinary appetizers (in lieu of full meals) to appease my soul. Oh my, yes! Sometimes you have to eat what appeals to you, never mind the “recommended daily allowances.”

Chive Tartines with Smoked Salmon

Chive Tartines with Smoked Salmon

Generally I concoct my own creations, but I arrived home with my mind in a mess, and my soul and stomach in sore need of Googling a recipe or two. What a treasure trove exists in cyber space, and how grateful I am for it. (And you!)

Briefly, I reconnected with my Irish (and Bohemian) roots while I was away — a combination of nostalgia and heritage (hence the Kerry Gold butter in the first photo) and a true appreciation for my ancestors and the “story tellers” in my life. (Thanks, cousin Fred — your writing continues to inspire me.)

As for the flavors, oh my goodness! Take your taste buds on a flavor picnic and TRY some o’ these… I’m so glad I did.

Smoked salmon toasts

Smoked Salmon on Mustard-Chive and Dill Butter Toasts

The compound butter in the canape above blew me away. (Bear in mind, butter is a rare treat and I’m still on the fence about “dairy” and ifs effects on me, but all in the name of trial and error.) Live and learn.

The “crunch factor” combined with creaminess… so worth it, swoon!

Re: the Smoked Salmon Mousse below…  I hesitated to pulverize part of my precious smoked salmon stash, but I couldn’t resist trying a new “texture.”

Smoked Salmon Mousse

Smoked Salmon Mousse

FYI, I subbed goat cheese for the cream cheese and cut the lemon juice by half to compensate for the “tang” — plus it sets up slightly stiffer than “mousse” — bring to room temp first. (Just sayin’.)

For a photo of my resulting appetizer with cucumber slices, see my previous post.

And if you run out of cukes, you can always make more deviled eggs. ;)

Smoked Salmon Mousse Deviled Eggs

Smoked Salmon Mousse “Deviled Eggs”

Here’s the links (with heartfelt gratitude):

Goat Cheese and Black Pepper Biscuits with Smoked Salmon

Chive Tartines with Smoked Salmon

Smoked Salmon on Mustard-Chive and Dill Butter Toasts

Smoked Salmon Mousse

Salmon Mousse Deviled Eggs “self explanatory” (reserve yolks for egg salad sandwiches or potato salad)

Enjoying culinary freedom at HOME — at long last,

~ Kim