In My Kitchen ~ December 2017

In My Kitchen… Gumby (my alter ego) lives on via a repeat photo I’ve posted through the years whenever I have less “gumb-tion” than time. ;) December is my busiest month “musically” and I thank you for bearing with me. I LOVE that lil’ green guy and his inherent enthusiasm; he mirrors mine about life, the forth-coming holidays, and FUN in general. Every day deserves the “Gumby wave!”

In My Kitchen… are more blessings than I could possibly count. A lil’ over a month ago a surprise “Boho” box arrived from my friend, Ally, of Ally’s Kitchenand I’ve been enjoying every goodie she sent me ever since. Table linens, towels, aprons, kitchen gadgets, and more. (Photos forthcoming soon.) What fun!

In My Kitchen…  holiday festivity is ensuing. Between practicing the piano, attending myriad rehearsals, volunteering to help those less fortunate (I feel SO blessed), and attending to family (isn’t that what it’s all about?), my days and nights are oft mixed up but I’m grateful for the inspiration and opportunity to “sleep in” whenever my creative limits exceed the clock. Plus, my son is about to grill his infamous burgers. Oh my! Did I mention blessed?

For additional merriment (or summer fun in the Southern hemisphere), please visit Sherry at Sherry’s Pickings for more IMK posts spanning the globe — or add your own kitchen doings by the 10th this month. Merry Christmas!

Enjoying every “Gumby wave” moment,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ November 2017

Painted kitchen

In My Kitchen… a long-awaited project is almost finished. I’ve been wanting to paint our humble abode for three years, but “life” happened and I had to put my dreams on hold. (That, and I couldn’t decide on a color.)

Actually, the hue didn’t concern me as much as the “mood”. Considering that I spend the  majority of my waking hours In My Kitchen, I put lot of thought into how I wanted to “feel” in that space. Calm was the consensus.

Depending on the light at various times of day, the “Autumn Fog” shade of grey I got undulates between soft grey and blue-ish, similar to the expanse of water out yonder. Yeehaw, I have a “lake kitchen” at last!

The Lane

In My Kitchen… is a range hood that finally matches my stove. The old, white one — a vintage behemoth with a lopsided light bulb and fan that sounded like a semi idling above the stove (nostalgic, but noisy!) gave up the ghost. This is so much better.

New stove vent

It took some cobbling to install (the duct sizes didn’t match!), but with The Man Of Few Words’ tenacious ingenuity, I think the results speak for themselves, and highly of him.

Is it just me, or does that triangular shelf behind the stove need a back splash? (I was thinking “multi-colored tiny tiles in some sort of a pattern… somehow I think that will be my future project instead o’ my man’s. :)

Speaking of which, I’ll be off the grid briefly to celebrate our upcoming anniversary. Nothin’ fancy planned, just fishing together and steaks on the grill. That, and a drive through Autumn’s finery. Ahhhh…

Fall foliage

What a JOY to celebrate the start of another era in a kitchen that mirrors my spirit — and TMOFW’s — with a surprising splash of color right in our own back yard. xo

Backyard color 1

Be sure to visit Sherry (at Sherry’s Pickings) for more IMK posts, including great ideas for holiday gift-giving! My world-wide friends are gracious about linking their “finds” — plus I learn SO much every month and it’s entertaining to boot. Love y’all!

Enjoying my “lake kitchen”,

~ Kim

Sporadic, But Still Inspired

View 2

I never imagined there’d be so many interruptions when I first set out to “blog.” Back in 2011 my plan was to scope out tasty things to cook (and eat!) and share them regularly —  with scenic photos and miscellaneous thoughts to distract you in between lapses. So far I seem to be doing pretty well on the lapses. But, I’m still inspired!

Adapting has become a way of life. Living. Cooking. Eating. Every day is different, and today has been nothing short of glorious.

I feel blessed to state that.

It was “too cold” (for those of you who live in my former home State, 50º — I’ve officially become an Okie, lol)  to open windows and finish painting the kitchen, so I concentrated on stove-top pursuits instead. Beef Stew. Polenta made with homemade chicken stock and a whole lotta love. 50 minutes of stirring beats 50º in my book any day.

I also practiced piano, cleaned the bathroom, started a letter to my pen pal (that’s the beauty of letter-writing; an immediate response isn’t required and interruptions are par for the course), and took photos of my progress. (Distraction is my middle name, lol.)

The light in the next photo knocked my socks off. I love California Olive Ranch EVOO! California Olive Ranch EVOO

Mid-afternoon I treated myself to a heart-warming glass of Australian Cabernet — a gift from a friend — and thought how wonderfully it’ll go with tonight’s dinner. (Thank you.) Sneak peak of my kitchen paint color, too — aptly named: “Autumn Fog.”

Coonawarra Cabernet

Nothing else much to report from the lake, other than wind and waves typical for this time of year. As I said, glorious.

Enjoying what’s left of October,

~ Kim

In My Kitchen ~ October 2017

My new kitchen mat

In My Kitchen… good things are afoot… or under foot. I’m a firm believer in making life comfortable, especially when I’m on my feet. Pictured above is the new floor mat by my “prep” area; the one below resides in front of my stove. (The third one by the sink is “basic brown” and I didn’t want to bore you to tears.)

Some day

In My Kitchen… is this silverware caddy. Flatware caddy? Utensil tray? Whatever you call it, it’s an indispensable part of our daily dining (for lack of a drawer). I found it at a yard sale awhile back, and as they say: “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”

Silverware caddy.JPG

In My Kitchen… things aren’t always so utilitarian. I break out the cloth napkins every now and then and treat folks to a “dolled up” dinner — me, included. Although “ironing” may sound utilitarian, it’s anything but with these aprons cheering up my laundry room. (Thanks, Ally, xo.)

I Love To Iron

In My Kitchen… I felt myself slowing down in September (seasonal lethargy… zzzzz), but now that October’s finally here, the cooler mornings and hints of color are teasing me to go outside and play. Or play In My Kitchen! I recently played around with this recipe… Three Ingredient Flourless Almond Cake. (Originally Walnut Cake… you know me.)

Almond Cake

For more In My Kitchen posts from around the world — as colorful and varied as the Autumn foliage (or Springtime “Down Under”) — please visit our cordial hostess Sherry Mackay at Sherry’s Pickings. Feel free to join in by the 10th of each month, or simply read and revel.

Enjoying playing again,

~ Kim

Potato and Manchego Mini-Quiches with Greens

Mini Quiches

Spending time with loved ones and friends is on everybody’s priority list these days, or at least I hope it is. (So is taking care of yourself as best you can when life’s “busy.”)

Thumbing through a back issue of Eating Well, their Muffin Tin Quiches caught my eye. Not only were those smoky, cheesy, potato-and-spinach-filled gems screaming my name, make-ahead suggestions were offered. But, how to avoid the milk and smoked Cheddar? Culinary creativity ensued. (Original recipe notes in parentheses below.)

I can have my quiche and eat it, too, yay!

Potato and Manchego Mini-Quiches with Greens (adapted from Eating Well January/February 2017)

4 slices of hickory smoked bacon (the recipe didn’t call for bacon, but ya know…)

1 Tbsp. bacon drippings (or EVOO)

3/4 c. diced red-skinned potatoes (skin on), 1/4″ diced

1/2 c. red onion, finely diced

1/4 tsp. salt

1 (5 oz.) container Green Girl Organic Super Greens: red and green Swiss chard, arugula, spinach, and tat soi (or 3/4 c. fresh baby spinach)

4 large eggs

1/4 c. chicken stock (or milk)

1/2 c. shredded Manchego (or smoked Cheddar) cheese

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika (omit if using smoked Cheddar)

Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt

Preheat oven to 325º F. Coat a six-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

Fry bacon in a large skillet until crisp. (Reserve drippings.) Transfer slices to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Crumble and set aside for garnish.

Return 1 tablespoon bacon drippings to same skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes, onions, and salt. Stir frequently until potatoes are softened, about 5 minutes. Add greens (or spinach); drizzle with an additional tablespoon bacon drippings (or EVOO) if needed to prevent sticking. Toss with tongs until the greens are slightly wilted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, grated cheese (whichever), chicken stock (or milk), and smoked paprika (omit if using smoked Cheddar) ’til combined. Stir in potato mixture. Season with freshly ground pepper and sea salt. Divide evenly into prepared muffin tin. Bake 25 minutes or until set; cool 5 minutes. Remove quiches from muffin cups and garnish each with crumbled bacon before serving.

Per Eating Well these can be made ahead. Wrap (individually) in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to three days or freeze up to one month. To reheat: remove the plastic, wrap in a paper towel, and microwave on high 30-60 seconds.

I haven’t tried the frozen option yet. (I ate them in three days!) They “nuked” just fine. I’m looking forward to serving a big batch to our loved ones and friends — forgot to mention this adaptation was a “half batch” — TMOFW doesn’t eat “greens”, lol! (Double the recipe at will.) Most likely I’ll reheat larger batches in the oven on low heat covered with tinfoil. Ingredients aren’t the only things I adapt!

Take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Brunch is Served

Enjoying brunch three days in a row,

~ Kim

 

In My Kitchen ~ August 2017

I’m delighted to be In My Kitchen again. After three cross-country and out-of-state-trips in two months, I came home with lots of memories. And a few goodies, too!

Utensils 2

In My Kitchen… is a set of Acacia wood cooking utensils, a gift from my cousin Barb. They’re beautifully crafted and a joy to use! She also surprised me with Coconut Infused Black Sea Salt and Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt.

 

Last weekend I grilled shrimp marinated in Champagne Orange Balsamic glaze with coconut-infused salt, and a pork loin seasoned with the smoked salt. Goodness!Grilled Goodness.JPG

In My Kitchen… are a pair of potholders crocheted by my cousin Jeanne. Their diagonal design is appealing and the thick layers protect my hands and counter tops. I admire folks who do needlework and I can never have too many potholders — especially ones made with love.Potholders

In My Kitchen… are a set of plates for smaller servings, found at a thrift store for a mere pittance. The bubbles in them inspired me to pick up a bottle of bubbly, too. (Prosecco in this case.) Homecomings and thrift store finds are meant to be celebrated!

 

In My Kitchen… are a few things I made between sojourns. A girl’s gotta eat, ya know! (So does The Man Of Few Words.) He doesn’t mind me cooking separate meals. If Mama ain’t happy… :) Take care of yourself while you take care of others.

Blue plate special on a white plate

“Blue Plate Special” for him

Lime Chicken

Pan-Seared Chicken with Makrut (dehydrated lime leaves) for me

Cookies

Cookies for him

Gluten free Dairy free chocolate cake

GF/DF Chocolate Cake for me

Salad

Heirloom Tomato and Romaine Salad (for both of us!)

This post is linked to Sherry’s Pickings. Once a month Sherry features fun reads and cooking ideas from around the world. Click on the link to see for yourself! (You can add your own kitchen antics by the 10th, too.) I’m blessed by ’em all.

Enjoying being In My Kitchen again,

~ Kim

Sushi Break

 

Tom's sushi.jpeg

(Sushi & Saki photographed by my son)

Some folks love Sushi and others can’t stand the thought of it. How do you feel?

I was skeptical at first.

In The Land of Ten Thousand Lakes where I grew up (Minnesota), the “catch of the day” was generally fried in butter with a mound of sliced potatoes (sizzling in butter) served with toast on the side (slathered in butter.) Goodness, I miss lake breakfasts! (And butter.)

Maybe it’s the buttery texture of Sushi that I love? I haven’t tried making it at home yet — and I don’t recommend that you do — unless you have top-grade fresh fish, razor sharp knives, and your kitchen is as antiseptic as a surgical suite. Sushi is not only an art, it’s a matter of strictest hygiene. I admire well-trained chefs who inspire confidence in both.

My first taste of that delicacy was at a sales convention in Baltimore many moons ago. I wanted to appear hip with my “foodie notions” — plus, I really wanted to try it! It was love at first bite.

Ironically, my son & I never did get to take a Sushi break on my last trip home. We had bigger fish to fry — so to speak. :) More on that in a subsequent post.

 

In the meantime, I enjoy making and eating “wanna be” Sushi-style seafood. The fresher, the better. Gotta love the fishermen in my life. :)

I still love every bite.

Wishing you a flavorful summer. Try somethin’ new! And, let me know your thoughts on Sushi.

Enjoying buttery recollections,

~ Kim