In My Kitchen ~ August 2018

Oklahoma rocks

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.

Canister set

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.

Tuna Salad Stuffed Tomato.JPG

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.

Butterfly butter dish_01.JPG

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”,

~ Kim

My Ideal Day II

Boy Bouquet

It’s been nearly six years since I posted “My Ideal Day” (for a glimpse of my former frolics click here) — maybe because every day has been close to ideal? Not that life has been all fun and games since then, but I’ve done my best to prevail with a SMILE. Do what makes you happy. Pictured above is the “Boy Bouquet” I gave my beloved. :)

A kiss good morning and a cup of coffee are all I need to ignite my day. 

Make that three kisses. That’s been our tradition ever since TMOFW & I got married 17 years ago and the same applies to “goodbye.” Establish your comfort level for affection early on and don’t settle for less. Take care of yourself!

I’ve been doing just that since I arrived home again after two weeks in Minnesota. (Thank you all for your condolences.) The other night I made “Giada’s” Asparagus & Tomato Fritatta; the next day it was a wilted Chef’s Salad ala “moi.” Healthy eatin’, one day at a time.

I’m grateful for such a peaceful place to regroup, too. Every time I look out our front door, I smile. Ahhh…

Deck sitting has been mandatory. View Out Our Front Door

Getting back to my recent Ideal Day… it involved time to write, think, coffee, and a glass of wine or two.

(And a cute sun dress.)

I also promised TMOFW that I wouldn’t pluck his two prized early blooming beauties below to make Fried Green Tomatoes. :) Patience…TMOFW's tomato plants

Life’s been good at the lake lately.

Actually, it’s been dang near ideal every day. (Thank you, God!)

Enjoying re-booting once again,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ May 2018

I’ve spent most of my life cooking for the folks I love, but these past five years have included an additional blessing: treasured friends from around the world witnessing my culinary antics. I revel in theirs, too! Thank you Sherry (Sherry’s Pickings) for continuing to hostess “In My Kitchen.” To see more global goodies or to add your own, please click on her link.

In My Kitchen… is an “official” quiche pan. Previously I made it a pie plate, so when this beauty appeared at the thrift store I snapped it up. Real quiche at last! (Please pardon the uneven nutmeg distribution on top; the grater I ordered was en route and I got a little heavy-handed with sprinkling. :) The crackers, baguette, and party goods are for future appetizers and impromptu serving.

In My Kitchen… are an industrial-sized Crock Pot, a Cuispro olive oil spritzer, and the cutest lil’ mini bakers for warm dips and such. (My new Microplane nutmeg grater, too!) It’s been a process deciding what to replace or live without since my serving pieces and kitchen gadgets disappeared a few years back, but it’s been fun “personalizing” my kitchen again. You might even say I earned it…

Winte bottle stopper

Meanwhile, I’m almost done painting my office. IMK headquarters! The “flowers” that besieged my eyeballs all these years will be gone. YAY!

Painting in progressAfter that, the only posies left blessing my surroundings will be these:

Okie posies

Enjoying an entertaining life in Oklahoma,

~ Kim

Friends

Court Bouillon

The Court Bouillon pictured above was a mix of several recipes and what I had on hand. Thank you, Alton Brown, Epicurious, and Genius Kitchen! Revisiting a recipe (and variations thereof) is a lot like visiting with old and new friends. Everyone contributes to the conversation with flavorful, memorable results.

My goal — besides feeding myself — was to use up some of the fish in our freezer. Thanks to TMOFW’s prowess with a fishing rod and patience with our fickle lake, the poached bass fillet that resulted was near nirvana. (Sorry, no photo.) As Forrest Gump once quipped: “You never know what you’re gonna get.”

The same applies to thrift store treasures.

Old friends

I arrived at The Mission yesterday intent on serving others and ended up coming home blessed with two “old friends.” I love it when the Universe smiles!

This stainless steel skillet features a copper clad bottom (also not pictured, nor its handle, ha!) and it was a favorite saute’ pan in my previous life. Diminutive in size — 7″ or so — it delivered BIG flavor in small batches and clean up was a breeze. What a JOY to rekindle an old friendship.

The cake stand behind it was another “find.” I don’t bake very often these days due to my allergies (dang it!), but when I do I like to present my oven lovin’ with a lil’ flair.  Serving pieces are like a spectacular pair of earrings adorning an outfit. Go for the BLING! Speaking of which…

Hummer feeder

Our hummingbirds are due back soon and our weather-worn, faded plastic feeder was in sore need of replacing. Bling! I call our new one “The Jewel of the Lake.” :)

Do what makes you happy.

Last, but not least…

New friends and old continue to make my world go ’round. I love you all!

Enjoying treasures,

~ Kim

The Simple Life and a Simple Stir Fry

Since January 2018, I’ve had to put my pursuit of flavor aside due to events beyond my control. Recently though I had a hankering for “meat and veggies.” (Vegetarian friends, please look away!) Beef, bacon, broccoli, and brown rice sounded good.

While that concoction doesn’t look like much (thanks to a rainy spell and Oklahoma’s fickle photographic conditions) it tasted SO good, The Man Of Few Words had seconds and I ate the rest. :)

Truthfully it’s been a tough year. At one point I thought about deep-sixing blogging, but that would’ve meant giving up sharing sporadic inspirations with you. My heart just couldn’t accommodate that. Plus I have a story or two left to tell — and I love reading YOURS! Bonus points for yummy recipes.

In the meantime, I’ve found a new outlet for my dormant culinary dreams. Once a week some of my newfound friends and I gather to have a glass of good wine and “munchies.” How could I not cook for them?! They bring the wine and I bring the FOOD! (It was the least I could do to show my appreciation.)

Tonight’s impromptu repast consisted of marinated mushrooms, garlic & herb roasted baby Yukon potatoes, and kalamata olives. Simple fare. Speaking of which, I’m smack dab in the middle of a much simpler life. After I turned 60 (gasp!) I realized that I’ve entered my last go-round on this planet. Every day and every flavor counts. I intend to make the most of them and share my flavor innovations with my friends. (TMOFW, too!) I even brought home an exercise bike yesterday. Yikes…

Getting back to that stir-fry, it was basically a half-pound of bacon cut into “lardons” and sauteed until crisp (drained on paper towels); a pound of 80/20 ground chuck browned with chopped onions and minced garlic (added at the last minute) in the bacon drippings and a “steamer bag” of broccoli nuked in the microwave. (Ordinarily I’d steam a fresh head of broccoli, but time was of the essence.) Then I added previously cooked brown rice seasoned with Himalayan sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Easy peasy!

Here’s a close up:

Bacon Broccoli Burger Brown Rice 2.JPG

The simplest pleasures in life — the simple life — are best.  Live yours and don’t look back. But please continue to share your recipes. :)

Enjoying a scaled back perspective and GOOD FOOD,

~ Kim

Smoked Salmon Roll Ups II

I haven’t made or written anything noteworthy in a long while (apologies…), but a recent kitchen inspiration sparked a marriage proposal.

After assembling my Smoked Salmon Roll Ups in “mini-bite” form (hence II), I toted them to a friendly gathering. One fellow took a bite of the creamy goat cheese filling laced with fresh dill, lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice, capers, and freshly ground black pepper, ate six more (two at a time!) and asked: “Will you marry me?”

I grinned and said: “No, but I’ll cater.” :)

His lovely, life-long wife (nearby) grinned, too. I love sharing food and smiles!

Enjoying camaraderie and appetizers at The Lake,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ February 2018

Winter White Crocks

In My Kitchen… I haven’t played for the last month or two — apologies to all — due to life “in flux.” My mother’s health took a downward turn in early December and I’m doin’ the best I can from 750 miles away to take care of her. And me…

Unexpected bargains such as this pair of crocks in winter white brightened my world, as well as my kitchen. (Great for chili or stew in our neck o’ the woods!) Sometimes you have to go “back to the basics” to sustain yourself.

Or, create your own light….

Bakers Rack 2

In My Kitchen… I festooned (don’cha LOVE that word?) my baker’s rack with lights over the holidays and decided to leave ’em up year round. I grin when I plug ’em in!

Behind that is my kitchen paint ala grey completed by The Man Of Few Words. I’ve teased him for years about “not noticing” — Christmas decorations, redecorating in general, or me, lol. His alternate nickname is “Mr. Oblivious” 

Last weekend I came home after running errands and didn’t “notice” he’d finished painting the kitchen — all of the places I couldn’t reach — until Monday! (Talk about eating “humble pie”… anyone have a good recipe?) Here are a few other views  — minus the dishes in my sink. :)

 

In My Kitchen… (or close to it…) is another “light” in my life.

CardinalWhen my son visited in December he gave me this beautiful Cardinal lamp. Even though it’s in my office (adjacent to my kitchen) I spend lots of time in there dreaming up recipes or printing off yours! I love its inherent meaning. My late sister said if she ever came back as a “bird” she wanted to be a cardinal because they’re so cheerful. (She was a redhead, to boot!) Sneak preview

In My Kitchen… is a preview of the tile back splash I planned to install behind my stove. (DIY projects are on stand-by until further notice…) It’ll pick up on my “basic black”  stove & fridge (xo), the sedate colors in our floor covering, and also add a splash of color “reflecting me.”

Look for your light and SHINE it whenever you can.

This post is part of a world-wide gathering of kitchens graciously hostessed by Sherry Mackay of Sherry’s Pickings. Please click on the link for inspiration in your kitchen or add your own to ours by the 10th of this month. Fun and friends await!

Enjoying “light” — and life day by day,

~ Kim